Rice Pudding Recipe

Like all custards rice pudding can be either stirred (made on the stovetop in a saucepan) or still (baked in a dish in the oven). Personally I like a baked rice pudding since you get a greater variety of textures: a browned top, moist center, firm sides…oh yes much more interesting than a typical stirred pudding. The recipe goes like this:

2 eggs
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3.5 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
7.5 ounces (1 1/2 cups) cooked rice
2.5 ounces (1/2 cup) raisins
cinnamon for dusting

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, sugar, nutmeg and zest if desired. Add in the rice and raisins and stir to combine. Pour into a 1-quart casserole dish and bake for about 90 minutes, until browned on top and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Dust the top with cinnamon and serve.

36 thoughts on “Rice Pudding Recipe”

  1. What kind of pudding, stirred or still, is the Turkish rice pudding sutlac? Do you know?

    That pudding is my favorite, in part because it doesn’t have raisins. Also for the nice caramelized sugar crust on the top.

    1. Hey GL!

      That one isn’t actually a custard, I don’t think, since it doesn’t have eggs. Or at least not the recipes I’ve seen. (Which doesn’t mean they’re not out there).

      – Joe

  2. The rice pudding I love and used to make regularly is not a custard either. It is baked in the oven but also stirred every now and then. The ingredients are sugar, rice (raw, short grain), and milk. Nutmeg is grated on top after the final stir. Takes hours to cook on a low heat but you can make huge amounts and it’s nice cold or reheated.

    Similar to http://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/baked-rice-pudding

    1. That’s much like my childhood rice pudding too and the one I go back to for a taste of nostalgia. My mother (and now I) put nutmeg instead of lemon.

  3. Hi Joe! Is this the type of rice pudding with a layer of custard (like the kind in a custard pie) over the rice layer? It fascinated me as a child. Doesn’t really matter either way. The words “nice caramelized sugar crust”pretty much convinced me to make it tomorrow. mmm 🙂

    1. Hey Anna! It is, actually. Some people like to put the rice and raisins in a dish and then pour the egg mixture over the top!

      – Joe

      1. Eureka! You are my hero! I love mom’s, but it calls for powdered milk (bleh) and doesn’t work right if I just swap out the water for regular milk. Thank you!

  4. Hey Joe,

    I was brought up on a much simpler baked rice pud in England. My mum’s recipe, which I copied faithfully down from her aged 12, goes as follows: stir 2 tbsps uncooked pudding rice into 1 pint warmed whole milk and 2 tbsps caster sugar in an ovenproof dish (with a small handful of raisins if you like). Dot an ounce of butter over the top and bake in a very low oven (150?C) for 2 1/2 hours, stirring twice after 30 mins and 1 hour.

    Pudding rice in the UK is really short grain and has this miraculous ability to absorb liquid – it seems like a ridiculously low ratio of rice to milk but it works. Do you know of a rice variety available in the US that might have the same properties? Arborio just doesn’t get the same result.

    all the best from a big fan (your tips on cannoli were invaluable and have rendered my husband eternally grateful)


    1. Hey Zoë!

      Thanks very much. I’ve been to your blog before…very nice work and gorgeous photography! In fact we don’t have pudding rice per se here in the States. I think a lot of Americans get into trouble with rice pudding because they use raw rice recipes that don’t cook all the way through. Using cooked rice is pretty much foolproof. The results aren’t identical but the process has the virtue of being a handy application for leftovers. Thank you for the recipe, I shall give it a whirl if I can find the real thing.

      Cheers — I had loads of fun with those cannoli posts! 😉

      – Joe

      1. I can’t find proper “pudding rice” these days. The best I can find, that you might be able to get in America, is “sweet rice”, glutinous short grain. You get it in Asian shops.

      2. Aw thanks!

        Yep, chewy rice, in a rice pud at least, is not good! I’ve seen a few cheaty-risotto-type versions (like this one from Dan Lepard in the Guardian), but for me if it doesn’t have that skin, it’s not the real thing. Guess I just need to find room in my suitcase next time I’m back in Blighty…

      3. I can attest to the difficulty in getting rice to actually cook in milk, tried it with American long grain, Jasmine and Basmati. Never thought about Arborio. It turned into a major pain so now I stick with leftover rice.
        Do you have any idea what “pudding rice” is?

        1. Check the comments for the last few posts, some readers discuss it. I’m honestly not sure other than it’s a short grain rice that’s mostly for sale in Britain!

          – Joe

        2. The pudding rice I get here in the Netherlands at the supermarket seems to be broken rice, that wasn’t long-grain before it was broken. What kind of rice it is then… I don’t know. But cooking it in milk is no problem. I use 100 gram rice, 500 ml milk, 3 tbsp sugar and some vanilla and cook it on the stovetop, this takes 15-20 minutes.
          But… at the organic shop, I can buy rice that is also called pudding rice, that is a short grain sticky rice variety. So even here it can be a bit confusing.

