Finnish Carrot Casserole is a nourishing rice & veggie casserole, frequently served as part of a Finnish Christmas spread. I can definitely see it as a cozy accompaniment to ham! Because it’s bound together with eggs and whole milk (half and half if you really want it creamy), Finnish carrot casserole is also substantial enough to serve as a light supper on its own.
This casserole is traditionally made sweet, with brown sugar, syrup, or honey. Although I can enjoy a rice pudding, I felt like this casserole missed the mark somewhat when it was too sweet. I’ve made a few tweaks to the recipe to turn it into a more savory version, but I’ll include the alternatives, if you’re looking to be strictly authentic!
Tools & Equipment for Finnish Carrot Casserole
- Small casserole dish
- Mixing bowls, large and small
- Small saucepan (for cooking rice)
- Grater, for carrots
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Liquid measuring cup
- Wooden spoon or spatula
Ingredients for Finnish Carrot Casserole
- Cooked rice: I usually use jasmine, either white or brown, depending what I have on hand. Any medium or short grain rice will work fine! Arborio is another good option.
- Shredded carrots: I enjoy the texture of grated carrots, so I put them raw into the casserole. If you prefer, you can cook and puree them first: more detail below!
- Fine sea salt
- Dried thyme leaves
- Ground white pepper, or substitute black
- Eggs, beaten
- Milk: whole milk works very well, or half and half if you want it creamier!
- Butter: for the topping
- Breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs: I often process some Club crackers down to crumbs and use those
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Butter a small casserole dish and set aside.
Add rice, grated carrots, salt, thyme, pepper, eggs, and milk to a large mixing bowl and mix until combined.
Pour into prepared casserole dish, place into hot oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in small microwaveable bowl or dish. Add bread or cracker crumbs and stir until combined.
After 25 minutes, remove casserole from oven, and sprinkle butter/crumb mixture over the top.
Place casserole back in oven and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven: casserole should no longer appear liquidy, and be lightly browned on top.
Set aside for 5-10 minutes before serving, to allow the casserole to finish setting.
If you don’t like the texture of grated carrot, you can bake this with carrot puree instead. Simply boil your carrots until soft, allow to partially cool, and puree in a blender or food processor. Add carrot puree to your casserole as instructed.
To make this casserole in its authentically sweet form, leave out the pepper and thyme, and add 1 tsp-1 Tbsp brown sugar or honey. You can also add 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, if desired!
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 2.5 cups shredded carrots (about 5 medium carrots)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves- optional
- 1/2 tsp ground white or black pepper-optional
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups whole milk or half and half
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs or finely crushed crackers
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit
- Butter a small casserole dish (about 1 1/2 quarts) and set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, combine rice, carrots, salt, pepper, thyme, eggs, and milk. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare topping: in a small microwave safe bowl, melt butter. Stir in breadcrumbs until well combined.
- Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the top.
- Return to oven and bake 15 more minutes. Casserole should no longer appear liquidy. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving-casserole will finish setting.
1. This is traditionally a sweeter dish. To make sweet, omit the pepper and thyme and add 1tsp- 1Tbsp honey or brown sugar, to taste.
2. If you don't like the texture of shredded carrots, you can puree them instead: Boil until soft, puree and add to the mixture as directed.
Pin for later:
Make it? I’d love to hear what you thought-leave me a comment below!
Ready to explore more Finnish cuisine?
For another great Finnish side dish, check out Finnish Mashed Potato Casserole!