almond-vanilla rice pudding

Can someone explain to me how we can boil some grains, like oatmeal, in milk with a little bit of sugar and mix in some dry fruit and it is called breakfast but when you do it to others, like rice, it is considered dessert? These are the questions that taunt my brain when I wake up in the morning and realize all I want for breakfast is rice pudding but then force myself to eat “normal” breakfast food like oatmeal or an egg and toast. Or so I tell you.

fancy pants arborio ricesugar into milksplitting the vanilla beanstirring the pudding

Nevertheless, as my rice pudding craving has shifted from a delicious random thing I had for dessert last week — when our apartment was so cold, only stuffed cabbage, pirogis and comfort desserts from Veselka would warm me — into the kind of overdrive that demands I have it for breakfast (but I didn’t. Like I told you already.) and dessert all day, every day, it seems time to refresh my favorite recipe. The basic proportions are easy to remember but I like to step it up in some traditional ways — half a vanilla bean, a splash of almond extract at the end — and some that are decidedly less so, like cooking it with a bay leaf, a trick I picked up from this one and I know it sounds odd, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, okay? It adds a little something-something you might become quickly infatuated with. Oh, and I like to make it with arborio rice because the same things that make it dreamy in risotto — starchiness, creaminess — bring rice pudding to a whole new level.

rice pudding

Anyway, if we must consider this “dessert” it’s worth noting that as far as desserts go, it’s quite earnest. A dried grain, a modicum of sugar and with more milk than most of us get in a whole day in each portion (and more, if, like me, you can’t keep away from it) I do say it’s the perfect dessert for a month when those dern Resolutes have clogged my* swim lanes and even the most decidedly diet-free of us ispondering an ever-nearing beach vacation.

* Yes, they’re mine. I earned them the day it was 16 degrees outside, the pool’s heater was broken and I went swimming anyway; uphill, both ways.

One year ago: Lemon Bars, Crunchy Baked Pork Chops
Two years ago: Homemade English Muffins, Salad Lyonnaise, Artichoke Ravioli

Arborio (Vanilla-Almond) Rice Pudding

  • Servings: 4
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup arborio rice, or another short-grained variety such as Carnaroli or sushi
  • 4 cups milk (both whole and reduced-fat have worked for me)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract

In a large saucepan, place all the ingredients, except the extract(s), if using. Bring it to a gentle boil and then turn it down to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom, until rice is very soft and plump, about 30 to 40 minutes. Taste the rice to check for doneness. Take the pudding off the heat and stir in the extract(s). Pour into one large or four individual ramekins or dessert bowls. You can serve it immediately or let it chill in the fridge. Either way, keep it away from Deb.

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291 comments on almond-vanilla rice pudding

  1. Wow- this looks so much better than any rice pudding I have ever tired to make. I will have to give it a try sometime (if I can ever work up the courage to try again!)

  2. Two things:
    1. I hate to boast, but here in Los Angeles it’s going to be in the 70’s this weekend…but I still want to make this rice pudding.
    2. I’m not going to make this rice pudding, much like I won’t make most of the receipes you post, but I’m still going to print it out and pretend like I’m going to make it. My point is this: even though I don’t make your receipes very often (because I’m lazy, not because of you), I still read every post! Love your blog!

  3. Sara

    oooh gorgeous! i’m un-lurking to say YUM and awesome as usual deb!

    adrienne, i think that soy would work, since most liquids work in risotto, and soy milk is creamy… just my hunch. maybe try silknog? oooh pre spiced yummy deliciousness! let us know how it turns out!

  4. Indeed, why not have reice pudding??? I think muffins, scones etc, are a form of CAKE1 let’s face it. Who are we kidding? So if those are “normal” breakfast food, I say just bring on the cake. And the rice pudding.
    We like to make farina (which is sort of like semolina) porridge/custard on the weekend. it’s sweet and milky and so comforting.

  5. That is just not right. not right at all. I have a deeply passionate love for rice pudding. But I am supposed to be eating leafy greens and carrots and fruits. And now all I can think about is the homey warmth of rice pudding.

    I love that you put so many personal twists on the recipe, with the arborio rice and the bay leaf. And I’m a sucker for all things almond extract, so I’m sure that is divine. So sure that I may just have to try it when I get home.

  6. Bertie

    Rice pudding is the cats pajamas. I will definitely be making this – however, with Lactaid milk. Has anyone cooked with Lactaid milk before? I’m new to this lactose intolerance thing and it’s a real bummer.

  7. can i file this under healthy? I’ve been craving rice pudding for so long – and it’s like the one thing i can never turn down on the dessert menu.. that and bread pudding.

  8. Jenna

    How many people will this serve? I’d like to make it for myself only, so will it keep in the fridge so that I can reheat it for a few day’s worth of breakfast?

    I love the bay leaf idea.

  9. Mary

    Ohhhhh! I used to feed my babies rice pudding for breakfast when they got too old for baby food. Of course, I had to share some to make sure it was ok, not too warm, etc. This brings back sweet memories. Bless your heart, go ahead and eat it any time you want to.

  10. Oh lovely. There is absolutely nothing untoward about rice pudding for breakfast.

    I grew up thinking tapioca was a breakfast food, because my dad would make it in the morning and we’d eat it warm. “Hey, it’s got eggs, starch and dairy, so why not?”

  11. My mom always made rice pudding for breakfast only we just called it rice. I never tasted steamed rice until I was in high school. I didn’t know you could eat it without sugar and cinnamon. Hers had four ingredients: rice, whole milk, sugar and cinnamon. Once in a great while, if we had any, she would add raisins, but mostly it was without.

  12. Dancer who eats

    Arroz con leche! Yum! I am ashamed that I have not made this dish yet. It is a definite must for me to have this dish in my repertoire as a Latina woman. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so why not start it with something you really like! I have 3 containers of rissotto rice in my pantry and will have to make this for next weeks breakfast.

  14. Rudy

    I had the most amazing rice pudding on Skopolos Island in Greece, at this tiny walk up “pie” shop…still trying to re-create it – maybe this is it!

  15. Kate

    These a pretty much the proportions we use to make rice pudding in Belgium. I ate this all the time as a child, and now that I live in the US it’s the perfect reminder of home. Minor difference: we use broken rice instead of short grain, saffron as the main flavoring (also makes it beautifully yellow), and the sugar is usually brown and served on top rather than in the dish. Soooo yummy.

  16. oma

    deja vu! i just this week made a similar (the same?) rice pudding recipe from this very site (a 2007 post) and it was delicious.

  17. Totally valid breakfast food. My mom always adds golden raisins, but they may screw up the texture. I’ve never done it with arborio, and I happen to have some…yummmmmm.

  18. Question! Would this work with brown rice? Or would it result in something awful that I don’t want to eat? I’m a fan of rice for breakfast so this would definitely work for me. But I’ve recently switched over to brown rice and I’m wondering how well it would work…

  19. Dawn

    Thanks, Deb..I love rice pudding too, and have a plethora of milk at home that needs to be used up, so I will be making this over the weekend, for sure.

    Your statement about not being able to eat rice pudding for breakfast reminds me of the Jim Gaffigan bit from “Beyond the Pale” (if you haven’t seen it, you must rent it…he is so funny, and 99% of his stuff is about food…he is the “Hot Pocket” guy if you didn’t know), where he talks about pancakes being fried cake, and yet that is acceptable to eat for breakfast. ( Pancakes at about 1:25 mark)

  20. Anna

    If I have rice pudding on hand, it is entirely acceptable to eat it for breakfast. I mean, we have crisped rice for cereals, and oatmeal is practically the same thing anyway.

    Suggestion for the Topic Index (which is my favorite new feature on your site): Pizza (you have about 8 recipes for pizza or pizza dough already… it would just be cool to have them all in one spot).

  21. I have only ever had rice pudding which includes a bayleaf – that’s not odd at all! What I find odd is cooking it on the hob – rice pudding needs to sit in a very low oven, so that the nutmeg skin forms on top and you can do other things while it cooks (such as lay on the sofa and read, or, if you were my grandmother or her mother, go to church whilst the pudding cooks and then the oven is free to make Sunday lunch after the service). Also, in British supermarkets we have something called “pudding rice”. It is even shorter and plumper than risotto rice and is, unsurprisingly given the name, intended for making gorgeous, creamy rice pudding. I have always eaten it with golden syrup drizzled on top. Yum!

    (See this link for how I make it.)

