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Rice pudding
Risalamande being served during the traditional Scandinavian Christmas meal
Alternative namescreamed rice, sütlaç, sholezard, riz au lait, arroz-doce, kheer, arroz con leche
Place of originWorldwide
Serving temperatureAny temperature
Main ingredientsRice, water or milk

Rice pudding is a dish made from rice mixed with water or milk and commonly other ingredients such as sweeteners, spices, flavourings and sometimes eggs.

Variants are used for either desserts or dinners. When used as a dessert, it is commonly combined with a sweetener such as sugar. Such desserts are found on many continents, especially Asia where rice is a staple. Some variants are thickened only with the rice starch; others include eggs, making them a kind of custard.[1]

Rice pudding around the world

Arroz con leche (rice with milk) is the Spanish and American type of rice pudding. Leftover rice is often used, especially in restaurants.

Rice puddings are found in nearly every area of the world. Recipes can greatly vary even within a single country. The dessert can be boiled or baked. Different types of pudding vary depending on preparation methods and the selected ingredients. The following ingredients are usually found in rice puddings:

The following is a list of various rice puddings grouped by place of origin.

West Asia/North Africa

Turkish fırın sütlaç, baked
Levantine riz bi haleeb

Central and South Asia

Indian kheer in a restaurant
Kheer benazir at the Old Delhi restaurant Karim's

East Asia

Southeast Asia

Malaysian pulut hitam in a restaurant

Many dishes resembling rice pudding can be found in Southeast Asia, many of which have Chinese influences. Owing to Chinese usage, they are almost never referred to as rice pudding by the local populations (whether ethnic Chinese origin or not) but instead called sweet rice porridge.


Britain and Ireland

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, rice pudding is a traditional dessert typically made with high-starch short-grained rice sold as "pudding rice".[4]

The earliest rice pudding recipes were called whitepot and date from the Tudor period.[5] Rice pudding is traditionally made with pudding rice, milk, cream and sugar and is sometimes flavoured with vanilla, nutmeg, jam and/or cinnamon. It can be made in two ways: in a saucepan or by baking in the oven.

In a saucepan, it is made by gently simmering the milk and rice until tender, and then the sugar is carefully mixed in. Finally, the cream is mixed in, and it can either be left to cool and be served at room temperature, or it can be heated and served hot. It should have a very creamy consistency.


When made in the oven, the pudding rice is placed into a baking dish, and the milk, cream and sugar are mixed in. The dish is then placed in the oven and baked at a low temperature for a few hours, until the rice is tender and the pudding has a creamy consistency. While cooking, the pudding may develop a thick crust, which adds a distinct texture. It is traditional to sprinkle the top with finely grated nutmeg before baking. Using evaporated milk (9% milk fat) instead of whole milk enriches the result and intensifies the caramelised flavour.

An alternative recipe frequently used in the north of England[according to whom?] uses butter instead of cream, adds a small pinch of salt, and requires the pudding mixture to stand for an hour or so prior to being cooked. Such puddings tend to set firmly when cooled, enabling slices to be cut and eaten like cake. If eaten hot, the pudding is traditionally served with cream poured on top in wealthy households, and with full fat milk where cream was not available. A spoonful of sweet jam or conserve is also a very popular topping for the pudding. Clotted cream is often used in the West Country.

A specific type of rice is available and widely used for rice pudding, called pudding rice. Similar to Arborio rice, its grain is round and short, and when cooked produces a creamier consistency than savoury rice. However, other short grained rice can be used as a substitute.

Ready-made, pre-cooked rice pudding is widely available in supermarkets and convenience stores, either chilled in pots or ambient in tin cans, which has a long shelf life. A popular brand is Ambrosia.[6] Some brands are made with skimmed (fat free) milk.

Portuguese arroz doce served for Christmas
Armenian lapa with black poppy seeds

European dishes similar to rice pudding

Nordic countries

Store-bought rice pudding

In the Nordic countries, rice porridge is a common breakfast and sometimes lunch. It is made as a warm dish from rice cooked in milk. When served, it is commonly sprinkled with cinnamon, sugar (or syrup) and a small knob of butter, and served with milk or fruit juice. In Iceland, it is sometimes served with cold slátur, a type of liver sausage. In different languages it is called risengrød (Danish), risengrynsgrøt or risgrøt/risgraut (Norwegian), risgrynsgröt (Swedish), riisipuuro (Finnish), grjónagrautur [ˈkrjouːnaˌkrœyːtʏr̥], hrísgrautur [ˈr̥iːs-] or hrísgrjónagrautur (Icelandic), and rísgreytur (Faroese).

The rice porridge dinner is used as a basis for rice cream dessert. There are many different variants of this dessert but the basis is the same: cold rice porridge (the dinner variant) is mixed with whipped cream and sweetened. In Sweden, it is sometimes mixed with oranges and is then called apelsinris. Risalamande (Danish, after French riz à l'amande, rice with almonds) is cold risengrød with whipped cream, vanilla, and chopped almond, often served with hot or chilled cherry (or strawberry) sauce. In Norway, the dessert is called riskrem and served with red sauce (usually made from strawberries, raspberries or cherries). Rice cream dessert is called ris à la Malta in Sweden, while what is referred to as risgrynspudding is made with eggs instead of cream.

In Scandinavia, rice pudding has long been a part of Christmas tradition, in some countries referred to as julegröt/julegrøt/julegrød/joulupuuro (Yule porridge) or tomtegröt/nissegrød. The latter name is due to the old tradition of sharing the meal with the guardian of the homestead, called tomte or nisse (see also blót). In Finland, Christmas rice porridge is sometimes eaten with a kissel or compote made of dried prunes.

A particular Christmas tradition often associated with rice pudding or porridge is hiding a whole almond in the porridge. In Sweden and Finland, popular belief has it that the one who eats the almond will be in luck the following year. In Norway, Denmark, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, the one who finds it will get the almond present as a prize. In Denmark and the Faroe Islands, the almond tradition is usually done with risalamande served as dessert at julefrokost (Christmas lunch) or on Christmas Eve. In Norway, it is commonly served as lunch or early dinner on Christmas Eve or the day before, lillejulaften 'Little Christmas Eve'. In Sweden and Finland, it is more commonly done with a rice porridge dinner, sometimes a few days before Christmas Eve.

Canada and the United States

In Canada and the United States, most recipes come from European immigrants. In the latter half of the 20th century, South Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American recipes have also become more common. In New England, a popular pudding is made with long grain rice, milk, sugar, or in Vermont, maple syrup. This may be combined with nutmeg, cinnamon, and/or raisins. The pudding is usually partially cooked on top of the stove in a double boiler, and then finished in an oven.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Argentine arroz con leche
Industrial arroz con leche with cinnamon sold in Argentina by Tregar

See also


  1. ^ Persian Saffron Rice Pudding
  2. ^ "Bubur Pulut Hitam (Black Glutinous Rice dessert)". A Table For Two. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  3. ^ Almario, Virgilio, et al. 2010. UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino, 2nd ed. Anvil: Pasig.
  4. ^ "Pudding rice recipes - BBC Food".
  5. ^ " - historicalfoods Resources and Information". Archived from the original on June 24, 2011.
  6. ^ "Leading dessert and topping brands in the UK 2017-2020". Statista. Retrieved 2022-03-10.
  7. ^ Hadjittofi, Petroula. "Ρυζόγαλο". (in Greek). Cyprus Food Virtual Museum. Retrieved 27 November 2015.