20-Minute Vanilla Rice Pudding

Rice pudding

 Michael Mller / EyeEm / Getty Images 

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 portions (4 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
241 Calories
6g Fat
40g Carbs
7g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 portions (4 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 241
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 148mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 7g
Calcium 195mg 15%
*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.)

A favorite comfort food that spans across cultures is creamy vanilla rice pudding, which can be served hot or cold. 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. What often changes is that some rice puddings 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 recipe is cooked on the stovetop and is ready in less than 20 minutes. It’s delicious on its own or you can gussy it up with a dash of cream or poached fruit and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


  • 2 3/4 cups milk (whole)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rice (short grain)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lemon (zest)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Garnish: pinch ground cinnamon

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add vanilla essence and stir.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  6. Serve hot, at room temperature or chilled. Sprinkle with cinnamon just before serving.

Rice Pudding Origins

Here are a few facts you may not know about rice pudding:

  • The roots of rice pudding date back to the grain pottages (a thick soup or stew) made in ancient times in the Middle East.

  • Rice pudding was a popular dessert during Shakespeare's time. Shakespeare himself mentions rice pudding as part of a celebratory feast in A Winter's Tale, Act IV.

  • For a long time, rice pudding has been associated with good nutrition and easy digestion.

  • Rice pudding was first mentioned in medical texts―not cookbooks.

  • Rice pudding has been recommended for people of all ages with stomach ailments.