This is no run-of-the-mill Rice Pudding! It is incredibly luscious, creamy, and delicious, yet easy to make. We only use six ingredients, and my five essential tips will give you an end result that’s flavorful and creamy.
Rice Pudding is easily one of the best desserts ever, with all the flavors of a rich vanilla ice cream but with more texture.
That’s my version of describing what it’s like, whereas my husband is a little more blunt: “Mmm…this tastes like chunky vanilla ice cream.”
Either way you put it, it has sweet and rich dairy flavor with fragrant vanilla, and you just can’t go wrong with recipes like that. There’s a reason for similar classics like Creme Brulee and Panna Cotta, but here, each spoonful is creamy but textured from the rice.
Let’s go through all the checkpoints for making the best version possible, from scratch. Because if you’ve only ever tasted the store-bought Kozyshack stuff, or if you’ve never made it fresh before, it’s truly incredible.
Why This Recipe Is The Best
✅ We’ll start with uncooked rice – You want the flavor of the milk and the vanilla to go inside the rice, not just floating around it. Cooking the rice from a raw state ensures this cohesiveness. I know there are a lot of recipes using pre-cooked leftovers, but it doesn’t make sense to do this unless you need to use it up that badly.
✅ NOT rinsing the rice helps thicken naturally – Starting with uncooked rice lets us use it in an unwashed state, which helps in thickening the pudding naturally. This is particularly helpful since we aren’t using egg yolks here, keeping the recipe and process very simple. Because of this, I highly recommend using a quality organic rice. I use long-grain.
✅ We’ll use organic dairy, which makes a HUGE difference – There very well may be some decent quality non-organic milk out there, but I’ve noticed that organic dairy has tremendously more flavor than the typical inexpensive standard milk.
If you are skeptical, go buy a carton of each and do a taste test side by side. We’ve even found that when purchasing shredded mozzarella cheese for pizza, the conventional cheese has no flavor while the organic cheese has sweet and rich pronounced flavors. Make sure the milk and cream you’re using actually taste like something. Using organic milk and cream here is highly recommended.
✅ We’ll use a vanilla bean INSTEAD of extract or paste – Using an actual vanilla bean here will make for the best rice pudding of all (and if you can, use a Grade A vanilla bean [affiliate] over Grade B). The flavor of true vanilla from the bean is unmatched and the vanilla specks give the pudding subtle textural interest.
✅ We’ll use a splash of heavy cream at the end for lusciousness – I see butter commonly used, but I think cream is better for adding some extra richness at the end. I find the butter to be too heavy/greasy, while the cream has a luscious fluid richness to it. It keeps the pudding “milky.”
Step by Step Process:
In a saucepan, combine long-grain rice, a scraped vanilla bean with the seeds and pod thrown in, granulated sugar, and whole milk.
Stir well to combine, then bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. The vanilla specks should be distributed after a little whisking:
Cook for about 35 minutes, stirring or whisking every few minutes to prevent sticking, until the rice is tender and the milk has cooked down considerably.
You want to adjust the heat on your stove so that it never comes to a full rolling boil, but maintains a gentle simmer. This is usually medium low or medium heat.
When the rice is soft, turn the heat off and add the heavy cream:
Stir through the heavy cream, until it’s evenly distributed:
The mixture is a lot more fluid now.
I noted in the recipe box that the amount of cream you add can be increased if you want a more fluid and milky consistency. Just keep in mind that as the rice pudding chills, it will thicken a little bit.
Assuming you prefer the classic chilled rice pudding, refrigerate for at least 4 hours to completely chill it before serving:
Of course, if you enjoy it warm, you can go ahead and dig in.
Recipe FAQ and Expert Tips
Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, making sure to put it in an airtight container so it doesn’t absorb off flavors from the fridge.
I don’t recommend it, since the dairy will curdle and the texture won’t be as good.
I use a standard long grain white rice, but you can use more or less any kind of rice. Jasmine is great too because it’s really fragrant.
Yes, but I suggest not making it more than 1 day ahead of time, for optimal flavor.
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup long-grain white rice (organic recommended)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3.5 cups whole milk (organic highly recommended)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (organic highly recommended)
- Split the vanilla bean using a paring knife and scrape all the vanilla seeds out from the inside.
- Place the scraped seeds AND the empty vanilla bean into a medium saucepan, along with the rice (do not rinse the rice beforehand), sugar, salt, and milk.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce to medium low and cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring every couple minutes to prevent sticking, until the rice is soft and the liquid has cooked down a lot. Try to ensure it never comes to a full rolling boil (if it does, turn the heat down).
- Turn the heat off and stir in the heavy cream. Note: if you'd like more cream, you can double or triple the amount you add here, per personal preference. Keep in mind the pudding will thicken more as it cools.
- Chill the rice pudding for at least 4 hours before serving. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.