Friday, February 4, 2011

Perfect Rice Pudding

Hello friends, and welcome to Pudding Time with Mikaela. I mean...welcome to the Fox Fix. Because we make other things besides pudding here. Sometimes.

I don't mind telling you that I love rice pudding. In the vast world of rice pudding, I hold two puddings in very high esteem: Kozy Shack for its chilled custardy goodness, and Rice to Riches, for its mod decor and abundance of flavors. The thing these two puddings have in common are a creamy consistency with enough structure to allow piling of rice pudding high on the spoon.

And now for a shocking confession: I have never encountered a home-made rice pudding that meets these standards. They're always a little dry for my taste. In college, I went through gallons of milk and tons of rice in search of pudding perfection, puzzled at my roommates' pleas for health food. "What on earth is unhealthy about milk and rice?" I asked. Half the world survives on it, after all.

And so I'll say it again: I have never encountered a home-made rice pudding that met my standards of excellence.

That is...UNTIL. NOW.

Bumbadummmmmmmm! I'm so very excited to reveal that I have met my pudding match! After countless hours grueling over hot stoves stirring simmering pots of sweet rice, of tempering eggs and counting rice grains, I have found you rice pudding.

Recently I have been thinking that the secret to perfect pudding would be gobs of egg yolks and excessive cream, and while that didn't bode well for my fitness goals, I was willing to make the sacrifice just to finally know the answer. Well, fortunately for you and me, the answer is much simpler than that. And less caloric. It turns out grandma really did know best. See, I realized my problem was a matter of ratios- I was trying to cook waaaayyyy too much rice in my milk, which is why the leftovers always hardened into a solid mass in the fridge. Don't underestimate the power of the rice. A little goes a looooong way.

It's important to choose the right kind of rice- the wrong kind won't have the right texture and even worse, won't thicken the milk. Use a medium or short grained rice- arborio or sushi rice are perfect. I use sushi rice because it's easy to find in the international aisle of the grocery and is cheaper than arborio. I love the results.

After much experimenting, I present you with the recipe. It takes a bit, but it's soooo worth it.

4 cups whole milk (surprisingly, with this recipe, even lower fat milks will work, though I wouldn't use exclusively skim. Because we have both in the house, I usually use 3 cups whole, one cup skim)
1/2 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
dash salt
1/3 cup sushi rice (or arborio or other short or medium grained rice)
1 t vanilla extract
optional cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon.

Combine the milk, sugar, beaten egg and salt in a large saucepan and mix thoroughly. Heat over medium heat until the milk is almost simmering. Then add your (seemingly measly but actually perfect) 1/3 cup rice. Stir. Reduce heat to very, very low. You want the surface of the mixture to be moving faintly but not boiling. Now you wait. And stir.

Continue cooking the mixture, stirring about every 5 minutes, for 45 min to an hour. It usually takes me about 50 minutes. Remove the pudding from heat when it is thickened but not to the point you'd like it to be when you eat it. It still needs to be a little loose. I tried to take a picture of the perfect consistency:

Still a little liquidy, but you can see the rice grains holding their own on the surface when you stir it. Once you remove it from the heat, it will continue thickening. After about 15 minutes just sitting on the counter, this is what it looked like:

Eat your pudding warm or place it in a covered container in the fridge. It won't chunk up on you! It's delicious cold too! This picture was taken the day after I made the pudding:

Still creamy, amazing deliciousness. Perfect consistency. Even better than when I first made it, actually. Simple ingredients were the key.

Also, it's amazing how much milk those rice grains suck up, they practically triple in size.

Also, it's totally doable to double the recipe, but beware doing that, because you may eat all of it.

Go make it! Tell me how it turned out! Did it change your life?


  1. Do you think this recipe will work with Basmati rice? Some Pakistani gentleman gave me an ENTIRE BAG (bulk size)) of Basmati rice, free of charge, and I have no idea what to do with it.

    Please tell me I can make rice pudding with it! I beg of you!

  2. "finally i can die knowing i have cracked the code"

    best tag ever.

    remember when you only ate rice pudding for a whole week??

  3. Slilly- I think you could try the basmati rice, but it might not absorb as much milk as necessary. You could make it according to the recipe, and if after 45 min or so there's no real thickening, then pour off some excess milk and cook until you reach the desired consistency. OR, there are many other recipes that involve cooking the rice first in water and then cooking with much less milk, like 2 cups. You could try one of those. Finally also, many indian rice pudding recipes call for basmati rice.

    Let me know what you come up with!

  4. So funny. Yesterday I was bored and decided to make rice pudding for the first time. I did not follow a recipe, did not use eggs, and made it in a rice cooker. Wow- it turned out perfect. And yes, I just happened to use sushi rice. I am now hooked on rice puddin. Way better than mom's.

  5. I've always made rice pudding the English way; in the oven, which takes about 2 hours to cook. This takes half the time! I made it with a de-seeded vanilla pod and it tastes awesome, although next time I'll cut back on the sugar as it's just a bit too sweet. Although if there was any left I'm guessing it would be perfect cold. ;)

  6. Delicious! I'm in New Zealand and I think our measures may be different. I made this recently and it was too loose. This time I added 1/2 cup of rice instead and it is almost perfect. I also replaced 1/2 cup of the milk with maple syrup instead of the sugar. Makes it almost healthy! I think I could still have had slightly less liquid/slightly more rice but I'll put that down to international discrepancies! Thank you for your wonderful blog. I lie in bed and dream of cake...

  7. I just discovered and made your recipe for this delicious delicious rice pudding I just want to let you know this will be my go to Rice pudding recipe from now on thank you so much for sharing it is Delicious I apologize for not using punctuation for some reason this comment box has gone ape shit crazy my name is Laurie this thing will also not let me add my name anyway thanks again for the terrific recipe

  8. I made it with chocolate milk sushi rice and it was great! Made a post about it here: Thanks a lot!

  9. Thanks for putting this out there, I too am a fan of Kozy Shack and was curios for a diy version and thanks to the internet and your generosity to share your secrets I got there.

    I followed your instructions and the first batch was such a happy surprise that it had the look and consistency of Kozy Shack, however it had a bit too much of a starchy rice bran-y taste. now normally when I prepare sushi rice I follow another foodies blog advice and rinse, then soak until the rice is evenly translucent the link is

    The next batch I rinsed then soaked the rice I was a bit concerned too much starch washed away but after about 45- 50 minutes it got to the right consistency and after sitting off the heat became the creamy goodness I was looking for, I also kicked the sugar up to 2/3 cup and left out the vanilla because it is not listed on the original recipe Kozy Shack, and though I haven't done a side by side comparison I would have guessed I was eating Kozy Shack.

    Thanks again for sharing

  10. What a fantastic recipe! This was my first attempt at rice pudding and it came out amazing. Unfortunately my stove, even on the lowest setting of the smallest burner, was too hot to leave it unattended (it kept simmering), so I ended up stirring it continually for about half an hour, at which point it looked and tasted almost done.
    I also halved the sugar, add my sweet tooth is not very sweet, and it still came out delicious. I will be making this again, thank you!

  11. When is the best time to add the vanilla?

  12. Rice in rice cooker with full cream milk, sugar and vanilla. When cooked (about 35 mins) place rice into ovenproof casserole type dish coated thinly with butter. Pour a cup of cream over top and dust with cinnamon. Into oven at 180 for 30 minutes. Voila!