Rice Pudding

4.47 from 101 votes

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This is the easiest Rice Pudding recipe and will forever feel like home to me. This creamy rice pudding, or as we call it “mliako s oriz,” is a staple in 🇧🇬 Bulgaria. I vividly remember being served rice pudding as a post-nap snack in kindergarten 🎒. Isn’t it funny how we can remember something so vividly from such a young age? The smallest gestures often make for the fondest memories, and it’s a feeling that I will forever hold close to my heart. I know that most countries around the world have their own version of 🍚 rice with milk, so let me know where you’re from and what you call this delicious treat in your language. This version is my dad’s and it’s creamiest homemade rice pudding ever!

Why You’ll Love Rice Pudding

This Rice Pudding is comfort food in a 🥣 bowl. It comes together really quickly and uses the simplest of ingredients we all usually have on hand. The result is a creamy bowl that makes a great snack or dessert. The kids will love the pudding texture and sweet vanilla flavors. You can also have fun with additional ingredients, such as cinnamon, 🍋 lemon zest or dried fruit. However you make it, this dish is like a big hug!

How to Prepare Rice Pudding

💧 Start by rinsing the rice really well.

🔥 Now, add water to a pot over medium-high heat and let it come to a boil. Then add in the rinsed rice and reduce the heat to low.

♨️ Put a lid on the pot, leaving an opening on the side, and then let it boil until the water has fully evaporated.

🍚 Once the rice is 90% cooked and the water has fully absorbed into the rice, remove it from the heat.

🥛 Next, in a separate pot, add the milk, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Let it come to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves.

🥄 Add in the cooked rice and stir the whole time, until the mixture thickens. This can take up to 10 minutes on medium heat.

😋 Then carefully taste the rice and when it’s fully cooked and thickened, you can take it off the heat.

🥄 Last but not least, stir in the pure vanilla bean paste or extract.

🥣 Pour the pudding into ramekins (glasses or bowls) and enjoy warm or let it cool completely, cover it, and transfer it to the refrigerator.

Nonna’s Tip 🍚

The rice should be 90% cooked before you add it into the milk. It should be al-dente and have a little bite to it so it finishes cooking with the milk.

Rice Pudding

Variations and Substitutions for Rice Pudding

  1. You can use any short-grain 🍚 rice, Italian-style rice, or arborio rice for this Rice Pudding.
  2. For a dairy-free alternative, you can certainly try coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk instead.
  3. Feel free to add in raisins, lemon zest, or anything you enjoy to your rice pudding. In Bulgaria, we like it plain.

Similar Recipes

Best Served With

  • Serve Rice Pudding with a variety of fresh 🫐 fruit for a light snack or simple dessert.
  • Sprinkle the Rice Pudding with nuts and toasted 🥥 coconut.
  • For some additional sweetness, you can serve Rice Pudding with a drizzle of 🍯 honey or even chocolate sauce.
  • Serve the Rice Pudding with a selection of 🍪 cookies for a little crunchy contrast to the creamy pudding. Try my Honey Cookies or Italian Amaretti Cookies.

Common Questions

How do I make sure that the rice isn’t overcooked?

The rice should be 90% cooked before you add it into the milk. It should be al-dente and have a little bite to it so it finishes cooking with the milk.

can I cook the rice in a rice cooker instead of the stovetop?

Yes, you can certainly use a rice cooker if you have one.

How long will this Rice pudding last in the fridge?

You can store the pudding in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat until piping hot on the stove or in the microwave.

can I freeze rice pudding?

Yes, you can freeze rice pudding by adding the pudding into freeze-safe bags, leaving about an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion. Freeze flat for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave using the defrost setting.

Why do I need to rinse the rice?

Rinsing the rice removes excess starch, preventing it from becoming too sticky and will help you achieve the right creamy texture.

What can I use instead of a cinnamon stick?

You can use about 1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) of ground cinnamon as a substitute for the cinnamon stick.

Can I add other flavorings or spices to the rice pudding?

