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Classic Rice Pudding

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.

When using a vanilla bean, I like to leave it in the pudding and then scrape out the seeds after the pudding has cooled. The seeds scrape out more easily from the softened bean, and the pudding gets an additional boost from the extra time the bean sits in it. This pudding is great as is, but can also be dressed up in dozens of ways (for a few ideas, see Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango, Coffee Rice Pudding, and the variations below).


  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup raw medium-grain white rice
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, or 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 330
      Fat Calories (kcal): 100
      Fat (g): 11
      Saturated Fat (g): 6
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
      Cholesterol (mg): 140
      Sodium (mg): 200
      Carbohydrates (g): 47
      Fiber (g): 0
      Protein (g): 11


  • Dump the milk, rice, salt, and split vanilla bean into a large, heavy saucepan (if you’re using vanilla extract, don’t add it yet). Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and the pudding is reduced to about 3-1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. It’s important to let the pudding simmer gently, not boil, and you’ll need to stir constantly toward the end of cooking to prevent scorching.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract (if using). Slowly add the cooked rice mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, making sure to scrape the bowl. Set the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the pudding to a bowl or serving dish and lay a sheet of plastic wrap right on the pudding’s surface to prevent a skin from forming. If you’ve used a vanilla bean, fish it out when the pudding has cooled, scrape out the seeds, and stir the scrapings into the pudding. Discard the empty bean. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Swedish-Style Rice Pudding: Whip 3/4 cup cold heavy cream until it forms medium-firm peaks. Gently fold it into a batch of the chilled rice pudding.
Raspberry Parfait Rice Pudding: In four small wineglasses or parfait cups, alternately layer the chilled rice pudding and fresh raspberries, starting with the pudding and finishing with a few raspberries. (For a special touch, garnish with a nasturtium or another edible flower.)
Rice Pudding Soufflé: Heat the oven to 400°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a shallow 2-qt. baking dish; dust with sugar. Whip the whites of three large eggs until foamy. Continue to beat on high speed while gradually adding 2 Tbs. sugar. Beat the whites until they form medium-firm peaks. Gently fold the whites into a well-chilled batch of rice pudding. Spoon into the prepared dish; bake until puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce.


Rate or Review


  • SoCo18 | 07/08/2017

    Just like mom used to make it :)

  • MasterChef4U | 07/25/2016

    I have been searching and testing rice pudding recipes and all have ended in failure..until now. Finally a simple no nonsense recipe that ends with a pudding I love to eat. I followed the recipe to the letter except I did reduce the sugar to a 1/4 cup as suggested and it was perfect. Thank you Abigail this is my now go to recipe for rice pud and can't wait to tinkler with it. Use only vanilla bean it is much better.

  • Kre410 | 05/26/2016

    I've made many rice pudding recipes. I've always gone by the recipe exactly. Then I've tweaked recipes. None have turned out as perfect and creamy as this. Not too dry as in sweet rice, not soupy. This actually has a pudding texture, very creamy., perfect and I am picky.The one thing I did differently was cook it a little longer due to the rice being a little too hard and it being a little bit soupy. That's the only thing I did differently and it was perfect.You may now stop searching for rice pudding recipes this is it. It makes a nice large batch too. Enjoy.

  • jorgel | 04/10/2016

    This is the best rice pudding recipe I've found, with tweaks. After making it several times and experimenting with proportions, I've got it just perfect. 6 cups milk, 1 cup rice (always, always use sushi rice), 3 egg yolks and the same amount of sugar, 1/3 cup. As the previous reviewer mentioned, it definitely needs to cook longer. I gently simmered covered for 40 minutes. And I always use vanilla bean. Perfect consistency, enough for leftovers and none too sweet!

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