This Easy Baked Rice Pudding is a truly soul-warming winter comfort recipe. While that may be true, a bowl of this goodness is good all year round and even for breakfast.
Table of contents
Why you’ll love it
Ok, so it’s cold and you’re wrapped up on the couch on a Sunday afternoon, wrapped in a blanket and you aren’t moving for love or money but you should move for this baked rice pudding. A nostalgic recipe that many, including myself, grew up with, it’s now right here with all the tips and tricks so you can get it just the way you like it.
- quick to prepare – I mean like 5 minutes quick
- takes only 5 ingredients
- creamy and cosy
- the absolute perfect comfort dessert
- no eggs – so its easier to make
This baked rice pudding is creamy and rich, there is a little creamy sauce at the bottom still once it’s finished cooking but it’s not gloopy. The rice is perfectly cooked and not stodgy at all.
So what is baked rice pudding?
Rice pudding is an old-fashioned dessert classic which is a mixture of rice, milk or cream, sugar, cinnamon and butter cooked together until creamy. Sometimes ingredients like raisins, sultanas or vanilla are added too and it’s often made with different types of milk or cream.
In some countries eggs are used to create a thick custard style rice pudding, while others (like this one) contain no egg making it even easier to make.
As for cooking methods, it can be made on the stovetop, baked in the oven or even made in a slow cooker.
It’s a truly versatile and comforting dessert and all of this results in tender rice, wrapped in a silky, creamy sweet sauce that is totally irresistible.
How do you like yours?
Do you like your rice pudding thick or swimming in sauce? With or without the skin? This one is a perfect balance of creamy rice with a sauce, that continues to soak up as it sits out of the oven.
The rice pudding forms a skin on top, which you can either mix in as it cooks or leave the skin to form and eat that too. I personally don’t like the texture of the skin but I love the way it looks – the golden colour gives me cosy nostalgic vibes, so I leave it on mine.
My mum always used evaporated milk in her rice pudding – the benefit of this is that, with evaporated milk being shelf-stable, it can be made at a moments notice without the need for fresh milk. I use fresh milk in mine, but choose whichever you prefer.
I always would add a dribble of cold milk to my bowl too – for one, to cool it so I could get it in my tummy quicker and two because more sauce is always good.
When you first pull it out of the oven, there will still be a lot of liquid in the bottom but don’t worry, mix it all through (after peeling away the skin if you want it) and then drizzle some of it over as you serve. The rice will continue to absorb any liquid in the dish so if it isn’t there, you’ll end up with stodgy dry rice pudding. For the same reason, make sure to serve it up quick.
Ingredients in rice pudding
This incredibly easy rice pudding recipe has just 5 everyday ingredients.
- Rice: I use arborio rice (or you can use pudding rice) and it needs to be raw. You don’t need pre-cooked rice for this one.
- Sugar: Just regular white granulated sugar.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for this recipe.
- Cinnamon: For that little comforting spice flavour. You can also add some all spice, cardamom or nutmeg.
- Milk: I like whole milk best but you can also use evaporated milk or some milk alternatives, like oat milk.
See below for more ways you can make variations to you rice pudding.
How to make rice pudding in the oven, step by step
A simple process of mixing together ingredients in a pie or casserole dish and then throwing it in the oven makes Baked Rice Pudding incredibly easy to make.
- Mix melted butter, rice, sugar and cinnamon in a pie dish, then add milk and mix it through
- Bake it for around 1 hour and 10 minutes until it’s golden on top and the rice is cooked through.
Remember, it will still look like it has quite a bit of liquid when you dig below the surface but it should no longer be swishing around when you move the dish.
How to serve rice pudding
- Straight away – so the rice doesn’t become stodgy.
- Make sure to drizzle over some of the hot milk from the dish
- Have some cold milk or cream at the ready to cool it and create even more sauce.
- You can add a side of baked fruit or compote (like I have in these photos with my Blackberry Compote) or with stewed cinnamon apples (you can use the apples from this recipe but double or triple the quantity)
How long will it keep?
It will keep for a couple of days in the fridge but you must take the right precautions to avoid food poisoning whenever rice is involved.
While still hot, transfer any leftover rice pudding to an airtight container and place it straight in the fridge.
Don’t let it cool at room temperature but instead it should cool, from hot, in the fridge. When you reheat it, make sure it is steaming hot before eating it. No luke warm rice.
