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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
241 Calories
3g Fat
43g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 241
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 172mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 317mg 24%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 432mg 9%
*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.)

Almost all cuisines around the world have their own version of rice pudding. A classic sweet dish made out of rice and a few other ingredients like sugar and cinnamon, it's always a comforting meal. This delicious German take on it makes for a creamy and perfectly sweet recipe that can be eaten as a breakfast, snack, and sometimes as lunch or dinner when served with additional fruit, apple sauce, or fruit compote. Our milchreis is the perfect alternative to your morning oatmeal or a great option for a warm dessert.

Although the origin of rice pudding is uncertain, China and India dispute their claims, as both places have an ancient rice-based culture. It's evident how it became ubiquitous, as no matter where you are, you can get a rice pudding. Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Thailand, Britain, and the United States, among many other countries, all have multiple recipes for it—with different spices, liquids, and cooking methods. Milchreis is made by cooking rice on the stovetop in milk with sugar and vanilla. Contrary to what you might think, using milk rather than cream makes for a creamier rice pudding.

In Germany, rice pudding is often found premade in grocery stores, but making it at home is very easy, too. Long- and medium-grain white rice are the best choices, but Arborio or short-grain white rice is also good. Arborio will make a thicker, stickier rice pudding. Brown rice is an alternative, though it will need to be cooked longer and won't be as creamy as the white rice version.


For the Rice Pudding:

  • 1 cup white rice, long or medium grain

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 4 cups milk

  • 1 (2-inch long piece) vanilla bean, split open; or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Serving:

  • Ground cinnamon, to taste

  • Sugar, to taste

  • Fruit compote, or fresh fruit

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 top

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  6. Remove the vanilla bean and serve warm with cinnamon and sugar to taste. A dollop of fruit compote, fresh fruit, or your favorite combination of toppings makes this a really special sweet treat.

    Rice pudding garnished with jam and cinnamon

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  7. Enjoy.

Pressure Cooker Milchreis

There's a risk of burning the pudding when you make rice pudding on the stove, as the sugar and milk can quickly burn if you're not paying enough attention. 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 the process once more.

Recipe Variations

Change up this basic recipe by mixing in your favorite spices, fruits, or crunchy toppings:

  • Add nutmeg, cardamom, or anise to change up the flavoring of the rice.
  • Jam, jellies, compote, or preserves add a sweet touch that is irresistible.
  • Add raisins, Craisins, dried apples, or any dried fruit you like to add extra sweetness.
  • Use nuts for a crunchy addition. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, or a mixture of two or more will always be delicious. Alternatively, store-bought granola already has dried fruit and nuts in it and is a quick cheat for great rice pudding.
  • Add semisweet chocolate chips or a spoonful of chocolate spread for a more decadent version—especially good when served with fresh strawberries.

How to Store and Reheat Milchreis

German rice pudding is best when fresh, but if you have leftovers, keep in an airtight container for up to two days. To reheat, place in a microwave-safe bowl and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of full-fat milk per 1/2 cup of rice pudding. Mix well and microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the pudding is warm enough and creamy again. Add a touch of extra cinnamon and a pinch on sugar on top.

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