What is Rissole?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The term “rissole” refers to several different foods, depending on which nation is involved. All of the forms of rissoles fundamentally resemble croquettes, but they can be prepared in a variety of ways and with an assortment of ingredients. Rissoles may be served as appetizers, accompaniments to a main course, or even desserts, depending on where they are being served, and which ingredients they are filled with.

Minced meat is a traditional ingredient in rissoles.
Minced meat is a traditional ingredient in rissoles.

Traditional rissoles are patties of minced meat or fish wrapped up in a savory pastry and deep fried. This version of the rissole comes from France, the nation which also gave this food its name: “rissole” comes from the Latin russeola, “reddish paste,” a reference to the appearance of the filling. From its French roots, the rissole has diverged considerably.

In some countries, the pastry crust is left off, and a rissole is rolled in breadcrumbs instead. Some cooks eschew any sort of coating for a rissole, preferring to make a blend of meat, potatoes, eggs, and breadcrumbs which can be molded into a firm patty. Ingredients such as onions may be added to rissoles as well, along with various spices, especially in nations with a culinary tradition of heavily spiced food.

The rissole also need not be deep fried, although frying is traditional. Sometimes rissoles are baked, and in other cases they may be pan fried in a thin layer of fat. The fats used also vary considerably, from lard, which yields a rich rissole with a very thick crust, to canola oil, which creates a thinner, lighter version of the traditional rissole.

Meat and fish aren't the only fillings which can be used in a rissole. Some cooks make rissoles with sweetened fillings like fruits to serve as desserts, in which case the rissole may also be accompanied by flavored syrup as a dipping sauce. Other rissoles go heavy on the vegetables, with potato rissoles being popular in places like Ireland.

Many nations have created their own version of the rissole. This food is commonly on offer in street stalls as a casual snack food, or in fast-food restaurants. Some fancy restaurants also serve rissole dishes, although they may use fancier ingredients and dress things up with complex sauces to make their rissoles more interesting. Rissoles can also be made at home. Because the definition of this dish is so flexible, cooks can freely experiment with their own ingredients and cooking techniques to create a version which appeals to them.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


drtroubles: Yep, I'm Aussie and rissoles are a fave of our mob. I don't flour, but use the mince, egg, breadcrumbs, and sometimes grated carrot for a filler and onion. Herbs I use are garlic powder, chili powder, Italian herbs, pepper, salt, then either bake or pan fry. Yum.


I would love to hear about the different variations of rissole from the various nations. Would you be able to share how your favorite kind of rissole is made?

I personally prefer the Indonesian variety of rissole, which is a hugely popular snack food there.

The way that Indonesian rissoles differ is that they are usually filled with vermicelli noodles and dipped into a delicious sauce. Often this sauce is a kind of soy sauce, chili sauce or chilli padi.

The mix of flavors is pretty amazing and I would recommend that everyone try it out if you are looking to experiment with food.


If you ever get a chance to visit Australia you may want to try out the rissoles there. They are a super popular dish, and their version is pretty close to American meatloaf.

If you want to try making it yourself, in the Australian way, you just need 2 pounds of ground beef, 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs, a couple of eggs, flour and herbs to taste.

Place all of these ingredients, except the flour, in a mixing bowl, and when fully blended together, make these into very thick patties.

Lastly, coat the patty with flour and cook it in a frying pan until it is crunchy on the outside. This is a delicious twist on rissole, and very easy to make.


@angelBraids - The only sweet rissole recipes I've seen have been in ancient, like a couple of hundred years old, cookbooks.

They seem to be a mixture of fruit, dried and fresh, plus some nuts and spices. It's all wrapped up in a pastry dough which is fried.


I've made rissoles with lamb leftover from a joint, as well as with beef, delicious served with onion gravy.

As I love all kinds of sweet things, if anyone has any recipes for dessert rissoles I'd be very grateful. I had no idea they could be served this way!


When I was a child I always looked forward to the beef rissoles my mother used to buy. They were frozen, so she would let them defrost and then fry them for supper.

I think I was about ten when the manufacturers stopped making them. I was heartbroken, and even though my poor mother tried to plactate me with homemade rissoles recipes, nothing ever tasted quite the same.

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