Creamy Vanilla Rice Pudding (vegan and gluten free)

Vegan, Gluten Free and Sugar Free


When I was young my sister and I went through a rice pudding phase. A rice pudding phase so intense that for a while afterwards, every time someone mentioned eating rice pudding I thought back on that experience as the dark days. I can now think of that time quite fondly, when I would eat one or two packets of cold, gloopy rice pudding every single day. It was an important part of my childhood, and many people’s childhoods, to get completely obsessed with a certain packaged product and eat so much of it you eventually want to exorcise every box from the face of the earth (for me this includes Easy Mac, frozen packets of dim sims and Yoplait vanilla cream…shudder). 

It was a shame to get sick of rice pudding though because I’d never actually tried the real deal, not straight out of a packet. I mean…has anyone? I know people in Europe eat it on Christmas Eve and hide an almond inside as a prize, but in Australia the only rice pudding I’ve ever seen is in a packet or a can. We’re not really rice pudding people. Come to think of it, the only place I’ve seen rice pudding as a popular choice on the menu was at the old person’s centre I used to volunteer at. Image

Well things are about to change! Because rice pudding is actually really delicious, and it’s naturally gluten free. You can use basically any milk you want, including soy and almond (the best is coconut) making it naturally vegan as well. I made a seriously vanilla-flavoured simple rice pudding with almond milk, topping it with fresh blueberries. I was tempted to make a coconut version and top it with mango slices, or maybe a cinnamon and ginger version topping it with poached rhubarb. But I decided to stick with simple for the first go. 

I used a mash-up recipe from Jamie’s America and Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert, for the sole reason that the recipe claimed to make the ‘creamiest rice pudding ever’. I don’t know about you, but I can never resist a recipe that claims to be the best. I know! So naive. I chose to make my pudding over a stove, meaning I had to stir it basically constantly for the last twenty minutes. If you really don’t want to do that I guess you could do it Jamie’s way and bake it in the oven, but it’s pretty fun stirring the rice until it’s as creamy and thick as you like it. I had so much fun making and photographing this pudding because it was so easy and homely. There was no fear of melting ice cream or ugly brown or strange flavours. Just simple old vanilla rice pudding. 


This pudding is really delicious and thick despite the handful of humble ingredients and minimum fuss to make it. It’s delicious warm but also great cold, so try it both ways and see what you prefer. Experiment with toppings and different milks and tell me how they go! 

On another note, I’m getting super excited about summer and going away! I’ve been busy making lots of posts that I can put up over the weeks I’m not here so there’ll be lots of things still going on, don’t worry! Hopefully there will be wifi and hopefully that wifi will allow wordpress to be accessed…otherwise I don’t really know what’s going to happen! I’m also hoping that it won’t actually be minus 13 degrees in Budapest but hey! We can only hope and pray. 


Creamy Rice Pudding: Adapted from here

150g (3/4 cup) aborio rice (risotto rice)

1.25 litres (1.32 quarts) almond, rice or coconut milk (or cows milk) 

100g maple syrup or honey

1 vanilla bean, split in half

1 pinch salt


Put all the ingredients in a medium-large saucepan over a low heat, scraping out the vanilla seeds into the pot and putting in the bean as well. Stir to combine the syrup and bring to a simmer. Stir every now and again to stop a skin forming and stop the rice from sticking. As the rice thickens stir constantly until the pudding looks like a soupy risotto. Turn the heat off and the pudding should thicken a little immediately. Serve with fresh fruit or stewed fruit. If refrigerated first, add a little more milk to thin it down a bit. Serves 4-5 people.


34 thoughts on “Creamy Vanilla Rice Pudding (vegan and gluten free)

  1. Rice pudding is a typical dessert where I live. So so famous that the stores don’t even stock an already-made version!
    Although your version looks mmuch better than anything that I have ever tried, and I love how it’s healthier than most. I want to try it soon :D

  2. Absolutely loved this recipe – such a delicious dessert or even breakfast! Didn’t like it cold though, definitely got to be piping hot drizzled with maple syrup and flaked almonds ;-)

  3. Oh yum, my coeliac son has just discovered ‘sugar rice pudding’ (his words) as a breakfast made overnight in the slow cooker. Do you think this would work with brown rice if I doubled the cook time?

