Øllebrød: The Boozy Danish Breakfast For Truly Comfortable Mornings

If you think beer and bread for breakfast sounds like a slice of heaven, you're in for a tasty treat. In Denmark, øllebrød is made from just that — beer and bread — and can be customized to the specific tastes of breakfast eaters sitting around the table. For good reason, this hot bowl of thick porridge has become a recipe passed down from one generation to the next. Though this dish is distinctly European, it's worth giving a shot in your own kitchen, regardless of where you live in the world.

Any recipe that is hearty and delicious should be given serious consideration, particularly for morning meals when time feels rushed and you're craving extra comfort before stepping out into the world. For alternatives to your standard breakfasts of overnight steel cut oats, scrambled eggs, smoothies, and avocado toast, get ready to add øllebrød to your list of go-to morning dishes.

History of øllebrød

Porridge certainly isn't unique to the Danes, and øllebrød is a dish that has been prepared for centuries. The satisfying home-cooked porridge is often served with milk or whipped cream and commonly fed to children, even with its boozy ingredients.

The origins of this unique food combination has been attributed to monks. Leave it to an ascetic sitting in a convent to get creative and start dunking bread into beer, eventually mixing the two together to form a porridge-like treat. Yet when beer was safer to drink than water, it offered a better bet for culinary purposes. With time, the addition of seasonings and sweeteners were included to help flavor the dish and make it more palatable.

Since that recipe, however, little has changed when it comes to stirring up bread and spooning it into bowls to set onto the breakfast table. Even today, all you need is beer and bread — preferably pieces of leftover rye — to whip up this comforting recipe.

How to make øllebrød

Whether you are in a hurry to make breakfast or are planning tomorrow's menu the night before, øllebrød can be made in advance or cooked the day of. Simply soak pieces of bread into a pot with beer and water for at least 30 minutes and then bring the mixture to a boil before simmering. Rye bread works well, and darker beers that present notes of spiced sweetness can result in a tasty porridge.

In under 20 minutes, your porridge will be ready to serve and can be seasoned with salt, sugar, or honey, depending on whether you prefer a sweeter or more savory dish. Add water if the porridge becomes too thick.

To complete the dish, garnish your breakfast bowls with toppings that will find favor with your guests. Whipped cream, berries, chocolate, and drizzles of honey deliver sweeter presentations, or grate citrus like orange or lemon for a zestier meal. For meal planners eager to prep breakfast ahead of time, soak bread in beer and water overnight, then heat up your mixture in the morning prior to serving.