Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding - Num's the Word
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Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding


This Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding is simple to make and highlights the flavor of vanilla as the crown jewel. A favorite recipe of mine with a sprinkle of cinnamon!

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Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding - Main image for website - looking down at bowl of pudding

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Truth: I have spent most of my adult life looking for a good {and easy} Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding.

I’m not kidding, I really have.

I have tried so so SOOO many recipes for rice pudding and really have been disappointed with all of them.



Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding - in pot just cooked



Some Classic Vanilla Rice Puddings were soupy, others a lump of mush.

A few rice pudding recipes had eggs, while others did not.

Some were bland and some were a bit odd tasting.

Because of this, I’m ALWAYS on the hunt for a good recipe and ask everyone if they have a good rice pudding recipe.



Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding - zoomed in photo of pudding in pot



Disclaimer: EVERYONE thinks they have a really good rice pudding recipe – which is why I’ve tried countless recipes and never quite been satisfied.

I wanted to find a simple on the stove recipe that didn’t require hours of baking and had zero eggs.

Really, milk and rice when cooked together will give a good pudding consistency so no need to add eggs.



Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding - in bowl view from above



Finally I tried this recipe.

The recipe was a PERFECT pudding consistency (not liquid or glue) and it was incredibly easy to make.

This recipe highlights vanilla as the main flavor component, though you could add raisins or nutmeg or heaps of cinnamon to match your preferred childhood memory.

I however like the simpleness of the vanilla.



Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding - in bowl looking down with cinnamon on top



It’s not dramatic, or over the top or flashy.

It’s classic, elegant and delicious.

This recipe was a winner in our house and I hope it will be in your house too!



Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding - spoon full of rice pudding with cinnamon on top.



There really is nothing better than a bowl of classic vanilla rice pudding to put you in a nostalgic mood full of childhood memories.

I will point out one thing though, I think this tastes better warm than cold.

So if you have leftovers, store them in your fridge and nuke them the next time you want a tasty treat!


Yield: 4 Servings

Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding

Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 3 cups of whole milk - a full fat milk like whole will give the best results - anything low fat will be thin and runny.
  • 1/3 cup of uncooked rice (we used Jasmine)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • cinnamon


In a sauce pan, bring milk to a boil.
Add rice and stir well.
Cook covered with lid cracked for 40 minutes - 1 hour over medium heat, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
Mixture should be thickened.
Add sugar and vanilla and stir.
Let sit for 10 minutes to allow sugar to dissolve and flavors to blend.
Spoon into dishes and sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon.


Originally Posted: May 19, 2016

Updated: December 2, 2017

85 thoughts on “Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding

  1. I have had the same problem making rice pudding…Is the rice in your recipe any type of white rice? Will long, medium or short rice all work? Thanks!

    • Rhonda I need you in my life! Great question! I’ll update the recipe to reflect the answer. I used Jasmine rice. It’s the only kid I ever use and I use it for everything. I love the flavor of it and it works great in every dish I’ve ever made and it’s a pretty common rice. I hope you give it a try. I’d love to know what your thoughts!

    • Hi Brianna! 1 Pint equals 2 cups of liquid. So 2 cups of half and half. I’ll update the recipe to show the cup measurements. At the store though, if you are in the US, you’ll want to look for a pint carton of half and half. They don’t list “cups” on the carton just 1/2 pint, pint & quart. 🙂 I hope this helps!

    • Sheryl, I’m so happy to hear this! Cooking time completely depends on the heat you use but if it doesn’t thicken in the amount of time written, always cook a bit longer like you did! I’m so glad you loved it! You’ve made my day!

  2. I have been craving rice pudding lately and like you, I just couldn’t find one I liked. Then I tried this recipe….it cant get any simpler and its soo creamy! Though I did make a couple changes, one out of necessity – turns out I didn’t have enough milk in the house so I used a can of coconut milk and then added milk to get to the 3 cup mark. When I took it off the heat, since I used coconut milk I added coconut extract instead of the vanilla to boost that flavor and finally added half a teaspoon of butter for a touch more richness. I think this might be the only rice pudding recipe i use from now on. Thanks!! Craving is now satisfied lol

    • Jane you’ve made my day! I’m so glad you loved it! Love the idea of adding coconut milk and turning this into coconut rice pudding! Yum! I’m sensing a future Num’s recipe right here!

  3. This sounds like the same recipe my X mother-in-law used to make. She would put it on a oven safe platter and spread butter on it sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar then put it under the broiler to carmelize the sugar. Yum. I have never found the recipe. Thanks for sharing I can’t wait to try it.

  4. It looks yummy!!! I ve a question , if I wanna add Nutella or peanut butter to make many flavored, at which step shoul I add the Nutella or the peanut butter?? And the quantity ???
    Another question pls, if I used the normal rice, should I use the same quantity ???

