Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Creamy Arborio Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is a very basic dessert. It’s not complicated to make, doesn’t involve a ton of ingredients, and isn’t full of complex tastes. It’s simple, and absolutely perfect in its simplicity.

But for some reason, I’ve never made it before. Every time I see a blog post about rice pudding, I get a major craving for it, but I’d never acted on it before. Last week when I was headed to Boston to visit AW, I called him ahead of time to tell him that I would be making rice pudding upon arrival. I stopped by the supermarket and arrived armed and ready with my ingredients.

I’d seen an episode of Tyler’s Ultimate on the Food Network earlier that morning in which he’d made arborio rice pudding. It looked so creamy and delicious, I was sold. The recipe called for few things — milk, sugar, cinnamon, a vanilla bean and rice. I measured everything out according to the recipe online, which seemed really incorrect and not in line with what he’d said on the show. But hey, a recipe is a recipe right? And if the Food Network has it published online it just MUST be right. But no, I neglected to read the reviews, which mentioned that Tyler had gotten the ratios right on the show, and not online. So after about 30 minutes of stirring and stirring (when the recipe had said it would cook in 10 minutes…), I decided to read those reviews, and lo and behold — I’d gotten it completely wrong! So I took some of the warmed milk and added some new rice to it, which was much creamier and cooked much more quickly. Then I added it to the first batch of rice, and it ended up coming out perfectly; about an hour later. But hey! It was a perfect mistake.

In the future, I will know precisely how to make this, and I can impart those (correct) instructions onto you. This is a super simple, super quick recipe, and it’s really tasty — in my opinion, the perfect comfort food. I added some raisins in the end for good measure, and they were fantastic. They got all plump and juicy, and were really fun to eat! Once it’s chilled it thickens up, but if you heat it on the stove-top with a little bit of additional milk, it returns to it’s silky smooth state. YUM!

Arborio Rice Pudding

1 quart whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1 tbsp butter (optional)
1 orange, zested (I didn’t do this because I didn’t have an orange, but I bet it’d be wonderful — very aromatic)


  • Mix the milk, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla bean and seeds.
  • Cook the rice in boiling water until al dente. Once the water has evaporated, stir in the milk mixture (and raisins and butter if using. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes stirring regularly until rice is tender.
  • Add the orange zest (if using) and a pinch of salt. Stir well and remove from heat. The consistency should be more liquid than regular risotto (however if you cook it too long, it will get pretty thick — if this happens just add more milk until it returns to your preferred texture). Finish with a light dust of cinnamon, and some more orange zest if you’d like.

I only got the have the rice pudding the night we made it, but AW brought it up to his family and said it was good the next day too (heated up with some milk!). I guess I’ll just have to make some more very, very soon.

More soon, and until then… With love, and sugar. Enjoy!

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