This easy, creamy rice pudding recipe is made in a pan on the stove top for a plain and simple version of this delicious and wholesome dessert. A simple, basic, no-skin rice pudding that tastes great just as it comes but if you prefer, dress it up with your favourite toppings.
This easy stove top rice pudding recipe is perfect if you don’t want to turn the oven on or if you prefer your rice pudding without a skin.
- Easy baked rice pudding, a traditional alternative to this stove top easy rice pudding that can be left to cook unattended and forms a deliciously caramelized golden skin.
- For a delicious twist on another classic recipe, try this panettone bread and butter pudding.
Rich, creamy and delicious, it retains that milky colour and a delicate flavour. Making your pudding in a saucepan means you have more precise control over how wet you like your rice pudding.
While many of us a like a lovely caramelized skin on a traditional baked pudding, some just detest it, so this is the perfect rice pudding for those who prefer it without a skin.
This method is more hands on, as you need to stir the pudding, but it cooks in half the time. If you are feeling particularly energy-conscious, as so many of us at the moment, this is a double saving because the oven also tends to use more electricity for the same length of cooking time.
Why make basic stove-top rice pudding
- Faster than baked rice pudding
- Cooking on the hob saves energy
- More control over texture
- Rice pudding without skin!
- Perfect for feeding a crowd, just adjust quantities to suit
- Make ahead and reheat
Basic rice pudding ingredients
- Pudding rice – or other short-grain white rice. You can use risotto rice if you like
- Milk – whichever you normally use – I used whole milk.
- Cream – double/heavy cream (see notes on variations)
- Vanilla – You can leave it out but I like to use a little. Always choose real vanilla extract or paste, rather than artificial vanilla ‘essence’.
- Sugar – I use golden caster sugar but white is fine
How to make easy rice pudding – step by step
Before you start, read my step-by-step instructions, with photos, hints and tips so you can make this perfectly every time.
Scroll down for the recipe card with quantities and more tips at the bottom of the page.
Step One – Put all the ingredients in a big heavy pot. Stir well.
Helen’s Fuss Free Tip
Use a big heavy pot. If you don’t, the pudding may stick to the bottom.
Set the pot over a low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Then turn the heat right down (I use a diffuser ring to help with this) and pop the lid on.
Set a timer to remind you to stir the pudding every 5 minutes.
Step Two – When you stir the pudding take care to carefully scrape the bottom and sides of the pot where the rice will thicken first.
When cooking it can look as though there is far too much liquid that will never be absorbed. Remember that rice really does take up a lot of liquid and don’t worry.
Step Three – After 30–40 minutes, the rice will be soft and cooked. Stop cooking. There will still be lots of liquid but this will reduce as the pudding starts to cool.
Enjoy this basic rice pudding recipe while it is still hot or allow it to cool and enjoy it cold or even chilled.
Once cooled, the pudding will be a little drier and denser, so you may like to drizzle a little extra cream over it.
Rice pudding is commonly served with a spoonful of jam, especially for children – though there is no reason why the kids should have all the fun!
If you fancy a change from the classic strawberry jam, why not try this stove top rice pudding with easy to make plum jam, plum and apple jam, blackberry and apple jam, deliciously different pear and blackberry jam or gloriously sunny nectarine jam?
For a lighter topping, you might like to try rhubarb compote or plum compote.
- Flavour – Add a little more or a little less vanilla, or dust the finished pudding with a little grated nutmeg or cinnamon.
- Citrus – Replace the vanilla a little orange zest.
- Throw in a handful of raisins or sultanas for extra sweetness and texture.
- Cream – You can make this recipe with a mix of milk and single cream – just use the same volume of liquid overall.
- You can increase or decrease the sugar if you prefer but remember that if you are adding jam or fruit, you don’t want to overdo it.
- Skinny basic rice pudding – You can use skimmed milk in place of the rice and for a lighter pudding, though I much prefer a smaller portion of a nice rich rice pudding!
