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Norwegian Risgrøt Rice Porridge

April 21, 2022

Risgrøt—a festive Norwegian rice pudding—is a heart-warming, soul-satisfying treat that is humble, almost too easy, and impossible not to love.


Norwegian Risgrøt Rice Porridge

God Jul!

This cardamom-kissed, creamy Norwegian porridge recipe—called "risgrøt" in Norway—is traditionally served on Christmas Eve for breakfast, lunch, or even as part of dinner. What we love most about it is its simplicity. The ingredients are ones you're likely to have on hand. It's not fussy or frilly, and yet somehow—amidst all the excesses of the season—year after year, it’s a simple bowl of risgrøt that feels truly perfect. We've begun to incorporate risgrøt into our own smorgasbord of Christmas traditions, and hope to do so for many years to come. Risgrøt, in all of its soothing simplicity, encompasses the sacred, if not glamorous, side of the holidays. Making it—stirring the rice, sprinkling cardamom and scraping vanilla beans—is a ritual we've come to treasure.

Swedish Christmas porridge
norwegian rice pudding with butter

A Sweet Nordic Christmas Ritual That’s Easy to Love.

Our connection to this Scandinavian Christmas tradition comes via Holly’s husband—whose family is of Norwegian descent—and so because of that very specific connection, we call our Christmas rice pudding recipe risgrøt. But! Most Scandinavian countries have their own version of this festive rice porridge. In Denmark, the classic mid-winter porridge is known as risalamande (meaning ‘rice with almonds’). Swedish Christmas porridge is called julegrot or risgrynsgröt, and is meant to be left out on Christmas Eve along with cookies for Santa as a treat to appease any tomte (gnome-like creatures) that may visit. Many Scandinavian rice porridge recipes call for a single almond to be mixed into the finished pudding, and the person who gets the almond in their bowl is said to have good luck in the coming year.

frozen berries in a pie dish for adding to norwegian rice pudding

A Traditional Norwegian Recipe, a Few Humble Ingredients.

Festive doesn’t have to mean fussy. The magic of this rice pudding recipe lies in its hushed simplicity—like the quiet beauty of a fresh snowfall. Here’s all you’ll need to make this simple Norwegian porridge recipe:

  • Long grain white rice
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cardamom. Use pre-ground, or buy cardamom pods and grind it yourself for a truly powerful cardamom flavor!
  • Whole milk.
  • Unsalted butter.
  • Cinnamon.
norwegian rice porridge with cinnamon and cardamom

How to Make Porridge That’s Full of Holiday Cheer.

Is it the snowy-white rice, all steaming hot and creamy? Or the warm scent of pungent cardamom and fresh vanilla pods? Or the colorful berries that we sprinkle over our bowls of porridge—bright baubles that glisten atop a comforting mountain of Norwegian rice pudding? Whatever it is—stirring a big pot of risgrøt is the holiday tradition that signals to us each year that Christmastime truly has arrived. Here’s how to make it (it couldn’t be easier):

  1. Simmer the rice in water for about ten minutes to partially cook it.
  2. Spice and sweeten it with cardamom, vanilla and sugar.
  3. Stir, and begin adding milk very slowly as you continue to stir, just as you would with a risotto. The rice will absorb the milk as you stir it over the heat.
  4. Keep stirring. You're going to stir pretty constantly for about 40 minutes, so you'll probably want to put on your favorite Christmas album and make it a party. Stirring is a job even the littlest elf can help out with, so don't hesitate to enlist some helpers!
  5. Done! When the rice porridge looks creamy, but like all of the milk has been absorbed, you're done! Ladle it into big bowls, and serve with cinnamon, a pad of butter and (if you'd like to) some fresh or frozen berries.
Norwegian Risgrøt Rice Porridge

Tools You’ll Need:

Need More Christmas Breakfast Recipe Ideas?

Did someone say festive breakfast!? Because we’re SO on it. Here are 4 of our favorite Santa-approved Christmas morning indulgences:

Norwegian Risgrot Rice Porridge 3

Happy Hygge to You

We’re just as hygge obsessed as the rest of you, and to us, nothing says cozy winter day like a big bowl of this Norwegian rice pudding. We hope we’ve convinced you to add it to your holiday celebrations! Snap a photo of your risgrøt and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Norwegian Risgrøt Rice Porridge

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr
  • Calories: 432


  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 2-4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • berries (optional)


  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring the rice and water to a boil. Lower heat to a heavy simmer and, stirring occasionally until water has absorbed. This step usually takes about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the sugar, vanilla bean seeds or extract, and ground cardamom. Stir a few times to incorporate.
  3. Bring heat back up to medium (medium-low if you are using a gas range). Add milk 1/3 of a cup at a time. We recommend stirring constantly, which ensures you don't scorch the milk. It takes about 5 minutes for each cup of milk to thicken and about 45 minutes in total to get all of the milk incorporated into the porridge.
  4. Once all of the milk is incorporated and there is no longer any liquid in the pot, spoon the porridge into 2-4 bowls. Sprinkle each serving with a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and put a 1 tablespoon sized dab of butter atop the cinnamon. Serve with fresh, frozen or dried fruit.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories432
  • Protein14 g
  • Carbohydrates54 g
  • Total Fat18 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol68 mg
  • sodium186 mg
  • Total Sugars29 g

Norwegian Risgrøt Rice Porridge

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Kirstin

    Can you prepare in advance and freeze?

    Yes! Put in freeze-safe bags, leaving about an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion. Freeze flat for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave using the defrost setting. Hope you enjoy Kristin!

  • Janelle

    Just finished a half version and it was perfect. I lived in Norway on the west coast with distant family years ago and was craving this. I’m going to next explore lower fat milks as it kills me to be eating a heart attack waiting to happen lol but on a cold rainy day in October it was perfect! Tusen Takk

    This is so nice to hear! Thank you!!

  • Øyvind

    Im a chef in norway, and lived there my entire life and ive never seen or heard of anyone put cardamom in their rice porridge. The only place ive seen it is in american recipes. I tried it, and have to say its better without it.

    Thank you for sharing. This is a family recipe from our full blooded Norwegian family members it would be a shame to change it.

  • Robert

    My Norwegian family always made it like this. A cup of rice, 4 cups of milk. Wash the rice until water is clear. Using a double boiler, add one cup of milk to the rice. Stir every 8 minutes until most of the milk is absorb by the rice, add another cup and repeat until all the milk is used and mostly absorbed by the rice. Dish, and add cinnamon, sugar and a pat of butter.


  • Laura

    Oh you guys. This is my childhood. I made it today, tried it (after ALL 45 minutes of stirring) and started to cry. Flavors and scents, we know they are associated with memory. Navigating some hard things with family, but you all brought me back to the sweetest memories today. This recipe is perfect. Thank you.

    Thank you for sharing Laura! This is so wonderful to hear, so happy we could help bring back some sweet memories for you, especially during the holidays!

  • Donovan

    Perfection. For vegans, coconut milk is a pretty good substitute for whole milk. It stays thick, and the coconut flavor only adds.

    Thanks for the tip!!!