    • Hi Sara! I’m not sure what you mean by normal rice? Any rice (aside from Minute Rice) will work. As far as the Peanut Butter or Nutella, I don’t know. I’ve never tried to make Peanut Butter or Nutella Rice Pudding. However if you do, let me know how it turns out.

  5. Love this recipe! I needed to use up the rest of some half and half and cream. I used 2% milk to make the rest of the 3 cups. I cooked it a little longer and added some nutmeg with the cinnamon on top. So good! Keeper!

  6. I used whole milk and regular white rice and after over 40 minutes I was left with hot milk and cooked rice with no thickening. I added the sugar and a bit of cornstarch (as the liquid was about what I use in another pudding recipe) and it thickened right up and turned out perfect. Any trick for getting the milk and rice to actually thicken on their own?

    • Sarah cook it longer next time. I’m actually going to be playing with the recipe this next week as I’ve had a few people tell me it’s not turned out for them and loads of others say it has. So I’m going to see if I can figure out why it’s working for some and not others. Just cook it longer next time until it does thicken. Eventually it will.

  7. Hello

    I tried this recipe and it was actually delicious but I would like to maybe mention to first timers who are making this recipe a few things.

    Firstly, don’t cook this on high because it burns everything…If you bring the milk to boil then add your rice and turn down to a medium low heat (or simmer) then the heat is sufficient enough to cook the rice and milk together.

    Secondly, the method calls to have the lid on the pot while simmering the ingredients for 30-45 minutes. If you do this milk will just boil over causing you a mess. I had to opt for having the lid half on and off so steam can escape the pot. It becomes a mess when you don’t do this and I think stirring more than once is important because everything just sticks to the bottom of the pan when you don’t stir often.

    Thirdly; serving suggestion says 4 but it’s really only enough as a treat for 2. If you wanted a generous serving for a family of 4 maybe double the batch? This is just a suggestion.

    Other wise yummm – I will be using this recipe again it’s really creamy and full of flavour 🙂

  8. I was really excited about the simplicity of this pudding. I used 1/3 cup of Jasmine rice and cooked for 40 minutes covered and the milk didn’t thicken much at all. I just have hot milk with rice in it 🙁 What did I do wrong?

    • Katie did you use a full fat milk like whole milk? It is key to use a HIGH fat milk or it will be soup. Also some people have said they’ve had to cook it up to 90 minutes before they got the thickened results but it was worth it in the end. Sorry it was more soup than pudding for you!

  9. I’m from Denmark where rice pudding is very common.
    I use pearl rice
    190 grams
    1 liter milk whole milk is best
    1 cup water

    Water in a pot bring to a boil add the rice and boil for two min.
    Add milk little by little while stirring
    When you see bubbles come set heat on low and put on a lid.
    Stir often….you will know when it is done.
    Don’t scrape the bottom.
    Add a pinch of salt.
    We eat it with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar with a dollop of butter in the middle….yummy!

  10. Mine didn’t seem to thicken up as much as I was expecting. What stove top temp did you keep it at? Simmering for 30 to 40 mins or mid high heat??

  11. This pudding is delicious!!! I’ve made it more than once, cooking time for me (I’ve used different types of rice) has always been at least 90 minutes. Cooked over med/med low heat on a gas stove, using All-Clad cookware… So glad I ran across this recipe, yummy!!

    • Hi Linda! Thanks for letting us know! Cooking time I’m learning depends on the cookware you use as well as the fat content in the milk. But it’s nice to know that in an All-Clad pan it takes about 90 minutes.

  12. Diana’s comment includes essential tips.

    Despite using all those modifications, my milk kept boiling over. I kept adjusting and adjusting, and ended up cooking it over low, stirring constantly. For the last five minutes I left it on low heat, covered. A thin layer of rice ended up stuck to the bottom…

    Not sure how others were successful in leaving it covered on medium/low heat for 15 minutes without stirring?

    Mine still turned out delicious by the way. Thanks for the recipe.

  13. I too have been searching for the “perfect” rice pudding recipe, and honestly had given up! I then stumbled across your recipe while searching for Jasmin rice side recipes.
    I, as well as others had a “boil over” mess while bringing the milk up to a boil, but no worries, corrected that mess in a hurry.
    Although it took me about 50 mins cooking time and another ten for sugar/vanilla to meld, at the end of the day it was well worth it. (as another reviewer mentioned, I left the lid cracked and stirred every 6-8 mins)
    The only suggestion I will offer and for sure will try next time is to use a non-stick teflan (Tefal) pan.
    Great find for me and thanks for sharing!!

  14. I like this recipe. Used 1 cup of heavy cream and 2 cups of 1% milk and it came out really good. Would probably only use about half the sugar next time though.
    Thanks for the recipe!!

