stovetop rice pudding with cardamom and vanilla

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5 from 4 reviews

This rice pudding is a soothing and unpretentious dessert. The chewy rice is suspended in a creamy pudding and perfumed by rich notes of vanilla and cardamom.

  • Author: Indi Hampton
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American


  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup raw Arborio rice (or medium grain if you prefer more tender pudding)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, or 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • chopped salted pistachios, for garnish
  • golden raisins, for garnish


  1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add the milk, rice, salt, and cardamom. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean, stir into the milk and add the empty bean (if you’re using vanilla extract, don’t add it yet). Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  2. Uncover and continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and the pudding is reduced to about 3-1/2 cups, 10- 15 minutes. Let the pudding gently simmer, and stir constantly toward the end of cooking to prevent scorching.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract (if using). Slowly add the cooked rice mixture, whisking constantly, then return to the saucepan. Set the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan constantly, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon, about 1 minute. Taste and add a pinch or two of salt, if needed for the flavors to pop.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the pudding to a bowl or serving dish. If you’ve used a vanilla bean, fish it out and discard the empty bean. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the warm the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Serve hot, warm or cold. When ready to serve, sprinkle with chopped salted pistachios and golden raisins.


serves 4 | recipe adapted from Fine Cooking