Danish Rice Pudding Recipe (Risalamande)

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Danish Rice Pudding Recipe (Risalamande) is the most traditional Danish dessert to serve on Christmas Eve. Risalamande is a wonderfully creamy rice pudding served with a heaping topping of warm cherry sauce.

The sweet rice is stewed in milk to create a creamy texture that is flavored with real vanilla beans. You fold in finely chopped almonds and mounds of whipped cream. It is light, not overly sweet, and delicious!

If you love almond desserts try these Classic Italian Almond Biscotti Recipe (Cantucci), Poppy Seed Cake with Orange Almond Vanilla Glaze, Soft Amaretti Cookies (Italian Recipe).

Danish Rice pudding in Danish serving ware
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Traditional Danish Rice Pudding Recipe

This traditional recipe for Danish almond rice pudding is passed down from my Danish Farmor (mother’s- father) Lise Albertsen. This recipe is near and dear to my heart.

Every Danish household enjoys this delicious dessert during the holiday season. Our family enjoys this delectable dessert as a Christmas Eve tradition. If you have Danish heritage (or not!) you must add this creamy rice pudding to your list of Christmas time recipes.

The father that raised me is Danish and brought this light and creamy dessert into our family. We hope you love it as much as we do. Enjoy this Danish Christmas rice pudding dessert any time of the year!

For a traditional dessert from my husband’s side of the family try this Best Steamed Carrot Pudding with Caramel Sauce.

Simple Ingredients

  • Arborio rice
  • Water
  • Whole milk
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Chopped blanched almonds
  • 1 whole blanched almond (read “Our Christmas Tradition” to see why)
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Vanilla bean flicks from a vanilla pod ( OR, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste) *not extract*
  • Cherry Sauce, for serving

Where Can I Buy Whole Vanilla Pods?

You can find whole vanilla beans at most grocery stores. You can also BUY VANILLA BEANS HERE .

What is Risalamande or Danish Rice Pudding?

Risengrød, or rice pudding, has been a beloved dish in Denmark for centuries, a dish enjoyed by rich and poor alike. But in the 1800’s, as was the case in most of Europe, there came a point when the upper-crusted bourgeoisie wanted to further distinguish themselves from the poorer, working classes and that distinction included food.

The bourgeoisie wasn’t about to give up their beloved Risengrød, but eating the common food of the poor farmers wouldn’t do either.

A solution was found: They would add some luxurious items like whipped cream and almonds and then give it a new name, a French-sounding name, of course, ris à la mande, to give it an air of elegance. 

Risalamande has remained one of the most popular of all Danish desserts ever since. It is probably the most popular Christmas dessert, served every Christmas Eve following dinner.

The name comes from the French, riz à l’amande, which translates to “rice with almonds.” The finely chopped almonds are only one aspect of what sets this rice pudding apart from all others.

My personal favorite part is the vanilla whipped cream folded into the rice pudding with the bits of almond to add texture. Yum!

How to Make Danish Rice Pudding Recipe (Risalamande)

This easy recipe

  1. In a heavy-based saucepan add water and put it on medium heat. When the water starts to boil, add the rice, vanilla extract, and salt and stir the rice for a few minutes. Add the warm milk, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir occasionally. Cook until rice is soft, about 30 minutes, and there is little milk left.
  2. Increase the frequency of stirring during the last 10 minutes to prevent scorching. This will also thicken the rice mixture. Stir in the sugar during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Take off the heat and stir in the chopped blanched almonds.
  3. Let the rice cool and then chill in the fridge for several hours, or overnight.
  4. Beat the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar, vanilla bean, or extract, and beat until stiff peaks form. Stir the cream mixture into the rice pudding. Note: The rice will be very stiff after it is refrigerated. Stir it with a fork to loosen it up and then stir it more after the cream has been added to break up any clumps.
  5. Serve the Risalamande cold or at room temperature with the warm cherry sauce. Enjoy! 
Danish Almond Rice Pudding picuted with red cherry sauce.

The dishes and silverware you see in these photos are passed down from my Danish grandmother, Lise. We use them for special occasions such as Christmas and Easter.

What Rice is Best for Danish Rice Pudding?

I recommend using Italian short-grain rice varieties such as Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and Baldo (Arborio is the most commonly found short-grain rice). Short-grain rice has a high starch content and tends to absorb less liquid, resulting in a stickier, rice pudding.

For a successful rice pudding, any substituted grain must possess the same basic qualities as Arborio rice. It must be high enough in amylose to maintain an al dente texture, even after long stovetop cooking. If you want that creamy rice pudding, I recommend using Arborio rice! Play it safe to get the result you desire!

Craving Italian Risotto? Try these RECIPES.

Danish Almond Rice Pudding in a serving bowl.

Risalamande- Danish Christmas Tradition

The tradition of Danish Almond Rice Pudding (Risalamande): There’s a fun Christmas tradition that accompanies this dessert. The cook (usually my mom or dad) hides one single whole almond in the rice pudding and whoever finds the hidden almond in their serving wins a small gift.