  22. Christine

    This sounds awesome and reminds me that I’ve been meaning to make a rice pudding soon. I love all your ideas, (bay leaf, almond extract) but am wondering about the arborio rice. I thought it would be great too but I remember reading somewhere (maybe in the joy of cooking) that arborio rice would not be a good choice. Didn’t make sense to me but since they are usually right I deferred. Now you tell me to hell with them and make it anyway. Can you tell a big difference from arborio rice, and regular rice in this dish? I’ve also been considering making it with Jasmine rice. My mom used to make this all the time and it was always a huge hit. Sadly she passed before giving me the recipe so now I’m on a quest to find her secret. One thing that we always try to add is some sort of fruit compote (usually freshly made but warmed up jam or preserves from a jar work also) to the side of our rice pudding. If you haven’t you must try it. In the winter I just throw some homemade cranberry sauce to it. Depending on the season theres a whole assortment of options. Also if you live in NYC and are a fan of rice pudding you must try Rice to Riches on Spring Street – you’ll feel like your dancing in heaven on Rice Pudding Pillows of goodness!

  23. This is the second rice pudding post I have seen in two days. Clearly this means I have to make rice pudding this weekend.

    And can I just say, I’m so glad someone else is at least a little frustrated with the Resolutes clogging up the normal exercise routine! I can’t wait until February when everyone forgets about New Year’s.

  24. April

    It makes me very happy to see this recipe, as it reminds me of a desperate attempt to make rice pudding while I was studying abroad in Florence. Having learned how to make risotto, I decided to apply the principles to a sweet version. Mamma mia, it was good. I still make it this way.

  25. zh

    Sigh… all you milk drinkers make me so jealous. Perhaps this would work with rice milk, but probably it would just come out tinny-tasting and weird. *shakes fist at delicious photos*

  26. i love making rice pudding with arborio rice. haven’t made any in ages. now i’m craving it. i don’t know if i have enough courage to try it with the bay leaf, though. something to ponder…

  27. I make rice pudding with brown rice… even more breakfast worthy, and really yummy too! ;-)

    I’m definitely going to try throwing a bay leaf in the next time. I’m intrigued.

  28. zh: Try coconut milk. Alton Brown uses it in his recipe for rice pudding, mixed with cow’s milk and cream, and I think it adds a lot of both flavor and texture. The mouthfeel from the coconut fat should help make up for the lack of butterfat. Perhaps you could try half coconut milk, half rice milk?

  29. I LOVE LOVE LOVE rice pudding. I sometimes make it with oat groats as well, and no I never feel guilty for eating it for breakfast, especially if I use brown rice.

  30. ann

    small nitpick– the first line of the directions says to omit raspberries but they are missing from the ingredients list. would be helpful to know how much fruit to add.

    because, you know, this looks so good I am going to make it tomorrow. thanks!

  31. Susan

    My MIL used to make her rice with milk all the time and serve it with a pat of butter per serving and cinnamon sugar on the side for sprinkling. This was a side dish with meals! She said she had this for breakfast as a kid on the family farm, too.

    When you consider this recipe only has 1/4 cup sugar for 4 servings, that’s probably less then you would sprinkle on a bowl of oatmeal or any other cereal. Personally, I stir loosely drained crushed pineapple into the batch just as it’s done. I’m going to try the Abrorro rice next time, it’s so nice and substantial. Thanks, Deb.

  32. Kim

    I have never made rice pudding, but I’m going to try this tonight. I enjoy your website so much from my kitchen here in NC. I have made MANY of your recipes. Thanks for helping me try new things in the kitchen. You have enriched my culinary life!

  33. For those of you who make it with brown rice, do you have to adjust the amount of milk or the cooking time at all? I’ve never had rice pudding before and I’d love to try it tonight, but all I have in the house is brown rice. Thanks!

  34. Must be that time of the year…I was thinking about making the Very Vanilla Rice Pudding from my Ellie Krieger cookbook. I think, now that I’ve seen your recipe, I’ll do something between yours and hers, maybe subbing almond extract (my love!) for the cinnamon in hers (I’m allergic! *sad face*). Thanks!

  35. deb

    Hi Ann — Whoops, fixed now. The recipe originally suggested a half-pint of raspberries but I figure people can put on whatever they like — whipped cream, dried fruit, fresh berries, etc.

    Lesly — I prefer it cold, too. It’s fine either way.

  36. Christine

    Thanks for the reminder! Every time I make rice, I look at that wasted 1/3 cp of rice in the pot and think, “I must make rice pudding!” Of course, I never have, but I’m realizing as I type this that I have several types of rice that I only use bits of here and there. Are there any types of rice that would be real no nos to substitute? Probably brown, I’m guessing (although wouldn’t that make it all the more earnest!) but are there any other?? I have japanese and jasmine at home right now I think.

  37. Erin K.

    I have two questions relating to rice pudding:
    1. the last time I made it (It was actually strawberry risotto from a recipe on the radio) it was wonderful as I tasted it hot out of the pot – many many times. But as it cooled and I tried to eat it later and the next morning the texture was yucky. Any thoughts on what can go wrong with rice pudding textures?

    2. Has anyone tried to substitute Quinoa for rice in rice pudding? I was just looking on the box and it said that it can be used as a hot breakfast cereal and in pudding. If it is a possible substitute that would practically make it a health food!

  38. Wait, who said rice pudding isn’t for breakfast? Next you’re going to tell me pie isn’t, either. The horror!

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make this so I can eat the leftovers in the morning!

  39. Doris P

    mmmm .. Milchreis, as we call it in Germany. At home we add two egg whites (beaten) to make the rice fluffier. If you’d like you can add the yolk as well, but it’s not a must. Love your page!

  40. Victoria

    I grew up eating Indian rice pudding (my mom has an affinity for Indian cookery) and it’s hard to revert to North American-style. Jasmine rice, brown sugar, almonds and cardamom… yum.

  41. I had just finished making chicken noodle soup and was wondering what to make for dessert when viola! There it was. Perfect for a cold DC night.
    It was certainly meant to be as I just happened to have the right amount of both milk and rice. Now it’s simmering quietly on the stove alongside the soup while my kids are downstairs playing. Perfect beginning to a weekend.

  42. viscult

    our poor people’s version was very soft-cooked left-over from dinner white or brown rice made with water and a bit of dark brown sugar (called panela, piloncillo, or jaggery); cooled over night; and had for breakfast with some coconut milk cream and sliced mangoes or a splash of condensed milk and bananas. Was definitely a breakfast food!

  43. Southern Gal

    Now that’s my kind of recipe. I LOVE rice pudding and any other starchy, creamy kind of dish. This looks heavenly. I can’t make it though unless I want to weigh 200 pounds very quickly. I will eat all of it without telling a soul I made it. It’s that bad. HELP!

  44. it was SUCH a coincidence that this is your recipe today! i had leftover chinese for lunch today and didn’t use up all of the brown rice. i’d never made or had rice pudding before, but i didn’t feel like wasting the rice. i heated it up with some milk, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice and it was really glorious! i’ll have to try it with cooking the rice in the milk, not using leftovers.

    =) there must be a rice pudding fairy somewhere sprinkling cravings around.

  45. Pam

    After a long week back at school (for the kids) and work (for me), I saw this perfect recipe. Three minutes later it’s on the stove. Perfect! I included the bay leaf, but it sounds kinda strange. I think this may be dinner.

  46. “Can someone explain to me how we can boil some grains, like oatmeal, in milk with a little bit of sugar and mix in some dry fruit and it is called breakfast but when you do it to others, like rice, it is considered dessert?”

    At my house, rice pudding is breakfast. By Decree of Management.

  47. Janet

    See, now, you crack me up. You claim to never cook rice and be afraid of cooking rice, and here you’ve had a rice pudding recipe up your sleeve this whole time! I, on the other hand, cook rice at least once a week and have always wondered how to make rice pudding ever since my experiment with it didn’t work out. And now I know. And I think you should throw caution to the winds and try some water with those rice grains!

  48. Ah, this post reminded me to snarf up the black-rice/coconut milk pudding that was sitting in my fridge . . . thank you for pointing me to an excellent lunch! I put the recipe up on my blog — it’s a lovely and insanely easy variation on traditional rice pudding.

  49. Dear Deb,
    I am having an affair on my husband with your blog. I love it, live to see the photos and then I critique what I’ve made based on the recipes. I am currently stirring the risotto rice pudding on my stove. I find your recipes are a great starting point and then like for any recipe, one can vary it. I’m using 1% milk, a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. I don’t have vanilla bean on hand, so I’ve used a good healthy spoonful of vanilla extract. It smells good in here, and I hope that it means an awesome pudding in the end. I have no raisins around, I have craisins, but I think that will completely mess up the aura of this pudding. Thank you for inspiring me tonight.

