How to Cook Everything: The Basics: Rice Pudding in the Oven


By Alaina Sullivan

Patience is a virtue with oven-cooked rice pudding. It takes some time for the rice and milk to warm up to each other, but when they finally do, the wait is rewarded. The foundation of rice pudding is incredibly simple — rice, milk and sugar. From there, the possibilities are basically limitless. I tested three versions using three different grains and three different milks: 1) Brown basmati rice and almond milk, with lemon zest, honey and crushed almonds (I particularly like the brightness of the zest here); 2) Arborio rice and rice milk, with coconut flakes and vanilla (exotic, rich, and very sweet); 3) Brown jasmine and regular cow’s milk, with nutmeg, cinnamon, and pistachios (warmly spiced with a more subtle sweetness).

The arborio version achieved the creamiest consistency, while the brown rice delivered a coarser-textured pudding with a nuttier fragrance. Brown rice takes longer to cook than white, but if you want to speed up the process and make the pudding creamier, pulse the brown grains in a food processor a few times before cooking. Recipe from How to Cook Everything: The Basics.

Rice Pudding in the Oven

The term comfort food is overused. But not here: There is nothing more soothing.

Time: About 2 hours, mostly unattended

Makes: At least 4 servings

1/3 cup any white rice

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch salt

4 cups milk

1. Heat the oven to 300°F. Combine the rice, sugar, salt, and milk in a large gratin dish that holds at least 6 cups. Stir a couple of times and put it in the oven, uncovered. Bake for 30 minutes, then stir. Bake for 30 minutes longer, then stir again; at this point the rice might be swelling up and the milk should begin to develop a bubbly skin (if so, stir it back into the mixture).

2. Cook until the rice plumps and starts to become a more noticeable part of the mixture and the skin becomes more visible and darker, about 30 minutes more. Now the pudding is getting close to done, so check on it every 10 minutes, stirring each time (it should reach the right texture in 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the kind of rice you used).

3. The pudding will be done before you think it’s done. The rice should be really swollen and the milk thickened considerably but still pretty fluid (it will thicken more as it cools). Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.


You’ve got to use white rice in this recipe, but you have some choices: Long-grain aromatic rice (like basmati or jasmine) will deliver the most delicate texture and fragrance. Short- or medium-grain white rice (like Arborio) will be more thick and chewy. Supermarket long-grain rices will be somewhere in between.


5 Ways to Change the Flavor:

1. Substitute coconut, soy, rice, or nut milk for the milk.

2. Stir in a piece or two of whole spice (cinnamon sticks, cloves, or nutmeg) at the beginning of cooking.

3. Stir in a teaspoon of grated citrus zest at the beginning of cooking.

4. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract after cooking.

5. Add up to 1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts right before serving.

Posted in Baking, Recipes


  1. Jam Dugg said...

    Looks great, thanks for sharing!

  2. neudecker said...

    Are you sure about the ratio of 1/3 cup rice to 4 cups milk? Mine has been in the oven for 90 minutes now and seems rather like a soup than anything else.

  3. neudecker said...

    I take back my question. I took it out of the oven anyway, let it rest a bit – and it is delicious!

  4. Your mode of explaining the whole thing in this paragraph is truly fastidious, every one can
    simply be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

  5. Tara said...

    Where can I buy brown jasmine rice?

  6. Dani said...

    This is the best pudding recipe I’ve ever found, and I’ve tried many! Thank you very much!

    Through experimentation I’ve also found simple supermarket long grain rice is my favourite rather than the bags of pudding rice available, feels less gloopy and gelatinous with all the flavour and a much nicer consistency!

    Also adding the vanilla as suggested makes this dish heavenly!

    • Sue said...

      Thank you for yhis comment. I don’t like having bags and bags of specific foods in my cupboards. I shall definitely try this.

  7. Jutta said...

    Too runny and WAAY too sweet, even for a sugar junkie like me!

    Shouldn’t it be 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup rice, instead of the other way around?

  8. kartik said...

    Delicious. Another variation is to use indian raw sugar instead of regular sugar. You can find it in indian grocery stores. It tastes different and really good. Use raisins/cashews for garnishing. Maybe add a few green cardamoms while cooking. Use evaporated milk or half and half if you want to cut down cooking time. Use carrots instead of rice for another variation. Add a little ghee after cooking if using carrots. I like all these variations.

