Risgrynsgröt, the Christmas rice porridge

Lightly sweetened and dusted with cinnamon powder, risgrynsgröt is a traditional Christmas rice porridge served in Sweden. Enjoy a comforting hot bowl of this sweet rice porridge for breakfast on Christmas morning and feel like you’re celebrating Christmas in a Scandinavian winter wonderland.

Swedish Christmas rice porridge risgrynsgröt made with rice cooked in sweetened milk and served with cinnamon and almonds.

Swedish Christmas foods

Sweden may not top the list of countries with the most renown foods, yet there is more to traditional Swedish cuisine than just meatballs and potatoes. Christmas is one of those occasions when the Swedes really show off when it comes to food. Meatballs and potatoes are of course featured on the Christmas menu, along with some other seasonal favourites. Pickled herrings (inlagd sill), a special ham, saffron buns… I personally adore Swedish Christmas foods, and always get very excited when restaurants start serving Christmas food buffets from the end of November.

Julbord, that’s what the Swedish Christmas food buffet is called, is a fantastic combination of all those seasonal flavours that I adore. My local friends enjoy these with their families on Christmas Eve. Some may have an earlier taste if attending Julbord with their work colleagues, as it is quite common for companies to take their employees for Julbord as a business lunch or dinner. In Sweden IKEA serves Julbord during Advent, and it is one of the cheapest options to get to taste these foods without wanting to go to a more expensive restaurant.

Read more: a review of Julbord at Toppstuga in Romme Alpin.

Risgrynsgröt in a serving jar surrounded by ingredients and decorations.

What is risgrynsgröt

Risgrynsgröt is a compound word that literally means “rice grain porridge”. I will not deny that it took me a few attempts to memorize and consequently correctly pronounce it. This rice porridge is made with round grain rice, which is a variety of rice very rich in amylopectin, the starch that makes certain types of rice sticky. This is the kind of rice that you want to use for sushi, for example. To make the Christmas rice porridge round grain rice is cooked in milk until it gets this lovely creamy texture.

A fun fact about this Christmas rice porridge is that risgrynsgröt is the Swedish Santa food. Just like American kids leave cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas night, Swedish families will leave a bowl with rice porridge out for the Christmas elf. I’ve been tempted for quite some time to make this tradition mine depite not having children. I like the idea of leaving out a small bowl of cooked rice in the garden. My risgrynsgröt may summon a hungry fox or deer rather than the Christmas elf, but that’s okay. Wild animals always have a harder time finding food in the winter when everything is covered with snow.

Horse in snowy field.
Not a wild animal, but I’m sure this neighbourhood horse would also appreciate some risgrynsgröt!

Risgrynsgröt rice porridge served in a jar, topped with cinnamon powder and a whole almond.

Ris à la Malta

Rice porridge is not only made for the Christmas elf, though. Risgrynsgröt is an essential element of the Swedish Christmas menu. It is usually prepared in advance and served cold, together with whipped cream and some fruit jam or semi-thawed berries. Going by the name ris à la Malta, this sweet rice porridge with cream and fruits is the true star of the Swedish Christmas desserts. Fun fact: despite its name, this rice preparation has nothing to do with the country Malta. Ris à la Malta is a corruption of risalamande, the name of the Danish Christmas rice porridge. Risalamande is itself a corruption of French riz à l’amande, almond rice.

That almond reference is not casual. Traditionally, an almond should be mixed into the Christmas rice porridge. One lucky guest will have the honour of finding it in their serving of risgrynsgröt. In Sweden, it is believed that he or she will marry within a year. Make sure to let your guests know there is a hidden whole almond in their rice pudding if choosing to go with the tradition, to avoid choking hazards. Alternatively, chop the almond and sprinkle it on top as decoration.

A portion of Christmas rice porridge with some ingredients in the background.Risgrynsgröt is a rice porridge traditionally served for Christmas in Sweden.

How to make the Christmas rice porridge

In order to fix yourself a bowl of this delicious Swedish Christmas delicacy, you ar going to need the following ingredients:

  • 80 g round grain rice
  • 150 ml water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 300 ml milk
  • 20 g butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • cinnamon and almonds for decoration

Add the water, rice and pinch of salt to a saucepan large enough for the rice to swell and cook without spilling out. Set the pot on medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, lid on. Aside, warm up the milk. When the rice has been cooking for about 10 minutes and most of the water has been absorbed, add 250 ml of the warm milk. Lower the heat to minimum, give it a good stir and let cook covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the milk has been absorbed, add the sugar and the butter and stir until it’s all melted and combined. Pour in the remaining warm milk and cover. Let the porridge simmer another 10 minutes, always on the lowest heat. Risgrynsgröt should have a thick and creamy texture, so let it simmer uncovered for a couple of minutes if the final product is too runny. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and add aditional (shaved) almonds.

