Indian Rice Pudding

Updated: February 28, 2024, By Swasthi

No celebration in a Indian home is complete without a Rice Pudding. This better than restaurant, Indian Rice Pudding is simply the best – creamy, thick, fragrant and super delicious. Make it under 45 minutes on the stovetop or instant pot with my easy recipe.

Indian Rice Pudding

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About Indian Rice Pudding

A traditional Indian Rice Pudding is creamy and is delicately scented with cardamoms. Sometimes ghee and saffron are also used to impart a rich and classic flavor. Sweet raisins and different kinds of nuts like cashews, almonds and pistachios are used to garnish & provide a crunchy texture.

You are sure to come across many kinds of Rice Pudding from different states and cultures. Kheer, Paal Payasam, Paramannam, Phirni, Payesh, Payasa are some of the different kinds of Indian Rice Puddings. All these have 2 ingredients in common – milk and rice, but vary in the ratios.

The method of preparations, kind of rice and sweetener used is different which makes a difference to the end product.

In this post I share a recipe to make the fastest and one of the most delicious Indian Rice Pudding. It is roughly adapted from many different traditional Indian rice puddings. It tastes delicious and is easy to whip up with pantry staples.

Ingredients & Substitutes

  • Rice – You may use any kind of white rice – short, long, newly harvested etc. But starchy rice works best. I have used organic sona masuri raw rice here. If using brown rice, hand pound rice or any other with more bran, please read pro tips below.
  • Milk – Use full fat milk. Low fat will work but the pudding won’t be rich.
  • Cardamoms and saffron are used to impart their flavors. If you don’t have saffron you may leave out. Rose water, kewra water can also be used but they are optional. These may have preservatives/ additives.
  • Organic sugar – we use sugar to sweeten but you may substitute any other sugar substitutes if you want. To use jaggery, coconut jaggery, palm jaggery, read my pro tips section below.
  • Ghee – A tablespoon of ghee makes a huge difference to the flavor of this rice pudding. We also use it to fry the cashews and raisins. However if you can’t have ghee, simply toast the nuts until crunchy and use.
  • Rice Flour is a magic ingredient that makes the dish creamy and cuts down the cook time. If you don’t have you may omit it or make your own by following the pro tips section below. You can also use custard powder.
  • Nuts & raisins – I love using plenty of blanched chopped pistachios and raisins. Blanching & chopping pistachios takes about 15 mins, which you can do while the pudding cooks. If you can’t leave them out.

Photo Guide

How to Make Indian Rice Pudding (Stepwise Photos)

1. Pour ½ cup water and 4 cups milk (or 5 cups if not using rice flour) to a heavy bottom pot. Bring it to a gentle boil on a medium heat. Meanwhile rinse half cup rice, drain the water and add it to the hot milk.

bring milk to a boil

2. Cook on a medium heat, stirring often at the bottom and sides. until the rice is soft, and slightly mushy. It takes me 20 mins to reach this stage.

cook rice with milk

3. While the rice cooks, gather the ingredients:

  • ¼ to ⅓ cup organic sugar (I use ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp, the sugar I use is less sweet)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch saffron strands (crushed, omit if you don’t have)
  • 1 teaspoon edible organic rose water or kewra water (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (more if you want)
  • ¼ cup pistachios (optional, may reduce to make low-calorie)
  • ¼ cup cashews (may reduce, spli them)
  • ¼ cup sweet raisins (avoid tart raisins)
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour (optional, but recommended, not glutinous flour or use custard powder)
ingredients required to make Indian rice pudding

4. Optional – If using pistachios, place them in a bowl and pour 1 cup boiling hot water. Let sit for 5 mins, drain and rinse with cold water. Place them on a kitchen cloth/papers and rub to remove the skin. Fine chop and keep aside.

5. Add 1 tablespoon rice flour to a bowl and 3 to 4 tbsps milk (from the reserved 1 cup). Mix well to make a lump-free slurry. (avoid pouring all the milk at one time to prevent lumps)

rice flour and milk

6. Then mix the slurry with rest of the milk.

milk and rice flour slurry for indian rice pudding

7. When the rice is slightly mushy, mash it slightly with the back of the ladle/ spatula to thicken.

thick and creamy rice pudding

8. Pour the rice slurry slowly to the rice pudding, stirring well with your other hand to incorporate it. The temperature falls here, bring it back to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes or until it turns thick and creamy.

adding slurry

9. Add the sugar & cook until the pudding is thick, yet of flowing consistency. It will become thicker after cooling. Taste test and add more sugar if you want.

10. Stir in the ground cardamom, saffron, rose water & pistachios if using.

spices in rice pudding

11. Turn off the heat.

chopped pistachios

12. This is the consistency we prefer. It will become slightly thicker after cooling down.

consistency of rice pudding

Fry Nuts and Raisins

13. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a small pan. Add cashews and fry them until golden. Remove to a small plate. If you don’t want ghee, simply toast them in the pan.

fry cashews

14. Stir in the raisins and fry until they turn plump. To avoid ghee, add the sweet raisins directly to the pudding. They will soften.

fry raisins in ghee

15. Pour the ghee and the raisins as well over the rice pudding. Mix well. If you want to serve the pudding later after reheating, keep the raisins separate and add them after reheating. Sometimes heating raisins with pudding may cause the pudding to split.

raisins in rice pudding

Garnish with cashews and sliced pistachios. Serve Indian rice pudding hot or chilled as a dessert. Stores well in the refrigerator for 2 days. Reheat with a splash of water on the stovetop or in the instant pot (3 to 4 mins pressure cook)

Indian Rice Pudding Recipe

Instant Pot Pudding

  • Press the saute mode and add 1 tablespoon ghee. When it melts, fry the cashews until light golden. Stir in the raisins and press cancel. Fry until they turn plump and remove to a plate.
  • Pour half cup water and 4 cups milk (or 5 cups milk if you don’t use rice flour). Stir in rice and sugar. Secure the Instant pot lid and position the vent to sealing. Press porridge mode and set the timer to 16 minutes. If using rice flour, mix together with 1 cup milk to make a lump-free slurry. Avoid pouring the slurry with lumps. Keep aside.
  • When the pressure drops completely, open and press the saute mode. Mash the rice slightly. Stir the rice flour slurry & pour it slowly, stirring well to incorporate. Cook until thick and add cardamoms and saffron.
  • Garnish with nuts and raisins. To use pistachios, follow the method from the stovetop method.

