Rice Pudding

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Enjoyed warm or cold and scented with vanilla and cinnamon, every bite of homemade Rice Pudding is as comforting as your favorite pair of slippers.

Rice pudding in two ramekins on a plate next to two spoons.

Skip the boxed mix and simmer up a pot of old-fashioned rice pudding on the stove. This easy Rice Pudding is a wise use for leftover rice and the last bit of milk left in the bottle, but feel free to start from scratch; we explain how to cook the rice from dry.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for rice pudding in various bowls.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • White rice: I prefer a long-grain variety of white rice, such as Jasmine, Basmati, or American long grain rice. But you can also use a medium-grain variety, like Arborio or Valencia.
  • Milk: For the best flavor, use whole milk if you have it. For even richer Rice Pudding, opt for a combination of milk and half-and-half.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan, then add the rice and salt. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the majority of the water is absorbed.
Rice in a silver saucepan.
  1. Heat the milk in the microwave (or in another saucepan) until steaming. Add the hot milk to the rice, along with the sugar, and simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 45 minutes. The rice pudding is at the optimal texture when it’s nice and thick and you can stand a spoon up in it.
Rice pudding in a silver pot with a wooden spoon.
  1. Take the pudding off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow it to cool a bit before serving. Eat it warm, or chill in the refrigerator until the pudding reaches your desired temperature. Garnish with ground cinnamon or another spice.
Rice pudding in two ramekins on a plate next to two spoons.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: One batch of the recipe makes about 4 cups of rice pudding.
  • Freezing: Store in a freezer-safe container, label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before eating.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy within 4 days (chances are it won’t last nearly that long!).
  • Start the rice in water: Cooking the rice in water at first (rather than milk) makes a more tender product that tastes more rice-like.
  • Leftover rice: If you have it in the refrigerator, use pre-cooked rice to cut down on cooking time. You’ll need about 3 to 4 cups of cooked rice for one batch of the recipe.
  • Non-dairy: You can use soy, almond, coconut, oat, or another nut milk instead of regular dairy milk.
  • Low sugar: Instead of some or all of the granulated sugar, sweeten the pudding with honey, maple syrup, or another low-calorie sugar replacement, if desired.
  • Raisins: If you like raisin-spiked Rice Pudding, add 1 cup of plain or golden raisins to the pudding before it’s completely done, so the dried fruit has a chance to absorb some moisture and flavor. Dried currants, cranberries, or cherries would be tasty, too.
  • Nuts: Top with toasted pecans, almonds, chopped pistachios, walnuts, or pine nuts.
  • Spice it up: Think of rice pudding as a blank canvas for any flavor combo you love. Ground nutmeg, cardamom, lemon zest, orange zest, and ginger can all amp up the creamy rice if you prefer them over (or in addition to) the cinnamon.
  • Fruit: For a naturally-sweeter treat, mix in or top with some fresh fruit like diced mango, berries, or sliced bananas.

More old-fashioned desserts

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Rice pudding in two ramekins on a plate next to two spoons.

Rice Pudding

Enjoyed warm or cold and scented with vanilla and cinnamon, every bite of homemade Rice Pudding is as comforting as your favorite pair of slippers.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 225

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in rice and salt. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until water is mostly absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Microwave milk until steaming, about 1 to 2 minutes. To the rice, stir in milk and granulated sugar and bring to a slow simmer. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally until mixture is thick, about 45 minutes. (A spoon should be able to stand up in the pudding)
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Allow pudding to cool slightly before serving, or refrigerate until chilled to serve cold, about 2 hours. Garnish with a dusting of ground cinnamon.

Notes

  1. White rice: I prefer a long-grain variety of white rice, such as Jasmine, Basmati, or American long grain rice. But you can also use a medium-grain variety, like Arborio or Valencia.
  2. Milk: For the best flavor, use whole milk if you have it. For even richer Rice Pudding, opt for a combination of milk and half-and-half.
  3. Yield: One batch of the recipe makes about 4 cups of rice pudding.
  4. Make ahead: Feel free to make this a day or two ahead of time, especially if you want to serve the pudding chilled.
  5. Freezing: Store in a freezer-safe container, label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before eating.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy within 4 days (chances are it won’t last nearly that long!).
  7. Start the rice in water: Cooking the rice in water at first (rather than milk) makes a more tender product that tastes more rice-like.
  8. Leftover rice: If you have it in the refrigerator, use pre-cooked rice to cut down on cooking time. You’ll need about 3 to 4 cups of cooked rice for one batch of the recipe.
  9. Non-dairy: You can use soy, almond, coconut, oat, or another nut milk instead of regular dairy milk.
  10. Low sugar: Instead of some or all of the granulated sugar, sweeten the pudding with honey, maple syrup, or another low-calorie sugar replacement, if desired.
  11. Raisins: If you like raisin-spiked Rice Pudding, add 1 cup of plain or golden raisins to the pudding before it’s completely done, so the dried fruit has a chance to absorb some moisture and flavor. Dried currants, cranberries, or cherries would be tasty, too.
  12. Nuts: Top with toasted pecans, almonds, chopped pistachios, walnuts, or pine nuts.
  13. Spice it up: Think of rice pudding as a blank canvas for any flavor combo you love. Ground nutmeg, cardamom, lemon zest, orange zest, and ginger can all amp up the creamy rice if you prefer them over (or in addition to) the cinnamon.
  14. Fruit: For a naturally-sweeter treat, mix in or top with some fresh fruit like diced mango, berries, or sliced bananas.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 225kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 5gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 129mgPotassium: 188mgFiber: 1gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 198IUCalcium: 146mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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