Quick Vanilla Rice Pudding Recipe

Thick and creamy vanilla rice pudding generously sprinkled with cinnamon in a bowl

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 24 mins
Total: 29 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
180 Calories
6g Fat
26g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 106mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 193mg 15%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 232mg 5%
*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.)

Creamy vanilla rice pudding is a favorite comfort food that spans across cultures. 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, as well as the fact that it can be served hot or cold. What often changes is how the pudding is cooked: Some 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 stovetop recipe is ready in just 30 minutes. It’s delicious on its own or you can dress it up with a dash of cream or poached fruit and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


Click Play to See This Vanilla Rice Pudding Come Together

"Arborio rice gives this rice pudding recipe its creamy goodness and chewy texture. Just the right amount of tangy lemon zest adds a lovely brightness to every bite." —Diana Andrews

Quick Vanilla Rice Pudding Recipe Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 3/4 cups whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup short-grain rice

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • Zest from 1/2 lemon

  • Pinch table salt

  • Pinch ground cinnamon, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for quick vanilla rice pudding recipe gathered

     The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

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

    Milk in a saucepan on the burner

     The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Once the milk starts to simmer and steam, skim off and discard any skin that might have formed. Sprinkle in the rice and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat up slightly to maintain a lively simmer and continue to cook until the mixture begins to thicken, about 8 minutes.

    Milk and rice being stirred with a wooden spoon in a saucepan on the burner

     The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Cover the pot and lower the heat. Keep an eye on the rice and stir occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes.

    Rice with most of the milk absorbed in the saucepan

     The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Remove the cover and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is done and the mixture is thickened to your liking, 9 to 11 minutes more. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt. Stir gently and taste. Add a little more sugar if necessary.

    Rice pudding with all the milk absorbed being stirred with a wooden spoon in the saucepan

     The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled. Sprinkle with cinnamon just before serving.

    Vanilla rice pudding generously sprinkled with cinnamon in a bowl

     The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Topping Suggestions

Other topping suggestions include grated chocolate, a splash of heavy cream, a pinch of nutmeg, hopped nuts

What Type of Rice Should Be Used?

For a creamy rice pudding, a short- or medium-grain rice is recommended, such as arborio, which is known for its ability to become creamy when cooked. A long-grain rice will work, but will not create as creamy a texture.