  15. This is the closest I have found to my mom’s sweet rice!!!!! She would often make it for breakfast. She added a few raisins after it was made, so I did, too! Mine only took 30 minutes. So good!!!!! Thanks for posting!!!!! I have made several messes trying to duplicate Moma’s. ?

    • Dona that is a great question. I’d add them at the same time as the sugar. That way they don’t get too plump like they’d get if adding them at the beginning. Enjoy!

  16. Doesn’t rice pudding have raisins in it
    Also what if u started with 2 cups of milk and less sugar don’t like real sweet

    • Hi Betty! Rice Pudding is just what it says. Rice Pudding. Raisins or nuts or anything else is an addition to the rice pudding. Some people love raisins, others not. You can certainly do 2 cups of milk and less sugar, but I’d lower the rice too as you need the moisture to cook the rice, so maybe 1/4 cup? Give it a try!

  17. I followed the recipe except I also added 2 cinnamon sticks to the milk while rice was cooking. Turned out great, thanks for sharing!

  18. I’m currently in the middle of making this! (Literally) And I’ve been reading comments, everyone’s saying their milk kept boiling over but I’ve had no problems with a low to medium heat and watching it consistently. Since I’m using 2% milk, it might be taking a tad longer to thicken but it’s definitely getting thicker around that time you provided, just need an additional 20 minutes. Hoping it’ll taste good, thanks for the recipe!

  19. I’m confuse on one of the steps. Step 4 states the mixture should be thicken, but with what? Another cup of milk or water? Just want to make sure I do this recipe right.

    • Shamya, the mixture will thicken on its own. You do not add anything to thicken it. After about 15 minutes or so, the mixture will thicken. 🙂 Hope that helps!

  20. any tips on how to avoid the milk from boiling over both before the rice is added and after? Also, is it normal to have a “skin” layer?

    • To avoid it from boiling over, crack your lid. This will help the steam get out without boiling over. If you are still boiling over, lower your temperature slightly. If a skin layer is happening, stir more frequently. Great questions!

    • Yes you can use 2% milk! It just wont have as much fat in it to thicken the rice pudding but should work fine! As far as condensed milk – that is too thick. Evaporated milk would be better. However you should be fine with 2%

    • I’ve often wondered how it would do in a rice cooker but have not tried. I always make my rice on the stove. However if you try it, let me know how it goes!

    • Hi Julie! I’ve not tried using leftover rice. When using uncooked rice, the rice absorbs much of the liquid. Because I’ve not done this, my suggestion is just a guess of trial and error. Try making the milk mixture as written without adding the rice. Once the milk mixture cooks down and begins to thicken, 15 – 20 minutes, then add your rice. Mix and cook until desired thickness. This is just a guess. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out!

  21. I followed your directions but I ended up with burned milk and rice. The good part tastes like burned rice. Any chances of getting rid of the burned taste?

    • Carla have you ever had luck getting rid of the burnt taste on toast or other foods? Sadly, once burned, it’s a gonner. Your heat must have been too high for it to burn. Sorry this happened. I hope you’ll try again at a lower temp.

  22. Been thinking about rice pudding for a while now, but have never made it so I was reluctant. I have a brother in law in NY State, who was a baker many years ago in Egypt where he perfected this stuff, and when I would visit NY he would make me several gallons to bring home with me (very little made it home). So today I found this recipe and low a behold, I had the ingredients on hand….. well…. almost. I wanted to double the recipe but didn’t have regular milk, just 2%, and only 5 cups. I did however have just one cup of heavy cream, so I mixed the two. Brought it to a boil, added 2/3 cup of the jasmine rice, turn the burner down. I have an electric stove, the dial goes from 1 to 9, then high (10?). I let the milk/rice simmer on 6 and set the timer for 40 minutes, Stirring the mixture every couple minutes. When I had 20 minutes left, it was thickening really well so I added the vanilla, sugar and some raisins. I turned the burner down to 4. Up to this point I have had no burning or scolding and didn’t want to chance it now. Another 5 minutes went by and my pudding was getting really thick. I knew once this got cold it would stiffen up more so I went a head and pulled it off the stove with 14 minutes left on the timer. I put it in a big bowl and in the fridge it went (once it cooled a bit). A few notes: first and foremost, this is an awesome recipe!!! Second, and for me equally important, more is not better. Well…… more rice pudding is better! When I looked at the recipe and seen 3 cups milk, 1/3 cup rice, that didn’t make since to me, I thought I would have need more rice……. I’m glad I listened for once. Same with sugar…. 1/4 of a cup? I like deserts on the sweet side but have read other reviews on other recipes were they said it was on the sweet side, so once again, I was torn, but followed the recipe. As far as time? Mine took 26 minutes from start to finish and I probably should have pulled it at 20 to 22 minutes to make it stay a little creamier as mine is solid now that it’s cold. Still very tasty and I could add milk to it now to loosen it up but I would rather fill up on great rice pudding rather than milk.

