Creamy Baked Rice Pudding

There is nothing more perfect or comforting for dessert or even breakfast in the winter than rice pudding. It’s creamy, warm comforting and this baked version also only takes minutes to put together, then it’s baked - no need to stand by the stove stirring. With minimal ingredients and many optional add ins you have yourself a very customizable and delicious recipe for rice pudding to cozy up with on those cold nights.

Creamy Baked Rice Pudding

Why you will love this rice pudding recipe?

Rice pudding is a nostalgic food for me. My mom would make it all winter long - her version is quite simple too and stove top, with loads of cinnamon just like my dad liked it. This version is even easier to make - very hands off-and just as delicious. Here is why you will love it:

  • It’s so easy to prepare with minimal effort
  • Minimal ingredients and adaptable ones too  
  • So creamy and did I mention the perfect kind of comfort food
  • No eggs or custard base to fuss with

Creamy Baked Rice Pudding

What is Rice Pudding?

Rice pudding is simply rice cooked in sweetened milk. As the rice cooks, it lets off starch that thickens the milk and suspends the tender grains of rice, adding to its creaminess. There are many variations of rice pudding from the rice you use to the milk you use and to your add ins. The rice pudding forms a skin on top, which you can either mix in as it cooks or leave the skin to form and eat that too. Do you like the skin or hate it? I LOVE it!! My mom would call me over every time she had to stir the pot and the skin had formed - so that I wouldn’t miss it. This recipe as you can see from the photos has a lovely golden skin on it - it’s from baking it. You can either stir it in or enjoy it the way it is.

Creamy Baked Rice Pudding

Baked Rice Pudding Ingredients:

  • Rice: I always use Arborio rice - a short grain rice. The same sort of rice you would use for a creamy risotto. Feel free to change it up with any other short Grain rice except for brown rice as it absorbs liquids quite differently and won’t work in this recipe.
  • Milk: I use whole milk in this recipe but really and truly you can use whatever milk you have, you can swap out some of it with boiling water for a lighter version or make it richer and creamier by swapping some of the milk for cream or evaporated milk. For a dairy free and vegan version you could use almond milk or cashew milk would be nice too - any dairy free milk would work. Either omit the butter or use vegan butter for topping.
  • Sugar: I used granulated and I really think 2 tablespoons is just the right amount - not overly sweet but feel free to adjust according to taste. Brown sugar or coconut sugar would be fine here too.
  • Vanilla: I used a vanilla bean but vanilla extract is perfect here too. Always adds a wonderful flavour base to rice pudding.
  • Lemon peel: I love the hint of citrus it adds to this rice pudding but I have also used orange zest or orange peel and love that too. Other Add ins: Cinnamon, nutmeg, Cardamom, raisins or sultanas and even some coco powder for a chocolatey twist

Creamy Baked Rice Pudding

How to make baked rice pudding:

  1. Stir rice, milk, sugar vanilla and lemon zest together to combine in a baking dish.
  2. Place baking dish on a Sheetpan or baking tray and bake for 1 hour removing to stir halfway through baking. (Feel free to stir Again after the 1 hour is up)
  3. After 1 hour remove and sprinkle over remaining sugar and butter and bake again for another 10-15 minutes until golden.

Creamy Baked Rice Pudding

How to serve rice pudding:

I like to serve rice pudding with a little cream or milk on the side. I drizzle a little in my bowl to make it extra creamy and also cool it down especially if it’s hot out the oven. I spoon it right out of the baking dish onto a plate or bowl and spoon over any cooking liquid as well. I served mine with roasted persimmon but any roasted fruit will work or fresh fruit even. Or keep it simple with a dusting of Cinnamon. It really comes down to taste. Make it your own.

Creamy Baked Rice Pudding

How do I know when my rice pudding is done? Test the rice for doneness by tasting a bit, it should be cooked through and tender but not soggy or falling apart. How long will rice pudding keep in the fridge? Rice pudding will keep nicely in the fridge for 3-4 days. If it becomes too thick, simply stir in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to loosen. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop with a couple of tablespoon of milk added. Can you freeze rice pudding? Yes, you can. Rice pudding will keep well frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. What until it has cooled completely before wrapping and freezing.

Creamy Baked Rice Pudding

Here are some more creamy desserts you will love:


Servings: 6
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 75 mins


For the Baked Rice Pudding:

  • ½ cup Arborio rice
  • 1 Litre whole milk
  • 1 Vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon
  • 3-4 pieces lemon peel or lemon zest
  • 1½ tablespoons cold butter, chopped

For the roasted Persimmons (optional):

  • 6 ripe persimmons, halved
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks, slightly crushed
  • ½ tsp sumac


For the creamy rice pudding

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter/grease a 7 cup-capacity (1.75 litre) shallow ovenproof dish (I used a deep dish pie plate) Combine the milk, vanilla bean and seeds, 2 tablespoons of sugar and lemon peel, pour over the rice and stir to combine.
  2. Place on a baking tray. Bake for 1 hour. Remove carefully halfway through baking and stir (mixing in any skin)
  3. After baking for 1 hour, remove and top with the butter, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and bake for 10–15 minutes longer or until the top is golden. You can stir the skin in again if you like as it bakes or just leave it. Serve with touch of cream.

For the roasted Persimmons

Toss persimmon with honey, sumac and place In a small roasting pan with the cinnamon. Add ¼ cup of water and cover with foil. Roast for 45 min at 400°F, or until persimmons are soft, yet hold their shape (check halfway through to make sure there is enough liquid - adding a little more water if needed - you’ll find that the honey syrup thickens during this time).Once they’re cooked, switch oven to broil Remove foil and spoon honey syrup over the top of the persimmons, then return to the oven to broil for a couple of minutes or until the tops are caramelized.

Recipe Notes

  • Cooking time: Oven temperatures and ovens on the whole vary, brands of rice vary in their absorption and milk brands can vary in their water to fat ratio – the baking time is a guide. Yours may need a little more or less time to reach the right texture, depending on these variable.

Creamy Baked Rice Pudding