Indian Rice Pudding

October 17, 2016
A cardamom-scented Indian Rice Pudding. A classic and easy recipe for the ultimate comfort-food dessert

We barked and waved as the last of our guests headed off, leftovers in hand, into the star-filled October night


Photo Credit:

(This post may contain affiliate links)

Jump to Recipe

It's always in those moments when I'm reminded that this little community of people who gather each month is the reason we started, and the thing we love most about Spaghetti Saturdays

A tradition that began nearly two years ago, when a brave group of (mostly) strangers came together.  It wasn't long before name tags were abandoned, and friendships were formed.  How we look forward every month to catching up on each other's kids, vacations, and gardens.  A chance to celebrate even the

tiniest of milestones

— — —

Admittedly, for the longest time, I wasn't very good at hosting dinner parties

What if I've left someone off the guest list and hurt their feelings?  What if nobody talks to each other?  What if one of the pets throws up on the carpet?  Or a wave of social anxiety comes upon me, and I can't think of anything to say?

Then what?

A cardamom-scented Indian Rice Pudding. A classic and easy recipe for the ultimate comfort-food dessert

What if I end up chatting with someone, only to realize the tomato sauce is burning?  What if everyone's hungry, but meal prep is woefully behind?  What if there isn't enough to go around, or the meatballs fall apart?

What then?

“Order pizza,” says a friend, “Problem solved”

But of course, these weren't the real fears.  The real fears can't be solved with pizza, because the real fears are

What if everybody thinks it's a terrible idea?

What if nobody wants to come?

What if I'm not someone they'd like to hang out with?

— — —

In my office is a chair that came from my great-aunt's house, over which is draped a striped afghan knitted by my Granny. It's the chair Z sleeps quietly in every evening while I work.  It's the afghan he nuzzles his way underneath when he's chilly, or he's

hiding from the cats

It took me a while to get it, but for him, it's all about the holes.  He can see everything while still hiding out (mostly)

We're similar he and I.  At some point for me, Spaghetti Saturdays have become my way of lifting-up-of-the-afghan.  The final realization that all this time the holes really weren't doing me any good

No one remains truly unseen, after all.

A cardamom-scented Indian Rice Pudding. A classic and easy recipe for the ultimate comfort-food dessert

This past weekend, it was so nice to pause

There was wine, evening sun, and meatballs that held their shape.  There were friendly faces, dancing candles, stories, laughter, and music.

(The tomato sauce didn't burn.  God bless the crock-pot)  

We shared stories about trips to Germany and Peru, new kitchens, jobs, and side projects.  As the orange sun lowered, and blue jazz swelled, it occurred to me

The goal isn't to live a life worth celebrating

The goal is to celebrate a life worth living

They're different things, are they not?

While I don't think I'll ever be entirely comfortable as a hostess, I'm getting better with practice.  Another tiny milestone to add to the list of things that night worth celebrating.

And although it's certainly nice to have a few cheerleaders, it's just as nice learning to

become your own

A cardamom-scented Indian Rice Pudding. A classic and easy recipe for the ultimate comfort-food dessert

This recipe isn't necessarily the direction I see The Veggies heading, but there's a time and a place for everything.

In this case, an incredibly delicious twist on a family favorite, brought by a friend to Spaghetti Saturday.

Earlier that day, I'd been paging through cooking magazines in search of inspiration.  Who knew it would come walking through the front door instead?  Sometimes it's nice to have a treat that isn't made of oats or date paste.

With all of the hosting we do, I've found it causes me far less stress when I plan a menu with things that are familiar versus trying a lot of new recipes.  Certainly, it's fun to try something new, but freshly baked cookies or rice pudding are crowd favorites.

I have a couple of recipes for rice pudding; my Mom's (which I've never been able to duplicate fully), and Cinnamon Raisin Coconut Rice Pudding from Cook's Country.  It's as close as I can come on my own to utopia.

Now I add this version with its combination of Indian spices.  Take it from all of us who passed (and re-passed) it around the table that night. It's SO good



ps: More fun recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturdays

— — —

~ Adapted from Alton Brown

Indian Rice Pudding


  • 1 cup uncooked long grain or basmati rice
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup coconut milk, canned
  • ¼ cup natural sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • cup golden raisins
  • cup unsalted pistachios, chopped


