Serves: ~2
Approx cost: €0.50
Approx calories (per serving):
Approx preparation and cooking time: ~60 mins

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”]Howdy folks – it’s Christmas eve, la la la! For many people that means one more day and then the full joy of Christmas is upon us. For other people though, Scandinavians for example, Christmas is today. They celebrate “Julafton” or “Christmas Eve” so many of the things I’ve been making the past few weeks would be gracing the tables of millions of Swedes today. As you may know, my wife is Swedish, and what, you may ask, is the impact of this on our annual Christmas celebrations? Well – I’ll reveal to you that I’m determined to cling to my traditions, and she’s equally determined to cling to hers. The idea of celebrating Christmas – with the epic turkey feast and everything – on the 24th is about as foreign to me as celebrating Christmas in June. As a result, we celebrate the Swedish Christmas on the 24th and the “British” one on the 25th. This does mean two huge meals, where others might have just one – hardly ideal for the waistline – but totally worth it!

Today I’ll be posting a traditional Swedish (well, I’m sure Norwegians/Danish have similar variants) rice porridge. The porridge is commonly eaten for either breakfast or as a starter to the Christmas dinner table. With a hint of cinnamon, this stuff is rich, creamy and delicious. The first time I tried it I found it rather curious, but it’s grown on me over time and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a bowl of rice porridge now! :) Best of all, this stuff is outrageously cheap to make, so I feel very satisfied being able to plonk this into the <€1 food category on my site here.

Oh, Christmas Tree

Oh – want to hear something hilarious? Ok, it’s not hilarious at all, actually quite tragic. It’s Christmas and my wife and I have both got colds. Right at the beginning of our holidays too! How unfortunate is that? :( Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow with a very quick “Merry Christmas” post, thus bringing an end to my “Christmas posting marathon” (a post every day for 7 days!). I’ll leave you today with a little picture of our tree, above, and wish my Scandinavian friends out there – and indeed anyone who celebrates Christmas on the 24th – a very merry Christmas. God Jul – Hoppas att ni har en trevlig dag!


 Risgrynsgröt ingredients

  • ~100g White Rice (usually round grain, but you can also use long grain, or indeed almost any rice you like)
  • 5 decilitres Milk
  • 3 decilitres Water
  • 15g Butter
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 or 2 Sticks of Cinnamon


  1. Start off by placing the rice, butter, salt and water into a pan. Bring to the boil and then cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. If the hot-plate doesn’t cool down very fast you may want to consider switching to a different hot-plate for the simmering because you don’t want the rice to boil dry.
    Boiling the rice with the butter and water
  2. After the 10 minutes have passed, remove the lid and pour in the milk. Add in the cinnamon stick(s) and give the rice mixture a good stir. Bring to the boil once again, being careful not to allow the milk to boil over, and then cover once again and place on a very low heat (again, maybe on a different hot-plate if the other is still hot!) for 40 – 60 minutes. Don’t stir during this time – it should be warm enough to “putter” very gently in the pan, but not so hot that the rice will burn or stick.
    Adding in the milk
  3. After the pan of porridge has been on the stove for about 40 – 60 minutes, give it a stir. If it is still very liquid continue to heat it through on a low heat, covered, until the rice has swollen even more and absorbed up the milk mixture. When it’s creamy and thick serve immediately with a sprinkling of cinnamon and brown sugar and enjoy a great Swedish-inspired breakfast or snack! :)



  1. says

    Hej, hos oss har det gjorts massor av risgrynsgröt. Den skall användas till mycket. Finsk morotslåda recept kommer snart, ris a´la malta, ja och sen avnjutas med mandel i. Mums. Sen gör vi vår första skinka på ekologisk krav gris ett helt stycke med ben, den har du varit i ugnen sen 14.igår och är ännu ej klar. Vart skall detta sluta. Men på bloggen kommer det nog att skrivas lite recept snart. Hoppas ni får en helt underbar jul!!!! Kram Gela

  2. says

    Beautiful photos, Charles and I really mean it since I am not a fan of rice pudding and yours looks strangely attractive!

    Actually Christmas Eve is the most important, closest family celebration in many countries (my French family for example). Unfortunately in France they give Christmas presents only the 25th in the morning, so I'm not a big fan 😉

    I am impressed by your Christmas marathon, especially since you don't feel well. I hope a glass of mulled wine and a slice of Christmas cake will cure you!

    Merry Swedish Christmas!

    • says

      Haha, thanks Sissi. I can't believe I caught a cold *right* when Christmas is coming – so typical :( Hopefully it will shift soon! Thanks for your kind comments about the porridge… Today we had beef tenderloin for dinner (I never tried "tournedos" steak before… whoa… it's SO good) and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's lunch when I will make my turkey "roll up" thing, inspired by Karen from BackRoadJournal. Have a wonderful day :)

    • says

      Thanks Marianna. Posting every day was… tiring 😀 I could understand doing it if my content was shorter, but cooking, photographing, writing up a recipe, as well as thinking or something to say about it every. single. day? No way… not for me 😀

  3. says


    One of my mom's dearest friends (Elly) is from Denmark, and when I was growing up I always envied how they celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve (less time to wait for their presents!) Mom was just telling me that Elly needed to borrow some milk to her her strawberry rice pudding/porridge for Christmas Eve. Their tradition is to put one almond in the porridge, and the lucky person who finds the nut in their portion wins a box of chocolates. But I don't know if they start or finish the meal with it. Now I know about the Swedish version, but I don't think I can pronounce it!!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  4. says

    Never did like rice pudding until I had some in Italy. Probably haven't had nice ones til then, and now, I'm hooked! This looks easy enough to satisfy my occasional cravings without too much hoohah. And I like the cinnamon in it. We've just finished our Christmas eve dinner and I'm totally pooped! I can't imagine having 2 dinners one after another unless maybe we have leftovers the next day 😀

    • says

      Ah, I love it when that happens. All your life you have something and it's really "meh", and then you have it done a slightly different way (or perhaps the "right" way, if maybe it was being done wrong up until then) and then suddenly it's like "whoaaaaa!" :)

      Hope you've sufficiently recovered from your dinner :) Happy Christmas!

