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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.


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Reviews (22 reviews)

  • HouseOfHounds | 04/06/2021

    It is fabulously creamy. I added raisins and the smallest touch of cardamom. So worth standing around and stirring.

  • Cocinera39 | 06/07/2020

    Taste of home! This is the real McCoy! This is "the" recipe that matches memories of my mom's recipe. I added thin strips of lemon rind and sprinkled, both, cinnamon and cardamon on top. Yes! it is the real thing!

  • Sandra Lee | 01/04/2018

    I was in search of a solution to a scorching problem when I came upon this rice pudding recipe which brings the milk and rice to a boil on high heat. I have been making a similar stovetop recipe on a gas range successfully for many years that uses less rice to milk. I now have an induction range (electric) I cannot bring the rice to a boil on high even in a very heavy enamel cast iron pot and I cannot raise the temp past #4 of 10 settings. I must now stir the mixture almost constantly and if I double it using 1 gal of milk (I make it for large crowds and it's always in demand) the process takes about 2 hours. I have thought about trying to use a double boiler, a crock pot (a recipe on Facebook uses minute rice) or even a pressure cooker. Any suggestions?

  • SoCo18 | 07/08/2017

    Just like mom used to make it :)

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