Kheer is everyone’s favorite Indian dessert! Simply delicious, comforting, creamy and rich, this rice kheer makes for a perfect dessert anytime you crave for something sweet. This Indian rice pudding is easy to make & needs only a handful of basic ingredients. In this post I will show you how to make rice kheer on the stovetop and in instant pot with my easy step by step photo guide.
Kheer is a popular dessert from the Indian sub-continent, made primarily with rice, milk and sugar. The word “Kheer” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Skheer” meaning milk. So milk being the main ingredient in a kheer recipe, many variations can be made by using vermicelli, sago (tapioca pearls), lentils or vegetables like pumpkin and carrots.
What is rice kheer?
Rice kheer is a traditional North Indian rice pudding made with basmati rice, sugar, full fat milk and cardamoms. Sometimes it is also flavoured and spiced with clove, saffron, kewra or rose water. Rice kheer is made across India and a popular variation of this is the South Indian Rice payasam. The South Indian version uses ghee and jaggery.
Kheer is a quintessential Indian dessert made for festivals and celebrations. But you really don’t need an excuse to make this! It can be eaten as a breakfast, after meal dessert or just when the mood strikes for something sweet!
Rice kheer is garnished with like nuts and raisins. Various nuts like cashews, almonds and pistachios can be used. Apart from enhancing the nutrition profile of the dish, nuts also make for a delicious and crunchy toppings.
Staying true to the authentic version, I have not used any condensed milk, evaporated milk, milk powder or khoya in the recipe I have shared in this post. But there are also quick versions of rice kheer using them which are really handy when you are in a rush. Do check the protips section below.
I have a faq section below. But here are some basic questions answered to get you started with making kheer.
Which rice is best for kheer?
Basmati rice is widely used in North Indian cuisine so you will find a lot of people basmati rice for making kheer as it imparts a fragrant and delicious aroma. However in different regions of India, different kinds of rice is used which is grown locally. So feel free to use any normal rice if you do not have basmati rice.
Which milk is best for rice kheer?
Use full fat (whole milk) to make the authentic, delicious and creamy version of kheer. If you are a vegan you may use coconut or almond milk as well.
How to make kheer (stepwise photos)
1. Keep your ingredients ready. We will need about 4 cups or 1 liter of full fat milk. 1/3 to ½ cup of sugar, ¼ tsp cardamom powder, ¼ cup basmathi rice, you can also use any other rice. Nuts as desired. You can also use sweet raisins.
2. Wash and soak rice for about 30 mins. This helps to cook the rice quickly. Drain and set aside.
3. While the rice soaks, you can blanch the nuts in hot water and peel off the skin. Chop them and set aside. OR Alternately, you can just use some roasted cashews and skip blanching nuts.
4. Pour 1/4 cup water or grease a heavy bottom pot. This helps the kheer from getting scorched at the bottom. Then add milk and bring it to a boil on a medium flame.
5. When it turns hot or comes to a boil. Add drained rice.
6. Keep stirring often to prevent burning. Keep the flame on low to medium.
7. Cook until rice is soft and slightly mushy. You can mash it with a spoon and check.
8. Add Sugar. You can add more or less to suit your taste.
9. Lower the flame and cook until the kheer thickens. You will have to scrape the sides and stir often.
10. Add nuts and cardamom powder. Stir and cook for 5 mins. If adding raisins just do it towards the end. Do not cook after adding them.
11. When it reaches a thick but of runny consistency switch off the stove. It thickens upon cooling down.
Garnish rice kheer with nuts before serving.
Rinse and soft cook ½ cup rice with 1 cup milk and 1 cup water in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles or with 2 cups milk in a pot until rice is soft. Then pour ½ to ¾ of condensed milk tin (14 OZ/ 397 grams tin). Add cardamom powder and simmer for a few minutes. You may add more milk for a runny consistency.
Simmer kheer for a little longer to thicken it. Rice is full of starch so as you cook the starch releases from the rice and kheer thickens further. If you happen to add a lot of liquid by mistake, you can still follow the same step. Your kheer will taste more delicious when milk reduces. You can also add some almond meal or rice flour slurry as a quick fix.