To reheat rice pudding, spoon it into a serving bowl and add a tablespoon or two of milk per portion. Heat on high in the microwave for 2 minutes. Alternately, mix the whole batch with some milk and heat in the oven on 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced for 10 to 15 minutes until hot.
- Add ins – vanilla is a common add in as are raisins. I’ve also made it adding1/2 teaspoon of orange zest which gives it a lift and a lovely aroma. Nutmeg is also a common addition and cardamom works really well too. Make it your own.
- Change the rice – I use arborio rice which is a short grain rice normally used for risotto. It has a great combo of soaking up loads of liquid and a creamier finish, while also have a great texture. You can try other rices though. A medium or short grain will work best but I’ve made this exact recipe using Jasmine rice and it was still lovely. The grains were just a bit firmer and smaller.
- Make it even creamier – swap half cup of the milk for cream. Or swap all the cream for evaporated milk.
- Make it lighter – swap out 1 cup of milk for 1 cup of boiling water.
- Make it vegan – use coconut milk, almond milk or a combination of the two. Swap out the butter for a vegan spread or leave it out altogether.
- Make Chocolate rice pudding – add ¼ cup of cocoa and an extra ½ cup of milk
Turn it into a Mason Jar Gift
If you love gifting food the way I do then you’ll love this idea. You can turn this gorgeous and simple baked rice pudding into an EVEN EASIER mason jar gift. A comforting food you can gift and it takes just minutes to create for both the gifter and the giftee. Or make a bunch to store in the pantry so you can have a cosy, comforting dessert in the oven at a moments notice.
Rice pudding FAQ’s
To put it simply, it tastes like sweetened, creamy rice.
Yes! Always check the packaging of the ingredients you’re using but as a general rule, this version of rice pudding is gluten free.
While technically yes, the texture is definitely best fresh. If you do freeze it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating in the oven.
Yes! Again, it’s best fresh as the longer it sits the mushier the rice grains will become, however it can be reheated. For a whole or large portion, the oven is best (about 180C / 350F for 10-15 minutes until warmed through) or smaller portions on the stove or in the microwave are fine.
There are a few reasons this could be the case. Maybe you used a low-fat milk which has a higher water content, or you’ve used too much liquid or the wrong type of rice for the amount of liquid (since different types and even different brands of rice will absorb different amounts of liquid). Rice pudding will thicken a little as it cools.
Grease the slow cooker dish with the butter, then add the remaining ingredients. Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the rice is tender and had absorbed most of the liquid.
So many countries have their own version from the Arroz con leche in Spanish cuisines to Roz bil-laban in Egypt to Kheer in India and so many more. Each country has it’s own little twists like different flavours, thickness and whether it’s served hot or cold.
So jump out from under that blanket, throw some ingredients in pie dish then back to comfort while you rice pudding bakes away. Now you just need to be patient for an hour while it’s doing it’s thing.
More Comforting Desserts
- Chocolate Creme Brulee
- Warm Apple Crostata with Quick Caramel Sauce
- Apple Plum Cobbler
- Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding
- Self Saucing Lemon Pudding
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Easy Baked Rice Pudding
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup arborio rice
- ⅓ cup white granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 ½ cups whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced.
- Place the butter in a pie dish and melt it in the microwave – (alternatively melt the butter and pour it into your chosen pie dish).
- Brush the melted butter around the sides of the dish.
- Add the rice, sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine everything.
- Pour in the milk and carefully stir it to combine.
- Place the pie dish on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. After ½ an hour, give it a good stir (mixing in any skin) and turn the tray around so that it browns evenly. *See notes for cooking time.
- The skin will form in the final 45 minutes of cooking. You can stir it in again if you like as it bakes or just leave it.
- Test the rice for doneness by tasting a bit, it should be cooked through and tender but not soggy or falling apart.
- Cooking time: Ovens vary, brands of rice vary in their absorption and milk brands can vary in their water to fat ratio – the baking time is a guide. Yours may need a little more or less time to reach the right texture, depending on these variable.
- Flavouring: You can add 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest, a little nutmeg or vanilla for other flavours.
- Serving: Serve immediately, spooning any excess liquid over the top
- Make it creamier by swapping 1/2 cup of milk for 1/2 cup of cream.
- Make it lighter by swapping up to 1 cup of milk for 1 cup of boiling water.
- Make it vegan by swapping the milk for almond or coconut milk and swapping the butter for vegan spread.
- Rice: Arborio works best but you can use jasmine or another medium grain rice also.
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