Rice Pudding (Swedish Risgrynsgröt)

Risgrynsgröt is a Swedish rice pudding that is traditionally served on Christmas Eve. After the rice pudding is made, an almond, called a mandel*, is placed in the pot. Whoever gets the mandel is either the next to be married, or guaranteed to have a year of good luck, depending on who in my family you ask.

When my sister and I were little kids, every Christmas Eve the mandel would magically split in half and we would both end up with it in our bowls. We were both lucky!

Rice pudding, I have realized, is so warm and creamy and comforting it deserves to be eaten more frequently than once a year. Also, it’s so easy to make. So, so easy. And here’s the absolute best part about rice pudding: eating leftovers for breakfast. In the morning, it magically transforms from “rice pudding” to “rice porridge” so you can eat it without a second thought.

*For 29 years I have believed that “mandel” meant treasure/prize/luck in Swedish. I just Googled it and, nope, it means almond.


Serves 6

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 4 cups milk (I used skim, but whole is best!)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


On Christmas Eve, we always eat risgrynsgröt with cinnamon/sugar and nutmeg sprinkled on top. But feel free to go all out!

Some ideas: fresh fruit, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar…


  1. Rinse and drain the rice.
  2. In a medium pot, bring the rice, milk, and all the sugar to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for around 25 minutes, until the rice is soft and the pudding has thickened. While it simmers, be sure to stir occasionally.
  4. Remove from the stove and stir in the vanilla.
  5. I like to eat my risgrynsgröt warm, but you can serve it warm or cold. Serve with toppings of your choice!

Sourdough Bread Pudding


Sourdough isn’t traditionally used for bread pudding, but I had a loaf that I needed to use up. It occurred to me that the slight tang of the sourdough might actually be a nice contrast to the sweetness of bread pudding. I loved it! (David, I should note, likes things a little sweeter and prefers a more traditional bread pudding. Though he did go back for seconds…)


  • 1 loaf (14 slices) of sourdough bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • chopped walnuts, to serve
  • maple syrup, to serve


Preheat oven to 350°F

  1. Slice your bread into 1″ pieces.
  2. In a large bowl, use a mixer to combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon, followed by the raisins.
  4. By hand,  slowly stir in the bread. It’s a lot of bread, so it helps to do this in batches. Add 1/4 of the bread, stir (the moisture from the liquid will reduce the size), then add more bread, stir, etc.
  5. Pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan.
  6. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the bread to absorb the liquid and flavor.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.
  8. Serve with a splash of maple syrup and chopped walnuts on top.