  • In a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat, combine the rice and milk. Heat until to a slow boil
  • Decrease the heat to low and cook at a simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently ( ~ 5 minutes)
  • Increase the heat to medium, add the heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar, and cardamom and continue to cook until the mixture just begins to thicken again (~5 to 10 minutes). Use a whisk to help prevent the cardamom from clumping.
  • Once the mixture just begins to thicken, remove from the heat and stir in the raisins and pistachios.
  • Transfer the mixture to individual serving dishes or a glass bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding.
  • Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Serves: 6
Nutrition + Show
Calories 347
Total Fat 16.2g
Saturated Fat 9.9g
Carbohydrates 44.8g
Fiber 1.7g
Sugars 17.8g
Protein 6g
Print This Recipe
A cardamom-scented Indian Rice Pudding. A classic and easy recipe for the ultimate comfort-food dessert

You Might Also Like


  • Reply heydave October 16, 2016 at 11:10 am

    5 stars
    This stuff was wonderfully additive.

  • Reply Steve Alexander October 17, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    5 stars
    Looks Great and your story is even better !
    Socializing is about sharing, and you share so well – out from under your afghan.

  • Reply sonali jain October 17, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    This is kheer, and it’s really tasty, as an Indian I can guaranty that haha 🙂 Loved this always!

  • Reply Mich October 18, 2016 at 1:49 am

    This looks so cozy and warm. My grandma made rice pudding for my sister and me when we were kids and always served it with little spoons. What is it about them that makes everything SO inviting?

  • Reply Emily October 19, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    5 stars
    I always stress out when I am hosting a party, I want everyone to have a good time. Which means sometimes I am the one not enjoying myself because I am so worried about how it is all going and trying to make it all go well. It is a tough balance to figure out. I think your dinner party with good friends and meatballs under the candlelight sounds great!

  • Reply Sona Sethi October 20, 2016 at 1:34 am

    I’m from India and I love rice pudding. Whenever I take my mother out for Indian food we both skip the free dessert and go to town on the rice pudding. They usually add peanuts so they boil and get soft – I may try that with this for a different texture. Either way, a great recipe. You never disappoint.

  • Reply Beatrice October 20, 2016 at 10:01 am

    I hardly ever eat rice pudding anymore, but I remember my mom made it for us when we were kids and I just adore it! Yours sounds (and looks) lovely!

  • Reply Rebecca Swenor October 21, 2016 at 6:27 am

    5 stars
    Celebrating a life worth living is something we all need to do. There is a big difference between living a life to celebrate and living a life worth celebrating. Getting together with friends or neighbors is something we all need I believe because it is a reminder to how blessed we all are in our life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and recipe.

  • Reply Elsie October 21, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Lovely read!! I struggle when it comes to cooking for family and friends. Probably because I’m not very confident in the kitchen, but at least they’re a forgiving crowd. I’ve never heard of Indian Rice pudding, so think I may have to try this on them soon!

  • Reply Jona October 22, 2016 at 2:57 am

    I’ve never had rice pudding before. Reason being is because it scares me, I think it’s the look of the rice along with a creamy consistency. I don’t really know, but you make it look so pretty 🙂

  • Reply robin rue October 22, 2016 at 4:44 am

    I have actually never had rice pudding before. My ex-husband was from a big Portuguese family and they made it a lot, but I never tried it. I need to fix that.

  • Reply Pritika October 25, 2016 at 5:58 am

    4 stars
    Hey Ali,
    I’m from India and I read your blog religiously. Can you believe it? You have a loyal reader in India! I just love it. Over here, nobody really bakes at home. But I’m getting my own place soon and plan to get an awesome oven! Oh also, rice pudding is India’s favorite dessert.

  • Reply Ritu Sharma November 3, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    5 stars
    This dessert is called ‘payasam’ in India. It’s a childhood favorite and the rice can be substituted with semolina or vermicelli. Payasam is made for any special occasion and the grander the occasion, the grander the ingredients that go into it!

  • Reply rika November 10, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    I saw this recipe, stood up like a zombie, walked into the kitchen and cooked this for tonight’s dessert. Oh my gosh, it’s out of this world.
    Thanks Ali!

  • Reply Sage November 30, 2016 at 4:28 am

    5 stars
    Love rice pudding! I always make the Spanish version: Arroz con leche and I could bathe in it!
    In Germany, we can buy a rice which is similar to risotto rice and which is called rice pudding rice. So this is what I use, obviously 😉

  • Reply Lizzy December 12, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    5 stars
    Oooooooh…I am sooooooo looking forward to making this. I’m going to have to think about the raisins, although everything else sounds divine! Hopefully, my hubby will be able to stop at the grocery on his way home because we’re in for an ice storm later tonight. It seems like a perfect thing to have while holed up at home. 🙂

  • Reply Maddy January 7, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    I’m officially no longer a lurker. It took a rice pudding recipe to get me out of lurk-dom. I’m going to have to make this for my lunches when I head back to school! I always end up buying some in the student union when I need a treat. Thank you! Love your blog, by the way.