    Great recipe, I’ll definately keep this one and will be making it again!! Thanks for posting it.

    • Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment John! I am so relieved that you liked this recipe and didn’t change it initially. I’m a big believer in making a recipe as written the first time then tweaking after that, but that’s just me! The cooking time will depend on the heat of your stove but I’m so glad it worked out great! Thanks again for making my day with your lovely comment!

  23. Found this recipe and it’s perfect for me tweaked it a little by adding a bit more sugar and vanilla and it’s amazing.

  24. I am trying to duplicate my mom’s rice pudding but I have no recipe to follow. I so remember there were eggs (not sure if just yolks) and condensed milk. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Have you tried searching google for “rice pudding with eggs and condensed milk”? I don’t have a recipe for it with eggs or condensed milk. Sorry.

  25. This is the easiest, most fool-proof rice pudding recipe that I have found. I gave it my own touch with goat’s milk and heavy cream, instead of cow’s milk. Then, in addition to the sugar, I added cinnamon sticks, whole vanilla bean pod and innards, fresh ground cardamom, cloves, ground tumeric, touch of salt, and a touch of fresh ground pepper. I know, I’m over the top…. like it or don’t… but the possibilities for this stable-enough-to-mess-with recipe are endless. I’m southern so I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love rice pudding no matter how it’s fixed. I eat it for breakfast like I’m little Miss Muffet sitting on a tuffet . It’s hearty and satisfying. As I type this, I’m making it for the second time in a week (double batch this time) because one batch isn’t enough if I plan on sharing. Normally I don’t like to share food this good, but I felt sort of guilty for not letting anyone taste it last time, while still telling everyone how good it was, so that’s why I made double..
    Thank you for sharing a truly quintessential recipe, Janelle. This will be my go-to building block from now on.

    • Wow Stephanie! I’ve never thought to make this with goats milk. What great idea you’ve given. Thank you so much I am sure my other readers will love your suggestions too!

  26. Hi Janelle, I needed to use up some whole milk, so I was happy I found your simple recipe. The tips in the comments were very helpful for a first-time rice pudding maker. And this stuff is just so good, warm or cold. My dog goes crazy for it too, but she only gets a bite 😉

    • Michelle, this is the PERFECT way to use up some extra whole milk!! I’m so glad you found me! I hope you’ll give a few of my other recipes a try too!

  27. Help! I tried this and unless I was stirring almost constantly, it boiled over on the stove and smells terrible! What am I doing wrong. Followed recipe to a T.

    • Hi Shasta! If it’s boiling over, your heat is too high. The smell is from the liquid hitting your burner and the sugar burning. So lower your temperature. Remember every stove is different so on my stove medium is perfect. On yours, medium low might be better. Plus don’t forget the cracked lid! Hope that helps!

  28. Well all I can say is Thank you!! I love rice pudding, but couldn’t find an easy simple version until now.. So me & my caregiver/nurse will be making me some great rice pudding today! I will comment again when it’s cooked & I’m quite sure all gone.. Thanks again I’ve wanted this for so many years.

  29. I first commented on this recipe nearly two years ago and I can’t tell you how
    many times I have made it since then! These days though I don’t have much in the way of free time because of having to help care for my mom so when I get the craving for rice pudding I make it in my slow cooker. I use the smaller one I have – 3 qt size – and dump in the rice and milk….usually coconut milk now because I love that flavor so much lol and then cook it on low for about 3 hours. After that time I add the sugar and flavoring and leave the lid off for another half hour or so to finish thickening up. It comes out perfect every time and I don’t have to stand there stirring and worrying about boil overs that way!

  30. Wanted an egg free option, but I also wanted to use my Chinese rice (we never eat the white rice that comes with)… Adapted by assuming 2/3 of the liquid was for cooking the rice and the other 1/3 was for creaminess. It turned out great!

    My alteration:

    1 to 1 ratio sticky rice & milk (I dumped the rice in the pot, then refilled the paper cartons with coconut milk)

    Eyeballed the rice volume to be about two cups, so assuming approx 1 cup cooked rice is the batch of this recipe, I doubled all the other ingredients (sugar /vanilla).

    Since it’s already cooked rice, only in the pot for about 15 min brought to a boil (total time includes time to get to boil, so start clock immediately), covered for 10 min and uncovered the last 5 so I could stir and monitor to keep from overcooking.

    • Thank you Megan for your wonderful tips for making this with premade rice leftover from Chinese take out! I’m sure many will find your tips helpful! Thank you for your comment!!

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