  50. Jayoh

    I *just* made this. Like, just now… just now as in I’m still eating it as I type this comment. Absolutely delicious!

    I added one small box of raisins to the mix when there was 5 minutes of cooking time left and garnished with a light sprinkle of cinnamon. Mmm mmm good!

  51. Sandra J

    So I made the puddin’. No one complained. I love the bay leaf twist. But I missed the raisins so I will put them back where they belong next time. Thanks for the tip- it was perfect for a freezing east coast evening.

  52. I’ve only made rice pudding once before with caramelized bananas on top, and it was oh so good. I’d forgotten all about it, until now – thank you, really.

  53. Cortney

    This looks divine, but my try went very wrong – I used basmati rice and brown sugar. This is an appalling question – is the rice to be pre-cooked, or does it start out raw?

    I ask because my version never ‘took’ – it was a soupy mixture of milk and still-hard rice. Off to try, try again . . .

  54. Sarah Gannholm

    Actually, in Sweden lots of people have rice pudding for breakfast (risgrinsgrot – rice grain porridge) They have it with sweet sugar beet syrup or with lingonberry jam – it’s very good and perfectly proper for breakfast

  55. as soon as i realized i had all the ingredients on hand, i immediately made this. i love rice pudding but the recipes that called for pre-cooked rice always tasted flat to me — this was perfect! so simple and sooooo delicious, thick and creamy just like it should be.

    but mine took over an hour to absorb most of the milk and thicken nicely. maybe because i didn’t cover the pot? (but your recipe doesn’t say to cover it!) any thoughts why mine took so long? i’m in florida, so high altitude sure ain’t it…

  56. What a great idea! You have definitely upped your postings and ideas within the last few months and it is greatly appreciated. Because for a slacker like me yet who has high aspirations, your recipes are doable but tasty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. Natalie

    Ohhhh OUCH it hurts. I want it so bad that it hurts!!! Rice Pudding is my favorite dessert of all time and now I can’t have dairy – not lactose intolerant just allergic. I wonder if hemp milk would work? I know it wouldn’t be quite the same. Ohhhh the yumminess of your pictures. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  58. laura

    i love rice pudding… i always look forward to having leftover rice from dinner, that’s what we make ours from. Mine is usually made in the oven with an egg or 2. Sometimes I put cinnamon or rose water in it. I like the almond extract idea with a vanilla bean, will have to try it! mmmmm…

  59. SmartCookie

    Tried this recipe last night with rice milk. It was fabulous but I would probably use a little less rice milk next time and reduce the almond extract to 1/2 tsp. Don’t get me wrong, the pot was licked clean.
    Thank you so much for your amazing site. I look forward to viewing your blog. . . it’s almost an obsession!

  60. Anna

    It’s definitely rice pudding weather!! I’ve been making it at work a lot recently. Remind me to give the recipe I use for your files. It also uses arborio rice as well as some creme fraiche stirred in at the end. Delicious!

  61. Jen

    Ah man, now I have to go make rice pudding for breakfast! The bay leaf sounds like a great idea. When I was learning Caribbean cooking in Barbados, several chefs told me to put a fresh bay leaf in anytime I made oatmeal or cream of wheat– and it is indeed fabulous. I don’t know why I never thought to add it to rice pudding!

  62. PJrainbow

    The ingredient list is almost identical to the rice pudding I’ve been making.In mine all ingredients go into a casserole dish and bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Makes perfect results every time, no stirring, no scorching, no effort.

  63. Darien

    Has anyone tried this (or another recipe) with brown rice with any success? I’ve tried, tinkering with the proportions of each of the ingredients, but either end up with a brick or soup!

  64. Liz C.

    you know…i’ve never made a rice pudding, but this might be a good time to start. i always remember the one my grandma would make when i was a kid and i would never try it. but this one looks good!

  65. That looks soooo good. I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t eat it for breakfast. Just have some fruit with it and maybe put some toasted nuts on top. People eat worse things for breakfast that are actually considered breakfast foods (donuts and kolaches for example).

  66. Have you tried throwing in a few cardamom pods that you’ve just barely cracked before hand instead of the bay leaf? I did that with Arborio rice pudding with vanilla and it was awesome.

    I do eat it for breakfast. If you add a little fruit, it’s got all your breakfast food groups. It’s also my absolute favorite dessert. You are a beautiful human being for posting this recipe, Deb.

  67. Oh my gosh, my husband would LOVE this. He loves everything almond, and he loves rice pudding (although I’ve never made it…shame on me!). I think I will have to try this. Thanks for posting!

  68. Deb—I’m a latecomer to the delights of rice pudding. You talked about how some grains are breakfast while some are dessert? For years, I had a similar semantic problem with rice. To me, it was a side dish, often for Chinese food. How could it possibly be dessert? [I have similar issues with carrot cake, but I digress.] But my wife is such a big fan of rice pudding that she’s finally won me over. I’ll definitely have to share this recipe with her.

  69. What a fabulous idea! I’ve never thought of having rice pudding for breakfast, but I am having a heck of a time feeding my 3 year old breakfast who won’t eat cereal and picks at his oatmeal! Rice pudding with raisins and cinnamon could be a fabulous breakfast for him! I’m going to definitely being embellishing your recipe for breakfast!!!! :)

  70. Christy

    For those who asked above, I just made this with soy milk; it’s definitely a go. Thick and pudding-y. And I happen to be eating it for breakfast THIS VERY MINUTE.

  71. Oooo! We went to that rice pudding place in New York and ever since I have been on the lookout for a rice pudding base to meet my fiending need. And here it is! =)

  72. I was JUST thinking last night that I needed a good rice pudding recipe (could have been because I was in the middle of making risotto. Which is basically savory rice pudding, now that I think about it.) This is perfect — thank you! Am making it today as dessert after the leftover risotto. It will be an entire dinner of rice!

  73. Oooooh that looks delicious!! I was just at Peabody’s blog, and she made a rice pudding cake which reminded me how much I LOVE rice pudding. I can’t wait to try this version! The almond sounds like such a perfect addition, yummmm.

  74. Ohiogirl

    Rice pudding for breakfast is one of my husbands FAVORITE things. And it’s far better for you than many breakfasts.

    So don’t fret – feast!

    This recipe looks grand, thanks for posting : )

  75. Wow, those little specks of vanilla seem to be calling my name! My mom frequently made rice pudding (the baked kind, with regular rice) while I was growing up, but I have yet to try it myself. This is very tempting!

  76. vinylhaven

    very nice indeed. yes, i actually did make it, not just lust over it. i don’t think that sweet of an item is for my kind of breakfast, but i do eat scones that push the sugar factor a bit. thanks

  77. I grew up in Pittsburgh and in the winter, we always had leftover rice made into rice pudding – boiled, etc. with milk, cinnamon and raisins. YUM! I’m gonna try this version and see if it takes me back to my childhood – yours is likely creamier, which is a good thing. Can’t wait. thanks for the reminder!

  78. I just now finished making the rice pudding with very vanilla soy milk. I didn’t add any sugar, since the soy milk was so sweet. I did add the vanilla at the end. And the bay leaf……….all I can say is, I love myself. It is so yummy. My mom in law is off dairy for a month and this will just tickle her dairy deprived taste buds. Thanks you so much Deb for the inspiration.

  79. SmartCookie

    Ah, hem, I just made this rice pudding for the second night in a row, but this time I made it with soy milk instead of rice milk. It was definitely creamier and more akin to rice pudding made with cow’s milk. It was, in short, to die for. I also used less almond extract to allow the other flavors to make an appearance. Thanks again for the post.

  80. Yum! I just made this. I’ve been snuggled up on the sofa all day, feeling yucky and in need of serious comfort food. I finally dragged myself to the kitchen and made this in my new (Christmas gift) dutch oven. Mmmmm. Yummy. Easy. Totally comforting. Thanks for this wonderful recipe, Deb!

  81. Sara

    I am a sucker for rice pudding. I just love it and seeing it on your blog made me crave it immediately. Only I am supposed to be off dairy. So my husband and I tried it with unsweetened vanilla almond milk (which i find ‘creamier’ than soy). It was fantastic. It came out, though, much wetter than your photo and the only reason we didn’t let it cook longer was because, after 30 min, the arborio rice had really gotten soft and almost exploded-like. But for all the comments about non-dairy…i have to recommend the unsweetened vanilla almond milk. YUM.

