Rice Pudding

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A bowl of this creamy rice pudding is the most comforting dessert to enjoy this winter. And the best part is that you just need a handful of simple ingredients to make it!

A bowl of creamy rice pudding with cinnamon and raisins
Photo: Gayle McLeod

There’s really nothing better than eating spoonfuls of rice pudding, bundled up next to a fireplace at home. It’s one of those feel-good moments we crave during the holiday season — and the reason why I finally decided to recreate this classic rice pudding recipe for you all.

My version of rice pudding is ultra-creamy, splendidly sweet, and perfectly spiced with a touch of cinnamon. Essentially, it’s a bowl of coziness! I also love to stir in raisins, but you could opt for cranberries or other seasonal flavors to make this a special dessert for you, your friends, and your family.

Ingredients for rice pudding on a table

Rice Pudding Ingredients

This is hands down one of the easiest desserts to make with minimal ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Milk: To make this rice pudding thick and creamy, it’s best to use whole milk or full-fat coconut milk (as a diary-free option).
  • Rice: I’m using arborio rice, which is short-grain rice. For more notes on the type of rice to use — see notes below!
  • Sweetener: A splash of maple syrup or honey is all you need to make it a sweet-enough dessert.
  • Flavor Boosts: Vanilla extract and ground cinnamon give a flavorful and cozy touch for the winter season! If you’d like to get a bit more creative, I’ve got extra flavor variations below you can try.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

Best Type of Rice for Rice Pudding

Technically, both short-grain and long-grain rice can produce a thick rice pudding. But after testing two separate batches, I immediately gravitated towards the pudding with short-grain rice. It was creamier with just the right amount of thickness. And this was no surprise since short-grain rice is naturally starchier and more prone to sticking together as it cooks. Just think of arborio rice used in risotto!

Helpful tip: Make rice pudding from uncooked rice versus using leftover cooked rice. The texture will turn out so much better and doesn’t require that much more work!

How To Make Rice Pudding

Stir together the pudding. In a saucepan on the stove, add the milk, rice, maple syrup, and salt. Stir it all together and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.

Pouring milk into a pot with rice to make rice pudding

Allow the pudding to thicken. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover with a lid, and let the pudding cook for 25 to 30 minutes. The key here is to stir often so the rice won’t stick to the bottom of the pan!

Cooking rice pudding in a pot

Stir in the flavor boosters. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the raisins, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.

Cooked rice pudding in a pot with raisins

Helpful tip: The rice pudding will continue to thicken as it cools. If you prefer a thinner texture, enjoy it immediately from the stove while it’s still warm (or feel free to add a splash more milk). You can also enjoy it chilled straight from the fridge – it’ll be deliciously thick and creamy. It’s up to you!

Rice Pudding Flavor Variations

Treat rice pudding as you would overnight oats or oatmeal — as a base for many other toppings and flavors!

  • Add seasonal fruits: Top your pudding with fresh winter fruits such as apples, pears, kiwis, or oranges! They’ll add a refreshing contrast.
  • Stir in other spices: Aside from cinnamon, other cozy spices you can use are nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamon, or pumpkin spice!
A spoon with rice pudding in a bowl

Storage Tips

  • To store: This is a great dessert to have on hand in the fridge when you want a quick sweet bite. It will keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • To freeze: Yes, you can also freeze it! Just store it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
  • For reheating: First, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Then you’ve got two options. You can warm the pudding on the stovetop with a bit more milk (make sure to stir it together as it warms up). Or, you can microwave it — just stir it together with a splash of milk beforehand.

More Pudding Dessert Recipes

I hope you and your loved ones enjoy this rice pudding recipe over the holidays! If you did, be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.

Rice pudding with raisins in a bowl

Rice Pudding

5 from 19 votes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This easy rice pudding recipe is the perfect holiday dessert to cozy up with this winter. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!

