Rice Pudding
Rice Pudding
5 from 1 vote
Embark on a culinary journey with this comforting rice pudding recipe, an enduring classic. Let's explore its rich history, its humble ingredients, and the ease of making this delightful dish.
Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding, this seemingly simple dessert, is an embodiment of comfort, love, and tradition wrapped into a creamy and flavourful dish. From the first bite, it transports me back to my childhood days when I would sit in my grandmother’s kitchen, waiting for that delightful bowl of warm, sweet pudding. 

Originating from Asia, where rice is a staple food, rice pudding is a dish that has travelled the globe, leaving a unique footprint in every culture it has touched. Different countries have their own variations, but the essence remains the same: rice cooked with milk and sugar until it reaches a creamy consistency.  

Despite the variations in ingredients, from the type of rice used to the different flavours infused, the universal appeal of rice pudding lies in its simplicity and versatility. 

Preparing Rice Pudding is not difficult, and it’s a great dish for beginners to try their hand at. The recipe requires patience more than anything else. The key to a perfect rice pudding is slow-cooking the rice in milk, allowing it to absorb the liquid, release its starch, and achieve that characteristic creaminess.  

The additional flavourings like vanilla, or spices like cinnamon elevate the dish to a whole new level. 

Moreover, the process of making Rice Pudding is comforting in itself. It doesn’t involve complicated steps or techniques, but simple stirring and patience.  

The aroma that fills the kitchen as it cooks, the soft simmering sound of the milk, the transformation of the simple ingredients into a delicious dessert, it’s therapeutic. 

So, let’s immerse ourselves in this journey of creating the perfect Rice Pudding. Whether you’re cooking it for a regular weekday dessert, a cosy winter evening treat, or making it as part of a festive meal, it’s a dessert that will always warm hearts and please palates.  

With this recipe, we’re going back to basics, honouring the traditional method of slow-cooking the pudding on the stove. We will discuss the ingredients, their roles, potential alternatives, and finally, guide you through the cooking process.  

Let’s cook together, savouring each step, and create a bowl of comfort that’s not just a dessert, but a sweet symphony of tradition, love, and taste. 

What Ingredients to Use and Why 

Arborio Rice: This type of rice, originally from Italy, is known for its high starch content and firm texture. It’s typically used in risotto but also works excellently in rice pudding.  

It absorbs the liquid while still maintaining some bite, providing a lovely contrast to the creamy pudding. The released starch also contributes to the overall creaminess of the dish.  

If you can’t find Arborio, other short-grain or medium-grain rice varieties such as Carnaroli or even sushi rice can be used as alternatives. 

Granulated Sugar: It lends sweetness to the dish, balancing the creaminess of the milk and the starchiness of the rice. While I recommend using granulated sugar for its consistency and predictable results, you can substitute it with other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Be mindful of the different sweetness levels when making substitutions. 

Whole Milk: The fat content in whole milk adds richness to the rice pudding, making it indulgent and creamy. Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk can be used, but they will result in a less creamy and rich pudding. For a dairy-free option, coconut milk is a fantastic alternative, adding a unique flavour to the pudding. 

Vanilla Pod: Vanilla adds a delicate, sweet aroma to the pudding that complements the flavour of the rice and milk. I recommend using a real vanilla pod for the most authentic flavour, but you can also use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. If using extract, a teaspoon should be enough. 

Salt: A pinch of salt is essential in desserts as it helps to enhance the overall flavour, making the sweet elements taste sweeter. 

Cinnamon Powder: This is for garnish and a bit of added spice. Cinnamon’s warm, sweet-spicy flavour pairs well with rice pudding. However, it’s optional and can be omitted or replaced with a dusting of ground nutmeg or a dollop of fruit jam for a different twist. 

These ingredients together create a harmonious blend of flavours, each contributing to the final product – a creamy, flavourful, and comforting bowl of Rice Pudding. 

Choosing the Right Rice for Your Pudding 

I’ve always believed that every ingredient matters when preparing a dish, right down to the type of rice used in a recipe. When it comes to rice pudding, the choice of rice significantly influences the overall texture and flavour.  

While many types of rice can be used, Arborio rice is my preferred choice for making rice pudding. 

Arborio rice, a short-grain variety, is traditionally used in Italian risotto. Its high starch content gives it a unique ability to absorb liquids and flavours while maintaining its structure. When used in rice pudding, it contributes to a wonderfully creamy, yet still textured, dish. 

That being said, I understand that Arborio rice may not be readily available in everyone’s pantry or local grocery store. In such cases, other types of short-grain rice, like sushi rice or Valencia, can be suitable substitutes.  

