This is an effortless, straightforward recipe for an ultra creamy rice pudding. With a hint of cinnamon and handful of sultanas, this cosy dessert for cold winter nights is delicious served plain, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream will take it over the top!
Creamy Rice Pudding
I am pretty sure this is the ultimate emergency cosy winter dessert.
It takes all of 5 minutes to prep.
It’s completely effortless – just pour everything into a baking dish, then pop it in the oven.
It’s extremely low risk – all sorts of outcome variables are easy to rectify and adjust.
There’s no need to fuss with compotes or other toppings – it is really really good straight out of the pot as is (unlike plain rice pudding which I find desperately needs a fruit compote or something to dress it up).
And it’s terrifically economical, calling for just a handful of ingredients!
What goes in Cinnamon Rice Pudding
Here’s what you need to make this cinnamon Rice Pudding:
The best rice for rice pudding – medium grain white rice or risotto rice
The rice type is really important for the desired outcome (she says wearily, after having tried 10 or so batches using various rice types – half the Northern Beaches have received samples of various versions I’ve made over the past few weeks!)
Medium grain rice – In my view, the best rice (by a long shot) is medium grain white rice. It makes a creamy rice pudding with rice grains that are soft but not mushy (read: baby food). The rice and creamy sauce meld together beautifully, almost becoming one without being mush, and it’s certainly the benchmark for upscale restaurants.
Risotto rice (arborio rice) is just as good – but requires more liquid and takes slightly longer to cook.
Jasmine rice & short grain rice – If you want very (very) soft rice (borderline mushy), then short grain white rice or jasmine rice is the go.
Long grain rice – If you want firm rice grains, then use long grain white rice. There is no in between for long grain white rice – it’s either firm (ie you can feel the grains in your mouth, by it is cooked of course) or if overcooked it breaks down into unpleasant mush.
Brown rice really isn’t to my taste – it’s just too firm for rice pudding.
Basmati rice – I haven’t tried it with basmati rice because I don’t associate the flavour with rice pudding, but I suspect it will be like long grain.
And a quick note on the other ingredients!
- Milk – any fat % is fine. I haven’t tried with non dairy but see no reason why it wouldn’t work. Coconut milk also works great but I’d change the flavour profile (see recipe notes for adjustments);
- Butter – a good smear on the baking dish for flavour and stop it catching on the sides;
- Sugar – I only use 1/3 cup which isn’t a lot given it makes about 5 cups of pudding. I’d say this rice pudding borders on “just sweet enough”, definitely not too sweet;
- Cream – just a bit, stirred through at the end, to add a subtle richness to the mouthfeel and also makes the sauce whiter (it comes out a bit brown from the cinnamon). Sub with butter – it has a similar effect;
- Sultanas or raisins – I find 1/2 cup is enough which doesn’t sound like a lot but you will be surprised how much it swells!
How to make rice pudding – in the oven
A notorious problem with stovetop rice pudding is that it catches on the base of the pot due to the sugar. So stovetop recipes call for constant stirring, like with risottos.
Just bake it. So much easier, just as creamy. Dump and bake, and stir just twice during the bake time.
What to serve with Cinnamon Rice Pudding
If it’s a plain vanilla rice pudding (and you can totally do that by leaving out the cinnamon and sultanas in this recipe) then I really feel like you need a fruit compote or similar to put on top, like the Strawberry Sauce in this Cheesecake, to turn it into a dessert that I can get really excited about.
But with just a little bit of cinnamon and sultanas, it takes the bland into OMG this is sooooo good! territory which is where I always like my food to be.
Then to take it over the top, try it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. In my simple mind, this takes it from a quick dessert for a family meal, to guest worthy. It’s that addictive combination of warm creamy, cold creamy that we love with all our favourite cosy desserts, like Apple Crumble, Chocolate Pudding, Butterscotch Pudding.
Effortless cosy food. It’s got my name written all over it! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Creamy Cinnamon Rice Pudding (really easy!)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter , for greasing
- 4 cups milk (full or reduced fat, Note 1)
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup medium grain rice – definitely the best for rice pudding (Note 2)
- 1/2 cup sultanas or raisins (Note 3)
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup cream , thickened/heavy (or bit of butter)
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all types).
Grease a 10 cup+ casserole dish with butter.
Place milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until the surface is foamy – do not boil, it will split.
Place rice, sultanas and cinnamon in baking dish. Pour over milk, give it a brief stir then cover with lid or foil.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to break up the rice that starts to set on the base.
After 1 hour, remove from oven and add cream. Give it a good stir – it will look a bit watery straight out of the oven but it evaporates quickly. I like mine creamy so it oozes when you serve it.
Serve immediately, just as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you want to take it over the top!
For coconut milk, use 2 cups coconut milk and 1 cup water in place of dairy milk (but skip the cinnamon, I’d stir through some lime zest at the end and top with pineapple or mango for a tropical / South East Asian style)
2. Rice – I’ve tried all sorts of rice types and uncooked medium grain is by far the best for rice pudding, followed by risotto rice.
Risotto rice (arborio) – add 1 cup (250ml) water into the saucepan with milk, and cook for 1 hr 20 minutes.
3. Sultanas / raisins – either is fine. I know 1/2 cup doesn’t sound like much but they expand about 3 – 4 times their size. Feel free to use other dried fruit of choice.
4. Cook times / tweaking – rice might take longer if your oven runs weak or you use a different type of rice. Just cover and keep cooking, adding water as necessary (you won’t need more milk), until the rice is cooked to your taste and it’s creamy as pictured in the video.
If it gets too thick, then just add hot water to loosen it up.
5. Storage – will firm up as it cools. Heat in microwave and add a splash of water to loosen it up. It reheats very well if you use medium grain rice (other rices are too temperamental and will either turn to mush or stay too hard).
6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings.
More Cosy Desserts
Warm, cosy desserts for cold winter nights!
Life of Dozer
Wondering if he should clean up that dollop of rice pudding on the bench… the answer is NO! His cleaning duties are restricted to floor level only.
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