Cobblers, Crisps & Puddings, Desserts

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

4 Comments 13 February 2013

Rice Pudding is one of those great comfort foods you’ll find lots of various recipes for. Some include caramel, others some kind of fruit topping – sometimes both! Sometimes I just want a really simple one, though, because what really does it for me with rice pudding is that silky, creamy texture the rice achieves with the liquids used. Liquids that are fattening.  Just….shhh. Go with it.

I bought a ton of vanilla beans last year, too, so when I found this recipe, I had to give it a try. I’ve “given it a try” now probably about eight times. It’s officially a Favorite. And while the only thing good about this dessert is how completely lulled and wonderful it makes me feel while eating it, that’s good enough reason for me.

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding-1

Yes, that’s whole milk and heavy cream. Go ahead and experiment with lower fat milk if you prefer, but I do go for the recipe as-is every time. It’s totally sinful. It’s definitely an indulgence. I frankly do not care just give. it. to. me. Now. Thanks!

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding-2

You’ll notice below the recipe calls for basmati rice, however I had arborio the first time and have been using it ever since. Basmati will work fine, I’m sure, just know that for this post’s purposes and commentary, arborio rules.

It gets a quick cooking in some water first for about ten minutes.

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding-4

When that initial water gets absorbed, just add in all that wonderful dairy. Since we usually give out a lot of our efforts later to family and friends, we made a recipe and a half of this stuff.

Thank goodness for my sister cuz I do not do math. I know, this is basic math, but we are, essentially, grave enemies, it and I. If ever we were to meet on a field of graph paper, Math would kick my butt every time.

But then *I* realized we’d put slightly too much heavy cream in the pot. L to the O to the L! So I just scooped it out. No biggie!

I always get us into trouble upping recipes!

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding-5

When it came time to add the three quarters cup sugar, we actually added slightly less than that. It’s totally up to you, we just decided we’d rather not have it sweet sweet.

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding-3

And now it’s time for the vanilla. Vanilla seeds can be tricksy cuz they’re pretty sticky once removed from their pods. It can be difficult to even remove them from your knife you’ve used to scrape them out. Just do your best and set the “caviar” aside and scoop ’em all on out. I find it easier to cut each bean in half and then split them open length-wise. The beans are so dang long that it gets tricky splitting them open.

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding-6

Just drop in the scraped vanilla beans and the beans themselves to make use of all that flavor. The beans are removed later, cuz, hello, leathery little things they be.

As it cooks…if you find a tester spoon dipping in to see how it’s doing….you’re doin’ it right.

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding-7

When your pudding is done cooking it will have absorbed an amazing amount of the milk and cream, but it will also still seem a little on the loose side. You can either serve it up then, all warm and silky or you can put it in serving bowls (ramekins make a great individual serving) and cover them with plastic wrap, the wrap touching the pudding to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate till chilled. The pudding continues to thicken as it sits, both in the fridge and on the stove.

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Oh man, I love you, Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding. When we’re together, you are my everything. And then I eat you up. Harsh, I know, but it can’t be helped. As I write this post, there is no more rice pudding. SOB. So someone go make me some more and meet me at the Walmart up the street to exchange it for….well, I think I have some truffles in the pantry.

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

slightly adapted from Bon Appétit,  March 2009 via Epicurious

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup basmati rice (Can substitute arborio rice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Bring 1 1/2 cups water, rice, and salt to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add milk, cream, and sugar. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Increase heat to medium; cook uncovered until rice is tender and mixture thickens slightly to a soft, creamy texture, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.

Remove pudding from heat and discard vanilla bean. Divide pudding evenly among small bowls. Serve warm or press plastic wrap directly onto surface of each pudding and chill thoroughly. DO AHEAD: Pudding can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.


The original recipe says this serves 6 to 8, but I’d say it’s closer to 4 to 5. I suggest doubling the recipe if you have many more than that. And that’s despite how often I mis-measure when we do!

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- who has written 347 posts on Full Fork Ahead.

Wife, mom, indulgent reader and Day Job Do-er, who occasionally likes to think she can cook. Sometimes she's right, sometimes she's wrong.

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Your Comments

4 Comments so far

  1. Janet says:

    I agree with full-fat version insisting… This is pudding! And it also sounds perfect for a cold February morning. Like I’m wont with gnocchi, I like topping a bowl with a yolk. Sooooo dreamy.

    • KMont says:

      I’ve never heard of topping this stuff with a yolk! I’m secretly fascinated by how many things are topped with them. Thanks for adding to the List of Things Topped with Eggs! 😀

  2. christine says:

    MY FAVORITE! Homemade rice pudding with vanilla bean. I cannot make this, though. I would definitely eat the entire pot in 24 hrs, I think.


  1. Reasons To Be Ready For Fall: Our Top 5 | Full Fork Ahead - September 18, 2013

    […] Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding is one of my most favorite desserts. I remember my mom used to make stuff like this when Sis Blogging Partner and I were little, and, typically, I wanted nothing to do with it. Thank goodness our taste buds mature as we do! […]

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