Creamy Rice Pudding

Written by Beth - Budget Bytes

What happens when you’re craving something sweet while watching Anthony Bourdain travel around India? You start Googling saffron rice pudding recipes. And while my pantry wasn’t stocked with the delicious ingredients needed to make an authentic kheer, I was able to make this super simple and delish creamy rice pudding, full of cinnamon, vanilla, and almonds. And I’m telling you, if you need a cheap and delicious dessert, this rice pudding is IT. 

Originally posted 9/22/2010, updated 3/23/2022.

Rice pudding in a sauce pot topped with almonds

What is Rice Pudding?

Rice pudding is a thick and sweet mixture of rice cooked in milk until it becomes soft and creamy. It’s flavored with a variety of warm spices like vanilla and cinnamon, and sometimes has other add-ins like raisins or nuts. It’s a simple, warm, and comforting dish that is always satisfying. While this dish is said to have originated in China, several cultures across the globe have some form of rice pudding, each with its own unique combination of rice varieties, spices, and add-ins.

Do You Eat it Hot or Cold?

Another reason that I love rice pudding is because it tastes great both hot and cold! When the rice pudding is warm it’s super comforting and it feels like a big cozy cinnamon-vanilla hug. When you eat it cold the next day, it’s actually rather refreshing, similar in a way to horchata.

What Kind of Rice is Best for Rice Pudding?

You can make rice pudding with virtually any type of rice and the “best” type to use is just a matter of personal preference. I chose to use jasmine rice for my rice pudding because I had it on hand and I just love the extra fragrant flavor that it provides. If you do not have jasmine rice, basmati rice is great, or you can simply use plain long-grain white rice. 

Three bowls of rice pudding topped with sliced almonds

Use Leftover Rice as a Short Cut

The recipe below uses uncooked rice, but rice pudding is actually a great way to use up leftover rice from the night before. To use leftover rice in this recipe, use 2 cups cooked rice and 2 cups milk (instead of the ½ cup rice and 4 cups milk in the recipe below), and add the rice after toasting the nuts and spices in butter.

Can I Use Non-Dairy Milk?

Yes, you can definitely make rice pudding with other types of milk. Just keep in mind, the type of milk you use will affect the creaminess of the rice pudding. Coconut milk would be especially delicious!

What Else Can I Add?

This simple dessert is a great blank slate for adding more ingredients. Here are some other ingredients that you can add to your rice pudding:

  • Raisins
  • Other nuts: walnuts, pecans, pistachios
  • Caramel or dulche de leche
  • Saffron
  • Cardamom
  • Chocolate
  • Toasted coconut
  • Instant coffee

A spoonful of rice pudding being lifted from the bowl.

finished rice pudding in the pot topped with sliced almonds.
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5 from 10 votes

Creamy Rice Pudding

Creamy rice pudding is a simple, delicious, and inexpensive dessert full of warm flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 4 1 cup each

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.11)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds ($0.44)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain jasmine rice* ($0.16)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg ($0.02)
  • 4 cups whole milk* ($0.80)
  • 1/4 cup sugar ($0.04)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract ($0.07)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)

Instructions

  • Add the butter, almonds, and rice to a saucepot and heat over medium. Cook and stir the rice and almonds in the melted butter for 1-2 minutes, or until they begin to smell toasty.
  • Add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the pot and continue to stir and cook for 30-60 seconds more.
  • Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt to the pot and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to come up to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium-low. Continue to simmer the rice without a lid, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, or until the rice is very soft and the mixture has thickened considerably. The pudding will thicken further as it cools.
  • Serve the rice pudding warm or refrigerate and serve cold the next day.

Notes

*You can use the rice and milk of your choice. See the notes above the recipe for more information.
*To use leftover cooked rice in this recipe, use 2 cups of cooked rice and 2 cups of milk.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1 cupCalories: 391 kcalCarbohydrates: 46 gProtein: 13 gFat: 18 gSodium: 262 mgFiber: 2 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

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close up of rice pudding being stirred in the pot

How to Make Rice Pudding – Step By Step Photos

Almonds and rice in the pot with butter

Add 1 Tbsp butter, ¼ cup sliced almonds, and ½ cup uncooked long-grain jasmine rice to a sauce pot. Stir and cook over medium heat for about two minutes, or until the almonds and rice begin to smell a bit toasty.

Milk being poured into the pot with rice, almonds, and spices.

Add ¼ tsp cinnamon and ¼ tsp nutmeg to the rice and almonds, and continue to stir and cook for 30-60 seconds more. Finally, pour in 4 cups whole milk (or milk of your choice).

sugar being poured into the pot with the milk and rice.

Also add ¼ cup sugar, ¼ tsp vanilla extract, and ¼ tsp salt. Stir to combine.

Cooked rice pudding in the pot with a spoon.

Bring the mixture up to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it begins simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for about 40 minutes (without a lid), stirring occasionally, or until the rice is very soft and the mixture has thickened considerably. Keep in mind that the rice pudding will continue to thicken further as it cools.

finished rice pudding in the pot topped with sliced almonds.

Serve the super creamy rice pudding warm, or refrigerate and serve cold the next day!

three bowls of rice pudding topped with almonds and cinnamon.

Looking for other ways to use up leftover rice? Check out our Leftover Rice recipes round up!