Ris a La Mande (Danish Rice Pudding)

5 from 5 votes
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Danish Rice Pudding is a relatively new family favorite. This creamy, sweet pudding is a delicious dessert that everyone will love, whether or not you have Danish roots!

Ris a La Mande Danish Rice Pudding in a Bowl

A Family Christmas Tradition

I love Christmas traditions. I love hearing about other peoples’ traditions and I love our own little traditions. Some of our traditions go way back and some have been established within the last few years.

Either way, in my opinion, traditions make Christmas time unique extra special and unique for each family. No two Christmases are the same and I love that. That all being said, I am going to share with you a fun little tradition done in Denmark as well as my own little family…

A Tradition that Started in Denmark

My husband served his mission in Denmark and told me about this tradition that they do there and I LOVE it. Since our family has Danish ancestry (and since he lived in Denmark) we decided that we wanted to incorporate it into our own Christmas traditions.

Ris A La Mande (or Ris ala Mande.. or Risalamande) is a Danish rice pudding that is typically served on or around Christmas as a dessert. Now here is the fun part… this rice pudding contains chopped almonds… and one, single whole almond mixed in before serving. The rice pudding is served in individual bowls and whoever finds the single, whole almond in their bowl will get a little wrapped gift!

Our family celebrates our “Danish Christmas” on December 23rd. In Denmark the 23rd of December is called “Lille Julaften” or “Little Christmas Eve” (the day before Christmas Eve).

If you are in Demark on this day, you would likely have a big meal. Then, on actual Christmas Eve, you get to open presents, sing songs, serve rice pudding, etc. We roll all the Danish celebrations into one day and do it all on the 23rd. I love doing this because it is like having 3 days of Christmas celebrations/traditions… Little Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve, and Christmas!

Why not tack on an extra day of fun?

Tips for Making This Rice Pudding

This recipe is easy enough to make, but here are some tips to help you get started if it’s your first time making rice pudding.

  • Vanilla sugar is not easy to find but it is a MUST for the recipe. You can find it at a European market or you can order it online. A friend of ours found some at a Russian market. You will usually find them in little individual packets.
  • The rice (Arborio Rice) is Italian short-grain rice. It can usually be found by the specialty rice in grocery stores. If you have a Winco nearby, they have it available in their bulk bins.
  • The almonds should have a coarse texture. You can get this by chopping roughly with a knife or pulsing a few times in a food processor.
  • Serve it warm or cold. I prefer this rice pudding warm, but other people prefer it cold. It’s personal preference, so try it both ways and see!

Other Danish Recipes to Try:

Whether you want to make a traditional Little Christmas Eve meal, or just want to try some Danish food, these recipes are fantastic. Give them a try!

How to Make Rice Pudding

Ris a La Mande Danish Rice Pudding in a Bowl

Ris a La Mande (Danish Rice Pudding)

5 from 5 votes
I love the tradition of serving Ris a La Mande (Danish Rice Pudding) on Little Christmas Eve! A delicious, traditional dessert if you have Danish roots!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Danish
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the rice pudding:

  • 8 Tbsp Arborio rice (it MUST be this kind of rice)
  • 4 c. milk
  • 3 Tbsp. vanilla sugar (do NOT use vanilla extract…this can be tricky to find, see above)
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 c. almonds finely chopped using knife (if you use a food processor you should aim for a coarse texture, as the almonds give the dish its texture)
  • 2 1/4 c. whipping cream whipped

For the sauce:

Instructions

RICE PUDDING:

  • Bring milk to a boil slowly in a large pot.
  • Add rice, keep simmering until rice is tender, stir every 3 min or so to prevent rice and/or milk burning at the bottom. This step takes approx 45 minutes. 
  • While the rice is simmering you can make the raspberry sauce and chop the almonds.
  • When rice is firm, remove from heat and let it cool slightly. When cool (see note below.. we like to keep ours warm) add vanilla sugar, sugar and almonds.
  • Fold in whipped cream.
  • Chill and serve with warm raspberry sauce. (we actually like the rice pudding warm… but some like it chilled. Either way works.)

