"Rice pudding is how God intended us to eat rice," my father announced when I mentioned I was thinking about making some. Well that settled it, rice pudding it would be.
Video: How to Make Rice Pudding
With a little investigation, I found that there are two basic ways to make rice pudding — baking or boiling.
Then there is my father's way, which is take some cold white rice, add some cream, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix and eat. Dad has been making rice pudding this way my whole life, but dad's method has never appealed to me that much, so boiling or baking it would have to be.
The first recipe I tried called for 3/4 cup of heavy cream for a recipe that only served 2 people. Yikes! Too rich, couldn't eat it. (Ever notice that recipes 20 years and older can be a bit heavy on the cream and butter?) A couple of adjustments later, I settled on this recipe, using the boiling method. It is especially tasty with raisins.
The Best Rice for Rice Pudding
This recipe calls for short-grain white rice, but let's say you don't have that on hand. In general, the shorter the grain, the higher the starch content...and it's starch that helps thicken this pudding and make it so creamy. You can use brown rice, but the pudding won't be as creamy, it will take longer to cook, and you will likely need to add more liquid.
Here's a list of rice varieties we recommend in this pudding.
- Short-grain white rice
- Arborio rice
- Sushi rice
- Sticky rice
Some readers have left comments saying they had success making the recipe with these rice varieties (we've not tested them ourselves).
- Medium-grain white rice
- Regular plain old white rice from the grocery store
- Basmati rice
- Any kind of brown rice
Longer grain rice holds its shape better than shorter grain rice, which isn’t what you want for a rice pudding. You want a starchy rice. Any rice that would work well for risotto would work well for rice pudding. For the same reason you wouldn’t normally make risotto with basmati or jasmine or brown rice, you wouldn’t normally make rice pudding with it. Calrose, a short/medium grain rice, works well with this recipe because it gets soft and sticky when cooked.
2 1/2 cups (600ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (66g) uncooked short grain white rice (see Recipe Note)
1 large egg
1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup (40g) raisins
Cook the rice in the milk:
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk, rice, and salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered until the rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Mix the egg and sugar, temper with the hot cooked rice:
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg and brown sugar until well mixed. Add a half cup of the hot rice mixture to the egg mixture, a tablespoon at a time, vigorously whisking to incorporate.
Add the egg mixture back to the pan:
Add egg mixture back into the saucepan of rice and milk. Reduce the heat to low and stir until thickened, or about 160°F (71°C).
Be careful not to have the mixture come to a boil at this point or it will curdle. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, raisins, and cinnamon. The pudding will thicken as it cools; when it is warm, it will be a bit on the runny side.
Serve warm or cold.
The rice pudding will thicken as it cools. When it's warm, it may seem a bit loose. Once chilled, it will be quite thick.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 3 to 4|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6g||8%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||16%|
|Total Carbohydrate 33g||12%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 26g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||1%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|