Stovetop Rice Pudding

This globally loved grain makes a delicious dessert.

Skillet Rice Pudding

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Lydia Purcell; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs

As anyone with a collection of cookbooks about cuisines around the world can attest, there are many ways to create rice pudding. The possibilities range from Indian kheer (flavored with rose water and cardamom seeds) to different types of arroz con leche and arroz con dulce in the Hispanic world, as well as the South African version that’s made tangy with lemon zest. Some are soupy, and others stiff. The dish can bake in the oven, be cooked in a double boiler, or rely strictly on the stovetop.

When it comes to this dessert, I am a purist and believe the fewer ingredients the better. Rice that’s cooked simply and enhanced with minimal additions is my idea of perfection. It’s all about the mouthfeel of the creamy texture and the toothsomeness of the grain. This version, which is prepared in a skillet, suits me best. Buttered Rum Raisin Sauce (ingredients and recipe below) dresses it up, but it’s just as tasty enjoyed on its own.

Recipe by Nicole Hopper.


  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup uncooked Arborio rice

  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 vanilla bean pod, halved lengthwise

  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • Buttered Rum Raisin Sauce, for serving (recipe below)

  • 3 Tbsp. toasted sliced almonds

Buttered Rum Raisin Sauce

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

  • 1/3 cup (2 2/3 oz.) dark rum

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces


  1. Melt butter in a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium. Add rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until toasted and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add whole milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, vanilla bean pod halves, and kosher salt; bring to a simmer over medium, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a steady simmer. Simmer, stirring often, until rice is tender and mixture has thickened, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat; discard vanilla bean pod halves.

  2. Beat egg yolks with a whisk in a medium bowl. Ladle in about 1/2 cup of the hot pudding mixture, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Pour warmed egg mixture back into skillet. Stir mixture constantly until well combined, about 1 minute. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. (Pudding will continue to thicken as it cools.)

  3. To serve warm, divide pudding evenly among 4 bowls. Spoon Buttered Rum Raisin Sauce evenly over the bowls; sprinkle with almonds. To serve chilled, transfer pudding to an airtight container and place plastic wrap directly on the surface. Chill until cold, about 3 hours. Top with warm Buttered Rum Raisin Sauce and almonds.

Buttered Rum Raisin Sauce

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Lydia Purcell; Food Stylist:Ruth Blackburn

Buttered Rum Raisin Sauce

  1. Stir together golden raisins and rum in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium; cover, and remove from heat. Let stand until raisins are plumped, about 30 minutes.

  2. Uncover saucepan, and stir in sugar, 1 tablespoon water, salt, and cinnamon. Bring mixture to a simmer over low, stirring often to dissolve sugar. Let simmer, undisturbed, for 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is thick and glossy. Transfer sauce to an airtight container, and chill until ready to use, up to 4 days. To reheat, place sauce in a microwavable bowl and microwave on HIGH until hot, about 2 minutes.

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