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Published April 17, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This delicious classic creamy vanilla rice pudding recipe topped off with raisins is the perfect after-dinner dessert or daytime treat.
Rice pudding is in almost every country globally, and each version has a slight variation. In the middle east, it might be spiked with anise or cardamom. In Sri Lankan, it is cooked with coconut milk. No matter where you are, each country has a slightly different version of rice pudding.
Some places use short grain rice others use long-grain or even medium, and it’s really about what you have available to make it work for you.
One thing remains the same, and that is that you need rice, milk, and sugar, and from there, anything goes.
How to Make It
Bring a sliced vanilla bean with seeds and pod, milk, sugar, salt, and rice to a rolling simmer over medium heat while continuing to stir.
Turn the heat down to low and cook while stirring every 2-3 minutes until it becomes thick, similar to a thinned-out risotto.
Remove the vanilla pods and stir in an egg yolk and ground cinnamon and chill until cold.
Serve with raisins.
Rice Pudding With Leftover Rice
My mom used to make rice pudding with any leftover rice all the time. It used to gross me out for some reason, but now I love it. To make it, you follow the same instructions as this recipe, except you use half the amount of milk and sugar.
Since the rice is already cooked, you don’t need as much milk, but don’t worry, as it will still taste the same.
How to make it Extra Creamy
There are a few tricks to making rice pudding extra creamy:
- Be sure to cook it slow and low and give the milk time to combine with the starch from the rice to thicken up naturally.
- Once it is finished and cooled, serve it with a scoop of whipped cream.
There are quite a few things you can put into rice pudding or even on top. Here are some of my favorites:
- Dried Cherries
- Lemon Zest or Juice
- Brown Sugar
Please do not let any of these optional ingredients limit your creativity, as there are many more ingredients you can add to it.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 3 days ahead of time. Keep it in the refrigerator before serving.
How to Store: Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This does not freeze well.
chef notes + tips
- If you don’t have a vanilla bean, then use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and put it in right after you add in the cinnamon for maximum flavor.
- When it comes to adding in fruit or nuts, you can incorporate them when stirring in the cinnamon or add them right before serving. I prefer to add at the end before serving.
- To cool the rice pudding faster, spread it out on a sheet tray or in a casserole dish first before placing it in the refrigerator.
More Easy Dessert Recipes
Creamy Rice Pudding Recipe
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3 ½ cups whole milk
- Heaping 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2/3 cup medium-grain rice
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup raisins
- Slice the vanilla bean in half longways and scrape out all of the seeds using a knife. Place the seeds and hollowed out vanilla bean pods in a medium-size saucepot.
- Add the milk, sugar, salt, and rice to the pot with the vanilla and bring to a rolling simmer over medium heat while constantly stirring.
- Turn the heat down to low and stir every 2-3 minutes for 20-25 minutes until the rice is soft and the mixture is relatively thick, like a thin risotto.
- Remove the vanilla pods and stir in the egg yolk and cinnamon until completely mixed in.
- Transfer the rice to a casserole dish and spread out. Chill for 30-40 minutes or until cold.
- Serve with raisins.