A serving of traditional Christmas rice porridge with a whole almond on top.

Risgrynsgröt ingredients: round grain rice, milk, cinnamon and almonds.
Round grain rice, milk, cinnamon and almonds: the ingredients needed to make risgrynsgröt.

More Swedish Christmas food inspo

Make some Swedish Christmas desserts this winter season and travel vicariously to Sweden through some classic flavours:

And here’s the review of an old-fashioned Christmas market in Dalarna.

Swedish Christmas rice porridge risgrynsgröt made with rice cooked in sweetened milk and served with cinnamon and almonds.

This recipe was updated in November 2019 for better content and a recipe card.

Risgrynsgröt is a rice pudding traditionally served for Christmas in Sweden.
5 from 8 votes
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Swedish Christmas rice porridge risgrynsgröt

A delightful rice porridge served for Christmas in Sweden. Round grain rice cooked in lightly sweetened milk, topped with cinnamon and almonds.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Scandinavian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Eva

Ingredients

  • 80 g round grain rice
  • 150 ml water
  • 300 ml milk
  • 20 g butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon powder
  • almonds

Instructions

  1. Cook rice, water and pinch of salt in a saucepan on medium heat for 10 minutes, with the lid on.

  2. Warm the milk and add 250 ml to the rice. Lower the heat to the minimum and keep cooking the rice for about 20 more minutes, stirring from time to time.

  3. When the milk has been absorbed, stir in the sugar, butter and remaining milk. Simmer on low heat for 10 more minutes, covered. Stir occasionally.

  4. Remove the lid and let excess moisture evaporate. Transfer the rice porridge to two serving bowls and dust with cinnamon powder and almonds to taste.

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18 Comments

  1. Jacqui Debono December 12, 2019 at 00:59

    I haven’t had rice pudding in so long. This looks sweet and creamy – perfect for Christmas morning!

    Reply
    1. Eva December 12, 2019 at 15:13

      I can confirm its texture is as you describe it! Thank you for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen December 12, 2019 at 15:12

    I’ve never heard of this before but it sounds so perfect for Christmas morning! So warm and cosy and i love the hint of cinnamon. Going to give this a go!

    Reply
    1. Eva December 16, 2019 at 16:26

      Thank you Carrie!!

      Reply
  3. Danielle December 13, 2019 at 05:37

    Oooh, this porridge is truly amazing. I have been meaning to learn more about Swedish cuisine, so I guess the time has come 🙂 And the timing coudn’t be better.

    Reply
    1. Eva December 16, 2019 at 16:26

      This could be an unusual start, but definitely a very enjoyable one.

      Reply
  4. Elaine December 13, 2019 at 07:30

    I would love to have one Christmas with a table full of the delicious dishes from around the world. This porridge would certainly be there – it looks amazing!

    Reply
    1. Eva December 16, 2019 at 16:27

      Or you could serve it cold with whipped cream and jam and make it a Swedish Christmas dessert.

      Reply
  5. Jess December 15, 2019 at 18:34

    I’ve never had Christmas rice pudding before but it looks and sounds so warm and delicious! I can’t wait to try it out! YUM!

    Reply
    1. Eva December 16, 2019 at 16:28

      Thank you and merry Christmas!

      Reply
  6. Tara December 15, 2019 at 20:29

    What a beautiful post! Thank you for the history behind this simple and delicious holiday breakfast treat. I too love it when stores start bringing out foods from other countries. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Eva December 16, 2019 at 16:28

      Thank you, Tara!

      Reply
  7. Loreto and Nicoletta December 16, 2019 at 01:07

    I loved reading about this Swedish rice porridge! We love Scandinavian foods, and having this would make us happy!

    Reply
    1. Eva December 16, 2019 at 16:30

      Nice to hear you’re fans of the Scandinavian cuisine. It’s not one that gathers a lot of following. But some recipes are very tasty in their simplicity.

      Reply
  8. [email protected] December 16, 2019 at 09:34

    I love this recipe. I had been looking for this recipe forever. I actually had this, years ago, but was never able to recreate it accurately. I knew that the rice pudding I had eaten had Scandinavian roots, but was never able to find a recipe that tasted right. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

    Reply
    1. Eva December 16, 2019 at 16:32

      Oh you are so welcome! That is so awesome, glad you stumbled upon my post, then!

      Reply
  9. Veronika December 16, 2019 at 15:36

    My mom used to make a similar porridge when I was a child! It would be nice to make it again! Will save the recipe to make it next week)

    Reply
    1. Eva December 16, 2019 at 16:33

      I hope eating it will bring back some nice childhood memories!

      Reply

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