Homestyle Rice Pudding – A delicious, old fashioned recipe just like Grandma made! It only requires 5 basic ingredients, plus sweet cinnamon and raisins if you prefer them.
A rich and creamy, easy to prepare dessert that young and old alike will love! It is such a nostalgic treat.
There are so many different flavors and mix-ins you can add too, for ideas see below.
What is rice pudding?
It is a well known dish common in many countries around the world. It is made up of white rice, milk or water, sometimes thickeners like eggs are added and a fat like butter to make it richer. And when made as a dessert it’s usually sweetened (with something like sugar) and often flavored with cinnamon and raisins.
It is a great dessert to make year round with pantry staples!
What does it taste like?
It has a simple yet unique and delicious flavor – a very rice rich flavor complimented by a nice level of sweetness. And with added cinnamon maybe something like horchata to find a familiar flavor.
Rice Pudding Ingredients
The staple ingredients you’ll need for this recipe include:
- Whole milk: I like to make this rich so I go with whole milk for the best richness, consistency and flavor.
- Granulated sugar: I don’t like this super sweet but you can add more sugar to taste. Brown sugar works great too.
- Long grain rice: Other types of rice will work well too, such as jasmine rice or medium grain rice.
- Salt: Just standard table salt or sea salt will work great here.
- Vanilla: This gives it a great background flavor and adds more of a dessert taste.
- Ground cinnamon (optional): It can be definitely be made without but I prefer the flavor with. If you love cinnamon feel free to double up the amount.
- Raisins (optional): If you aren’t a fan of raisins then feel free to leave this out. Brown, red or golden raisins work great.
How to Make Rice Pudding
- Mix ingredients in saucepan: In a medium non-stick saucepan whisk together milk, sugar, rice, salt and cinnamon.
- Simmer uncovered: Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat then reduce to low and let simmer, uncovered until rice is tender and mixture has thickened, stirring frequently, about 30 – 35 minutes.
- Mix in raisins if using and vanilla: Remove from heat, stir in raisins and vanilla let rest a few minutes before serving. Note that it will thicken more as it cools, thin with a little milk if desired.
Can it be made with cooked leftover rice?
Yes. To prepare with cooked rice:
- You’ll need 3 cups cooked rice for this recipe.
- Simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes.
- Sweeten to taste with more sugar.
How to Cook it in the Slow Cooker
Another option to make this rice pudding is to cook in a crockpot, to do so:
- Pour 2 Tbsp melted butter into 4 quart slow cooker.
- Mix in 3 cups milk, 2/3 cup long grain rice, 1/3 cup sugar (or more to taste), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 tsp vanilla.
- Cover and cook on low heat about 4 – 5 hours.
How long does rice pudding keep?
It should keep well in the fridge for about 3 days.
Can it be frozen?
Yes. It can be frozen in an airtight container up to 3 months. Thaw overnight.
How to Reheat
To rewarm you can reheat in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally and thinning with more milk.
Is rice pudding healthy?
A common question people want answered is whether or not rice pudding is healthy. I think it’s a good dessert choice. And it’s definitely a smarter option than say a slice of cake, which is usually jam packed with sugar and refined white flour.
It’s not a health food but I think it’s a better option.
It still has added sugar. To make it healthier you can sweeten it with something else like a few tablespoons honey or maple syrup, and also consider switching to low fat milk.
Is rice pudding gluten-free?
This recipe is naturally gluten-free just be sure to use ingredients that are labeled gluten-free to avoid cross contamination in facilities that may produce or package other products that have gluten.
A traditional way to prepare it here in the U.S., Mexico and other countries is to add cinnamon and raisins but there are so many variations on this treat. Here are a few ideas:
- Add coconut and coconut extract. Replace half of the whole milk with canned coconut milk.
- Finish with fresh fruit like diced mangoes, strawberries, bananas or cherries.
- Drizzle with a fruit sauce.
- Flavor with citrus (lemon, lime or orange zest).
- Use other spices like nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, anise, cloves, allspice or try with a whole cinnamon stick.
- Sweeten with other things like date syrup, brown sugar or honey.
- Try it with nuts like pistachios, almonds or walnuts. Adding at the end or garnishing servings.
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- In a medium non-stick saucepan whisk together milk, sugar, rice, salt and cinnamon.
- Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat then reduce to low and let simmer, uncovered until rice is tender and mixture has thickened, stirring frequently, about 30 - 35 minutes (note that mixture will thicken more as it cools).
- Remove from heat, stir in raisins and vanilla let rest a few minutes before serving. Dust servings with more cinnamon.
- *Another sweetener may be substituted like brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.