This is absolutely the best rice pudding recipe, made extra creamy on the stovetop with jasmine rice, vanilla bean, and whole milk, studded with plump raisins, and topped with warm cinnamon and nutmeg.


When I was a wee one, my grandma would make rice pudding when my sister and I stayed with her and grandpa. Still to this day, every time I eat it, I think of myself sitting on her yellow kitchen stools while she cleaned up and I licked my spoon clean.

Traditional rice pudding is the ultimate comfort food treat. It’s warm and cozy, and a comfort food staple, right up there with beef stew, tomato soup, and French toast. I always thought it was a dish to make with leftover cooked rice (just like one of my other starchy faves––fried rice)—but that’s not the case. Raw white rice (such as jasmine, sushi rice, or arborio rice) cooked in whole milk releases the starch from the grains to create the rice pudding’s creamy texture. I like my rice pudding with plump nuggets of raisins, but if you’re like my daughter who 100% doesn’t, make yourself happy and leave them out.


What’s in Rice Pudding

You only need 6 ingredients to make this easy rice pudding (not including salt). Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Whole milk (you could also use a mix of whole milk and heavy cream, to make this even richer)
  • Uncooked white rice (such as jasmine rice, arborio, or sushi rice)
  • Sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Vanilla bean (use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract if you prefer)
  • Raisins (omit if you like)
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg for sprinkling on top

Tip: If adding raisins, try them boozy! Soak them in a little bit of bourbon, whiskey, brandy, or dark rum for a couple of hours or a few days beforehand. This will help soften and plump the raisins up nicely, while also lending excellent flavor.


How to Make Rice Pudding

Bring it to a boil. In a heavy bottom large saucepan (make sure it’s a deep one, so your pudding doesn’t boil over as it simmers), bring milk, rice, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often, especially on the bottom of the pan. Watch the milk carefully as it will boil over in the blink of an eye if you turn your back.

Simmer and thicken. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the raisins and cook for 20-30 minutes more, or until the pudding has thickened. You can serve this warm or chilled, but I think it’s best eaten warm. I’m a fan of sprinkling cinnamon and ground nutmeg on top before serving.

Add more milk if the pudding is too thick. If you cook the pudding too long, stir in more liquid to loosen it up.


What Type of Rice is Best for Rice Pudding

Short-grain or long-grain rice will work for this rice pudding recipe, but make sure you use white rice. That’s what is traditionally used and what is best for rice pudding––particularly jasmine, arborio, or sushi rice because they are extra starchy and create a thicker, creamier pudding.

Do You Have to Put Eggs In Rice Pudding

You don’t have to put eggs in rice pudding, but you can if you want yours to be even thicker. If adding egg, you’ll want to temper it before adding it to the rice mixture. To avoid scrambling the egg in the hot rice, add two spoons of the rice mixture to a whisked egg and mix well. Then cook for about 3-5 minutes more, until the rice pudding is thick.I tried a version with egg and found it was too rich for my taste, so I prefer making rice pudding without.


Can I Make This Rice Pudding Dairy-Free?

To make this dairy-free, your best bet would be to use full-fat coconut milk from the can, not the carton. This yields a creamier rice pudding than one made with another type of non-dairy milk.


More Flavorful Additions to Rice Pudding

I’m an old-school purist when it comes to my rice pudding, so I just love adding raisins to mine, but any of these other additions would also be great:

  • Instead of vanilla bean, use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • Try other types of dried fruit instead of raisins such as cranberries, cherries, blueberries, or apricots.
  • Soak the raisins in booze such as bourbon, whiskey, brandy, or a dark rum before adding to the pudding. If soaking the raising first, wait to add them to the pudding until the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Add toasted nuts like pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, or walnuts
  • Drizzle with salted caramel and top with toasted coconut
  • Add fresh berries or apple

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