Rice pudding is a creamy dish produced by cooking rice with milk, and flavored with sugar and sometimes spices.

Rice Pudding

What is Rice Pudding?

Rice pudding is a creamy dish produced by cooking rice with milk, and flavored with sugar and sometimes spices. In the past, it was produced by simply boiling rice for long hours, whereas, today, it is made by blending rice or even baking it. This classic dish is found in many countries with the recipe varying widely. In India, it is made by slowly cooking rice with milk, sugar, nuts, and jaggery.

  • In Spain, this food is made by cooking rice with milk, sugar, and lemon zest.
  • This dish is referred to as Payasam in South India and Kheer in North India.

Some popular variations include:

  • Kheer 
  • Arroz Con Leche
  • Scandinavian-Style Rice Porridge
  • Biko
  • Guatemala Pudding
  • Japanese Banana-Rice Pudding
  • Swedish Pudding
  • Newfie Pudding
  • Kalter Michreis Mit Brombeere
  • Rizogalo

Origin of rice pudding

The exact origin of this pudding is not clear, although some historians believe that it may have originated from India. Others believe that this food was first made in China. However, both countries have a history of this dish. This dish can be traced back to when rice was an imported food served to the kings and elite alone before it became available to everyone. 

The origin of this food in China dates back to the Byzantine Empire. In India, this food has been in existence since about 6000 BCE.  It is even found in several Ayurveda recipes and diets. In Europe, the history of this food can be traced to the 1300s. Today, this food is widely available and has a local recipe in almost every country in the world.


A 100g serving of this pudding contains:

Consuming rice offers some health benefits, as it provides 15% of the calcium required for daily maintenance of the body and, when consumed regularly, may reduce body weight. Substituting white rice with yellow or brown rice can make a meal even healthier. Though white rice can help reduce weight loss, it can also aid weight gain, if not balanced with diet and exercise. Healthy alternatives to milk and other ingredients should also be considered to control excess calories. Finally, arsenic is commonly present in rice, meaning that everyone should take caution not to consume this food in excess.

Commercial production

Preparing this dish for commercial purposes begins with adding sugar, milk, and other ingredients like cinnamon into pre-cooked rice. Then, the resulting mixture is transferred into a blender for blending, after which, the rice is coated with sugar syrup. Next, the sugar-coated rice is transferred into a pot for cooking. It is cooked continuously till the right texture is achieved. The thick texture is achieved when the starch in rice solidifies with the milk. Finally, the dish is packaged before it is ready to be sold or served. 


Making this food at home is simple when following a recipe. Bear in mind that constantly stirring the rice will ensure it has a smooth texture and prevent the bottom from scorching. This food can be stored for about a week in the refrigerator. Once cooked, it should be transferred into a container to allow it to cool, and then covered with aluminum foil before stored inside the refrigerator. Storing this food properly is vital to avoiding foodborne illnesses from rice. 

Rice pudding recipes

This sweet dish can be adjusted to suit a variety of palates. Here are some popular recipes:

FDA Regulation

The FDA does not have any regulations that explicitly mention this dish. However, they do regulate how this food should be served. The agency stipulates that all food must be labeled or described in a term or a common name that distinguishes it and exact ingredients used to make the food should also be described. Furthermore, the FDA strictly regulates rice and has a limit for what arsenic levels are acceptable in rice products.


Awanthi, Vardaja “A Brief History: Rice Pudding” writinginthekitchen.com, Eat my words, 8th October 2017. https://writinginthekitchen.com/2017/10/08/a-brief-history-of-rice-pudding/ 

Dana Angelo “Rice Pudding: Easy, Comforting, Delicious…Healthy?” Food Network, https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2016/05/rice-pudding-good-or-bad 

“Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products Risk Assessment Report.” Fda.gov, US Food & Drug Administration www.fda.gov/files/food/published/Arsenic-in-Rice-and-Rice-Products-Risk-Assessment-Report-PDF.pdf.