  82. faraway friend

    i LOVE rice pudding. might just rty your’s today
    another great idea (similar to the bay leaf) is to add 1-2 crushed cardamon seeds
    and a pinch of tumeric for yellow color. gives it a really unique touch.
    i’d ommit the vanilla, but leave the almond and add some toastes almond bits

  83. Stacy

    Hi Deb,

    Love your site, adore it actually. I’m making your (well Gina DePalma’s) Fig Biscotti and the Chickpea and Squash dish today. One suggestion in regards to the housekeeping you’ve done; can you put links to the previous days post/recipe at the top of the page like they are when you actually go into the post? Makes it easier to flip back and forth without having to go into the actually post. Hope that makes sense. Thanks so much for the daily laughs and fab recipes!!

  84. deb

    Hi Stacy — They should still be in there. Or, at least, I haven’t taken them out and still see them on my screen. (Total pet peeve of mine when people remove them; I love them too.) Perhaps we’re talking about different things?

  85. Dina

    I tried your rice pudding recipe today…thought the bay leaf was an interesting idea! I added a handful of golden raisins after cooking. Well, I just tried the finished product and it is the best rice pudding recipe I have ever tasted. So creamy and delicious. There is no need to look further. I have found rice pudding perfection. Thank you!!

  86. Stacy

    When you initially open your site the previous day’s link isn’t at the top, but if you go into the current post they’re at the top. Thanks for checking!!!

  87. I made this tonight while watching all the thin people on the golden globes and it was so incredibly perfect and delicious. The only thing that stopped me from eating the entire batch was the thought of having it tomorrow morning for breakfast.
    (This mornings breakfast was German pancakes with strawberries, which I’ve been dying to try for ages and just got around to. So good!)
    Thank you as usual for your goddess-like culinary prowess.

  88. Sherry

    This was one of our staple foods when we lived in India. May I suggest that you throw in the freshly-ground seeds from 3 or 4 green pods of cardamom in place of the bay leaf? You will know you are in heaven. And yes…this is a breakfast food!

  89. Sherry

    Oh…And if you will slip the skins off a good handful of raw almonds (steep them in boiling water) and grind them into a powder, you will up the nutritional value of the lot.


  90. Colleen

    Rice Pudding is a Scandinavian staple, and having lived in Dennmark, we ate it each Christmas with added slivered almonds and whipped cream folded in. One whole blanched almond was added, and the recipient of the almond received a present.

    A Danish friend made it by bringing it to a boil (covered) then, removing the pot from the heat and wrapping it in a down comforter overnight. It was done in the morning without scorching the pan.

    A Swedish friend recommended cooking it in the microwave in a large bowl, 5 minutes at a time, stirring and repeating until donw. This also works extremely well without making a mess of a a pan.

  91. heidi

    we make rice pudding in the oven, with brown sugar, vanilla essence, (fake) maple syrup and nutmeg on top. sometimes cream. my mum would make it to use up extra milk. i make it as a snack, foolishly thinking the leftovers will be tomorrows breakfast. what leftovers?
    japanese rice works fine. japanese ppl get hideously confused (i’m like, you eat rice in tea, whats wrong with rice in milk???) lol
    i dont like drinking plain milk and often get sick from milkshakes but this is ok, so i figure the calcium value cancels out any issues about sugar content, thus it is healthy!

  92. BreadintheBone

    Aahhh, rice pudding! So many ways to make it, and all delicious! I make it in the oven, with nutmeg, and put ginger marmalade on it in the bowl, but hey, any jam’ll do. It’s our favorite way of using up an excess of milk, and an easy dessert.
    And just think, arborio rice makes risottos, too! Breakfast, dinner and rice balls for lunch. How can you go wrong?
    The pudding rice we get here in the UK is just another variety of short-grained rice – it might even be arborio, for all I know.

  93. tadpoledrain

    Help? I made this the last time you posted it (sans almond extract), and I made it this time, and both times I ended up with milk-rice soup, not rice pudding. I used a short-grain rice that I had also used to make risotto (which came out perfect), I used 2% milk with a splash of half-and-half this time, and I think whole milk last time, I followed the directions, the rice was cooked (and somehwat mushy) by the end of 30-40 minutes, and… milk-rice soup. Delicious, but definitely soup. Has not become more pudding-like after a night in the fridge. Thoughts?

  94. Deb – you made my weekend! I made this delightful rice pudding on Saturday, and besides the wonderful vanilla-y and almondy scent watfting through our house, it made for some seriously happy tummies as we dug into our warm dessert. It was the perfect dish for us to have during a snowstorm (we got 12 inches!), and I just had to thank you for the recipe and the wonderful pictures that inspired me to try it for myself. THANKS!

  95. Jon

    Made this last night for my partner who loves rice pudding and has been trying to get me/us to make it for years. Well, the scent from the cooking pudding was almost too much for me to resist, and I’m surprised there was any left by the time he got home to enjoy it. I can’t believe how easy it is to make rice pudding – or that I put off trying it for so long. Thanks.

  96. ACD

    Another rice that works great for “breakfast puddings” vs arborio is Lotus Rice. It is light greenish in color and boasts more nutrients than white rice, especially iron. The taste has hints of vanilla.

    I’m new to your website Deb and it is fantastic!

  97. +1 on the suggestion for cardamom pods!
    I also love including cashews, adding them early on so they soften as the pudding cooks.

    When I make dairy-free rice pudding, whether it’s with soy, rice, or almond milk, I always reduce the amount by 1/2 cup. If the pudding starts looking too thick, I’ll add more, a couple tablespoons at a time.

  98. Ooooh… the last time I ran out of Arborio, I bought a different risotto rice instead (Vialone Nano) to try something new. I made mushroom risotto with it just last night, and it was good, but the rice had a different texture – chewier and less creamy than Arborio. Maybe better for some people, but I wasn’t such a fan, and I’ve been pondering what to do with the rest of the bag. Then of course you come along and answer the question for me! Instead of making sub-par risottos, I can boil the crap out of my leftover Vialone Nano and turn it into delicious rice pudding. Awesome!

  99. Sounds like a great recipe with the arborio rice (ex-mother-in-law is full-blooded, right off the boat Italian), anyway, not so sure about the bay leaf…bay leaf isn’t a great flavor for me. Can you tell me something to convince me? I want to try it, but secretly scared…not so secret anymore! Thanks, and keep posting.

  100. Ana

    i love, love, love rice pudding. it’s one of those few desserts that i never tire of eating, no many how many days it’s in the fridge (you really can only eat so much in one sitting)- i always seem to have trouble talking people into trying it, but that’s fine with me. i don’t try too hard.

  101. Mariana

    I don’t usually drink milk, so I made this with a can of coconut milk and the rest plain soymilk…delicious! I added just a smidge of almond extract since I figured the coconut already added some nuttiness. It turned almost frighteningly gelatinous after a night in the fridge, but I had some for breakfast anyway =)

  102. Mandah

    @ Erin K – yes I have substituted quinoa for rice in my rice pudding before, and I really like it. Very satisfying. It definitely imparts a different flavor though, so be aware of that.

  103. trace

    Good stuff. I didn’t have any arborio rice or bay leaves (and didn’t see any reason to get some for just one recipe). So I subbed with half Thai(?) rice (the kind that Chinese people eat) and half Japanese/sushi rice. The Japanese rice goes better in the pudding. The other rice reminds me too much of congee – my mom called it sweet congee. lol.
    Next time I might try tapioca – now that would really be a dessert.

  104. Sunshine

    I’m always curious about recipes that say cook the rice for 30-40 mins. Mine always takes HOURS to cook. Maybe I need to cook it at a higher temp. I like to add soaked raisins to the pot and cinnamon to each serving (the cinnamon seems to separate the rice and make it liquid-y). A friend of mine who is Puerto Rican says her dad makes it with sweetened condensed milk. I have yet to try that.

  105. I’ve got to try this one–yours looks perfect. I have to admit, my favorite time to eat rice pudding is for breakfast. I believe that since it vaguely resembles oatmeal if you squint, this makes it acceptable.

  106. My son will eat rice all day long if we let him (we’re not Asian), so I tried rice for pudding for breakfast about a year ago, made with the leftover rice, and now we have it pretty regularly. You’re right, it’s a terrific thing in the morning.
    Love this new, luxurious version.

  107. Kristin

    Yum! Thanks for reminding me about rice pudding — and this has the perfect amount of sugar. I didn’t have a vanilla bean, but used vanilla bean sugar for 1/2 the amount. It took a lot of self-control to put the rest of the batch in the fridge.

  108. Zook

    I just made this last night (sans almond extract because I am allergic and don’t want to die) and it was delicious. And what happened to the leftovers? I ate them for breakfast. Deb, I am never disappointed.

  109. I made this over the weekend and loved it. I also omitted the almond extract but it was still a perfect treat. My husband literally stood over the pot on the stove and was eating it with a wooden spoon.

