Easy Traditional British Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

  • Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 portions (6 servings)

There are some puddings which simply never, ever go out of style, and a Traditional British Rice Pudding is one of them. This simple, pudding has been loved on these shores for centuries and is not about to disappear.

Making a rice pudding is so, so straightforward and perfect if you have already heated the oven to cook a dinner, done a little baking or a Sunday roast. Just pop the rice pudding in and leave it to cook.


  • 1 1/2 pint/850 mL whole milk
  • 1/2 pint/285 mL double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod (split)
  • 4 ounces/110 grams short grain (pudding) rice
  • 1 ounce/25 grams golden caster sugar
  • 2 strips of lemon zest
  • 1 nutmeg
  • 1 ounce/25 grams butter (use a little for greasing the dish)

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F/150 C Gas Mark 2.

  2. Lightly butter a 1.25-litre ovenproof pudding dish.

  3. Place the milk and cream into a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod using the back of a knife. Add the seeds to the pan stir then finally add the vanilla pod. Heat the milk and cream through very gently and do not boil. Once the milk is warmed through, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod.

  4. Sprinkle the rice and the sugar into the greased pie dish. Pour the warmed milk over and stir thoroughly. Add the lemon strips, stir again.

  5. Finally, grate a thick, decent layer of nutmeg on top. Don’t be shy about this, you cannot have too much nutmeg on the top of a rice pudding.

  6. Place the dish onto a baking sheet, and carefully place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 2 to 2 1/2  hours, until the rice pudding is thick and creamy with a deliciously thick, nutmeg skin.

  7. Serve on its own or with stewed fruit - we suggest poached pears or roasted rhubarb! You could also add a dollop of homemade jam on top.


  • Success comes from using full milk (milk with the fat) and a little cream. If you are watching the calories, then reduce to a semi-skimmed milk. Be warned, though, it will not be as creamy as using full fat but will still taste good.
  •  Do not throw vanilla pods away even if you have scraped the seeds out; pop them into a jar of sugar with a tight-fitting lid. Every time you have a used pod, pop it in the jar. The pods will flavor the sugar with the sweet scent of vanilla which you can then use in baking, ice cream or desserts.