This creamy rice pudding infused with cinnamon flavour and pops of plump sultanas is just heavenly!! It’s an effortless, straightforward recipe that’s the perfect cosy dessert for cold winter nights.
Serve it plain, straight out of the pot, or take it over the top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Creamy Rice Pudding
I am pretty sure this is the ultimate emergency cosy winter dessert.
It takes all of 5 minutes to prep.
It’s completely effortless – just pour everything into a baking dish, then pop it in the oven.
It’s extremely low risk – all sorts of outcome variables are easy to rectify and adjust.
There’s no need to fuss with compotes or other toppings – it is really really good straight out of the pot as is (unlike plain rice pudding which I find desperately needs a fruit compote or something to dress it up).
And it’s terrifically economical, calling for just a handful of ingredients!
What goes in Cinnamon Rice Pudding
Here’s what you need to make this cinnamon Rice Pudding:
The best rice for rice pudding – medium grain white rice or risotto rice
The rice type is really important for the desired outcome (she says wearily, after having tried 10 or so batches using various rice types – half the Northern Beaches have received samples of various versions I’ve made over the past few weeks!)
Medium grain rice – In my view, the best rice (by a long shot) is medium grain white rice, uncooked. It makes a creamy rice pudding with rice grains that are soft but not mushy (read: baby food). The rice and creamy sauce meld together beautifully, becoming one BUT without being mush. It’s certainly the benchmark for upscale restaurants.
Risotto rice (arborio rice) is just as good – but requires more liquid and takes slightly longer to cook.
Jasmine rice & short grain rice – If you want quite soft rice (softer but not mush), then short grain white rice or jasmine rice is the go.
Long grain rice – If you want firm rice grains, then use long grain white rice. In my personal opinion, it doesn’t have as nice a mouthfeel because the rice grains don’t “meld” with the sauce – there is too great a textural contrast. The thing with long grain rice is that here is no in between – it’s either firm or if overcooked it breaks down into unpleasant mush. We want the middle ground that medium grain rice can deliver!
Brown rice really isn’t to my taste – it’s just too firm for rice pudding.
Basmati rice – I haven’t tried it with basmati rice because I don’t associate the flavour with rice pudding, but I suspect it will be like long grain.
Rice needs to be uncooked – because stirring the raw rice as it cooks loosens the starch which is what thickens the milk mixture to make the sauce creamy. And this is the reason why it is illegal to stir when cooking rice for meals – because we want fluffy rice for our stir fries, we don’t want to make the cooking water creamy!
Cooked rice won’t yield the same creamy texture and also the rice texture isn’t as nice – it’s either firm or mush, you just can’t achieve the perfect soft texture you want for rice pudding.
And a quick note on the other ingredients!
Milk – any fat % is fine. I haven’t tried with non dairy but see no reason why it wouldn’t work. Coconut milk also works great but I’d change the flavour profile (see recipe notes for adjustments);
Butter – a good smear on the baking dish for flavour and stop it catching on the sides;
Sugar – I only use 1/3 cup which isn’t a lot given it makes about 5 cups of pudding. I’d say this rice pudding borders on “just sweet enough”, definitely not too sweet;
Cream – just a bit, stirred through at the end, to add a subtle richness to the mouthfeel and also makes the sauce whiter (it comes out a bit brown from the cinnamon). Sub with butter – it has a similar effect;
Sultanas or raisins – I find 1/2 cup is enough which doesn’t sound like a lot but you will be surprised how much it swells!
How to make rice pudding – in the oven
A notorious problem with stovetop rice pudding is that it catches on the base of the pot due to the sugar. So stovetop recipes call for constant stirring, like with risottos.
Just bake it. So much easier, just as creamy. Dump and bake, and stir just twice during the bake time.
What to serve with Cinnamon Rice Pudding
If it’s a plain vanilla rice pudding (and you can totally do that by leaving out the cinnamon and sultanas in this recipe) then I really feel like you need a fruit compote or similar to put on top to turn it into a dessert that I can get really excited about. (Try the Strawberry Sauce in this Cheesecake).
But with just a little bit of cinnamon and sultanas, it takes the bland into OMG this is sooooo good! territory which is where I always like my food to be. 😂
Then to take it over the top, try it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. In my simple mind, this takes it from a quick dessert for a family meal, to guest worthy. It’s that addictive combination of warm and cold that we love with all our favourite cosy desserts, like Apple Crumble, Chocolate Pudding, Butterscotch Pudding.
Effortless cosy food. It’s got my name written all over it! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Creamy Cinnamon Rice Pudding (really easy!)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter , for greasing
- 4 cups milk (full or reduced fat, Note 1)
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup medium grain white rice, uncooked - definitely the best for rice pudding (Note 2)
- 1/2 cup sultanas or raisins (Note 3)
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup cream , thickened/heavy (or bit of butter)
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all types).
- Grease a 10 cup+ casserole dish with butter.
- Place milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until the surface is foamy - do not boil, it will split.
- Place rice, sultanas and cinnamon in baking dish. Pour over milk, give it a brief stir then cover with lid or foil.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to break up the rice that starts to set on the base.
- After 1 hour, remove from oven and add cream. Give it a good stir - it will look a bit watery straight out of the oven but it evaporates quickly. I like mine creamy so it oozes when you serve it.
- Serve immediately, just as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you want to take it over the top!
More Cosy Desserts
Warm, cosy desserts for cold winter nights!
Life of Dozer
Wondering if he should clean up that dollop of rice pudding on the bench… the answer is NO! His cleaning duties are restricted to floor level only. 😂