These varieties also have high starch content, ensuring a similarly delightful creamy texture in your pudding. 

If you prefer a different mouthfeel, long-grain rice varieties like Basmati or Jasmine can also be used. The final dish will have a distinct texture and flavour, with the individual grains remaining more separate. 

Regardless of the type of rice you choose, the key to a great rice pudding lies in the balance of ingredients and slow, careful cooking. So, experiment with different types and find your own personal favourite! 

A Guide to Using Low-Fat Milk in Your Rice Pudding 

I love a good rice pudding – the creamy texture, the subtle sweetness, and the comforting warmth are all so appealing. However, I am also mindful of the calories that come with it. The traditional recipe calls for whole milk, but I have often wondered if I could make it lighter without compromising on taste. 

From my cooking experiments, I’ve found that it is possible to use low-fat milk in rice pudding, but with a few adjustments. Whole milk imparts a richness and creaminess to the pudding that’s hard to replicate with lower-fat alternatives.  

However, adding a bit more rice to your pudding can help compensate for this loss of texture. 

Another trick is to simmer the pudding a bit longer. This allows the rice more time to break down and release its natural starch, making the pudding creamier. However, keep an eye on the mixture, as low-fat milk can scorch more easily. 

Yet, despite these modifications, do bear in mind that the pudding made with low-fat milk will have a slightly different texture and flavour than the original. It might take a few trials to get it to your liking. 

To me, the key lies in accepting and appreciating the difference. Once you do that, you’ll find that rice pudding made with low-fat milk can be a delicious, healthier alternative to the traditional recipe. 

Creating a Dairy-Free or Vegan Rice Pudding 

Having a dietary restriction or preference, like being vegan or lactose intolerant, shouldn’t mean missing out on delicious treats like rice pudding. In my kitchen, I’ve experimented with numerous non-dairy substitutes for whole milk, with some exciting results. 

The beauty of rice pudding is its versatility, and with the right substitutions, it’s possible to create a dairy-free version that rivals the original in both taste and texture. Almond milk, coconut milk, and soy milk are my go-to alternatives. 

When using almond milk, the result is a slightly nuttier flavour, which can be a delightful change. The texture might be a bit thinner than traditional rice pudding, but a longer simmer time can help achieve a creamier consistency. 

Coconut milk, on the other hand, yields a wonderfully rich and creamy pudding. It imparts a tropical flavour to the dish, which pairs perfectly with a sprinkling of toasted coconut flakes on top. 

Soy milk tends to have a more neutral flavour, making it a closer match to the dairy-based version. However, it can curdle under high heat, so it’s essential to keep the simmer gentle and stir the pudding frequently. 

Regardless of the non-dairy milk you choose, remember to opt for unsweetened varieties to control the sweetness level of your pudding. Experiment with these alternatives, and I bet you’ll find a dairy-free rice pudding that satisfies your craving! 

Substituting Vanilla Extract for Vanilla Pods in Rice Pudding 

Vanilla adds a subtle yet delightful flavour to rice pudding, but vanilla pods can be expensive and not always readily available. I often find myself resorting to a more accessible and budget-friendly alternative – vanilla extract. 

While the depth of flavour might slightly differ, vanilla extract can make a worthy substitute for vanilla pods. For every vanilla pod in the recipe, you can substitute it with about 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, depending on how strong you want the vanilla flavour to be. 

Adding vanilla extract to your rice pudding is straightforward. Unlike the vanilla pod, which you add at the start of cooking, vanilla extract should be stirred in at the end of cooking, just after removing the pan from the heat.  

This is because high heat can cause the flavour to evaporate, resulting in a less pronounced vanilla taste. 

If you’re looking for a middle ground, you might consider using vanilla bean paste. It combines the convenience of vanilla extract with the rich flavour and visual appeal of vanilla pods. Like the extract, it should also be added towards the end of cooking. 

Remember, the quality of your vanilla extract matters. Look for pure vanilla extract, not imitation, for the best flavour. Experiment with these options and find the one that brings your rice pudding to the next level of deliciousness! 

Storing and Enjoying Rice Pudding for Days 

Nothing beats a warm bowl of rice pudding fresh off the stove. But what about the leftovers? As someone who often cooks for one, I’ve found that rice pudding can keep remarkably well, making for a quick, delightful dessert or snack days after the initial preparation. 

Once your rice pudding has cooled, transfer it into airtight containers and store it in the refrigerator. It can last up to four to five days when stored correctly.  

Before enjoying, I always stir the pudding well, as the ingredients may have settled and separated a bit in the fridge. If it’s a bit too thick, adding a splash of milk can bring it back to a creamy consistency. 