  110. Dianne

    I have used Lactaid in cooking a lot. It works fine in any cooked recipe that calls for milk, but it is important to match the fat content to the recipe’s milk fat content. Since Deb says she has successfully used both whole milk and reduced fat milk, then either of those in the Lactaid version would work. I’ve even used it for pumpkin pie, replacing 12 oz. evaporated milk with 8 oz whole Lactaid. Good luck!

  111. Mariana

    I just discovered your site recently and this is the second dish I have tried. It’s easy, delicious and hits just the right comfort spot on a cold night. I love your site and the photography is fantastic. Great job!

  112. Therisa

    rice pudding help, please! i made your rice pudding, but it didn’t thinken. what did i do wrong and how should i thicken it now? btw, it tastes really good the way it is, just runny. thanks for your suggestion. oh, and i heart your site. got my bil hooked too.

  113. deb

    Hi Therisa — If it didn’t thicken, you probably want to cook it longer. If cooking it longer and longer doesn’t help, there may have been a measuring issue. Also, I suppose there could be some variety in arborios, where some absorb more than others, but hm, I don’t know how that would help you now. If you use the same brand/box of rice for your next batch, try dialing back the milk by a 1/4 cup and seeing if that fixes it.

  114. Naomi

    I made this for a dinner party last night. I used a whole vanilla bean and some extra carnaroli rice (another type of risotto rice) I had sitting in the cupboard. I used the almond extract, skipped the bay leaf and added dried Montmorency cherries at the end. It was absolutely delicious.

  115. Eating it now – the bay leaf is genius! Gives it an edge similar to anise, but much lighter and somehow more floral? Could eat it without even adding the almond!

    Have you tried Tunisian Farka? It’s a breakfast dish, and I had it in Paris once and become completely obsessed. It’s couscous with chopped dates, roasted almonds and other goodies and then instead of broth, you douse it with a warm milk and honey mixture… Make sure to use plenty of cinnamon!

    One question:
    Why add the extract(s) at the end? Does something happen in the cooking process that turns them?

  116. Its funny how something I haven’t had in so many years could spend as much time on my brain as your rice pudding recipe did.

    Well I just made it. I had to use 1/2 2% and 1/2 skim but its so incredibly creamy. I used Jasmine rice and I couldn’t even wait until after supper. Supper is cooking adn here I am with a cup of coffee and bowl of rice pudding, steaming hot.

    Thanks Deb!

  117. Oh for heaven’s sakes. Where has this rice pudding been all my life? My friend made your clementine cake last night and so I, not to be outdone, made the rice pudding tonight. They both rocked. But the pudding? I’m making it again for breakfast.

  118. HarleyDude

    First timer here. Love the blog. Love the recipes, especially this one which I’ve been using since Granny passed it on to me. Being part Filipino with a rice pot always filled, my kids have enjoyed rice at all meals.

    They especially like this recipe with egg mixed in at the end, warm with raisins for breakfast. Other dried fruits, like mango work great, too. It gives them protein and fruit to start their day. Plus they tell their school friends that Dad gives them pudding for breakfast!.

    For a fast fix, leftover rice with warm milk and cinnamon will normally suffice, but the cooked pudding is their favorite.

    Also, somewhere in the blog, I saw that burnt cookie pans are a problem. Well… being a shiny Harley Davidson motorcycle dude, I like shiny and clean, I scrub my pans with the heavy duty green scrub pads from (can I say?) Home Depot sandpaper aisle, not the cleaning product aisle.

    Can’t wait to try the sugar puffs. Just saw a rerun of Alton Brown cooking up a batch of these. My Polish Granny used to make the puffs. Now you have my attention and you may now add me as a loyal fan.

    My greatest memories are food based!

  119. sabrina

    hi, i’m making this right now and i can’t wait to eat it!! have a (perhaps silly) question about the milk film that forms on top: does one just stir it back in? does it mean my heat is too high? makes me a bit squeamish.

  120. I saw this post a week ago and couldn’t get rice pudding out of my head, so I made it (yum). And then ate it for breakfast when the rice crispies were done to dust. It was so satisfying!

  121. I made this today, used Lactose-free milk (half whole milk and half skim milk… cause we didn’t have enough of either to make it all one kind). The only issue I had, and I think this might be a user error, is that it took way longer than 40 minutes to firm up. I bumped up the temperature to medium and that solved the problem. I guess my idea of “simmer” and the stovetop’s idea are two different things. The pudding is DELICIOUS though.

  122. So simple, so pure, so wonderful! These ingredients made their way into my saucepan about 10 minutes after I came across this post. That’s a blog-to-stovetop record! Thank you!!

  123. I made this last night. Without the almond extract because I didn’t have any.
    It was very yummy, but I think the almond extract was the little something extra that it was missing. I like how it isn’t ultra sweet and I’m going to eat it for breaksfast. I am sad that I didn’t double the recipe though!

  124. Jess

    Way late on the commentary, but I would like to point out that originally I made this and it was terrible… Then I realized I had put in a ton of vanilla extract on top of the vanilla bean, so I was dizzy and my tongue was numb for a reason. :-P
    Tried it a second time and it was good, but I wasn’t really tasting the flavors very strongly, and it was gummy and squishy… I don’t know what I did wrong this time though! Any reason why it would go all squishy on me?

  125. Kait

    THANK YOU. I made this for my Mom this weekend and she loved it.
    However, I did not use the bayleaf. Call me crazy but I don’t think my 78 year old Mother would have loved it. LOL.

  126. Jenny

    This was delicious! It reminds me of a Swedish dessert called “Frodinge Ostkaka”, and totally brought me home :) So after I made this – I got on a rice pudding kick, and tried making it with saffron instead of the vanilla/almond. It was equally delicious, and the light yellow color from the saffron threats was beautiful. Worked well using skim milk, too, which was a pleasant surprise. Thanks for the great recipe!

  127. Kathy

    Lovely recipe! It does seem to go by quicker if you cover the pot — I did 30 minutes uncovered and realized things weren’t going as planned. Covered the pot and did another 30 minutes — this did the trick but my pudding was caramel colored.

  128. Kay

    I make rice pudding for 150 people every month. Always served cold because it’s cooked the day before we serve it at the homeless shelter. I was given the recipe that has been used for the last 27 years and after making it the first time decided to tweak it. I’ve gotten many compliments that it’s better than the old way it was made.

    I’m wondering what the bay leaf will do and if I should add more than one per pan since I’m making so much of it. I end up cooking it in two foil roasting pans because we need so much of it. Right now I’m just cooking regular long grain rice in milk with sugar & dash of salt. After it cooks for an hour or two and it’s almost set we remove the skin and cover with cinnamon then stir it in. At that point we remove it from the oven and let it chill.

    It’s about a brick by the following night so we mix in 1 can of evaporated milk with one can of HOT water and work that in with our gloved hands. We’ve actually bent industrial spoons trying to get through it- hands work much better.

    When it’s all loosened back up we serve and top with a cherry. It’s loved by everyone that eats it and several people each month say it’s just like their mom or grandmother used to make.

    That means a lot to me knowing that I’ve done something special & meaningful for some homeless people that could use something good in their day.

    I’d love to find a faster way to make it, but I don’t think doing it on the stove would be an improvement since I’m using 4 lbs of rice, 4 gallons of milk, 8 cups of sugar, and 4 good shakes of salt.

    I think I’ll try it with some vanilla extract. I’m concerned about using almond extract because I don’t know if anyone has any nut allergies. Perhaps I’ll try that for our church group though. They have been begging me to make some rice pudding for our potlucks.

  129. I always put 2 bayleaves into my rice pudding (for 4 people) and don’t bother with vanilla or almond. Nice to see someone else knows the secret. Without the bayleaf the rice just isn’t rice pudding. Its one of those strange ingredients, most people can’t identify it in the finished pudding but when you add it everyone always asks for seconds and raves about how wonderful it is. When you leave it out they can take it or leave it.

    It has the same effect on spaghetti bolognese – so strange when they are such different dishes – but both are lacking without the bayleaf.

    Kay – if I were you I’d add about 10 bayleaves for 150 people – you won’t regret it.

  130. Kat

    Oh my god. Why did I wait until today to make this? I had some leftover coconut milk from a Thai curry, and some half and half I didn’t know what to do with, so I used 1 and 1/4 c. light coconut milk, 3/4 c. half and half, and 2 c. soymilk. I omitted the almond, but it was totally alright because OMG COCONUT. My pudding didn’t turn out as thick as yours, and I simmered it for 40 minutes, but I attribute it to my weird mix of milks. Either way, I don’t care because it is super delicious. A bay leaf! Who knew?