          As for substituting it, I’ve had good results with sushi rice. It does take longer, and it might take a bit more milk, but in the end you have something that resembles my rice pudding with pudding rice very, very closely.

        3. An important thing is the ratio of rice to milk. It’s an awful lot of milk to not much rice. I seem to remember something like a couple of tablespoons of rice to a pint of milk. There’s a comment on a previous post that has the sort of recipe I remember.

          1. Yes I think for a certain type of pudding the rice starch becomes not much more than a thickener. I must try to find some of that one day.

            – Joe

  5. What do you think of the classic Thai dessert steamed black glutinous rice with coconut milk that’s often served with fresh mangoes? Does that count as rice pudding in your book?

    1. It does, there are all sorts of local variations on rice pudding…and I love that particular dish!

      – Joe

  6. I have never used egg in my rice pudding so they tend to be a little soupy. I think I will try making a real pudding version like yours – THANKS!

    I have also played with a Sicilian version that cooks the rice in milk and dark chocolate(its a play on rice cooked in squid ink called “riso nero”). The recipe I was given is a complete disaster (I don’t think that was an accident) and I am not sure if the chocolate somehow interferes with the absorption of the milk.

    1. Chocolate can certainly clump up (seize) in a recipe like this, Frankly. Was it lumpy?

      – Joe

      1. yup & the rice never softened the way it should. I think the chocolate interfered

  7. I much prefer Kheer to baked puddings. Saute the sweet rice in butter. Add a gallon of whole milk. Cook down for several hours. When at your favorite consistency, add sugar and cardamom (or pistachios or almonds or raisins or cinnamon sticks…)

  8. As some others mention, I like it better with coconut; no raisins.

    I use regular shredded coconut, no egg, cardamom instead of cinnamon and nutmeg, extra vanilla, brown sugar instead of white.

    Come to think of it, it only has rice and milk in common. Never mind.

    1. Hah! You know you can also use coconut milk in place of some of the cow’s milk. Rice puddings in the Caribbean are made this way.

      – Joe

  9. what about arroz con leche? maybe not exactly rice pudding, and not USAmerican, but american no? our version in India is variously called payisam and kheer, and involves boiling the heck out of a lot of milk and sugar with rice (or other cereal substances) in it till the milk is caramelized. imagine my delight when i moved to new york and found it under arroz con leche!

    1. Hello Ameya!

      Arroz con leche is Rick and delicious stuff. It’s also made with cooked rice much of the time, but then as you point out sweetened condensed milk is usually added, plus whole milk and other good stuff. A little dulce de leche (Mexican long-cooked milk) is sometime added to give it extra flavor. Oh yeah.

      – Joe

  10. I have been researching baked rice pudding and located one recipe that suggested that the rice be soaked in the milk first for a couple hours to soften; then add the sugar, salt, seasoning, and raisins, if desired, and baked in a slow oven for 2 hrs, stirring occasionally, not stirring the last time to allow a crust to form on top. Slow oven meaning about 300 deg. F.

    1. Hey Shae!

      Sounds like a good recipe. One thing I discovered on this project is that there are probably more rice pudding recipes in hte be world than there are for just about any other type of sweet. So many textures and flavors it boggles the mind! This one is probably quite soft and silky. Mmm…

      Let me know how your recipe quest turns out!

      – Joe

  11. Homemade Baked Rice Pudding made easy–

    I looked at dozens of recipes and devised/adapted this recipe based on all those I studied. This is the way I made it today:

    Lightly butter a large round ramekin–baking/pudding dish which will hold, when you add to it:
    1/2 cup dry and uncooked sweet rice (I used Thai short-grain sweet rice)(any short sweet rice is fine)
    4 cups milk (I used 2%)(whole milk is ok)
    It should fill to about half full, no more than three-quarter’s full, because rice will swell in a liquid, and you need enough space to accommodate that. Fill and set it aside on the countertop for 2 – 2 1/2 hours for rice to soften up. Stir occasionally during softening stage. After the softening stage:
    Preheat oven at 300 deg. F, and add to the rice-milk mixture:
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
    Mix all together thoroughly.
    Bake at 300 deg. F until light and tender at about three (3) hours– use your judgement. Stir gently every half hour until last half hour. The last half hour the rice pudding will become thick and creamy and a light crust will form over top Remove from oven and set out on a cutting board or trivet to cool. Sprinkle a little more cinnamon over top, just to look pretty.
    Since this is a milk-based dish, remember to keep refrigerated in an air-tight container to keep out moisture and contaminants. It should last about 5-7 days +- in frig. (If you leave it out on the counter, it will only last for a day and then go bad.) Serv-Safely!
    I hope you enjoy it.


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