Video

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 ½ cups whole milk or full-fat coconut milk
  • ¾ cup short grain rice (see notes above)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
  • pinch kosher salt
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions 

  • In a large saucepan, stir together the milk, rice, maple syrup, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, while stirring frequently.
    Making rice pudding in a pot
  • Reduce the heat to low, partially cover with a lid, and continue cooking for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, until the rice is tender.
    Stirring rice pudding in a pot
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins, vanilla, and cinnamon.
    Stirring raisins and cinnamon into a pot of rice pudding
  • Serve warm or cold. The pudding will be thinner while warm and continue to thicken as it cools.
    A big bowl of rice pudding

Nutrition

Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 113mg | Potassium: 648mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 376mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Rice Pudding, Rice Pudding Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Originally published December 2022, but updated to include a new video for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




26 Comments

  1. Love love love… I do this with plant base milk and I add a pinch of nutmeg to remind my childhood. Go to winter desert5 stars

  2. Wow!! This rice pudding came out great for a Christmas Dessert. Im so glad I went with your recommendation for the short grain rice. It was a great choice, it gave the rice pudding a definite creamier taste. I enjoyed the pudding both hot and cold. Unfortunately, as I was about to put the raisins in, I realized I had bought sun dried dates instead of raisins. But, decided to leave them out and it was just as good as I remembered. I will have to try it with the raisins for sure next time.5 stars

    1. Hi Clark – so happy you loved the rice pudding! Short grain rice definitely results in a creamier pudding. Enjoy!

  3. Looks delicious! Want to try it for Christmas potluck feeding 45 people (there will be more desserts like cookies and berry shortcake). So questions-
    1. Should I triple the recipe?
    2. Can I use brown rice?
    Your thoughts, please
    Thanks Lisa

  4. I love these recipes. I have a question. My mother always made rice pudding for special occasions and she always baked the rice pudding. It was always delicious. There was a little type of film on top of the finished product. She could cut it into squares. I hope you know what I am talking about. I’ve asked others and they have seen the finished product in restaurants but had no idea how to make it. Please help me .5 stars

    1. That sounds interesting! I haven’t ever had that, but now you’ve got me thinking of new recipes ideas, haha.

  5. I made this on a cold, windy day and it was so comforting! I left out the raisins and substituted with dried cranberries. It was perfectly creamy and not too sweet. I was so pleased to hear that I can also freeze it!5 stars

  6. I made this rice pudding for me and the kids just a few days ago, loved the consistency of this one. So creamy and rich in taste. Personally, I used coconut milk and honey, and about twice as much cinnamon. A few more raisins than mentioned in the list of ingredients, too. One of the best rice pudding recipes I’ve had and I tried quite a few that I found online!5 stars

  7. Wow, this is sooooo yummy. I am already making a second batch, having devoured the first batch already. I used two cans of coconut milk and made up the rest with soy milk and  used Arborio rice; it turned out awesome. I only eat a small portion at a time as it is very rich. I add a small splash of soy milk and pop it on the microwave for about a minute. Thanks Lisa for another awesome recipe!5 stars

  8. This is so, so good!! Your recipes are amazing and this did not disappoint. It’s a little chilly down here is Southwest Florida this Christmas and this was just the ticket. Warm and comforting. Thank you for sharing.5 stars

  9. Omg!!! Such a cozy dessert! I mean… I made it for breakfast with some kiwi and I added pumpkin spice, maybe a bit too much, but it turned out perfect! So flavourful and creamy! It was delicious. My mom also loved it!5 stars

  10. Hi Lisa and congrats on the book! There are so many great recipes and I’m looking forward to trying them. I want to make the rice pudding for my dad,
    but he’s not a fan of raisins. Any suggestions for substitutions?

  11. Another comforting winter winner!  Years ago I started using diced Bosc pears in place of raisins.  Ever try that combo?  Rice pudding is my favorite treat!
    PS-enjoying your cookbook so much!  Congrats!5 stars

  12. OMG this is the best tasting rice pudding I have made, (and not going to lie I’m not a fan of rice pudding but….)the hubby will really enjoy this.  Super easy to make.  Next time I would like to try and make it with the coconut milk (reminder: put those cans on my grocery list lol).  Again, thank you Lisa for another excellent recipe. 😋5 stars