Creamiest Rice Pudding

After a recent grocery trip in which I bought two gallons of milk (usually necessary), I came home to discover that I already had an almost-full gallon in the refrigerator, which meant I definitely had more than we needed for the week. What to do with the extra milk? Luckily, there are a ton of recipes that are perfect for just such a situation, and one of them is rice pudding.

Not just any rice pudding– many of them use only 3-4 cups of milk per cup of rice, which hardly seems worth it– but a rice pudding that purported to be the creamiest rice pudding out there. This recipe uses a whopping 6 cups of milk to a mere (heaping) half-cup of rice, and all it takes is time. A lot of time. But hey, it was the weekend and I’d already done my grocery shopping, so I had plenty of it, right?

I was a little leery of the milk-to-rice ratio, but as directed, I brought my milk (with sugar and salt) to a boil and stirred in my rice, then dropped it to a simmer and stirred it occasionally. I did cheat a bit– after about 30 minutes the rice was tender but the milk was still liquid rather than creamy, so I didn’t see the point in gently simmering it any longer. Instead, I cranked up the heat and let it boil for the next 15 minutes, slowly thickening into a nice, creamy mixture. Once off-heat, I stirred in my flavorings, then set it out to cool.

Since I was in a bit of a hurry I poured it onto a silicone-lined baking sheet on the counter to cool faster, then once it was merely warm I put it in the refrigerator to cool even more quickly. The finished texture was perfectly creamy– not liquid-y as I’d feared– and I added some toasted coconut and chopped pistachios on top for contrast.

I think this recipe could be the base of a bunch of different variations. Cardamom and orange zest. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Lemon zest and honey. Or with coconut milk substituted for some of the milk, and maybe some crushed pineapple– the possibilities are endless!

Creamiest Rice Pudding

(slightly adapted from Spicy Southern Kitchen)

  • 6 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Heaping 1/2 cup of rice (135 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Bring 5 1/2 cups of the milk, sugar, cardamom, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan.
  • Stir in rice and lower heat until the mixture is just simmering.
  • Stir every five minutes, maintaining at a simmer, until rice is tender (about 30 minutes).
  • Increase heat to a boil and keep cooking about 15 minutes, until mixture thickens considerably– mine had the texture of a chunky yogurt once the rice expanded and the milk cooked down.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and any other flavorings.
  • You can serve it warm or cold. For the latter, chill completely, and when ready to serve, stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk until it loosens up in consistency a bit. Add your favorite toppings and dig in!
Rice pudding spread out on a sheet pan to cool

Cooled and thickened!

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