However, I wouldn’t recommend leaving rice pudding at room temperature for more than a couple of hours, as this can increase the risk of bacterial growth. It’s also important not to freeze and thaw rice pudding repeatedly as this can degrade its quality. 

The taste of chilled rice pudding can be just as delightful as it is warm. However, if you prefer it hot, you can warm up your serving in the microwave. Just make sure to stir it halfway through heating for even warming.  

And there you have it – a delicious rice pudding ready for you to enjoy days after it was cooked! 

Freezing and Reheating Rice Pudding: A Step-by-Step Guide 

I love having a hearty dessert on hand for those sudden cravings, and rice pudding fits the bill perfectly. But can it be frozen? After much experimentation, I can confirm that it indeed can! Here’s my guide to freezing and reheating rice pudding. 

Before freezing, let your rice pudding cool completely. Once cooled, transfer it into freezer-safe containers or bags. If using bags, try to lay them flat in the freezer to save space. Make sure to leave a little room in the container or bag, as the pudding might expand when frozen. 

When the craving hits, take out a portion of your frozen rice pudding and let it thaw in the refrigerator. This can take a few hours, so plan ahead. Once thawed, you might notice a slight separation of ingredients or change in texture, but a good stir should fix this. 

To reheat, warm the thawed pudding in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If you’re in a rush, you can also use the microwave. Make sure to stir the pudding halfway through heating for even warming. 

One important note: avoid repeatedly freezing and thawing rice pudding, as this can lead to changes in texture and taste. Always freeze in individual portions, and only thaw what you plan to eat. With these steps, you can enjoy your delicious rice pudding anytime, straight from the freezer! 

Rice Pudding: From Too Runny to Too Thick 

Rice pudding is a simple dessert, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be tricky. Have you ever ended up with rice pudding that’s too runny or too thick? I know I have! With a little understanding of what might have gone wrong, you can avoid these common issues and perfect your pudding. 

If your rice pudding is too runny, it might not have cooked long enough. Rice pudding thickens as it cooks, with the rice releasing its starches into the milk. If you find your pudding is too thin after the cooking time is up, continue to cook it for a little longer, checking the consistency regularly. 

Also, remember that rice pudding will thicken as it cools, so a slightly runny pudding off the stove can be just right once cooled. 

On the other hand, if your pudding is too thick, it may have cooked for too long, or the heat may have been too high. Adding a splash of milk and stirring it in can help thin it out to the right consistency. 

Another important factor is the rice-to-liquid ratio. Too much rice can lead to a thick pudding, while too little can make it runny. Make sure to measure your ingredients carefully. 

Lastly, keep in mind that every stove is different, and cooking times may vary. Getting the perfect rice pudding may take a few trials, but with each attempt, you’re sure to get closer to your ideal texture! 

Experimenting with Spices and Flavours in Rice Pudding 

Vanilla and cinnamon may be the traditional flavourings for rice pudding, but there’s no rule that says you can’t experiment. I love adding new flavours to classic dishes, and rice pudding offers a wonderful canvas for culinary creativity. 

For a warm, aromatic twist, try adding cardamom to your pudding. If you’re a fan of chai flavours, a blend of ginger, cardamom, and clove can transform your pudding into a spiced delight. 

For a more exotic touch, try adding rose water or orange blossom water. These floral notes pair beautifully with the creaminess of the rice pudding. Just remember to add these delicate flavourings at the end of cooking to preserve their aroma. 

Don’t forget about the garnish either! A sprinkling of toasted nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, can add a lovely crunch and flavour to your pudding. Even fresh fruits like berries or diced mango can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich, creamy pudding. 

The beauty of rice pudding lies in its simplicity and adaptability. So don’t be afraid to play around with different spices and flavours. You never know, your next experiment might just become your new favourite recipe! 

Complementing Your Rice Pudding: Best Serving Suggestions 

Rice pudding is a delight to enjoy on its own, but pairing it with other ingredients can elevate your dessert experience to a whole new level. Through my culinary journeys, I’ve found several pairings that perfectly complement the creamy, subtly sweet flavours of rice pudding. 

One of the simplest and most traditional pairings is a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick on top. The warm, sweet-spicy flavour of cinnamon pairs beautifully with the creamy rice pudding. 

If you’re a fruit lover like me, try serving your rice pudding with a dollop of your favourite jam or compote on top. Raspberry, strawberry, or even exotic choices like passionfruit can add a tangy contrast to the sweetness of the pudding. 

