Coconut Rice Pudding


I was prompted to make this by sheer necessity– I had a bunch of leftover rice that was starting to harden in the refrigerator, and a cupful of coconut milk left from a tom kha gai recipe that I had no other plans for. It was really inevitable that I’d end up making rice pudding out of the two items.

I really love kheer, which is a coconut-cardamom rice pudding that I’ve only ever had in Indian restaurants. Sadly, I didn’t have any cardamom in the house and it was 12 degrees F outside, so I wasn’t about to go out just to buy some. Instead, I decided to make a plain coconut rice pudding and see what I could do with it later.

The recipe couldn’t be simpler– leftover rice, dairy, and sugar (plus a pinch of salt). I added vanilla for a little more depth of flavor. Bring to a boil and then simmer until thick. And that’s it!

Okay, okay, here are details:

Coconut Rice Pudding

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

2 cups milk

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1. Combine rice, milk, sugar, and salt in a 3 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until slightly thickened. (don’t let it boil over!)

2. Add coconut milk and bring back to a boil, then simmer again until the consistency of thin oatmeal. NOT the consistency of regular oatmeal– it’ll thicken significantly as it cools, so you don’t want it to be gluey once it’s at a reasonable temperature.


3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool until it’s just warm, then serve. Alternatively, chill and serve cold. A sprinkling of cinnamon makes it just perfect.


  1. This was a decent one-off dessert, but I think if I were to serve it again it would need something more. Cardamom would be nice. Or maybe some raisins plumped in rum.
  2. After this is chilled it does tend to firm up quite a bit. To relax it again, microwave for about 30 seconds and maybe stir in a little more milk.



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