Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

Creamy, sweet and so, so easy to make. This Old Fashioned Rice Pudding recipe is classic and comforting. Made in one pot with just a few ingredients like rice, milk, sugar and vanilla…cooked until thick, then served warm or chilled. This Rice Pudding will be a go-to dessert recipe for years to come.

Creamy rice pudding in a blue and white coffee cup with cinnamon on top.


Ahhhh, rice pudding.  Anytime I stuff a spoonful of it into my mouth it instantly takes me back to my childhood….to my pop-pop’s kitchen….to happy, comforting memories.  He made this all the time and he was my very favorite person way back then.

I have so many memories cooking with my pop-pop that, now that I’m thinking of it, he was the person that influenced me most in the kitchen. He was my hero…a Polish WWII veteran who bravely brought his entire family here to the US to start a new life. I’m so glad he did…I’ll share more about him another time.  A lot of his recipes have been passed down and I’m going to share them with all of you. 🙂

The Very Best Rice Pudding recipe is what I remember pop-pop’s version to be like.  Nobody really knows the exact measurements of everything he used so I had to guesstimate a bit. All I know is he was adamant about using Carolina rice…which I’m not sure if it’s medium grain, long grain, or arborio…so some testing had to be done since I couldn’t find “Carolina” rice.

I settled on medium grain because it held together well and didn’t get too mushy when cooked for a long time. The arborio remained a bit to al dente for my liking so we’ll keep that for risotto.

Overhead shot of rice pudding in a mug on a blue wicker placemat.



Rice Pudding is a dish that’s made by cooking rice with milk and can be made sweet or savory. For a dessert style rice pudding, the mixture is commonly cooked with a sweetener like sugar or honey.

Raisins and cinnamon is added to a lot of rice pudding recipes but this easy rice pudding is made with a hint of vanilla. We do sprinkle a little cinnamon on top from time to time but it’s not cooked into the dish as many other recipes do.

Cinnamon being sprinkled on top of rice pudding in a blue and white mug.


This creamy rice pudding recipe is easy to make and doesn’t take much time at all.  Some readers have mentioned stirring an egg yolk into it at the end but we don’t do that here. I don’t like the egg flavor because it makes it taste more like a custard than a pudding.

Combine the milk, rice, salt, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Cook until the rice is tender and the pudding has reduced to about 3 1/2 cups. Continue to stir constantly to prevent scorching.
Remove the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.
Stir in the butter, vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract.
Transfer the pudding to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
Chill for 1 hour or overnight.
Serve warm or chilled.


Be sure to cook the pudding long enough…undercooking the pudding will cause it to be soupy…still tasty but not thick like pudding. A good way to check if it’s cooked long enough is to run your finger along the back of your spoon to see if you can draw a line that doesn’t seep back together….if the line remains, you have pudding!


If you have a bit of sticker shock with vanilla beans, you can certainly use vanilla extract. But I love the look of the flecks throughout the pudding and the flavor can’t be beat. Another alternative would be Vanilla Bean Paste, which I LOVE, but I ran out and my grocery store hasn’t restocked it in months. So, beans it was!

rice pudding being scooped up with a spoon.


You can store your stovetop rice pudding in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.  

I don’t recommend freezing rice pudding because the consistency will change upon thawing.


We like to serve our rice pudding with a dollop of this homemade whipped cream that takes about 2 minutes to make. 

You can also sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top, drizzle with chocolate sauce or stir in some cinnamon sugar. 


I think my pop-pop would have been please with this Old Fashioned Rice Pudding…being that it really is the Best Rice Pudding. It’s comfort food at it’s finest….just like this vanilla pudding. Or if you have a chocolate craving, try this one. Or have a pudding buffet with all three. I’m sure nobody would mind.

We also love this easy Butterscotch Pudding and it’s just as easy to make in minutes!

The Very Best Chocolate Pudding | TheSuburbanSoapbox.com


Creamy rice pudding in a blue and white coffee cup with cinnamon on top.

The Very Best Rice Pudding Recipe

Simple and classic, the very BEST Rice Pudding recipe is sweet, creamy and satisfying.
4.55 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 292 kcal


  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup raw medium-grain white rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean split, or 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • In a large saucepan, add the milk, rice, salt, vanilla bean (if using, extract...don't add it yet.) and sugar over medium heat.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Uncover and continue to simmer until the rice is tender and the pudding has reduced to about 3 1/2 cups. Continue to stir constantly to prevent scorching.
  • Fish out the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract.
  • Transfer the pudding to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Chill for 1 hour or overnight.
  • Serve warm or chilled.


Serving: 1gCalories: 292kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 9gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 251mgPotassium: 348mgFiber: 0gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 485IUCalcium: 282mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword rice pudding
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


36 comments on “Old Fashioned Rice Pudding”

  1. I don’t have unsalted butter cab I use salted butter but leave out the salt

  2. Excellent recipe 🙂

  3. I’ll never eat store bought rice pudding again – this is fantastic!!

  4. I have been craving rice pudding. So I didn’t have enough milk about 4 cups and I noticed in my pantry I had condensed sweet milk. So I followed your recipe but I didn’t add the butter or the sugar due to the condensed milk and it came out so creamy and perfect sweetness. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I’m excited to try this recipe it sounds soooo yummy! I want to cook the rice with cinnamon sticks. Should I? And if so how many? Thanks!

  6. Just a GREAT recipe for some of the best comfort food ever invented.
    Add some golden raisins, add boiled hot water to raisins to plump them up, drain and add raisins to pudding.
    Puts this great recipe over the top.

  7. Great recipe..very creamy and tasty!

  8. Cooking nowsuper excited! Carolina rice is a brand name, grown in USA ( in case you haven’t figured that out yet). You could buy online

  9. Hi great recipe Taste absolutely wonderful the only thing is mine came out a bit too creamy not like the picture at all still tasted very good I didn’t have cinnamon sticks so I used a little cinnamon in the recipe I use 8 cups of whole milk and it just wasn’t producing enough even after about a half hour 35 minutes but still tasted wonderful I’m wondering if I should use a little less milk next time thank you so much for the wonderful recipe

  10. What an awesome rice pudding recipe! I was craving some of my Dad’s rice pudding after recently buying some store bought stuff. That stuff just doesn’t cut the mustard- the ratios are all wrong and there’s not enough rice and too much gluggy milk. Blegh! 

    I clicked on this because it looked so rice-packed and delicious! Mine turned out great! It took a while to cook and a little longer than 15 mins to thicken up but the result was exactly what I needed. 

    Thanks for the awesome recipe. I’ll be thinking of you and your Pop every time I make it now

    • Awww, I’m so glad you loved it! This is, by far, my favorite comfort food and I’m thrilled that it’s exactly what you were looking for. Thank you for your comment!

  11. I made this recipe but altered it a little because I didn’t have whole milk and only long grain rice. I used 5 cups of 2%milk and 1 cup of 35% cream. I followed the directions as per the recipe and it was absolutely amazing.

  12. Great Recipe. 

  13. Do you think I could use non-dairy milk?

  14. I just tried it using cashew milk, and Earth Balance butter, and it was delicious!  I added some raisins and some cinnamon. I ended up having to cook it for a lot longer than what is stated in the recipe.  Perfect!  This recipe is a keeper,

  15. How does jasmine rice work for the rice pudding?

  16. Can you use a rice cooker?

  17. Loved the rice pudding

  18. This is a very good recipe. Family loves it. I make it with golden raisins that have been soaked. Adds another dimension. 

  19. Gisela here again, golden raisins soaked in RUM. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.