You could also try a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for added sweetness. This can be particularly good if you’re using a dairy substitute like almond milk or coconut milk, which may not be as naturally sweet as whole milk. 

A more indulgent option is to serve your rice pudding with a scoop of ice cream. The contrast of cold ice cream with warm pudding makes for a delightful treat. 

Finally, for a touch of sophistication, try serving your rice pudding with a sprinkling of edible flowers. Not only do they make the dish look beautiful, but they also add a unique taste. 

These are just a few ideas to get you started. The great thing about rice pudding is that it’s a blank canvas for a variety of flavours. Experiment with different pairings to find your perfect match! 

Understanding the Health Profile of Rice Pudding 

When I first started making rice pudding, I found myself wondering about its nutritional content. While it’s certainly a comforting and delicious treat, how does it stack up health-wise? 

Rice pudding is primarily made from rice, milk, and sugar, with rice and milk providing the bulk of the nutritional value. Rice, especially whole-grain rice, is a good source of carbohydrates and provides some protein. It’s also low in fat. 

Milk, on the other hand, is a rich source of protein and calcium. It also provides a significant amount of calories and fat, especially if you’re using whole milk. That said, you can opt for lower-fat milk or plant-based milk if you’re looking to make your pudding lighter. 

The main source of added sugars in rice pudding is granulated sugar. While sugar contributes to the dessert’s sweet taste, it also adds extra calories without providing much nutritional value. 

So, is rice pudding healthy? Like most foods, it depends on the context of your overall diet. Rice pudding can certainly fit into a balanced diet, especially if you watch your portion sizes.  

However, if you’re mindful of your sugar or calorie intake, you might want to enjoy it as an occasional treat rather than a regular snack. 

The beauty of making your own rice pudding is that you can adjust the ingredients to fit your dietary needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a lighter version or a more indulgent treat, this recipe is perfect. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

If you enjoyed the creamy delight of my Rice Pudding, you’re going to love some of the other wonderful Western desserts that we have to offer! I’m already imagining the beautiful balance of tart and sweet in my Cherry Pie.  

One bite into that buttery crust with its filling bursting with ripe, juicy cherries and I’m telling you, there’s no going back! 

How about something that has a delightful contrast in textures? My Oreo Cupcakes are a dream come true. Imagine biting through the soft vanilla cupcake, finding a little surprise of crunchy Oreo bits within, and then having a taste of that velvety cream frosting on top. Yes, that’s exactly how my Oreo Cupcakes taste! 

Wait, there’s more! Are you a fan of cheesecake? Oh, you have to try my Oreo Cheesecake. Imagine the creamy, rich cheesecake filling, punctuated with crumbled Oreo cookies, all atop a crispy Oreo crust. It’s a dessert that will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. 

If you’re after something that’s a bit lighter but still oh-so-delectable, my Vanilla Cupcakes are a great choice. Soft, fluffy, and wonderfully moist, these cupcakes are simple yet incredibly satisfying. Topped with creamy vanilla frosting, they’re perfect for any occasion. 

And finally, who could resist my Chocolate Chip Cookies? Crispy on the edges and soft in the centre, these cookies are packed with gooey chocolate chips, making every bite an indulgent treat. 

Don’t these just sound delicious? So why not give these recipes a try and let me know what you think? I’m always eager to hear your feedback. And if you’ve got any other dessert recipes that you’d love for me to try and feature, feel free to let me know in the comments section! 

Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

by Nabeela Kauser
Embark on a culinary journey with this comforting Rice Pudding recipe, an enduring classic. Let's explore its rich history, its humble ingredients, and the ease of making this delightful dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine British, Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 204 kcal


  • 100 g Rice Arboria
  • 50 g Sugar
  • 1 L Milk
  • 1 pod Vanilla
  • Salt To taste
  • Cinnamon Powder Optional, garnish


  • Rinse the rice under cold water and drain.
  • In a large saucepan, combine the rice, sugar, milk, and a pinch of salt.
  • Slice the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds into the saucepan. Toss in the emptied pod as well for extra flavour.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
  • Once the mixture begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook and stir occasionally for about 40 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the milk has thickened to a creamy consistency.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Allow the pudding to cool slightly. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • Serve the pudding warm, garnished with cinnamon powder if desired.


Rice pudding is typically served warm, but it can also be enjoyed chilled.
If you prefer a chilled dessert, let the rice pudding cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating.
The pudding can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 8gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 98mgPotassium: 387mgSugar: 25gVitamin A: 418IUVitamin D: 3µgCalcium: 317mgIron: 0.01mg
Keyword Dessert, Milk, Milk Desserts, Rice
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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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