Thai Rice Pudding

Thai rice pudding
Francis Kompalitch/Canopy/Getty Images
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
458 Calories
13g Fat
85g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 458
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 341mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 85g 31%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 58g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 34mg 3%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 179mg 4%
*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.)

Thai rice pudding is scrumptious, healthy, and nourishing. Meant to be served warm, this traditional recipe can be part of your breakfast, with fresh fruit on top, or a decadent dessert adorned with marinated berries. This popular Thai dessert uses sweet rice (also known as sticky or glutinous rice) and is flavored with coconut milk, brown sugar, and warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and star anise.

This recipe can be customized to suit your personal taste. Choose the sugar of your liking, white for white rice, brown for a darker hue; top with your favorite cream, dairy milk, or nut beverage; use condensed milk for a decadent touch; or add more or less liquid to find the perfect consistency for your palate. Add red adzuki beans or red bean paste to give the pudding extra texture, vitamins, natural color, and flavor. 

We included the recipe for a mango sauce to give it a tropical fruit flair that is perfect for summer.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Thai sweet rice
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup can (13 1/2 ounces) coconut milk
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (palm, brown, or white, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves (ground)
  • 1 pod Optional: whole star anise (for garnish)
  • 1 stick Optional: cinnamon sticks (for garnish)
  • 1 peanut Optional: crushed peanuts (for garnish)
  • 1 cup Optional: toasted coconut (for garnish)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the rice in a large pot and add 2 cups of the water. Allow it to soak for 10 to 30 minutes.

  3. Once this time has passed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water and the salt. Stir well.

  4. Place the pot over high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover 3/4 of the pot so the lid is sitting askew, allowing some of the steam to escape.

  5. Boil the rice for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

  6. Turn off the heat, but keep the pot on the burner. Place the lid on tight and allow the rice to "steam" for 5 to 10 minutes.

  7. Remove the lid and add the coconut milk, stirring until well mixed. You may have to break up the rice a little with a spoon or fork as the lower temperature allows the rice to stick together.

  8. Turn the heat back on low and, while gently simmering, add 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar. Start with the lesser amount and taste, adding more if needed. 

  9. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

  10. Taste the pudding for sweetness. Add more sugar to enhance the sweetness or more coconut milk if the pudding is too sweet. The rice will eventually absorb most of the coconut milk, creating a very thick rice pudding.

  11. In the following step, you have two options: add coconut milk to the entire batch to make a thinner pudding that can be easily scooped into bowls, or serve the thick pudding in individual serving bowls and pour coconut milk, cream, or the milk of your choice around it.

  12. Garnish each serving by sprinkling extra cinnamon or nutmeg on top. Decorate it with cinnamon sticks, whole star anise, crushed peanuts, or toasted coconut if desired.

  13. Enjoy.

Mango Sauce

For a tangy and sweet addition, make this tropical mango sauce to serve on the side. You'll need:

  • 2 ripe mangoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon condensed milk

Place the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir and simmer for just one minute. Use the sauce instead of the suggested spices. Serve the sauce hot or cold.

If you're making the sauce ahead, be sure to store it separately from the pudding because it might get very dense. To reheat it, follow these steps:

  • Add a little water or coconut milk and check for texture. It should be chunky, but not too thick.
  • Add more sugar or condensed milk if sweetness is needed.
  • Place the sauce in a saucepan and gently simmer it over medium heat.
  • Reheat in the microwave if preferred, but only for a few seconds–too long and the mango flavor starts to fade away.