Pro Tips

  • Make your own rice flour – Spread 1 tablespoon rice over a moist cloth and wipe clean. Pat dry with a kitchen paper and add it to a small grinder. Make a fine powder. Use only 1 tablespoon rice flour.
  • To use brown rice – soak them for 4 to 5 hours or overnight, drain and use. To use, hand pound rice, soak for 1 hour. You may need more liquid, use more water as required.
  • To use jaggery, melt ¾ cup grated jaggery (or 1 cup powdered jaggery) in half cup water. Boil until the syrup turn slightly thick, but of flowing consistency. Turn off and cool completely. Strain this to the rice pudding and stir. It is important to cool the jaggery syrup completely else it will split the pudding.
  • If your jaggery is clean without impurities, you may cool down the pudding slightly and then stir in the jaggery/coconut jaggery/ palm jaggery. Avoid cooking after adding this kind of sweetener.

Recipe Card

Indian Rice Pudding

Indian Rice Pudding Recipe

5 from 8 votes
This Indian Rice Pudding is the best you can make at home under 40 minutes. Rice is simmered in whole milk and sweetened with sugar. It is flavored with cardamoms, saffron and rose water. Garnished with nuts and raisins.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time1 minute
Cook Time44 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings4 to 5
AuthorSwasthi
Diet : Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • ½ cup rice (any starchy rice)
  • 5 cups (1200 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour (optional, but recommended, not glutinous flour or use custard powder)
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup organic sugar (cut down for low sweet)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch saffron strands (crushed, omit if you don’t have)
  • 1 teaspoon edible rose water or kewra water (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (optional, read notes to omit)
  • ¼ cup pistachios (optional)
  • ¼ cup cashews (split/ chopped)
  • ¼ cup sweet raisins


Instructions

How to Make Indian Rice Pudding

  • Pour water and 4 cups milk (or 5 cups if not using rice flour) to a heavy bottom pot. Bring it to a gentle boil on a medium heat.
  • Meanwhile rinse the rice, drain the water and add it to the hot milk.
  • Cook on a medium heat, stirring often at the bottom and sides. until the rice is soft, and slightly mushy.
  • Optional – (do this while the pudding cooks to save time) place pistachios in a bowl and pour 1 cup boiling hot water. Let sit for 5 mins, drain and rinse with cold water. Place them on a kitchen cloth/papers and rub to remove the skin. Fine chop and keep aside.
  • Optional – When the rice is slightly mushy, mix the reserved milk and rice flour in a bowl, to make a lump-free slurry. Pour the rice slurry slowly to the rice pudding, stirring well to incorporate it. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes or until it turns thick and creamy.
  • Mash the rice slightly with the back of the ladle to thicken. Add the sugar & cook until it dissolves and the pudding is thick, yet of flowing consistency. It will become thicker after cooling.
  • Stir in the ground cardamom, saffron, rose water & pistachios if using. Turn off the heat.
  • Heat ghee in a small pan. Add cashews and fry them until golden. Remove to a small plate. Stir in the raisins and fry until they turn plump. Pour the ghee and the raisins as well over the rice pudding. Mix well.
  • Garnish with cashews and sliced pistachios. Serve Indian rice pudding hot or chilled as a dessert.


NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Indian Rice Pudding Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 345 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 37mg12%
Sodium 97mg4%
Potassium 495mg14%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 395IU8%
Vitamin C 0.5mg1%
Calcium 311mg31%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
I love this and have made it many times. I use arborio rice and usually double up the batch to have some leftovers.

5 stars
I used oat flour because I didn’t have rice flour and this came out delicious.

5 stars
I did not care to buy rice flour and made the recipe as instructed with 5 cups milk. It was amazing and my husband said it tastes as good as the rice pudding from Indian restaurants. I used only ground cardamom for flavor. Loved finishing it with fried raisins and cashews. It added so much depth to the pudding. Thank you for sharing the recipe

5 stars
Came out lovely! I made it for Shivratri and everyone said it tasted delicious.

5 stars
Hello Swasthi, could I use basmati rice? That’s all I have!!! Thank you ?? Raj

Delicious! You should try adding gulkand to this. Tastes divine..

Ate this at Indian restaurants and we love it. I have even tasted fruit flavoured rice pudding. Would love your thoughts on making that? Thank you

5 stars
Thank you, this rice pudding turned out amazing. I used full fat coconut milk because I can’t take dairy. I also added little cinnamon and nutmeg since I was out of saffron. My family loved it!

5 stars
Dear Swasthi, I have been making this all my life with 4 cups milk and ¼ cup rice. Long simmering and a painful process to make a large batch. This recipe is a game changer, adding rice flour seems to be so quick and it turned out creamy. I made a small test batch and can’t believe. Delicious and creamy than what I expected. I used hard short rice so soaked it for 30 mins. Thank you.