  5. says

    I believe this is known as rice pudding in the US and Canada but it looks wonderfully creamy and tasty nonetheless.

    I haven't started preparing anything for Christmas eve dinner (smoked salmon, a shrimp pasta dish or something involving cheese are being considered) but this would be a lovely treat for 'afters'. :)

    No turkey and accompaniments for me tomorrow either but I'll tough it out.

    • says

      Ah, you can never go wrong with smoked salmon! I noticed my local store is selling smoked trout as well – a fraction of the price… (well, maybe not a fraction but much cheaper compared to the salmon!)

      Tomorrow I'm gonna have mashed sweet potatoes for the first time ever… wish me luck 😉

      • says

        Good luck on the mashed sweet potatoes. :)

        I followed the link to the turkey roll up you're making tomorrow and it looks like it will be delicious. Supper ended up being a cheese and cracker plate (cranberry Wensleydale, cream cheese, proscuitto, granny smith apple) washed down with a Bud Lite Lime beer. Not very fancy but filling and tasty. I may make sushi with the smoked salmon tomorrow for Xmas. Or not.

        Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  6. says

    Heheheee… So do you have to wrap up presents for 2 days? Or do you just give your presents on either day? Maybe you give hers on the 24th and she gives you yours on the 25th? :) This dish reminds me of a Syrian one called Ruz-bil-haleeb (literally means "rice in milk") but it's not runny, it's thick, but it's not like this sort of texture thick :)

    • says

      Yeah, what we normally do is wrap the gifts and then open some on the 24th and some on the 25th. That way we both have something to do and no-one feels left out 😉 I think every country probably has their own variants of rice porridge and pudding – it’s really interesting to see how different it can be from country to country though! :)

  7. says

    I just love the idea of having two types of celebrations. I can imagine it's a lot of work but I bet it's even more fun. Love this recipe. I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas

  8. says

    My mom used to make something like this for us, but she would generally use leftover rice. She also added raisins.

    So sorry to hear that you and your wife are sick; it usually happens to me too (as soon as the stress of work are gone the adrenaline stops and bang, instant bad cold) but this year, I was already sick so it just continued over the holidays.

    Hungarians also celebrate Christmas Eve, and JT is Canadian background, so it's been a real blessing for us as we've never had to compromise our Christmas's with our families. Two Christmas dinners is OK by me; as long as I don't have to cook them back to back (did that one year, two whole turkeys in a row! It was exhausting). Sadly my brother prepared a spiral cut ham last night so I won't be getting my turkey two days in a row this year :-(.

    Merry Christmas Charles, have a safe, happy and healthy new year.

    • says

      Hi Eva,
      Speaking of leftover rice, I made way too much of this one year and we ended up turning it into a really delicious rice porridge cake, with saffron and raisins. Liquifying it up a bit with extra milk, some eggs, add some saffron and then bake it until firm – really yummy!

      I remember I hosted a Christmas lunch at my place a couple of years ago – I am (or was) really bad at estimating how much people would eat. In the end I bought 5 turkeys and 2 chickens… FAR too much meat (I think we were 15 people maybe), We couldn’t finish the meat, I feel so ashamed thinking about it because it was just so wasteful! I remember being up until 5am cooking these stupid turkeys too!

      Hope you enjoyed your ham and had a wonderful day :)

  9. says

    I hope you guys are over your colds and feeling better now. This looks like a wonderful dessert. I think I’ve made rice pudding exactly once! It’s so good, thanks for the reminder.

    • says

      Thanks Greg – getting there now… just a bit of snuffles left :) Every time I have this I’m reminded that I should really cook rice pud more often myself. My mother used to make a great English style one, which was cooked in the oven :)

  10. says

    This looks totally awesome. I hope you had a lovely Christmas and Wishes for a very Happy New Year. Regarding your question on the consistency of the mango jelly, yes it was little firm and can be eaten with a spoon. May be if the agar agar is reduced would be spreadable. Will update when I try it next time.

    • says

      Ah, thanks for letting me know Sadhana – I was curious as to whether it was like a “curd”, like lemon curd, you know, or more like a pudding, so now I know :) Have a wonderful new year too! :)

  11. says

    24 aannnd 25?? Bless you!

    I piled up 3 kgs besides those I was supposed to loose, all from the cakes and sweets around the table and throughout the christmas week…With all the walking and moving I did, I came back with 3 kgs extra!! No wonder, Paul (my husband) and I finished most of the xmas cake (he doesn’t feel guilty if you want to know). Thank God there was only the British Christmas for my in-laws! It would have been catastrophic to have another festive night and another set of yummy things around!!

    Back to the recipe, so you put the butter in the beginning! That’s a new one to me! I’ll try it next time!! Since I’m seriously lazy, I do the other part of the cooking in an oven, medium heat covered with foil and for 1h or so. That way I don’t have to watch it closely.. Can’t beat laziness.

    • says

      Haha, nothing like “serious laziness” as an incentive to find and adapt new or different cooking techniques. It would work – my mother used to make a rice pudding this way. It had a lovely “skin” when it came out of the oven :)

      Oh well – now we have a whole year to drop the weight before the next time Christmas rolls around again 😀

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