So when I was a kid, one of my dad’s favorite desserts was rice pudding. His mom always made it when he was a kid and for him, it was like the ultimate comfort food. At first, I kind of found it horrifying, but as the years went by, I learned to love it, too, but I always felt like I was weird for liking it, kind of like how I like to drink a swig of buttermilk like my mom did. And then I tried making the recipe that was always used in my house and found it horrifically complicated and old fashioned (like using actual eggs and steaming the raisins ) and lost all desire I had to make rice pudding.
Well, one of my kids recently read about rice pudding in a book and wanted to make it, and there was no way in this universe that I was tempering eggs or plumping raisins for something they probably weren’t going to eat, so I was about to write it off as a lost cause when I found this recipe for rice pudding in The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. It was definitely a little unconventional, and probably will have my Grandma Randle haunting my dreams for not doing things the traditional way, but I found this recipe to be just as creamy and delicious with a fraction of the time and effort.
You’re going to need medium grain rice, half and half, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Depending on what flavor profile you’re going for (I went traditional here), you can also use raisins and cinnamon.
If at all possible, use medium grain rice–you’re going to get a creamier, pudding-er (that’s totally a word) rice pudding. If you look at the grains, you’ll see that they’re squattier and almost pasta-like. That’s what you want.
Place water, rice,
in a large, covered microwave-safe dish. Yes. This is starting out in the microwave. They explain their reasons for this in the book, and they’re well-founded, and ATK has impeccable judgment, so I trusted them and I don’t regret it. Cover the dish and cook for about 10 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, combine the half and half, sugar, and extracts and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the rice is done cooking in the microwave, transfer it to the boiling half and half mixture. If using raisins and cinnamon, add them now as well and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve immediately with extra half and half if desired.
Quick and Easy Rice Pudding
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup medium grain white rice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups half and half, plus more as needed
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- Optional: 1/2 cup raisins
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Place water, rice, and salt in a large, covered microwave-safe dish. Cover the dish and cook for about 10 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, combine the half and half, sugar, and extracts and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the rice is done cooking in the microwave, transfer it to the boiling half and half mixture. If using raisins and cinnamon, add them now as well and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve immediately with extra half and half if desired.
- You can omit the raisins and cinnamon and serve however you like–berries, craisins, almonds, strawberries, strawberry sauce, and spices like cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves are all great options!
- Serving Size: 6
Really excited about tring this recipe. I like different sweet dishes. Will let you know the results as to the final test!
I’m down with a rice pudding recipe that makes me less likely to accidentally boil milk over and onto my stove top. Thanks!
It sounds weird, especially since I mostly cook from scratch, but I used to LOVE having the Jello brand cook and serve rice pudding. My mom would make it. I would eat it when I was sick or just for comfort food. A few years back they took it off the market and I was so sad! I will have to try this.
Tho it’s not my favorite dessert, I really enjoy eating rice pudding. I’m curious to try this recipe!
When I was 6 years old my mom was pregnant with her fourth child and on strict bedrest for several months while my dad was working insane hours. This is where we learned my dad was a closet chef, and he would spend his off time preparing huge, fancy meals with leftovers that would last us the entire week. One of his “things” was cooking a huge batch of rice pudding, served warm with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream, for breakfast. I’ve had a soft spot for rice pudding ever since but it usually is so complicated I don’t make it that often. I’ll have to try this-thanks!
This is exactly how my mom makes it, but with leftover rice. I love it.
Rice pudding is one of our favorites, but I’ve never made it! We’ll have to try this soon!
“Plumping the raisins” reminds me of a cooking class I took years ago. Someone asked the teacher if we should boil the raisins before adding them to our recipe. She replied, “Haven’t they gone through enough already?”
In my family we have German rice. Same concept except we add evaporated milk and sugar to the cooked rice (I also add some cinnamon in) and let it cook down to thicken and set. We put pats of butter over the top and then sprinkle cinnamon over the top of it.
Awesome recipe. Worth the work. However. If you want a quick treat of Rice Pudding just put some vanilla ice cream in the rice with your choice of raisins, cinnamon, or even different flavours of ice cream. Sugar already included.
I still miss Pudding on the Rice in Provo! There’s one in Portland, Oregon, and the NYC original called Rice to Riches. I looked up some recipes after falling in love with the fancy rice puddings years ago, and they mostly seem to involve adding whipped cream and tasty flavor combinations: https://www.ricetoriches.com/
I am so going to try this! Growing up at my house rice pudding (like the old fashioned, tempered egg type) was BREAKFAST FOOD! It totally floors me that my unsweetened-cereal-only kind of mom would feed that to us. I do make it occasionally for breakfast for my kiddos, but they always lovingly refer to it as “the sugar bomb breakfast.” lol
Food brings back memories! My dad loved rice pudding, too. I never remember my mom making it, but we would have a rice for dessert—left over (warm) rice, covered in (whole) milk, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar (a dab or two of butter). It was a good (but not “pudding”). My husband loves (real) rice pudding as well. I tried a microwave version 17+ years ago when we were dating–what a disaster (the pudding, not the dating since we are married now)! I will try to woo him again with this recipe 🙂 Thanks!
Rice pudding is a popular dessert in Brazil so I at it all the time there, and like you- before then the idea horrified me. Like why eat dessert rice when you could have dessert cookies?? But there IS something warm and comforting about it and I fell in love it as well! I haven’t had it in years so I’ll have to try this. There was a Rice Pudding place in Provo for a while (like an ice cream shop, but with all different flavors of rice pudding) that my brother loved and would bring me sometimes. Kind of a fun idea!