This rice pudding is life changing.
I shared a different recipe for rice pudding in 2020, a recipe that I made a few times and loved. My husband was not a fan of that recipe though. He said that the rice was too firm and the pudding texture was off. That’s one opinion versus the many complimentary ones so I just took it that he wasn’t a fan. To each their own.
I couldn’t shake my husband’s comment so when I found this recipe for rice pudding, I knew that I needed to try it. I wanted to compare it to the only other recipe that I have ever made. Guys, this rice is tender and the pudding is like a custard. Each bite is swoon worthy. When my husband tried it, he said “Yup, that’s how it should be.” It turns out I didn’t know what I was missing because “that’s just the way my family has always made it” took the wheel and drove off without me.
What’s the secret? Add the sugar later in the process, after the rice has cooked some. By adding it later, you’re giving time for the rice to cook to give you a tender rice and overall different texture to the pudding. This was an interesting secret because I had no idea that sugar blocks the ability of rice to absorb liquid.
I still like the 2020 rice pudding version and so it will stay on my blog. I’m blown away by this recipe and it will now become my new go-to one. Learning is awesome and so I pass my knowledge on to all of you. Now you get a choice for which recipe you wish to make. Either way make sure to set aside a lot of time and attention because you’ll need it for all that stirring time. “Just keep stirring, just keep stirring,” sung like Dory.
This is the kind of dessert that I like to reserve for special occasions or holidays. I served these beauties (carefully) on little plates, on a silver platter, with spoons that were once my Yiayia’s (Greek grandma). I know she’d love seeing me cook good Greek food using her things.
Rice Pudding (Rizogalo) Recipe
(Makes 6 to 8 servings)
- 6 and 1/3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white rice
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 and 1/2 cups sugar * (See Note below.)
- ground cinnamon, for topping
* Note: This rice pudding is very sweet. If you don’t like things overly sweet then I recommend you to lessen the amount to 2 cups or less.
- In a big pot, over high heat, add the water and bring it to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, add the salt and rice. Stir it and then turn the heat down to medium/high. Cook uncovered until most of the water has been absorbed and evaporated.
- Once most of the water has been absorbed and evaporated, slowly add in the milk while stirring it.
- Then stir in the vanilla extract.
- This step will take a while. Stir the mixture constantly and cook until it looks like it’s thickening. The timing will vary depending on your stove and what temperature you have it set to. I fluctuated the temperature between medium and medium/high heat (that’s a 5, 6 and 7 setting on my stove). I keep it bubbly and steaming but not at a full boil. Also, if you feel a layer of “goo” on the bottom of the pot with your spoon then you may want to lower the temperature, to avoid burning the milk.
- Add in the sugar and continue to cook and stir constantly until the mixture has thickened. (This step takes a while too.) Again, I fluctuated the temperature between medium and medium/high heat (that’s a 5, 6 and 7 setting on my stove). It’s done when the milk heavily coats a wooden spoon.
- Remove the pot from the heat.
- If you are storing it for later, put the rice pudding into any container with a lid, let it cool, and store it in the refrigerator. If you are serving it to guests soon, then I like to divide it into portions ahead of time, let them cool, cover each glass with plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator.
- Optionally sprinkle cinnamon on top of the rice pudding just prior to serving (because not everyone likes cinnamon).