    Just another thought as long as half and half is in discussion, WTF is “fat free half and half?” My mom buys it and the ingredient list takes up half of the carton. It just begs the question, half what and half what? (end rant.)

  131. beep

    I like to make a richer-tasting version by making it like a pilaf: cook the rice (arborio works best) in just enough butter to coat until it looks transparent and smells slightly toasty, then add the milk. I have found that using a little bit of butter and skim milk actually keeps down the overall fat content while preserving a rich creaminess.

  132. Ryanna

    thank you! awesome recipe. for all of those wondering – it works beautifully as a vegan/non dairy dish as well. i used almond milk, omitted the almond extract, and added a dash of ginger and nutmeg at the start. perfection!

  133. Dancer who eats

    I made this on Tuesday and it was awesome. I’m Peruvian so I sprinkled some cinnamon on it and called it “Arroz con leche”. :D Thank you so much!

  134. sarah

    This was the first time I made rice pudding and it was delicious. It was really really easy too. I put a stick of cinnamon in with the milk mixture and left out the bay and almond extract. It is good with nutmeg sprinkled on top too.

  135. Mish

    I have tried making rice pudding many times, and it has always turned out terribly. Not this time! This is simply fantastic! I used regular long grain rice, unsweetened soy milk, and added a bit of cinnamon. Yum! I got 5 servings out of it too by using single serve glass bowls. This one is a keeper!

  136. Danielle

    My husband made this just the other day – despite the fact that it’s been over 90 degrees here in NC. It was fabulous – except we found the almond extract to be very overpowering. So we are having it again, minus the almond extract.

    Also, for those who can’t have dairy, you should try coconut milk – either from the can, or the So Delicious Coconut Beverage. It’s a really nice compromise to the richness you get from milk.

  137. Alison M.

    I left out the almond extract because I didn’t have any on hand, and added a few shakes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Amazing. I love what the bay leaf did for it. An hour later, there is none left.

  138. cherry tulips

    just made this with a few subs and still delicious – basmati rice instead of arborio, almond milk instead of cow’s milk, and rose water and nutmeg, instead of vanilla/almond/bay leaf

  139. Patty

    I’m in the “rice pudding is for breakfast” camp. However, I never thought I could love a rice pudding that didn’t have egg or cinnamon, and wasn’t baked in a water bath. This was fabulous, and far too easily made, making it dangerous for me. I’m anxious to try it with some different flavors, you know, now that you’ve opened my taste buds to the possibilities.

  140. kathy in st louis

    I made David Lebovitz’ frangipane tart last night and had a couple ounces of almond paste left over, so I’m using your rice pudding recipes as the framework for mine: in the simmering pot, there’s now brown jasmine rice, two bay leaves, a pinch of ground cardamom, tangerine zest, Meyer lemon zest (they’re in season now, Deb, in case you might want a reminder), three whole cloves, the almond paste (in place of the sugar and almond extract), some unsweetened, shredded coconut, and a big pinch of salt. Oh, a quart of gloriously whole milk.

  141. Julia

    I have made this recipe many times now and it always works wonderfully. I never would have thought of using a bay leaf, but for those who are sceptical, try it! It is so delicious.

  142. Patty

    I just made another batch, substituting half of the milk with unsweetened, vanilla Almond Breeze. It tastes fabulous. Next time, I may use just Almond Breeze…if I end up eating the whole thing by myself, there will be less guilt! : D

  143. SO weird! I use a bay leaf in my rice pudding, too! Do you also have a Puerto Rican mother-in-law who taught you that?? However I went against everything else she taught me and used almond milk and coconut milk and subbed brown rice syrup for sugar. But the bay leaf is a keeper!

  144. Joanne

    I made this tonight with 1 cup coconut milk, 2 cups full cream milk & 1 cup skim milk & it was EXTREMELY creamy ;) Delicious but I would recommend anyone who doesn’t like that marzipan flavour to leave out the almond-I have essence rather than extract & it’s just awful for some reason!

  145. Stef

    I was looking for something that was not too sweet and light for dessert tonight and found this recipe. Love Rice Pudding without eggs. Got everything in the pan – including the bay leaf and decided I wanted a bit more spice – so put in a 1/4 tsp. Garam Masala (McCormacks). Got ready to add the extracts and found I was out of almond – only had a 1/4 tsp Orange, and vanilla. It was wonderful! I hope some of it has a chance to get cold… Thanks!

  146. Nyusha

    I made this yesterday for a potluck and had a request from the boyfriend to make more today (but I used 2% this time). So delicious. It really is hard to stay away from it while it cools.

  147. Nanna

    You are such an inspiration! I am dying to start my own food blog with great photos and I can only wish I could be half as great as you!
    It makes my day to read your blog!

  148. BHT

    I made this last night, and it was excellent. I ended up cooking it in the oven – putting it in there after it came to a boil. It was cold out, so heating up the oven wasn’t a problem. It took about an hour at 325 to thicken, with stirring every 20 minutes or so. I tend to scorch things with milk in them when I cook them on the stove, and that didn’t happen in the oven.

    I also really don’t like almond extract, so substituted some strips of lemon zest (pulled them out at the end). That gave it a nice faint lemony flavor, which worked great. I’ll make this again!

  149. Paula

    Very cold with cinnamon is my favorite… but you should try it with some dulce de leche marbled into it. Heaven
    Never tried it with arborio but sounds like a great alternative that I will try very soon!

  150. freehuglover


    I had my wisdom teeth removed like 4 days ago, and am finally lucid enough to cook…instead of continuing to live on jello and store bought chocolate pudding… so i turned some leftover already cooked brown rice (about 2-3 cups) into this genius concoction.

    I saw some others questioning the use of alternatives to milk….
    FYI i used 3 cups of unsweetened almond milk, and the can of sweetened condensed and the consistency is lovely, perhaps a touch grainier than with all dairy, but I prefer almond to animal any day.

    Deb, thanks for yet another awesome recipe guideline… because i know i will always find something yummy to whip up on your site!

  151. Christiane

    I made this last night and it’s so good! Had for breakfast this morning :). Love it best cold, next day… so delicious and easy that I am making again now for my breakfast tomorrow!!

  152. RachH

    I made this six days ago. Tonight I’m making it again. I’ll probably make it again tomorrow when we’ve run out.

    I am obsessed and cannot get enough of this stuff. I got a 10# bag of long grain white rice at Aldi like six months ago, and while I despair that I will never finish said bag, I rejoice that I try my best to make a dent 1/2 cup at a time, with this delicious recipe. UH-mazing.

  153. Mindy

    I’m am so excited to try this recipe. I will finally see what bay leaf tastes like. I’ve often wondered what flavor bay leaf imparted in my many recipes. It is not a flavor I could discern. I will make this recipe so i can finally get the bay leaf flavor.

  154. Holly

    Ok, I had to post here because this is seriously the best thing around. I love rice pudding and eat it wherever I can (ie, if it’s served when I’m out for brunch, dinner, whatever, I must partake!), and this is by far the most creamy, rich and lovely rice pudding I’ve ever had. And all the complex flavours! it’s incredible. Amazingly, I only used 1% milk, and it’s still magnificent! Mmmmmm :) (I also added a little cinnamon and nutmeg, it’s very nice too!) The risotto rice is so smart and the bay leaf adds a hint of “je ne sai quoi”! Thank you!

  155. Patty

    I did a very bad thing this morning. Last night, I attempted to make some whipped coconut cream, sweetened with vanilla sugar. Don’t know what went wrong, but it wouldn’t stiffen, so I just refrigerated it, not knowing what I’d do with it. This morning, an epiphany. I used the sweetened cream, the liquid I had previously drained, and a small amount of almond milk, (let’s be honest, there was more than enough fat happening already), to make it to 4 cups of milk. Since I had already sweetened the coconut cream, I didn’t add the sugar, but left the rest of the recipe unchanged. The result? Hubby & I ate almost the whole thing! I doubt it will go into regular rotation because of the calories, but it was a wonderful use of “leftovers.”
    As as a follow up to my comment #202, using only almond milk was a bust. It clearly needs more/different fat. Deb, this recipe continues to delight and impress us.