SAUCE:

  • In medium sauce pan place frozen raspberries and 2 tbsp of water, heat until thawed, add sugar and stir. Let simmer for approx 3-5 minutes. Strain seeds (catching the juices/pulp over a bowl), discard seeds and put juices back in the sauce pan.
  • Mix cornstarch with water and add to the sauce SLOWLY to thicken– you probably won’t need all the mixture. This step can be omitted if you want a more natural and thinner sauce.
  • TIP- you can also serve this dish with a strawberry sauce or a mix of raspberry and strawberry. I prefer the raspberry sauce as it adds a bit of tartness to an otherwise sweet dish. Traditionally the dish is served with a cherry sauce, our family never did though instead preferring the raspberry or strawberry sauce.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 690kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 19gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 106mgPotassium: 736mgFiber: 11gSugar: 38gVitamin A: 596IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 395mgIron: 3mg

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This recipe was adapted from Food.com.. click here!

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. Hi Erica,
    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I was actually on the familyrecipies site looking fora Danish Gullasch recipe (it’s cooking as I write)and found this.
    My husband is Danish and we lived in Demark for 8 years. l love their Christmas traditions! Just a couple of comments about the recipe. I live in the Seattle area and I’ve always had a difficult time finding a good “grød” rice. In the last few years I have used sushi rice. It has worked well, but it has to be rinsed really well to remove some of the starch before cooking, or the ris ala mande gets too sticky and clumpy. I have used Arborio rice but it is more difficult to find here. Also I noticed that you don’t mention blanching the almonds before using them. It’s really easy to do. Just place raw almonds in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit for about 5 min. and the skins slip right off. It’s easier to hide the single almond when they are white. 😉
    I agree with other reviewers that it is difficult to find a good pork roast with the skin attached. I will for sure try Asian markets in the area. One comment I have about American pork roast is that the pork here is very fatty, and it’s difficult to get that fat layer just under the skin rendered out so the skin becomes crispy. It’s delicious if it’s cooked correctly though.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried making my own rice pudding until this recipe. It was great! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m a huge fan of trying international dishes and love a good rice pudding (and rice in general haha) Normally I make a rizogalo (greek version) but I liked that this was not as thick and the raspberry sauce was divine on top.

  4. Hey everyone, I am from Denmark but have lived many years in Dallas, Texas.
    We can get the Flaeskesteg cut by Asian Butcher Stores, never thought to look there until
    somebody found it and that is where all the Danes go around Christmas Time, they also
    make it with the Svaer cut.
    Many regards, Regitze

    1. Thanks for the great tip! I had no idea you could get a Flaeskesteg at an Asian butcher store. Thanks for taking the time to comment and let us know!

  5. So glad to come across your post! I studied abroad in DK (Copenhagen / Allerod) and fell in love with Danish food, culture, and traditions – Jeg elsker Danmark! My partner and I have started the tradition of replacing an American christmas “open house” for friends with a traditional Danish Christmas meal. We found the ONLY way to get the right cut of pork was to utilize a local butcher and show photos of what we want. There was a great article in Saveur that helps too! https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&q=http://www.saveur.com/paul-cunningham-danish-christmas-menu&source=gmail&ust=1481641542687000&usg=AFQjCNFpC6vYVtbXJoE0BVQPBDOIRzLtkg

    I will have to try vanilla sugar! I remember cooking with it in DK but haven’t seen it here. Instead, we boil a vanilla bean with the milk and scrape the pod to release the seeds into the liquid before adding the rice. TONS of flavor and adds those pretty vanilla flecks! You can find the pods for cheap at TJ Maxx or Marshals!

