Rice Porridge

Rice porridge (risengrød or risgrynsgröt)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This is a classic Scandinavian recipe that is traditionally cooked and served at Christmas. Don’t be misled by the term ‘porridge’ because with its creamy sweet taste it’s really more of a pudding.


For the porridge:

  • 1 and a ¼ cups of water
  • 1 cup of short-grained rice
  • 4½ cups of milk
  • ¼ tsp of salt (you can add more if you wish)

For the topping:

  • 1 tbsp of sugar (or however much you like)
  • ¼ tsp of cinnamon (or however much you like)
  • Butter


  1. On a high heat, mix the rice with water for 5 minutes in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Add half the milk and stir.
  3. Make sure it’s hot before you add the rest of the milk, stirring the whole time.
  4. Turn the stove onto a low simmering heat and keep stirring so the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  5. After about 30 minutes, and once you notice the rice rising up to just below the surface of the mixture, you can add the salt. Keep stirring.
  6. After another 20 minutes of stirring and simmering, taste it and add any more salt depending on your own preferences. Keep stirring, and watch out that it doesn’t burn.
  7. After the mixture has been sitting on the stove for about an hour (in total) it should be done.
  8. Spoon it into individual bowls — it’s best served while it’s still warm.
  9. Mix cinnamon and sugar together, then add a sprinkling to each serving.
  10. Place a dollop of butter on top.

Serving suggestion: You may wish to hide one whole almond inside the pot of rice porridge before serving it into the bowls. It’s an old Scandinavian tradition that some households still hold dear. It can be great fun seeing who finds the almond!

Background: Scandinavian rice porridge

It’s called risengrød in Denmark and risgrynsgröt in Sweden.

It’s traditionally eaten on either Little Christmas Eve (December 23rd) or Christmas Eve (December 24th), although the belly-warming meal serves as great comfort food all year long. 

According to old Scandinavian folklore, there is an elf-like creature they call Nisse or Tomte (depending on which country you’re in) who lives in a barn and can be quite mischievous — the old tradition would dictate that by leaving out rice porridge, the creature would be appeased and wouldn’t cause any trouble at Christmas.

While barns are few and far between for most households these days, you’ll still find children in Denmark and Sweden leaving rice porridge out for Santa and his helpers at Christmas. 

The cool thing about rice porridge is it’s so versatile — it can be eaten for dinner, breakfast or as a dessert.

Plus, if you make it on December 23rd and have leftovers, you can use them as the base for another Scandinavian recipe called ‘risalamande’ which is a traditional dessert often served on Christmas Eve.

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