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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Risgrynsgrot -- a very frugal use for leftover rice

Nope, that's not a typo! It's a real word -- in another language.

One quarter of me is descended from people from Sweden. I don't really feel Swedish. But I do like to continue with a couple of traditions from that line of my family. One of those is a rice porridge, called risgrynsgrot. It's a stovetop rice pudding, that is traditionally served on Christmas Eve.

It's also a very frugal dish, using leftover rice, milk (cream if you have it), just a bit of sugar, cinnamon, 1 single almond, vanilla extract and salt. You can add dried fruit, chopped nuts and/or a fruit sauce made from raspberry preserves, if desired. It's not meant to be very sweet. However, traditionally, cinnamon and sugar are passed at the table, to sweeten as desired.

Yes, 1 almond. That one single almond has a role. Whoever finds the almond in their dish is said to be married soon. In households of humble means, rysgrynsgrot, topped with a little extra milk or butter, might have been Christmas Eve supper, all by itself. Much like a bowl of hasty pudding (corn meal mush) would have been a simple supper in humble American homes. In modern times, it's a fun dessert after a larger Christmas Eve meal. (Fun because of the "game" of who will find the almond!)

Here's how I make mine:


2 cups leftover, cooked rice
4 cups of milk or milk/cream mix
salt, depending on whether the rice was salted for cooking
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 whole, blanched almond
optional -- chopped, toasted almonds, dried fruit (cherries are my favorite), cinnamon/sugar

  • In a medium saucepan (about 3-qt capacity), combine 2 cups cooked, leftover rice (I use brown rice, white rice is fine, too), with 4 cups of milk (or milk and cream, mixed), with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, if the rice was not salted, otherwise skip the salt, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1 blanched, whole almond.
  • Optional: you can add some toasted chopped almonds and/or dried fruit (I use dried cherries), then top with more toasted, chopped almonds for garnish.
  • Or, after serving, top with a raspberry sauce made from raspberry preserves, melted and combined with a little hot water to thin, about 1 cup preserves to 1/4 cup water ratio.
  • Or, traditionally, pass a bowl of cinnamon-sugar for individual topping, and a pitcher of milk/cream
The basic recipe is adaptable to more or less milk. More milk makes a creamier dessert, but may take longer to thicken. You may substitute 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for the 1 teaspoon of vanilla. You can skip the cinnamon, altogether, but add a bit of lemon zest and nutmeg. Use brown or white rice. Use dairy milk or alternative milk. 

I frequently make just enough for myself, if I find just a couple of spoonfuls of cooked rice in the fridge. I use vanilla soy or almond milk and skip any extra sugar. It's a quick and easy, dairy-free, gluten-free dessert, breakfast, or snack for one.

If you ever get Chinese take-out, this is awesome for that carton of leftover rice that's drying out in the fridge. It rehydrates that lingering rice into something really tasty.



  1. Yum, rice pudding. Although I don't make it often, it's reminding me that I should!

    1. Hi Mary,
      It's one of those yummy comfort foods, isn't it?!
      Have a great day!

  2. I've been thinking about rice pudding lately, too--I haven't had it in ages. Your Swedish dish (I'm not going to attempt to re-create the spelling!!!) sounds tasty and fun. My heritage is largely German, and yesterday I made apfelkuchen from a German baking book that I checked out of the library (it's an apple cake--you make a mildly sweet yeast bread for the base, stretch it out in a 9x13 pan, and top it with chopped apples and sugar). We liked it .... I think I would tend to tweak it with spices and maybe a streusel topping on it next time. The recipe called for European butter (more fat than American butter) but I don't want to spend the $$ on that, so I might also add a touch more butter to the recipe next time!

    Happy day, Lili!

    1. Hi Kris,
      oh that apfelkuchen sounds wonderful! I think I'll try to make some of that soon. I love that it's a yeast dough. And I'm with you on not buying the European butter. I'm not sure you'd find a discernible difference, by using it. At least not discernible by kids, I think.

      Thanks for the baking suggestion. Have a great day, Kris!

  3. Hmmm...I keep rolling the name over in my head. I love rice pudding! It's definitely comfort food. Thanks for the recipe, I'll definitely be trying it.

    Here are the recipes for the seasonings I am gifting this year:

    Fajita Seasoning
    * 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
    * 2 teaspoons chili powder
    * 1 teaspoon paprika
    * 1 teaspoon white sugar
    * 1 teaspoon salt (I always omit)
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    * 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    * 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    * 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Mix together and use instead of 1 package of fajita seasoning mix.

    For fajitas for my family of 2 adults, and 1 teenage boy, I use 3 cups of cooked, shredded meat, 1 medium to large onion, and 3 bell peppers. This is enough for 1 meal plus a little leftover for someone the next day. We like to use left over chicken, or beef or pork roast. Put the meat in a skillet with 1 serving of the fajita mix and 2/3 cup of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened. It's our preference to saute the onions and bell peppers separately in a little olive oil. Serve with tortillas and your favorite toppings...we like shredded cheese, sour cream and hot sauce.

    Taco Seasoning
    * 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
    * 2 teaspoons chili powder
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    * 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    * 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt (I always omit)
    * 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    * 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    * 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Use instead of 1 package of taco seasoning mix.

    Brown 1 pound of ground beef (or turkey) in a skillet, drain fat, add 1 serving of taco seasoning and 2/3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Serve with taco shells, and all of your favorite toppings.

    For my own personal use, I do this assembly line style to make several servings at once. I have several little jars with lids. I gather all of the ingredients, the measuring spoons, sit at the table, fill each jar, put the lid on tightly, label, and store in my pantry for future use.

    To gift these, I plan on putting each serving of seasoning in a snack size ziploc bag, and then using the cute little envelopes like you made. I'm hoping to find hot pepper graphics for the envelopes. I will print the fajita and taco recipe instructions and include with the seasonings. I'm planning on making baskets with maybe 2 packets of fajita seasoning, 2 packets of taco seasoning, a couple of packages of store bought flour tortillas, and taco shells, and a bottle of hot sauce, and taco sauce. I have some recipients in mind who will really appreciate the gift.

    Have a great day!

    1. Thank you, Angie! These seasoning mixes sound great. I think they'll look really cute packaged up in paper envelopes. Have fun making them.

      Have a wonderful day, Angie!

  4. I have been doing this for years with leftover rice. I mostly have stuck to making it a typical rice pudding with cinnamon and sugar and occasionally nutmeg. I like your ideas of the dried fruit and nuts though, as well as the raspberry topping. I think I just may give those toppings a go the next time around. Thanks!

    1. Hi KCMama,
      The dried fruit and nuts add nice texture, as well as flavor. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

      Have a great weekend, KCMama!

  5. Thank you for the recipe!! I love rice twice cooked, less carbs and much more satisfying.


    1. Hi YHF,
      I hadn't thought about the fewer carbs. I guess due to swelling of the grains?
      The pudding is yummy, and one of those comfort foods that reminds me of my childhood.
      have a great day!

  6. Oooooo! Thanks so much for this post. Risgrøt (as the Norwegians spell it) was one of my favorite foods when I was an exchange student, but I've never figured out how to make it at home - my host family made it from a box... so much for traditional Norwegian cooking! Anyhow, I've tried just cooking dry rice in milk, but it always turned into a disaster. I never thought to start with cooked rice! Can't wait to give this a try next time I have some leftovers! :-)

    1. Hi Cat,
      I have seen a lot of traditional recipes for the risgrynsgrot that call for cooking dry rice in milk. Milk scorches so easily, for me. So this one works better, and makes good use of leftover rice. I hope you enjoy this.
      Have a great day, Cat!


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