This is no run-of-the-mill Rice Pudding! It is an incredibly luscious, creamy, and delicious dessert, 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 In a Small Blue Bowl with Vanilla Pods

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.

Rice Pudding Recipe Served in Small blue Bowls with Spoon Scooping

Unlike a typical pudding that’s a cornstarch thickened egg mixture, there is no egg here. The starch from the rice thickens the liquid to the appropriate texture.

Though we’ll use a whopping 3.5 cups of whole milk for a mere 1/2 cup of rice, it becomes very well absorbed as the pudding cooks.

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.

Long Grain Rice, A Scraped Vanilla Bean, Sugar, and Whole Milk in Saucepan

Can you use other kinds of rice?

My favorite type of rice to use is Jasmine rice, which is a long grain variety. I love its flavor, texture, and fragrance.

Another great choice is arborio rice, but know that you may need to add extra milk or cream at the end, as it tends to thicken more than other types of rice. Arborio is considered a short-grain rice or medium-grain rice depending on the brand. Any will work.

No vanilla bean?

Using a vanilla bean is my favorite choice, but if you don’t have one on hand, you may instead add up to 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste after cooking, at the same time you add the heavy cream.

Stir well to combine, then bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. The vanilla specks should be distributed after a little whisking:

Rice Pudding Mixture Simmering in Pot with Whisk

Cook for about 35 minutes, stirring or whisking every few minutes to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan, until the rice is al dente 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 a little heavy cream:

Pouring Cream into Simmered Homemade Mixture

Though it’s only 1/4 cup, it will add a nice richness and enhance the creamy texture.

Stir through the heavy cream, until it’s evenly distributed:

Fully Cooked Mixture with Cream Stirred In, with Whisk

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:

Easy Rice Pudding In Small blue Bowl with Spoon on Side 

FYI: cold rice pudding tastes less sweet than when it’s warmer. Just like ice cream. You may want to play around with the proportion of sugar in the future so it has the right amount of sweetness for the temperature you enjoy it.

Of course, if you enjoy it warm, you can go ahead and dig in. It’s such a comforting dessert.

Next try this Butterscotch Budino or creamy Peanut Butter Pie. Enjoy!

Recipe FAQ and Expert Tips

How do you store leftover rice pudding?

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.

Can you freeze rice pudding?

I don’t recommend it, since the dairy will curdle and the texture won’t be as good.

What’s the best rice for rice pudding?

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. If you enjoy Basmati rice, that’s another fun one to try. Do not use brown rice.

Can you make this ahead?

Yes, but I suggest not making it more than 1 day ahead of time, for optimal flavor.

Can you make this dairy free?

The very best rice pudding recipe is one that has dairy, but if you cannot eat dairy, you may try substituting coconut milk for the milk. You can skip the heavy cream at the end.

Can you use a natural sugar?

Swapping maple syrup for the sugar is acceptable, but know that it will make the rice mixture taste like maple, so use a good quality syrup. I do not recommend honey. Using an equal amount of brown sugar also works fine.

Recipe Variations

This is a fairly old fashioned rice pudding recipe, and you can certainly change it up as you enjoy. To make it more of a typical Mexican rice pudding, aka arroz con leche, you can add raisins, cinnamon, and swap the sugar out for sweetened condensed milk.

Raisins – If you enjoy raisins, add 1/4 cup of your favorite variety to the pot, and cook with the rice. Regular raisins are classic, but golden raisins are nice with the lighter color!

Cinnamon – Add a cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon at the beginning of cooking.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Rice Pudding in a Blue Bowl with Vanilla Specks

Rice Pudding

This Rice Pudding is simple to make using only 6 ingredients, but with an incredibly delicious flavor and luscious texture.

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  • 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!


Note: I leave the vanilla bean in the pudding while it chills and also if storing leftovers. It’s not meant to be eaten, so do not serve it in the bowl. 
Storage: 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.
Freezing: I don’t recommend it, since the dairy will curdle and the texture won’t be as good.


Calories: 333kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 244mg, Potassium: 320mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 27g, Vitamin A: 563IU, Calcium: 257mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.