  • Reply Ana January 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I love Indian rice pudding it is so flavourful. It is nice that you had some time to pause this weekend that is great!

  • Reply Ana February 2, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    5 stars
    This recipe is called “KHEER” in India. It is a traditional dessert served on the festive occasions. This is one of my favorite desserts. What I hate about this recipe is the continuous stirring of the rice in the boiling milk else it becomes very sticky.

  • Reply Kesha February 4, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Oh man, this looks so good. My grandma just turned 86 and a few months ago I wrote her a letter. Yep, hand-written/old school, and I asked for her rice pudding recipe. Growing up, every time I’d visit she would make it. I’m still checking my mailbox every day, but she and my grandpa are too busy ballroom dancing every night. One day I know she’ll give it to me, in the meantime, this looks like a really close second. xo

  • Reply Ellie Augustin February 27, 2017 at 10:04 am

    OH, this screams to be made and I can only imagine how good the aroma must fill up the kitchen. AHHH now I want to run and make it, let’s see if I can this weekend! Thanks for sharing…

  • Reply Claudia March 2, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Spaghetti Saturdays is a wonderful tradition. Rice pudding id such a comfort food for me. I will have to make this recipe on the weekend.

  • Reply Mary April 10, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I love that you took a leap and began this tradition! The fear of putting yourself out there is always intense, but when it pays off it is so wonderful! If you ever need another body for your dinner parties, I’m always open to tasting your delicious food. 🙂

  • Reply Terri Beavers April 19, 2017 at 6:31 am

    I can’t wait to try your recipe, I haven’t had any of this since I was a child. After reading your post, I want to start having Spaghetti Saturdays here. The kids are always asking me to make it and having a day of the week to do that would be nice.

  • Reply Suzanne May 5, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    This looks pretty good! That’s cool that you have a night where everyone comes over and hangs out. I wish I could do that more often, but my work schedule laughs at me when i try to make plans.

  • Reply Vikki May 6, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    5 stars
    I am making this rice pudding right now and it smells so good, I just love your blog

  • Reply Whitney May 8, 2017 at 7:52 am

    5 stars
    I love rice pudding! Like, love, love, love rice pudding! Especially when its warm and right from the pan – oh my is it good. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply Claire Stokes May 9, 2017 at 3:53 am

    5 stars
    Indian rice pudding sounds delicious. You write so well that I’m almost convinced to bake…

  • Reply Carol Cassara May 25, 2017 at 2:49 am

    It’s a beautiful way to come together with familiar faces and just enjoy good food. We will always be worried at first, especially when it’s your first time to throw a party. Will people actually come? It’s a thought that’s been on everyone’s head before. I think it’s nice that you pushed through with it.

  • Reply Sloane May 25, 2017 at 9:05 am

    5 stars
    Looks like a really interesting recipe! I am going to try making this because I love coconut milk and the pistachios. Let me get all the ingredients together and make this the soonest!

  • Reply Laura June 8, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I really enjoyed this, and it has a lovely sentiment. The first time I threw a dinner party I worried so much about the evening that I didn’t actually enjoy it! The second time we bought in take out and had the best night I’ve had in ages. This recipe sounds great!

  • Reply David Elliott June 9, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Indian spices are a tricky thing I think. And I can undersand the anxiety of hosting. I can do all the cooking and prep but then going out and hosting the party and getting everyone to integrate and mixing the right people… that’s hard.

  • Reply Claire June 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    This looks delicious and I have milk that I don’t want to go bad. This and banana pudding should solve my milk problems and dessert for the rest of the week

  • Reply Annemarie LeBlanc June 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    5 stars
    I love that “The goal is to celebrate a life worth living.” Oftentimes we get caught up in focusing on what we lack when in fact we are more blessed than many others. Hosting a party is a tough job. I too have the same level of “what ifs” as you. Thankfully, I have never come across those scenarios that I fear.

  • Reply Amanda June 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I spent all day fighting the urge to make rice pudding (I even still have a browser window with this recipe minimized on my laptop.) I keep telling myself it’s summer and bikini season. Then I get back from the gym and see your rice pudding recipe and it sounds absolutely perfect. Clearly, this is a sign that I need to stop fighting my craving and just make it already.