  156. Amy in Iowa

    I was looking for an almond-flavored rice pudding recipe and this turned up on my Google search. I actually made a double batch in a 4 quart saucepan- I just doubled the ingredients but I found it needed about 15 minutes longer cooking time (or maybe I had it simmering too low… I didnt want it to be runny when I put it into bowls and it wasn’t… Thickened up beautifully). I had *almost* all necessary ingredients on hand for the recipe with exception of the almond extract and the milk- I went to our local co-op for fresh cream-top 2% milk to use (and it worked well). I did half the recipe as “almond”-following your recipe, including the bay leaf (I used 2 because I made a double batch…)- the almond rice pudding is so delicious. It puts store-bought rice pudding to shame. My husband (a rice pudding fan, 10 year resident of Manhattan (albeit 20 years ago), and happy veteran of deli and diner dining) loved it.

    I just kind of winged it to do the other half as chocolate- I had a dark chocolate in mind but I didnt have much on hand- maybe 4 oz of bittersweet dark (baking) chocolate I tossed in first, stirred, decided more chocolate was needed, found some semisweet dark chocolate morsels (about 1/3 cup) and added them- getting better, but still not chocolatey enough. I finally dug out a dark chocolate candy bar (one of the artisanal, high cocoa content varieties) and chopped it up & stirred it in. It seemed chocolately enough then- good but not great. I think the high milk content of the pudding was throwing off the flavor balance for the chocolate (or what I expected chocolate rice pudding to taste like…) I havent tried the chocolate yet cold!

  157. Colleen

    I stumbled onto this recipe from a link in one of the other rice pudding recipes. It’s fantastic, so why isn’t it in the recipe index? Also, what other delicious recipes have I been missing out on?!

  158. Okay, this needs sharing:
    I wanted to make some pudding today, because I had some milk that needed using up. Thing was, I couldn’t decide between your caramel pudding and this rice pudding… so eventually decided to combine the two and make caramel rice pudding. :)
    Started with a bit more sugar (I halved the recipe, but still used almost 1/4 cup sugar, because I figured caramel is not as sweet), caramelized it, poured in the milk and let the caramel dissolve, then pretty much followed the rest of the recipe as-is (nixing the almond extract, which I felt didn’t fit, and next time I might also nix the bay leaf). It took almost an hour to fully cook, maybe because I used regular long-grain rice (didn’t have any short-grain), but ended up alright. Better than alright; it’s delicious. That is one experiment I definitely intend to repeat.

  159. Jo

    I just made this with oat milk and coconut cream all the way down in little ol’ New Zealand. Didnt add the almond as i wanted to keep the coconut flavour, worked perfectly!

  160. Eve

    Ive been making this recipe for quite a while and just had a funny experience I just have to share. I went to a school potluck and noticed someone made rice pudding. I searched around to find the chef and discovered she made it from your recipe! It was a big hit. Right now I’m trying this recipe in my rice cooker on their porridge setting. I have an idea that I might want it for breakfast some day and the rice cooker is my favorite tool for hot breakfast with no AM effort.

  161. Laurie

    Just made this with sushi rice and 2% lactose-free milk. Since that kind of milk tastes sweeter, I reduced the sugar a bit. Mmmmm. Trying to allow it to cool, but I keep going back for a spoonful–just to make double, triple, quadruple sure it’s done.

  162. Pam Comer

    I have tried many recipes for milk pudding over the years & this one is just YUMMY.
    I have also tried it substituting some of the milk with a small tin of evaporated milk and topping it with a fine grating of nutmeg.
    Here in England it is often accompanied with some cooked fruit-rhubarb is my favourite-bit of sweet & sour.

  163. Kari

    I made this a couple weeks ago and was amazed at how easy it was. I have always considered myself as one who *loves* almond extract…um, not as much as others obviously do. I found 3/4 tsp to be too much. I suspect 1/4 would be adequate for my taste, perhaps even less? I think the almond extract overpowers the entire dish. I am making it again this am, with a bean and 1/4 tsp or less (or none–shock!–I haven’t gotten to that part yet). Thank you for the superb recipes, as always, Deb!!!

  164. I just tried this rice pudding recipe, and it is the best I’ve ever made! The only recipe that even comes close is a Chai Rice Pudding that was my go-to recipe. Do watch the pudding, though, as it nears the end of cooking time — it can boil up unexpectedly.

  165. Liz B.

    Just made this and LOVE it! Never made rice pudding before but the craving’s been stuck in my head since I ran across this recipe earlier in the week. I found that the pudding kept forming a skin while cooking, so I ended up leaving the lid most of the way on it and turning the heat all the way down (it exploded when I covered it completely – heat may have been too high). At the end, it still needed a little something, so I added a few pinches of fine sea salt and a couple of shakes of cinnamon. Perfectly balanced with the almond-vanilla!

  166. Tillie

    Just pretend you’re Scandinavian; we eat rice pudding for breakfast, supper, bedtime and snackime. Looking forward to trying this recipe!

  167. Susan Gertz

    I am looking for a baked rice pudding starting with uncooked rice as opposed to baking cooked rice with milk, sugar, etc. Any suggestions?

  168. Deborah

    Not just in Scandinavia Tillie. It’s been a staple in British cooking for centuries, and Italian and Spanish and well basically pretty much everywhere. Most countries have their own version, rather like meatballs. I like to add a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon. Never had it with almond extract though. Gonna give this a whirl. Plus it’s not as labour intensive as many I’ve come across. Yum! I shall thank you later.

  169. Kathrynn H.

    Does the Arborio rice need to be rinsed? I usually give my other rice a good rinsing prior to cooking. Rice pudding is the perfect dessert for this weather!

  170. Kami

    Ummm…. I had NO IDEA until I was in my 20s that rice pudding was supposed to be dessert. My grandmother made it for us for breakfast at least once a week – because that’s what you did with leftover rice so nothing went to waste. I guess a holdover from Depression-era cooking and hardscrabble ranch life?? To this day I can’t really bring myself to eat it for dessert, but my I certainly scarf it down for breakfast!!

  171. Donna

    Deb, do you think I could cook this is a rice cooker? That is the way I cook all of my rice (for sushi, etc.) Wondering if I could put all the ingredients (except extracts) in place of the usual water?

  172. deb

    Donna — I’ve been wanting to fiddle around with a rice cooker rice pudding, so let me get back to you on it. (Going to make use of that 99 cent bin “Rice Cooker Gourmet” I bought a couple years ago!) However, my concern was the milk, and that it might bubble a lot and maybe foam out of the steam holes? But it might be unwarranted. [Update: The book recommends you use the porridge cycle on a “fuzzy logic” rice cooker.]

    Almond milk — Yes, not a problem.

    Kathrynn — I understand it to be good practice to rinse all rice, not just for cleanliness but for a better final texture. (Less of an issue when a soft pudding is the goal.) I haven’t always, but I do these days.

    Rice pudding from uncooked rice — I was going to suggest this one, but see that parboiling is needed. Not sure why you couldn’t just cook the rice a little longer and/or add a little water to the milk in the oven.

  173. Pam

    I doubled the recipe, used 4 cups rice milk and 4 cups whole milk, and it came out delicious. I think some orange zest would be yummy, too.

  174. Danita

    Just made this and used 3c 2% milk and 1c almond vanilla milk as I didn’t have enough regular milk in the house. It turned out great, but I did have to simmer much longer than 40 mins, closer to 1 hour. This was a great way to use up that little bit of Arborio rice left in my pantry. The bay leaf was a surprise ingredient. – thanks

  175. Carole

    Just a warning: if you decide to make this, double the recipe! It was gone way too fast. I skipped the bay leaf and added a couple of cracked cardamom pods as another commenter suggested and it was heavenly! I used 2% milk and it was still really creamy. I wasn’t sure whether to cook this covered or uncovered so I did a bit of both, though it took a longer amount of time than the recipe suggests. Not sure about this – any suggestions?

  176. Sheila

    Hey Deb. I’m playing with your recipe a little. I used coconut milk, almond milk and half and half, it is what I had on hand. Then I added 2 tsp dark rum instead of almond extract. I added the rum while it was cooking. It came out tasting amazing!!! Sorry to modify your recipe so much but that is just what I had on hand at 9 at night. Lol.

  177. Chris

    I’ve never had rice pudding before, so I didn’t go into this with any expectations about how it would taste.

    I had about 150mL of cream left over, so I used that with whole milk for this recipe. It tasted wonderful when I was testing it for doneness before adding the vanilla and almond extracts. I’ve never had almond extract before, either, but the smell was a bit strong to me so I used 1/2 tsp almond extract and still found it to be overpowering in the pudding. I added a heaping 1/4 tsp of cinnamon to try and offset it, which helped a little bit. It’s not overly sweet, which is great.

    Will definitely make again but nix the almond extract. Certainly would make a decent breakfast!

  178. Diane

    This is divine – made it as soon as it was posted on Facebook. My only question is whether the amount of rice (1/2 cup) for 4 cups of milk is too low. I ended up having to add additional rice and I was using arborio.

