Milchreis (German Rice Pudding)

rice pudding with garnishes overhead shot

The Spruce / Ana Zelic

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1182 Calories
86g Fat
64g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1182
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 86g 110%
Saturated Fat 55g 274%
Cholesterol 269mg 90%
Sodium 71mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 64g 23%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 10g
Calcium 171mg 13%
*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.)

Several countries have their own version of rice pudding, a sweet favorite, including Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Britain, and the United States. Milchreis is the German version, made by cooking rice on the stovetop in milk with sugar and vanilla. In Germany, it's often found pre-made in grocery stores, but it can also be made in the comfort of your own home.

Unlike in the U.S., where rice pudding is nearly always on the dessert menu, German milchreis is usually served as a sweet main dish with fruit or compote or simply with sugar and cinnamon on top. It makes for a great breakfast or snack.

In this recipe, use milk rather than cream. Despite what you might think, milk makes for a creamier end product. Medium-grain white rice is the best choice, too; however, you can use arborio or short-grain white rice in a pinch. It will make a thicker, stickier rice pudding. Brown rice is an option, though it will need to be cooked longer and won't create the same final dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice (medium-grain)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (2-inch piece, split open; or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • Ground cinnamon (to taste)
  • Sugar (to taste)
  • Optional: fruit compote

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients gathered for rice pudding

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  2. Mix the rice, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan.

    rice in pot for rice pudding

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  3. Stir in the milk and add the piece of vanilla bean or the vanilla extract.

    milk in pot with rice for rice pudding

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  4. Place the mixture over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often.

    rice pudding cooking in pot on stove

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice is soft and the mixture becomes thick. Stir often.

    rice pudding cooking until thick on stove tope

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  6. Serve warm with cinnamon and sugar or fruit compote or both. Enjoy!

    rice pudding garnished with jam and cinnamon

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

Tip

  • There's a risk of burning when you make rice pudding on the stove. However, making milchreis in a pressure cooker virtually eliminates any chance of the pudding burning on the bottom. Bring the pudding to a boil in a pressure cooker without a lid, and then remove from heat. Fasten on the lid, but don't close the vent. Let it sit on the warm burner for 30 minutes. Check the rice and if it is not soft enough, bring it to a boil again and repeat.

Recipe Variations

  • Change up this basic recipe by mixing in nutmeg, cardamom, jam or preserves, raisins, dried apricots, dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried peaches, walnuts, pecans, almonds, or a mixture of several of these options.
  • Dried fruit and nuts make a tasty combo. The rice pudding is so mild that you can change the flavor significantly by making additions.
  • If you are partial to cinnamon, go ahead and mix some into the pudding and sprinkle it on when you serve the pudding. It goes especially well with raisins if you have chosen to add them.
  • German milchreis is often served with fruit compote on top. Make it easy on yourself by plopping a dollop of jam on top. If you're feeling adventurous, cook down fresh fruit with water and a bit of sugar to make a hot compote.

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