  9. Pat said...

    I have just added ingredients to the slow cooker. It is too hot here today to start the oven !!

  10. Sara said...

    First time ive made rice pudding. And…Yummm. I didn’t have enough milk so I used 2 cups of evaporated milk and 2 cups of full fat milk, which worked well. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. I didn’t find it too sweet as other people did but its personal taste I suppose. So easy and tasty!! Defo will make again 🙂

  11. Shaun said...

    Going to attempt this simple method of making a delicious Home Cooked Rice Pudding .

  12. Kari Aguilar said...

    I am not great at cooking and a lot of the time the sheer number of ingredients as well as the amount of steps required to make a recipe will discourage me from attempting it to begin with. I love that the basics of the initial recipe you offer are easy to follow, and that you take the time to describe, in impressive detail, subtle ways to add different tastes or textures to an already fantastic recipe to allow me to broaden my cooking knowledge.I like that I have the option once I am completely comfortable preparing the original rice pudding.

  13. Cook for around 25-30 mins or until rice grains have bloomed and curled, stirring regularly to avoid scorching.
    Do you remember sucking on lollipops (also known as suckers) when you were a kid.

    Soba has a nutty flavor and color from beige to brown.

  14. Danielle said...

    I love oven baked rice pudding and I always just wing it and love it BUT this was the BEST EVER pudding my family and I have had simply by following this recipe. I first made it two weeks ago and I am about to make it again. Thank you

  15. Jennifer said...

    I made this and it was too sweet and too runny. I took this out of the oven and it was far too soupy so I thought after it was refrigerated it would solidify a bit more. It didn’t so the next day I put it back in the oven. It’s not as runny now, seems to be nice consistency now. I made it with arborio rice and even though I used 1% milk it was still creamy. Next time I make it it will have less sugar and stay in the oven longer and perhaps a slightly higher heat.

  16. Marie said...

    I made this recipe exactly at directed, and it turned out fabulously. I used arborio, and as soon as the rice was plump and more visible in the mixture (about 10 minutes before I took it out), it was finished. It will look like “soup” with rice bits showing at the surface and throughout when it is done, and then it sets up more firmly when you take it out. I also used 1/3 cup of sugar instead of a half, and used a half a vanilla bean split open (removed at the end of cooking). I added cardamom and lemon zest at the beginning, and finished with one tablespoon of orange water and topped with candied orange zest. This dessert will impress for sure – and is so great for prep-ahead in individual serving bowls, plastic wrap, and serving the next day! Cheers and thanks for the recipe!

  17. Janet said...

    Great versatile recipe. My favourite simple vegan variation: Rice, soy or almond milk, arborio rice, brown sugar + a few small handfuls of dried cranberries and zest of a small orange. Cranberries replump during baking and flavour combo is sublime. (Do not try this with dairy milk as the cranberries make it curdle.)

  18. Gina said...

    Can this recipe easily be doubled? (If you have a dish that is large enough?)

  19. Leigh said...

    Perfect! Just how I remember my mothers tasting. Used my pottery casserole dish to bake it in. Now to share with my own daughter to enjoy!

  20. Sarah said...

    Wonderful recipe, I am making it again tomorrow. It takes a bit longer for me because I have a full oven (I make this rice pudding when I have a fresh pork shoulder going in the rack above). I do the cinnamon stick pieces and also add vanilla at the end.

  21. wysterien said...

    Is there a way to use eggs in this?

  22. Samantha Manley said...

    I cook it without any sugar. I was raised by a diabetic mother & that’s how she made it. My families way is to just stir jam in at the end & sometimes a little splash of cream or milk. I just use Calrose because I like the texture but it’s great with jasmine rice & some cardamon & cinnamon too.

  23. Recipeguru said...

    Wow, you just explain very well, i mean explained so smoothly like it is 1 2 3 for everyone to make pudding 🙂 🙂 Thanks for sharing such valuable content.

  24. Jeanne said...

    Sorry to sound ignorant but I’m knew to world of cooking/baking….is this baked uncovered? Thanks!

  25. Beth Kinyanjui said...

    Exclent recipe

  26. Beth Kinyanjui said...

    I like baked foods

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