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.

Rice pudding in a blue and white tea cup stacked in another tea cup.

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Rice Pudding

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.  A lot of his recipes have been passed down and I’m going to share them with all of you. 🙂

This Old Fashioned 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.

three tea cups with rice pudding in them with cinnamon sprinkled on top

What is Rice Pudding?

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.

rice pudding in a blue and white tea cup with cinnamon being sprinkled on top

How To Make Rice Pudding From Scratch

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.

  1. Add the milk, rice, salt, vanilla bean and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer.
  4. Cook until the rice is tender and the pudding has reduced.
  5. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.
  6. Stir in the butter, vanilla bean seeds or extract.
  7. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  8. Chill for 1 hour or overnight.
  9. Serve warm or chilled.

Tips for Perfect Rice Pudding

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 (we use these), 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, and you can order here.

This is the Cadillac of vanilla and is a pantry investment but the flavor is other level amazing. It’s a great substitute for vanilla beans and extract.

rice pudding in a blue and white mug with a spoon digging into it.

How To Store Rice Pudding

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.

How To Serve It

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 with a dusting wand, drizzle with chocolate sauce or stir in some cinnamon sugar. 

More Easy Pudding Recipes

I think my pop-pop would have been please with this Rice Pudding…being that it really is the Best Rice Pudding recipe ever. 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!

Looking for another sweet rice treat? This Mango Sticky Rice is simply amazing!

The Very Best Chocolate Pudding |


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

Get the Recipe: Easy Rice Pudding Recipe

Simple and classic, the very BEST Rice Pudding recipe is sweet, creamy and satisfying.
4.45 from 18 votes


  • 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.
Calories: 292kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 252mg, Potassium: 350mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 483IU, Calcium: 283mg, Iron: 1mg