High postprandial lipaemia increases cardiovascular risk. Algae consumption may affect postprandial lipoproteinaemia. The effects of dietary alga and cholesterol supplementation on postprandial lipaemia and lipoproteinaemia and arylesterase (AE) activity in growing male Wistar rats were tested in the present study. Six groups of ten rats were fed a casein-based diet for 3 weeks. Three of the diets contained 2·4 % cholesterol-raising agent (Chol), while the other three did not (NChol). Seven percentage of the control diets (NChol-C and Chol-C) consisted of a cellulose–wheat starch mix (35:65), while the Nori alga diets (NChol-N and Chol-N) and Konbu diets (NChol-K and Chol-K) contained 7 % of each respective freeze-dried alga. Postprandial plasma was obtained after a 3 h diet withdrawal. Supplementary cholesterol and alga type significantly affected (at least P < 0·05) the cholesterol, TAG, phospholipid and protein contents of the various lipoprotein fractions. AE enzyme activity increased (P < 0·05) in NChol rats given Nori and Konbu diets. NChol-K, but not NChol-N, rats displayed higher (P < 0·05) plasma cholesterol, TAG and phospholipid levels than NChol-C animals. NChol-K rats presented higher TAG, phospholipid, protein and lipoprotein mass values than their NChol-C counterparts. Inclusion of algae in Chol diets decreased (P < 0·001) the postprandial hypertriacylglycerolaemia. The Chol-N diet affected most lipoprotein fraction contents. Chol-N rats had lower postprandial cholesterolaemia and a better lipoprotein profile (fewer LDL and a tendency toward more HDL and fewer cholesterol-enriched VLDL) than Chol-K rats, suggesting that Nori is the alga of choice in dietary treatment of hypercholesterolaemia.