    1. deb

      There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.

  179. Deanne

    I made this tonight for a quick and easy dessert. After my daughter took her first bite she asked me “Can I have this for breakfast?” Ha!

    I used 2% milk and long grain rice and it came out perfect.

    Thanks for another great recipe, Deb!

  180. Cherie

    Deb, like you I crave rice pudding when the weather is less-than-ideal and wintery. I make mine much as I do my risottos.
    My favourite adaptation this winter is the addition of amaretto prior to the milk, and then flavouring it with stem ginger and black pepper.
    Think I’ll head off to the stove now – it’s awfully wintery today!

  181. Robin

    I made this the other night, and had it for breakfast the next morning! I added some raisins to it breakfast (thinking maybe fruit made me feel better about eating such a decadent breakfast!). It was delicious!

  182. Meghan

    This was tasty and came together oh so easily, but even dialing back the almond extract by half, I found it a tad overpowering. Lesson learned, if you, like me, think that amaretto tastes like medicine, trust your instincts and skip the almond.

  183. Betty Buchsdrucker

    My mother used to make rice pudding for supper sometimes. It was served with canned fruit on the side and sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Yummy – one of my favorite go to suppers when you just don’t want to make a large meal at the end of the day.

  184. Kate

    For those who are wondering about using alternate milks, I just made this recipe with cashew and almond milk (2cups of each) and it worked perfectly!
    I took longer to absorb (cooking time was closer to 1 hour), but it’s delicious!

  185. Stephanie Faulkner

    Would a small slow cooker work for this too? Start high and the shift to low for an hour? I love eggless rice pudding with more ‘sauce’. Greek style. Yum

    1. deb

      I haven’t made rice pudding in a slow-cooker but I suspect it would work; might be safest to begin with a well-tested recipe for time and settings and just use these flavors/proportions instead.

    1. deb

      I, personally, don’t find the almond flavor particularly strong in almond milk, but I do think it will work. You might find, because it’s less thick, that you need slightly less here.

    1. Lyndsey

      I’m making this now too and though I just started I added more rice than the recipe calls for because it seemed off to me in the ratio.

  186. Kim

    This was delicious! I followed the recipe and although it looked soupy when I took it off the heat, after the pudding cooled down it looked like Deb’s photos. I love almond flavor but think I will dial it back to 1/2 tsp. next time. Perfect sugar amount; really tasty!

  187. Maya

    Does anyone have a recommendation of how to adapt this to the instant pot? I have made this many times before, and it’s delicious! Thanks!

  188. Naomi

    Hi, Deb —

    Is there any reason not to use eggnog instead of milk in this recipe? (It’s December 26, and I want to clear certain things out of the fridge before the new year begins.) Would the egg content in the nog turn this into cooked rice with scrambled eggy bits in it, or would it be a creamy, nutmeg-spiced dish of heaven?

    Happy new year to you and yours!

    1. Naomi

      I tried the eggnog variation over the holidays, using 2 C. milk and 2 C. non-alcoholic eggnog. I skipped the sugar, as the nog was already very sweet. Good news: no floating scrambled egg bits. Overall, though, the result was unimpressive — suggestive of eggnog, but not the nutmeg-spiced dish of heaven that I’d hoped for. It might be worth experimenting with and adjusting … but I suspect that Deb’s original recipe is a much better option!

  189. gilll354

    Eating this now. It is my first rice pudding recipe I have made and I chose it because it seemed to have the least amount of steps. I probably will not try another recipe as I am very happy with the results. I skipped the almond extract because I do not care for it and love the simplicity of vanilla bean. I also used long grain rice because I did not have arborio and it was perfect! I may try the bay leaf next time just to try it- but very good with just vanilla. I am not sure if I will have any leftover but if I do I look forward to tasting it chilled/ next day

  190. Sophie

    This turned out so delicious! The ratio of rice to milk did seem high, and after cooking for 35 minutes, it looked rather soupy, but at 40 minutes, the pudding firmed up and I took it off the heat. After 10 minutes of cooling (but still warm), the consistency was creamy. I was a little short on milk, so added almond milk to get 4 cups. Also, added 1/4 tsp Penzey’s Pie Spice (more complex than cinnamon and so delicious) and 1/3 cup dried cherries. And even though I really like almond flavoring, I cut back the extract to 1/2 tsp. Perfect with the dried cherries. This recipe is a keeper!

  191. Lison

    My rice pudding’s family recipe is exactly the same proportions : 1 volume of rice, 1/2 volume of sugar and 8 volumes of milk and bay leaf.
    I usually simmer mine covered for 30 minutes (to cook the rice) and around 20-30 minutes with the lid off to thicken it.
    I grew up eating it cold with honey or jam on top, and now I eat it warm with nutmeg, my husband just eat it plain and cold for breakfast along with his coffee and fruits.
    I would add ; double the recipe (this recipe is good for a dessert for 4 people). Use 1 cup of rice, 1/2 cup of sugar and 8 cups of milk if you want more servings or a week worth of breakfast .

  192. Hillary

    I didn’t use almond extract or a bayleaf because it doesn’t appeal to me. I steeped a vanilla bean pod in the milk then added the other ingredients. It took 50 mins of stovetop cooking on medium, then low heat to get the right consistency before thickening further in the frig. But when ready to enjoy, it was delicious. Next time I’m going to try steeping one golden cardamom pod in place of the v. bean. The rice/sugar/milk ratio was very much to my liking and couldn’t have been easier to make.

  193. AF

    I love this. It’s my go to rice pudding. However, DO NOT MAKE THIS WITH FORBIDDEN RICE! I does not work! You end up with up a pan full of not exactly appetizing lavender colored sweet rice soup. Every other rice I have ever used – basmati, sushi, arborio, and my favorite, sweet short grain brown rice from our hippy food store – has worked beautifully. Learn from my mistakes.

  194. Christine Reynolds

    I made this yesterday and like almost all of the recipes on this site it was delicious. Easy and yummy.

    I didn’t use almost extract but used almond milk. I served it with chopped almonds and chocolate chips for added texture and crunch.

  195. Ariana

    I make this – or rather, my adapted version of this – a couple times a week. Instead of all cow’s milk I use 1 can of low-fat organic coconut milk with an equal volume of whole milk. And although it doesn’t say to, I rinse my rice (which helps with the silky texture) before adding it to the milks/sugar/vanilla along with a pinch of salt (no almond extract or bay leaf in mine). The mouthfeel is so much silkier and the slight hint of coconut is delicious. Perfect with coffee-infused granola for breaky…

  196. Ro

    This is my go-to recipe. It’s perfect as written! One of the ways I make it is by adding a can of coconut milk (I scale up the rice to 3/4 cup) and a star anise pod. It’s SO GOOD. The reason I scale it up is because I unabashedly love larger portions. Thank you, Deb <3

  197. MC

    I’ve made this now two times with oatly oatmilk- first time 2 c barista oatly/2 c full fat oatly (the darkest blue 1/2 gallon) and second time 4 c full fat oatly. Both times it’s turned out perfectly (although it takes about an hour to cook, maybe because I’m afraid of burning the milk, maybe bc of the non-cow milk properties, who knows) and creamy and delicious. I’m not a big fan of weird flavors or ‘modern’ ‘interpretations’ of things like s’mores or grilled cheese or tomato soup- but the bay leaf in this is WONDERFUL. I always forget the almond extract bc at that point in the recipe I’m just trying not to burn myself eating it.

  198. Lyssa

    Would it be possible to substitute coconut milk for any of the “regular” milk? Would I need to make any additional changes? I have a bunch of cans due to impulsivity at Costco and was thinking it might be delightful in rice pudding – with this being my favorite rice pudding recipe. Thanks!

  199. Joanne

    Amazing! After a long week of moving ( 2-20 something’s into their first adult apartment), my husband and I whipped this up for dessert and ate it warm. So comforting! To my surprise it was even better cold the next morning! It had set up more and had more pudding like texture. Toasted almonds on top would be a perfect addition!

  200. JP

    The flavor of this is great, but for me, I’d add either a little more rice or a little less liquid to the mix. I like rice pudding to be a bit more “ricey” and less “puddingy”. But like I said, tastes great. Better after chilling overnight. I’d make again using the adjustments mentioned. Oh, and I added a dash of cinnamon, which I love in rice pudding. Yum.

  201. Sara

    Hi Deb! I know this is an older recipe but I’m hoping you might revisit rice pudding this summer and see how it goes in the Instant Pot? I’m looking for no-bake and relatively hands-off desserts — this seems like the perfect thing to pair with all the delicious fruit hitting the markets now!