Old Fashioned Rice Pudding (StoveTop)

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old fashion stove top rice pudding
old fashioned rice pudding

This easy, homemade old fashioned stove top rice pudding recipe is one of my favorite childhood desserts.

With just enough sweetness, flavored with lemon and cinnamon, delicious while still warm but also cold, this is probably the easiest international dessert recipes ever.

And, best of all  – made with everyday 3 basic ingredients.

A bawl of this warm, comforting, rich, creamy rice pudding is always bringing me back childhood memories…

Better than Rizogalo?…

With no eggs and no butter but with tangy lemon zest favor, I find it better than Greek rice pudding rizogalo.

May be a personal taste, but just make it and convince yourself of this fabulous Romanian version.

old fashioned rice pudding recipe
stove-top rice pudding

Every once in a while, I like to upgrade this recipe and make it sweeter – so I top it with fruit jams and some chopped walnuts.

That, is the ultimate heavenly rice pudding delish. Just follow the recipe below to start making it happen.

You can easily make this rice pudding vegan

Just replace regular milk with almond milk, coconut or oat milk and you have a vegan rice pudding recipe instead.

So, what do we need for this rice pudding recipe?


🥛 Ingredients For This Rice Pudding

Three basic ingredients and some extra flavors and let’s start cooking.

  • Short-grain / Arborio (risotto) rice, but any kind will do
  • Whole milk – for intense milk flavor (coconut / almond milk for vegans)
  • Sugar – white, regular sugar
  • Pinch of salt for taste
  • Lemon zest for flavor
  • Vanilla extract for flavor
  • Cinnamon to serve – optional
  • Sour cherry jam to serve – optional
  • Ground walnuts to serve – optional


🍚 How To Make Stove-Top Rice Pudding

Old fashioned rice pudding recipe is cooked on the stove-top, blending all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmering for a while, until the rice thickens and is cooked trough.

It will require frequent stirring, so you cannot walk away from it.

Like cooking the famous risotto – it takes commitment and attention. Make sure you have all ingredients at hand.

1. Put rice and water to boil

Place the rice into a strainer and rinse well under running cold water.

Transfer the rice, the water, and salt to a medium sized (preferably heavy bottomed) saucepan and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until most of the water is absorbed (about 7-10 minutes). Stir occasionally, at 2-3 minutes.

how to make rice pudding on the stove
how to make rice pudding on the stove

2. Add milk and sugar

Add half of the milk into the saucepan and keep cooking on medium-low heat. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring very often.

The rice will start to expand, absorbing more liquid as it cooks. Add the rest of the milk and the sugar. Keep cooking at lowest heat, on a gentle simmer for the rest of the time.

Stir frequently, do not let it burn from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

After other 15-20 minutes the pudding will thicken and the rice will become tender. I like to cook the rice al dente. Depending on the rice type, usually 40 minutes of slow cooking will be enough.

The rice will continue cooking even after we take it off the heat, so have a taste and if it reached the al dente point, turn off the heat.

Note: the consistency of this recipe is just as you see in the photo below.

If you like a more liquid, creamier pudding add more water at the beginning or milk (+1/2 cup or more) while cooking.

Keep in mind that as it cools off, it will become even more consistent and will absorb all the liquid. NOW is the right time to correct the amount of the liquid, or if you prefer it just like I made it – keep the recipe as it is.

rice pudding on stove top
homemade old fashioned rice pudding

3. Add lemon zest and vanilla

Once you turn off the heat, add the lemon zest and the vanilla extract. Give it another stir to combine everything well and that’s it!

The pudding is ready to be served. The smell is divine. There’s no point to wait. 🙂


🥄 Serving Rice Pudding

This rice pudding recipe is usually served with lots of ground cinnamon on top.

Serve this creamy rice pudding in individual bawls or cups and sprinkle with cinnamon to your taste.

If you like an upgrade to this recipe, add 1-2 tbsp of your preferred jam and some chopped walnuts on top.

Just for pure deliciousness. Indulge!

old fashioned rice pudding recipe

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5 from 6 votes

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding (StoveTop)

Stove top old fashioned rice pudding recipe is one of my favorite desserts. I find it better than Greek rizogalo.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: International, Romanian
Keyword: easy, milk, rice, rice pudding
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • cups (250g) risotto rice
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 3 cups (750ml) milk
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon (to taste)
  • fruit jam, walnuts to serve (optional)


  • Rinse and drain the rice. In a heavy bottom medium sized saucepan combine the rice, water and salt. Bring to boiling point stirring often. Let it absorb the water for about 7-10 minutes on medium heat.
  • Lower the heat and add half of the milk. Stir continuously and cook for another 10 minutes, as the rice is expanding and absorbing more and more liquid. Add the rest of the milk and the sugar (if you prefer a more creamy pudding now it's the time to add 1/2 cup more milk to the recipe).
    Continue cooking, stirring gently and consistently so the rice doesn't stick to the pan for another 15-20 minutes, until the pudding thickens and the rice is cooked trough.
  • When the rice is done, turn off the heat and add the lemon zest and the vanilla extract. Give one last stir to blend all the flavors together and serve immediately sprinkled with ground cinnamon to your taste.
    To variate, add some fruit jam and chopped walnuts on top as well. Yum!
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5 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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