    • Thanks Briony!
      I think it would work if you cooked the brown rice using the absorbing method first (1 part rice to 2 parts liquid, cook on lowest heat with tight lid on until all water has evaporated- about 20-30 minutes) and then cooked it again in the milk and honey until the extra liquid was absorbed and the rice was creamy. It might not be as smooth but it would have loads of health benefits! Let me know how it goes if you try it :)

  4. I made this tonight it is so yummy! I did substitue the honey/maple syrup for agave I didn’t measure I did 2 swirls around the pot and it came out perfect. Thank you for sharing the recipe

  5. Not sure if anyone has said this (didn’t read all the comments), but just a fun fact: rice pudding is a seriously big thing in Latin America. My family is Cuban and I grew up eating rice pudding, or as we call it “arroz con leche”, but never ever in pre-packaged form. Ever. It’s seriously un-healthy, and SERIOUSLY delicious! Doesn’t really taste like other versions I’ve had…
    Regardless, I can’t wait to try yours, because my thighs can’t handle my grandmas recipe haha!!

    • Oh yay! Hmm that’s a strange thing to happen, if it’s just the thin, watery liquid separating from the thicker liquid that means it’s reached too high a temperature and has curdled. Are you sure this isn’t what’s happening? otherwise maybe the brand of coconut milk may include emulsifiers that break down when heated which is causing it to separate. In any case either heat it up and give it a stir before eating, or skim it off if you want to eat cold. and next time maybe try a different brand :)

  6. Yummm ! Thanks for this post and recipe! I am about to make some right now! I will actually use organic white rice and soak it for a few hours, to make it even healthier and more digestible. Can’t wait to eat this blissful desert !

  7. Made this tonight, with almond milk and vanilla essence no syrup or salt, it looks and tastes so creamy! Going to have a bowl in a minute :) thank you for your fab recipe!

  8. I make rice pudding regularly, especially in winter (I live in the UK and it’s freezing at the moment!). I put the oven on a low heat and put in baking potatoes and rice pudding and leave them for hours. It’s a really easy way of feeding a big hungry family (and heating the house). I make it with cows milk and I’m now experimenting with vegan but it’s a bit hit and miss. I use organic sugar, short grain rice and nutmeg, bake it on high for a short while and then leave it on low for a few hours. For the last half hour I put extra sugar and nutmeg on top and bake it on high without the lid so it forms a tasty topping. Any suggestions which milk would be best? I’m going to try replacing the sugar too but one child doesn’t like honey so we may have to have two on the go!

    • Hi Alison, if you like the flavour of coconut I would try coconut milk as it would be the creamiest! I don’t mind the taste of soy so that would be my next bet. I think rice milk and almond milk would possibly flavour the pudding too much but I’ver never tried them!

  9. Gorgeous recipe, I’ve made it with coconut milk but like the taste of coconut party. I’m in Ireland and have lovely memories of my mother having rice pudding ready for us when we came in from school. Lovely with a swirl of home made strawberry jam melting on top!

  10. Oh dear, I deleted my post by mistake!! I just wanted to say that I have made this recipe with coconut milk and its great, but I like the taste of coconut. I’m in Ireland and I have lovely memories of my mother having rice pudding ready for us when we came in from school during the winter. She’d put a dollop of strawberry jam on top, yum! Its a real comfort food!

  11. I’ve just thrown all the ingredients into my Thermomix (speed 1, 90 degrees for 50 minutes)…. Hoping it’ll work! I was out of vanilla bean so put a dessert spoon of essence – may have been a little heavy handed! I’m going to throw some sultanas in and serve with stewed Apple – that’s if it’s not a total disaster!!!

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