Making Rice Pudding

Americans often have a tough time making rice pudding since our long grain rice tends not to bake up well when it’s added to custard in its raw state. The solution: make rice pudding with cooked rice. The result is every bit as delicious, plus it’s convenient if you order out a lot of Chinese food. The individual rice grains tend to maintain their integrity at bit more — i.e. are a bit chewier — but I like the contrast. Here I should note that everyone has their own favorite version from childhood. I’m not putting this forward as the standard by which all rice puddings should be judged. It happens to be one I like.

I’ll also say that I’m always appreciative when I find rice pudding on a pastry table. When I was a kid the big hotels in Chicago always had a large dish of rice pudding somewhere on the buffet along with the Napoleons and mini fruit tarts. To this day when I see that I think: very classy. Not everyone is in the mood for a mound of chocolate mousse after a rich lunch. A smart pastry department understands that. Start by assembling your ingredients and preheating your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the milk and the eggs:

Add your flavoring, salt and sugar.

Whisk it all together.

Pour the mixture over the rice and raisins, which you’ve stirred together in a 1-quart baking dish.

Stir it a little.

Bake about 90 minutes until it’s lightly browned on top and is firm in the center.

Serve warm or cold, lightly dusted with cinnamon (even plain ol’ rice pudding can have an elegant touch). Eat with child-like glee.

12 thoughts on “Making Rice Pudding”

  1. This looks really interesting! I’ve always used a recipe that’s similar to a risotto in cooking method. This looks much easier, and the puffy browned top looks delicious! I will definitely be trying this out soon.

  2. Yum. I like rice pudding, banana pudding, bread pudding and all those homey nursery foods. The best bread pudding I ever had was at a retreat at a monastery. They made it with left over homemade bread and it was the perfect combination of creamy and chewy.

    I think I’ll give this rice pudding a try over the weekend. I’ve been looking for some soft desserts that my father can eat (he’s 91).

  3. Try making your rice pudding with some cloves, vanilla and cinnamon for that added flavor. : )

  4. A baked rice pudding sounds very interesting, must try it soon! I love rice pudding, and it would be great to replace the time spent standing and stirring (the recipes in Indian cuisine take hours and hours) with an effortless bake. Thanks, Joe!

    1. Thank you, Julie! Nice to be in touch again. How are sales these days?

      – Joe

  5. We eat a lot of rice (husbands from the south) and rice pudding is one of my childhood comfort foods. You might want to try adding just a pinch of nutmeg with your cinnamon and raisins.

  6. She says potato , I say potahto… We are a house divided, which is to say the missus likes her rice pudding made with pre-cooked rice, I like a recipe which calls for cooking the rice in the pudding. I’m game to come over to the other side, hoping if I can find a recipe that uses pre-cooked rice it won’t matter what my wife makes, I’ll like it. So I’ve searched, tried recipes- without success; until now. Tried your recipe last week, Joe, and I have to say it is a keeper. I was especially pleased with the soft but firm texture of the rice, the creaminess of the interior and the crunchy crust. Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. Thanks so much, Jud! You like that recipe for the same reason I do: the texture variations. They keep me interested. But as we both know there are a lot of rice puddings out there. Search a post called “Submit Your Rice Puddings Here” and you’ll find rice pudding recipes from readers all over the world. It’s going to take me a while to get through them all, but I’m looking forward to the project.

      Cheers and Merry Christmas,

      – Joe

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