Growing up, my parents always had several presents ready depending on who won the almond. The catch: Everyone keeps eating until the almond is found, no matter how full they are! It is a fun tradition.

We like to joke and pretend like we’ve found the almond by poking our tongue to our cheek to mimic a whole almond. It is a fun tradition that keeps us laughing long after the meal.

If you like rice pudding, you will love Risalamande, a fancy Danish version of rice pudding that’s full of chopped almonds, velvety whipped cream and topped with warm cherry sauce. It is a simple and luxurious dessert all in one.  

CAN I MAKE DANISH RICE PUDDING AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes! It is better that way. You can make the Risalamande a day ahead, then pull it out of the fridge to warm it up to room temperature and serve it with warm cherry sauce.

This wonderfully cream rice almond rice pudding is even better the next day. You can also try it with a bit of cinnamon sugar as a variation.

Tips for Making Danish Rice Pudding

This special Danish rice pudding is light and fluffy. Here are a few tips to get it just right:

  • DO NOT add the sugar while the rice is cooking. It will turn into a sticky gloppy mess. Instead, stir it into the rice when it is still hot and done cooking.
  • DO NOT cook the rice until all the liquid is gone. Make sure to leave a little bit of milk so it feels smooth when you remove it from the heat at the end of the cooking time. The rice will absorb that extra liquid as it cools.
  • Fluff the rice. After the cooked rice cools it will be very stiff. Fluff the rice to break it up a bit with a fork before folding in the whipped cream.

Eating risalamande is the most special Danish Christmas tradition. We hope you enjoy this tradition as well!

From my Cucina (kitchen) to your table- Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)

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This recipe post is dedicated to my Farmor Lise who made the best risalamande that ever existed. We love and remember you as we pass on your delightful recipe.

Danish Almond Rice Pudding

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Danish Rice pudding in Danish serving ware

Danish Almond Rice Pudding (Risalamande)

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5 from 3 reviews

The most traditional Danish Christmas Eve dessert, Risalamande, is a wonderfully creamy almond rice pudding served with a heaping topping of warm cherry sauce! The sweet rice is stewed in milk to create a creamy texture that is flavored with real vanilla beans. You fold in finely chopped almond and mounds of whipped cream. It is light, not overly sweet, and delicious! 

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Rice:

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 100 ml water
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 ounces chopped blanched almonds

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean flicks from a vanilla bean pod ( OR, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste) *not extract

For the Cherry Sauce:

  • 1 can (21 0z) Cherry Sauce (or homemade cherry sauce), warmed up before serving

For the homemade cherry sauce

  • 15 oz frozen cherries
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan add water and put it on a medium heat. When water starts to boil, add the rice, vanilla extract, and salt stir the rice for a few minutes. Add the warm milk, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir occasionally. Cook until rice is soft, about 30 minutes, and there is little milk left.
  2. Increase the frequency of stirring during the last 10 minutes to prevent scorching. This will also thicken the rice mixture. Stir in the sugar during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Take off the heat and stir in the chopped blanched almonds.
  3. Let the rice cool and then chill in the fridge for several hours, or overnight.
  4. Beat the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar, vanilla bean, or extract, and beat until stiff peaks form. Stir the cream mixture into the rice pudding. Note: The rice will be very stiff after it is refrigerated. Stir it with a fork to loosen it up and then stir it more after the cream has been added to break up any clumps.
  5. Serve the Risalamande cold or at room temperature with the warm cherry sauce. Enjoy! 

Notes

Tips

  • DO NOT add the sugar while the rice is cooking. It will turn into a sticky gloppy mess. Instead, stir it into the rice when it is still hot and done cooking.
  • DO NOT cook the rice until all the liquid is gone. Make sure to leave a little bit of milk so it feels smooth when you remove it from the heat at the end of the cooking time. The rice will absorb that extra liquid as it cools.
  • Fluff the rice. After the cooked rice cools it will be very stiff. Fluff the rice to break it up a bit with a fork before folding in the whipped cream.
  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Danish
  • Cuisine: Danish

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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6 Comments

  1. My great grandmother made this every Christmas. We cook our rice in milk only. And we add Almond extract to the rice and whipped cream along with vanilla. Your recipe is the same otherwise. To make the cherry sauce I use one large can of cherry pie filling and thin it out with the juice of a can off plums. This sauce mixture tastes amazingly good! And of course we add the one whole Almond. I hope more people try your recipe.






    1. Yay! This is a classic recipe we make every year. I am happy you loved it too! Do you do a price for the winner of the almond? We do!

  2. Another brilliant recipe. I made this for those who can’t have gluten. It was a huge hit and I get asked to make it regularly now.






  3. This is delicious! I’ve been making this on Christmas Eve for about 6 years now, and this is the best one yet! I appreciate the tips, especially the one about not cooking until all the liquid is gone. I feel like most recipes are too dry.