    Hope this helps, and thanks for posting! Glædelig jul

    1. Kaitlin– wow Thank you.. or should I say “Tusand tak” 🙂 We got the vanilla sugar at a local Russian store haha it was so random that we came across it. Thank you for the fun Danish article. My husband LOVES Danish Christmas stuff (I do too)! We just need to figure out the pork with the crackling. He has been BEGGING for that each year but I honestly don’t even know where to begin. I am a little intimidated to try to make it because it is literally one of his favorite Danish foods ever and I am afraid I will mess it up and ruin all his good memories of it LOL

      1. As a dane i might have a suggestion about how to get the good crackling – if you havent figured it out already. Ofcourse the skind need to be salted. But if the cracklings arent crackling, then use the grill setting on the oven for a minut or two. Should do the trick.
        Since you havent posted a recipe for flæskesteg, i was wondering if you put bay leafes and cloves(?) (what i know as nelliker) in between the crackling? tastes sooo good.

        And also, about the sauce for ris a la mande, always use cherrysauce. anything else is wrong in my opinion 🙂

        1. I have yet to attempt flæskesteg actually! I can’t find the right cut of pork here in the states. I need to look harder so I can try out my husband’s recipe he brought back from Denmark. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Mange tak!;)

  6. I’ve always preferred the texture and flavour of Basmati rice for this. Remember to save one whole almond for the end and make a game of it. The one who gets the whole almond gets a prize! I use Cherry sauce. Easy to make if you can get canned sour cherries (in glass is best) then reduce and thicken the juice with corn starch and sweeten to your desired taste. enjoy.

    1. Love the “almond game”! When we play, usually the person who has the almond waits til all of the pudding is gone to reveal he/she has it 😉 That way they can watch everyone eat until they are stuffed haha

  7. I married a Dane and his Mother taught me how to make the rice pudding and other Danish food. Your recipe is a little different but I’m sure it is tasty. We celebrate the Danish way for the dinner the day before Christmas but do traditional on the 25th. All his cousins served there missions in Denmark.

    1. That is awesome! My husband always raves over Danish food. How cool that you had so many who served missions there, and that you married a Dane! I am sure you have lots of yummy recipes in your collection. Do you have one for pork with crackling (Fleskastai?) I butchered the spelling on that… haha

  8. Hi Erica,
    Being Danish and having lived in the US for 11 years now, I too have had difficulties tracking down a proper flæskesteg. Good news is I have found William’s Pork, an online British butcher’s shop that has specialized in Danish holiday pork. I am getting flæskesteg and medisterpølse from them this year. Glædelig jul!

    1. Anja– Thank you so much!!!! My husband will be so excited! I wonder why it is so difficult to track down flæskesteg here? Hopefully now you can have a little taste of home this Christmas 🙂 Glædelig jul!!

  9. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I lived in Denmark a couple years back and loved the ris a la mande aspect of the Christmas meal. This year I’m sharing with tradition with my new husband and his family.

    I am wondering how many servings does this recipe make?

  10. Hi Erica.

    A little greeting from a dane. I was searching around for a english recipe to give to my penpal since it was a bit easier than translating it myself and finding the exact words for some of the ingredients. Its nice to see you have taken our little tradition so much to heart. It will always be one of my favourite traditions of danish christmas. There is a slight twist to the game in most families where the person who finds the almont tries to hide it so that all the others continue to eat the pudding in the hunt for the almont. So the entire game gets a nice “YOU HAVE IT! IM SURE YOU HAVE IT!” twist that causes great amusement to the entire family.

    I will have to admit that im a traditionalist and will insist on it being served with cherry sauce!;-)

    Im not sure if there are any other danish parts of your christmas traditions but would love to help with a few recipes if you want any.

    Have a lovely day and a happy christmas when the date gets there.