I think that this basic stove top rice pudding is best eaten straight away, and the texture does change once it has cooled. Some people like it chilled, though, especially in summer.
Fridge – Keep your rice pudding covered in the fridge for 3 days and reheat in a pan on the stove or in the microwave (which is quicker and cheaper). You may need to add some more milk or cream to loosen it.
Freezer – Yes, rice pudding can be frozen! Allow it to cool, pack into an airtight box and freeze for up to 3 months. Just defrost and reheat. Again, you might need to add some extra liquid when you reheat.
Hints and tips
- Pudding rice is best but a short-grain risotto rice will work. It needs to be starchy and to break down well, so don’t use paella rice (which is short-grain but won’t break down) or long-grain rice. These won’t produce that creaminess that is essential to rice pudding.
- Do keep returning to stir the pudding. This is essential to help the rice break down and to avoid burning.
In the UK, the right sort of rice for traditional rice puddings is sold as pudding rice. Elsewhere, you may need to look for plump white short grain rice.
As puddings go, rice pudding is a modest option and it shouldn’t contain too much sugar.
Our grandparents ate puddings to keep them going and keep them warm when work was more physical and homes had no central heating, but many of us are less active now.
As always, it’s about a balanced diet and lifestyle. At under 200 calories per portion (250 with jam), I feel you can enjoy this in moderation with a clear conscience.
I am not keen on them and never use them, but you can use artificial sweeteners if you want to, and it won’t really affect the texture much. Follow the instructions for the product as to how to convert the volume of sugar.
I prefer to keep the calories down with a modest portion.
More pudding recipes / related recipes
- Apple and blackberry steamed pudding – a lovely, warming autumn pudding, fruity light and filling
- Baileys bread and butter pudding – a twist on a very traditional pudding for special occasions
- Hot peaches in butterscotch sauce – a delicious and original fruit dessert
- More delicious desserts and puddings
Basic Rice Pudding Recipe
- 100 g (0.5 cups) pudding rice
- 2 tbsp sugar (golden caster)
- 600 ml (2.5 cups) milk
- 100 ml (0.4 cups) double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract/paste
- spices (Try a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon or a cardamom pod for a spicy twist.)
- Put all the ingredients in a big heavy pot. Stir well.100 g pudding rice, 2 tbsp sugar, 600 ml milk, 100 ml double cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract/paste, spices
- Set the pot over a low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Then turn the heat right down and cover with the lid.
- As the pudding cooks, stir well every five minutes or so.
- When you stir the pudding take care to carefully scrape the bottom and sides of the pot where the rice will thicken first.
- After 30–40 minutes, the rice will be soft and cooked. Take the pot off the heat. Any excess liquid will be absorbed as the pudding starts to cool.
StorageI think that traditional rice pudding is best eaten straight away, as I enjoy it hot and the texture does change once it has cooled. Some people like it chilled, though, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Fridge – Keep your rice pudding in an airtight pot for 3 days and reheat on stove top or in the microwave. You may need to add some more milk or cream to loosen it. Freezer – Yes, rice pudding can be frozen! Allow it to cool, pack into an airtight box and freeze for up to 3 months. Just defrost and reheat. Again, it may need some extra liquid when you reheat it.
Hints and tips
- Use a big heavy pot. If you don’t, the pudding may stick to the bottom.
- Pudding rice is best for this baked rice pudding recipe but a short-grain risotto rice will also work. It needs to be starchy and to break down well, so you don’t want paella rice (which is short-grain but chosen to hold its structure) or long-grain rice. These won’t produce that creamy consistency.
- Cream – if you don’t have double cream, use about 200ml single cream and reduce the milk to 500ml.
- Don’t be alarmed by the quantity of liquid. Rice needs plenty and will absorb it. You may have a little more liquid than you want at the end of cooking, but again, it disappear as the pudding starts to cool.
- Make sure you stir regularly at five minute intervals, to avoid any sticking, burning or uneven cooking.
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