  • Reply Elena July 8, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Oh wow. I could use some comfort after the day I’ve had. Don’t tell my trainer at the gym. 🙂

  • Reply Jenn Mitchell July 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve loved rice pudding since I was a kid and my mom made it for me whenever I wasn’t feeling the best. I’ll have to give this one a try, it’ll make me think of her

  • Reply Ana Ojha August 20, 2017 at 11:15 am

    5 stars
    Thank God! Your tomato sauce didn’t burn…lol! I loved the quote about goal and life. It has such a deep meaning!

    This Indian Rice Pudding is one of my favorites desserts and it made me nostalgic about childhood days. This is my grandma’s wonder recipe. She also adds saffron in it. We call rice pudding recipe as ‘Kheer’ in India and it is a must during all the festivities and celebrations.

    P.S. – I’ll be on cloud9 if I’ll get an invite for your wonderful dinner parties!

  • Reply Yukti August 27, 2017 at 4:52 am

    5 stars
    I don’t know why I only discovered you a week ago but I’m sure glad I did.
    I have been fantasizing for years about how to turn my favorite meal (anything with rice) into my future favorite dessert and now I have a clear plan instead of a wild dream that involved condensed milk… Which probably wouldn’t be too much of a bad thing.
    Tonight I have a date with a pot and a spoon! Woop!

  • Reply Amy-Lynn September 3, 2017 at 10:40 am

    YUM! This looks delicious. I work at a cafe that serves Coconut Rice Porridge/Pudding. It is my favorite thing on the menu. This looks like it might trump it! I’m excited to give it a try! xo

  • Reply Sara Welch September 29, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    5 stars
    I just got done making this. I must say, it rocked my socks off! In fact, I ate nearly half a pot myself as I was making it, little by little with a tiny spoon. (I’d never share that information with anyone but you, Ali) Love your site and all of your recipes. xx

  • Reply Val October 17, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    I am picturing hiding from the cats and must admit it made me smile a bit. My Dad loves rice pudding, but he likes his pretty plain (and bland).

  • Reply Stephanie Pass October 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Ali …. You are killing me!
    But somehow I’m still alive and managing to lose weight although every week I make at least one of your recipes. This one is for my free day on Sunday. xx

  • Reply Amanda Love October 18, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    The Spaghetti Saturdays is a lovely idea and it’s awesome that you dove in despite having hesitations. I think this rice pudding is a must try! It reminds me so much of my childhood.

  • Reply Jeanette October 20, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I thought Ina Garten’s rum raisin rice pudding was the Holy Grail of rice puddings (yes I have stood over the pot and eaten almost the entire thing), but now I have got to try it cardamom and golden raisins.

  • Reply Margaret November 10, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Hmmm … that looks just as gooey as I feel inside whenever I see the new barista at my favorite coffee shop and his big brown eyes 🙂

  • Reply Pippa February 22, 2018 at 2:32 am

    5 stars
    I actually love this dish…I could eat rice pudding all day long. I also really liked how you incorporated your story, such skilled writing my friend! <3

  • Reply Robin February 22, 2018 at 6:16 am

    We do a big Sunday dinner (as opposed to Saturdays, which is take-out day around here) and we are Italian, so there is always a big pasta dinner going on around here. I’ve never had Indian Rice pudding, but it sounds tasty!

  • Reply Amber Myers February 22, 2018 at 7:14 am

    5 stars
    I can understand being wary as a hostess. I personally don’t like to be one. I prefer to go to someone else’s house and bring a dish.

    This rice pudding looks scrumptious. I don’t think I’ve ever tried it before!

  • Reply Val February 22, 2018 at 7:55 am

    My youngest son loves the afghan we have, he is fascinated by the holes and particularly loves looping fingers with me through them. I don’t mind hosting at all but like things super casual.

  • Reply Candy February 22, 2018 at 8:22 am

    This is something new for us to try out. Haven’t heard about this before and can’t wait until it is time to make this. Have to get everything first.

  • Reply Tiffany February 22, 2018 at 10:22 am

    5 stars
    I’ve never really been keen on the rice puddings I’ve tried before but they were store bought and didn’t go well with any of the family – this recipe I would love to try, it looks amazing!

  • Reply Ivy February 22, 2018 at 10:46 am

    5 stars
    Ummmm, can I just skip work today and go home to make this right now? I love rice pudding and for whatever reason never considered making it with Indian flavors. Yum!

  • Reply Marysa February 22, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I have had rice pudding at Indian Restaurants, but have never tried making it at home. I would love try making this homemade version. So pretty, too, with the pistachio topping!

  • Reply Esme Sy February 22, 2018 at 11:27 am

    I know that you’re showing a delicious recipe here and I really it looks great, but what I love most about what I read here is that line about a “life worth living”. You just made my day!

