This Creamy Rice Pudding recipe is both humble and delicious and can be made easily on the stovetop for the perfect after-dinner dessert. It can be served warm or cold, with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or even a dollop of ice cream to create an epic hot and cold contrast.
Classic Rice Pudding Recipe
Rice pudding has long been a household favorite in our family, but lately, it seems to be experiencing a resurgence in popularity - and it's easy to see why! This classic dessert boasts a creamy and comforting flavor profile. At its core, it's simply rice cooked in milk with sugar and a few spices. What sets apart a truly delicious rice pudding is the perfect balance of flavors and sweetness, along with a smooth and consistent texture.
My son loves rice pudding (second only to pie, of course), so he was thrilled for the weeks I was testing out this recipe. I've been making this dessert for years but never followed a recipe - because it's pretty simple to make. However, I'm happy to finally have it written down so I can share it with others.
This version is very much a classic American rice pudding (let's put this in the same category as chocolate chip cookies and apple pie). However, this dish can be claimed by many different cultures throughout history. My version can be served warm (ever paired it with ice cream?) or cold (and I'll include instructions for both below), is made with long-grain white rice and is studded with plump raisins and a touch of cinnamon.
So, let's get to making it, shall we? The article below is jam-packed full of useful information. You can jump around using the menu below, or skip to the end of the article for the full recipe. And be sure to check out the video of me making it, right above the recipe.
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe is listed below in greater detail.
- uncooked long grain white rice (see more about this right below)
- evaporated milk (this adds a big boost of creamy taste, without adding actual cream)
- whole milk
- granulated sugar
- raisins (swap out with another dried fruit, or omit if you do not like them)
- cinnamon (use ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick)
- cloves (to me this is classic rice pudding flavor, but feel free to omit this if you don't like clove)
- vanilla extract
- unsalted butter
Let's Talk About Rice
It should be noted that the recipe is based on uncooked long-grain white rice. Nevertheless, any variety of rice, such as short-grain, Jasmine, Basmati, or even brown rice, can be used to make rice pudding. But, it's worth keeping in mind that switching to a different type of rice may necessitate changes to the quantity of liquid added or cooking time. As a result, if you opt for a different rice, some recipe adjustments may be required to achieve the desired outcome.
Likewise, if precooked leftover rice was used instead of raw rice, it would drastically change the timing and liquid quantity needed to make a good final result. So I can't recommend making that switch, unless you want to play around with the recipe a lot.
Step-by-Step Visual Overview
Here are the key steps for making the recipe (scroll down for the full recipe):
Step 1: Rinse rice and cook it in water.
Step 2: Cook until all the water has evaporated (but be careful not to scorch it)
Step 3: Add in the milks, spices, salt and raisins, cook until thickened.
Step 4: Add in the sugar, and cook until your desired consistency.
Step 5: Stir in the butter and vanilla.
Step 6: Let cool briefly and serve (or cool completely and serve later)
Please see the serving section below to read up on the consistency of the finished rice pudding, and how to troubleshoot that to your desired consistency.
How to Serve It
As mentioned above, various cultures throughout the globe have their own version of rice pudding, and with it comes various ways to serve it. In our family, we like it served warm, with thickness like any other stovetop type pudding, which is to say, fairly thick but not stodgy.
When I've gone to Colombia to visit my husband's family, they often served rice pudding (aka arroz con leche) on the very thin side and usually cold or room temperature. This is all to say, serve it the way you like it!
Some people like to serve warm rice pudding with a scoop of cold ice cream to get that temperature contrast going! And if that sounds good to you, give it a try!
However, I find the recipe pudding to be perfect on it's own, with just a sprinkle of cinnamon on top so that's how we serve it in my house.
Troubleshooting the Texture
The rice is forgiving and you can add in more liquid later after it has cooled if it needs to be thinned out. Additionally, if it's too thin, it can be reduced a little bit, or rested to let it absorb the excess moisture, which it will do whether you want it to or not.
And of course it's important to spell that out more clearly, as this cools down, the rice will absorb more moisture and become thicker and thicker. So be sure to stop the cooking before it's reached your desired consistency, as it's much thinner when you stop cooking and it's warm.
More Pudding Recipes
Video: How to Make Rice Pudding
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