    Greetings from Denmark
    Casper

    1. Hello Casper!
      Thank you so much for your note!!! I love hearing about others’ Christmas traditions… especially Danish ones! We have been wanting to make “Flæskesteg” but for the life of me I can’t find the right cut of pork in the U.S.! Do you have a good recipe for that?
      If you search around our site we actually have several Danish recipes, check them out and let me know what you think! Thanks again for your nice comment! -Erica

  11. Oh, I look forward to trying your version. I make a similar version but it makes a huge batch and sometimes it’s difficult to scale it down. I also love and actually prefer raspberry sauce. Cherry sauce is not my thing, but that is the way the Danes prefer it. I typically make it with a fancy short grain rice, since I could never find the Arborio. It’s pretty good that way. I would be interested to know when your hubs served in Denmark? I served there in 1999, 2000. Anyway, great recipes. Thank you!

    1. Rachel- thank you so much for your comment! I am with ya– I like the taste of raspberry best! He served there 2000-2002 so maybe you crossed paths! Last name was Walker

  12. Thanks for the recipe! Love, love risalamonde! We use cherries for the sauce, but have tons of raspberry bushes. Usually use them for rødgrød med fløde but should use some and give raspberry sauce a try. My husband is from Denmark and he loves it when I try to make his favorite Danish dishes. He too served his mission in Denmark. What years did your husband serve?

    1. He served in the Copenhagen Mission but rarely served in the city– hr spent most of his time out in the country. What years was your husband there? He said in Denmark they typically use cherries but I just like the flavor of raspberries better 😉

  13. Hi,
    I was searching the internet to find an English recipe for Ris A La Mande, as our cook has promised to make it for tonight and I´m not quite sure he knows what I´m talking about – not his fault as he is from Asia, and most likely have never seen or heard about it before. I found your recipe and the story behind. It´s so funny that you do ¨the almond-thing¨ – and it seems like you have a lot of fun with it, too.
    I have some comments for your recipe though – maybe you can try it next ¨Little Christmas Eve¨? – but as all families, you also might stick to your own tradition (I know we do in my family ;-)),
    It is possible to use vanilla extract – but much more difficult to get the right quantity. Usually the rice porridge intended for Ris A La Mande will be cooked together with a real Vanilla pod ( the empty pod is still full of flavour and the vanilla corn goes into the Ris A La Mande instead of vanilla sugar). Whether or not chopped almonds will be added to the Ris A La Mande is different from family to family – and it is always the base for a good discussion – Especially if a new member has been added to the family 🙂 I absolutely prefer lots and lots of chopped almonds in my Ris A La Mande, which also makes the almond extract, which some families uses unnecessary.
    Many – not all – people also pour a dash of port wine or the like into the Ris A La Mande.
    I would like to know where you got the idea with the Raspberry sauce from? I have never seen or heard about raspberry sauce being served for Ris A La Mande before. It might be some local family recipe – but the most common thing is to serve it with cherry sauce – (here is again basis for a good discussion, since some people like it served cold while others prefer it to be served hot 🙂 ). I have heard that some people do serve it with strawberry sauce, if cherry is unavailable or if they just like strawberry better – but I have never tried it my self. As I said: cherry is the most common.
    I loved to read about how you have incorporated this danish meal into a Christmas tradition of your own – it sounds like it is nice time to see family and friends every year on ¨Little Christmas Eve¨:-) Some families do serve roast pork on Christmas eve – but most serve it as the second meat, and will serve roast duck or roast goose as the ¨Main Attraction¨on the table.
    However, we really do love the roast pork with crispy cracklings, and it is served almost year round – many people even grilled in the summer time 🙂
    Today is exactly 7 months before (Danish) Christmas – so merry Christmas in advance from a Dane is currently situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
    /Line

    1. Thank you SO much for this comment! The idea of the raspberry sauce was my own– my husband did mention a cherry sauce and we may try that next year! We just did raspberries because that is what I had on hand 🙂 Thank you for your advice on the vanilla, I am sure that our readers will appreciate that! I would love to talk to you more about Danish recipes if you are interested! My husband only had a few that he brought back. He said the “shawarmas” there are amazing (even though they aren’t originally from Denmark). I have yet to try them. I am dying to travel to Denmark! Any recommendations I need to know about?