  • Reply Melanie williams February 22, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I would love to go to India, as an adult – a real dream of mine. This rice pudding recipe certainly would bring the Indian flavours into our home in the interim x

  • Reply Emily February 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    5 stars
    I always love getting together and taking things slow with friends. Just enjoying each other companies and stories. This rice pudding sounds so good too!

  • Reply Sarah Bailey February 22, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    I would get so anxious holding dinner parties you do so well!

    I love the sound of this pudding as well, I used to adore my Mum’s rice pudding when I was a child.

  • Reply Evelyn February 22, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    The pudding looks delicious- something for ME to celebrate when I make it (have not attempted rice pudding before). You are so right – celebrating a life worth living is a valiant goal indeed. Blessings <3

  • Reply Preet February 22, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite desserts and now favorite of my kids too. The toppings or garnishings on this can totally change your experience with it, I love sliced-almonds on this.

  • Reply Saidah Washington February 22, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    This looks wonderful! Perfect for a day when you’re feeling a bit fragile. Going to put this recipe in the emergency need some comfort food box. xo

  • Reply Emilia February 22, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Any day is a little brighter with the addition of rice pudding! A pot of something creamy on the stovetop is the perfect de-stress method, and anything with cinnamon is my favorite thing to eat. Thanks for sharing… I’m saving this recipe for my own “rainy” day!

    You are loved.

  • Reply Sara February 22, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Your writing is such a joy to read! Rice pudding is yummy…never thought to make it with Indian flavors. If you’re still in a rice mood, sweet and warm sticky rice with a scoop of coconut ice cream on top is delightful. The combination of temperatures and textures is so good!

  • Reply Sandy N Vyjay February 23, 2018 at 12:20 am

    5 stars
    Spaghetti Saturdays sound so fascinating. I can identify with the apprehensions and pangs of social anxiety, but it is all worthwhile in the end. Need to start something similar. The rice pudding looks tempting. We make a similar kind of pudding where we put in lots of Cashew nuts and raisins.

  • Reply Chubskulit Rose February 23, 2018 at 5:24 am

    Those are valid fears and I feel the same when hosting a party which I only do on a very rare occasion because I am not good at it. I pretty much invite people that I am close with when we have a party. I’d like a taste of that pudding.

  • Reply Indu February 23, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I love greatly your recipe as being veggie I like each vegetarian recipe because I can try and taste that myself. And being Indian I like Indian delicacies most because I like spicy foods too.

  • Reply Heather February 23, 2018 at 10:02 am

    I haven’t had rice pudding since I was a kid! Seeing this post makes me want some. I might try to create a dairy-free option!

  • Reply Heather February 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    5 stars
    I love your writing style! I’ve never tried indian rice pudding but definitely want to! It sounds fabulous and your photos are wonderful.

  • Reply Cyn Gagen February 23, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Yum! I just adore rice pudding but I’ve never tried it with these flavours before. Definitely going to give this a try. (And fortunately none of my family likes rice pudding so I don’t have to share!)

  • Reply Agnes Vazhure February 23, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    5 stars
    Oh, how lovely…I feel warm, (stomach and heart, both) after reading that. Thanks, Ali.

  • Reply Julie Harbour February 25, 2018 at 12:11 am

    5 stars
    Keep entertaining and the hosting thing will get better. Love the rice pudding recipe!

  • Reply Sharon Lurie July 4, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    I have a question about the recipe. In the ingredients list, it says to use one cup of uncooked rice. However, in the first paragraph of the instructions, it says to combine the milk and cooked rice. Must I cook the rice before adding it to the saucepan with the milk?

    Thank you.

    • Reply Veggies By Candlelight July 5, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Sharon .. Nope, don’t cook the rice before adding it to the saucepan. I updated the instructions. Thanks so much for letting me know!

  • Reply Bhuboy September 30, 2020 at 5:55 am

    5 stars
    This looks really delicious, i like indian cuisines which they have a lot here in Saudi Arabia. They are full of flavor and spices.

  • Reply Audrey February 28, 2021 at 11:13 am

    3 stars
    Unless I did something wrong, my first attempt was a fail. The rice did not cook fully and the end result was chewy and unpleasant. I loved the flavors, so started over with precooked rice, and it was great. I also did fresh ground cardamom seeds. These Indian flavors are magical.

  • Reply 20 Creamy Rice Pudding Recipes - Insanely Tasty | Recipes8 August 27, 2022 at 8:50 pm

    […] Go to recipe […]

  • Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating