20-Minute Vanilla Rice Pudding

Vanilla rice pudding recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
334 Calories
6g Fat
61g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 334
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 106mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 61g 22%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 194mg 15%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 264mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Creamy vanilla rice pudding is a favorite comfort food that spans across cultures. While rice pudding ingredients vary depending on the recipe, what seems to remain constant is the use of rice, some type of sweetener, and milk or water, as well as the fact that it can be served hot or cold. What often changes is how the pudding is cooked: Some are baked and others are cooked on the stove-top (as this one is). Another variant takes place in the add-ins, like raisins and other dried fruits.

This easy stovetop recipe is ready in less than 20 minutes. It’s delicious on its own or you can dress it up with a dash of cream or poached fruit and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


  • 2 3/4 cups whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup short grain rice

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • Zest from 1/2 lemon

  • Pinch of salt

  • Garnish:

    Pinch of ground cinnamon

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vanilla rice pudding
     The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the vanilla extract and stir.

    Milk in saucepan
     The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. Once the milk starts to steam, sprinkle in the rice and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat up slightly and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Sprinkle in rice
     The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Once the rice grains start to swell, place a lid on the pot and lower the heat. Keep an eye on the rice and stir occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes.

    Rice in pot
     The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Once the rice is cooked, remove the saucepan from heat and add the sugar, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt. Stir gently and taste. Add a little more sugar if necessary.

    Rice pudding
     The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  6. Serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled. Sprinkle with cinnamon just before serving.

    Vanilla rice pudding
     The Spruce / Cara Cormack

What Type of Rice Should Be Used?

For a creamy rice pudding, a short- or medium-grain rice is recommended, such as arborio, which is known for its ability to become creamy when cooked. A long-grain rice will work, but will not create as creamy a texture.