Yes, you can customize your rice pudding with additional flavorings such as nutmeg, cardamom, lemon zest or almond extract. You could also add in some raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruits.

Why are the metric weights of your ingredients different than the results of google and my kitchen scale?

While 1 cup of flour weighs 130g in my kitchen, it might weigh anywhere from 120 to 145g in your kitchen and there are a few reasons for that. It depends on what brand of ingredients you’re using, what brand and style (wet vs dry) of measuring cups and spoons you’re using, and how you are measuring your food into cups: scooping and leveling verses spooning the ingredients into the cup measure.

Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

This Rice Pudding recipe is my dad’s version and it is the creamiest and easiest 4-ingredient rice pudding ever! The fillings are all optional, and you can add anything you like, such as cinnamon, lemon zest, or raisins.
4.47 from 101 votes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Bulgarian
Servings: 3 servings
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup Italian style rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar

Additional Ingredients

Instructions 

  • Rinse the rice really well. To a pot, add the water and let it come to a boil. Add in the rinsed rice and reduce the heat to low.
  • Put a lid on the pot, leaving an opening on the side, and let it boil until the water has fully evaporated.
  • Once the rice is 90% cooked and the water has fully absorbed into the rice, remove it from the heat.
  • In a separate pot, add the milk, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Let it come to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add in the cooked rice and stir the whole time, until the mixture thickens. This can take up to 10 minutes on medium heat. You don't want the milk to burn so keep stirring and reduce the heat to medium-low if you need to.
  • Carefully taste the rice and when it's fully cooked and thick, you can take it off the heat. Make sure to blow on it so you don't burn your mouth when you taste it.
  • Last but not least, stir in the pure vanilla bean paste or extract. Pour the pudding into ramekins (glasses or bowls) and enjoy warm or let it cool completely, cover it, and transfer into the fridge. If you like rice pudding warm or cold it's totally up to preference. I personally like both! Enjoy.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcal, Carbohydrates: 95g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 71mg, Potassium: 302mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 41g, Vitamin A: 267IU, Vitamin C: 0.04mg, Calcium: 219mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Bulgarian
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Share your pictures or videos of you making my recipes by mentioning #themodernnonna on all socials ❤️

Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

4.47 from 101 votes (82 ratings without comment)

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51 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    i wanted to make some rice pudding before iftar i realized how bad i’m at following basic instructions i might have done rice the old fashion way and put it with water and let it cook 90% but i made the rest of it the rice is not fluffy but it sure smells delicious can’t wait to eat it at iftar 😉

  2. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! It tastes exactly how my gma used to make & I never imagined how easy it would be!!! We’ve made it a couple times now & I just wanted to say thank you!

    1. You’re so welcome, Lyndsay, I’m so glad it reminds you of family. That means the world to me. 😍🥰❤️

  3. I made this as instructed with Arborio rice. For some reason, it came out more rice than pudding. It lost its creaminess somewhere along the way. It’s tasty, but not what I was expecting. I think I will warm up individual portions with some added milk, to loosen it up and hopefully give it some creaminess. Any idea what went wrong?

    1. Hi Naomi, I used a different type of rice for this recipe (arborio works too) but yes, you can always add more milk to adjust the consistency.

  4. I have never made rice pudding but am looking for a recipe. My grandmother use to make it all the time and I loved it. I’m just curious why you cook the rice separate first before adding to the milk. Why not cook in the milk starting out?

    1. Hi Lisa,
      You definitely can but I feel like milk can burn easily and the rice sticks to the bottom. You will require more as the rice is still hard before it evaporates. Please try it my way and see.

  5. 5 stars
    Yum!!!!
    It took me a bit longer to make this but I think it was because I didn’t have the heat high enough when I combined the rice and milk. Also, I used jasmine rice because that’s all I had and it turned out great, what a treat!

  6. 5 stars
    Oh my Lord!!!!
    This pudding is absolutely HEAVENLY!!!!
    Just INCREDIBLE!!
    You killed it!!
    I have eaten a lot of rice pudding in my life, but none come even close to this!!
    Keep it up and thank you!!
    Fantastic as always !!