Traditional Poronkäristys Recipe

Dish recipes: Poronkäristys
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Poronkäristys, or sautéed reindeer, is a beloved dish in Finnish cuisine, particularly popular in Lapland. This hearty and flavorful meal combines tender strips of reindeer meat with onions, butter, and beer, creating a dish that's both rustic and sophisticated. Perfect for a cozy winter dinner, Poronkäristys offers a taste of the Arctic wilderness.


1 lb (0.45 kg) reindeer meat, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 cup (0.24 liters) dark beer

1 cup (0.24 liters) water or beef broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 bay leaves

5-6 juniper berries, crushed (optional)


Prepare the Meat:

If the reindeer meat is frozen, let it thaw slightly until it is firm but not completely thawed. This makes it easier to slice thinly.

Sauté the Onions:

In a large skillet or cast-iron pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté until they are soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Cook the Reindeer Meat:

Increase the heat to high and add the thinly sliced reindeer meat to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned on all sides, about 5-10 minutes.

Add Liquid and Simmer:

Pour in the dark beer and water (or beef broth), stirring to combine. Add the salt, black pepper, bay leaves, and crushed juniper berries (if using). Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded together.

Adjust Seasoning:

Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more salt or pepper to taste.


Poronkäristys is traditionally served with mashed potatoes or creamy potato purée and lingonberry jam. The sweet-tart flavor of the lingonberries complements the rich, savory reindeer meat perfectly. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives for an extra touch of color and flavor.

Poronkäristys is a quintessential Finnish dish that brings the flavors of Lapland to your table. This simple yet delicious recipe showcases the unique taste of reindeer meat, combined with the heartiness of onions and beer. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want a cozy meal, Poronkäristys is sure to impress.