Rice kheer keeps good in the refrigerator for 2 days. Cool the kheer completely & refrigerate. You can reheat on a stove top on a low to medium heat. To reheat in instant pot, pressure cook for 0 to 1 minutes depending on how cold it is. You can also do it in traditional pressure cooker by pressure cooking until you hear 1 whistle.
You can use any kind of rice. Sona masuri, kolam rice, Thai fragrant rice/ jasmine, gobindobhog rice or any other you have.
Yes you can use brown rice. There are many kinds of brown rice. If you are using brown rice that has a lot of bran then simply soak it for at least 3 hours to overnight. This helps in cooking the brown rice faster without altering the flavors.
Yes feel free to substitute sugar with an artificial sweetener but use it as per the instructions on the pack. Start with a smaller quantity as 1:1 substitutions won’t always work.
Can I use jaggery to make kheer recipe?
Yes kheer can be made with jaggery. However kheer can split if you add jiggery to hot kheer. So the first method is to bring down the temperature of the kheer by cooling it for about 5 minutes and then stir the powdered jaggery.
The second method is to make a jaggery syrup first, filter to remove impurities and then cool it down completely. Just stir it to the cooked milk & rice.
Kheer in Instant pot vs regular pot
Making it in a regular pot does take some time & it needs continuous stirring to prevent the milk from getting scorched at the bottom.
But making kheer in Instant pot is a breeze as all you need to do is just dump the ingredients in the pot & press the button.
I have been making it more often ever since I started to use instant pot. All I do is just put the ingredients & turn on the porridge button.
The color of the instant pot kheer would be slightly golden due to the caramelization of sugar and it is just normal.
I have also made it a couple of times with jaggery. Once the rice and milk are cooked, cook on a saute mode until it reaches the desired consistency. Remove the steel insert and let the kheer cool down a bit. Then stir in the grated jaggery. Do not cook further as jaggery curdles the milk.
Kheer recipe | How to make rice kheer
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 4 cups milk (for instant pot 2½ cups milk) (refer notes)
- ¼ cup water (avoids burning)
- ¼ cup rice (basmati or any rice)
- 6 to 8 tablespoons organic sugar (6 tbsps for moderate sweetness)
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder or elaichi (about 2 to 3 pods)
- 10 cashews or blanched almonds chopped
- 10 pistachios chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoon sweet raisins (optional)
- 1 tablespoon ghee optional for frying nuts
- 1 pinch saffron or 1 tsp edible rose water
- Wash rice a few times & drain completely. Chop the nuts & set aside.
How to make rice kheer
- Pour ¼ cup water to a large heavy bottom pot. This prevents kheer from getting scorched at the bottom.
- Then pour milk & bring to a boil.
- Keep stirring the milk often to prevent the fats getting stuck to the bottom.
- Add drained rice and begin to cook on a medium flame until the rice is soft, completely cooked and lightly mushy.
- Keep stirring often to prevent the milk getting scorched at the bottom.
- Stir in the sugar and continue to cook until the rice kheer turns thick.
- Keep stirring often in between to prevent burning.
- Add cardamom powder, rose water and nuts. Stir and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn off when the rice kheer reaches a desired consistency, slightly runny.
- Kheer thickens once it cools down. Garnish rice kheer with more nuts and serve.
- Optional – Most people don't like ghee in their kheer. You can also skip this. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a small pan and fry the cashews until golden.
- Then add raisins and stir until they turn plump. Remove them and set aside.
Instant pot kheer
- Press the saute button.
- Optional – add 1 tablespoon ghee or butter to the inner pot of the Instant pot. Fry the cashews until light golden. Then add raisins and fry for 30 seconds. Remove to a plate.
- Pour ¼ cup water to avoid burning and then pour milk.
- Then add rice & sugar to the inner pot of Instant pot.
- Mix all of them together. Secure the lid of the instant pot.
- Position the steam release handle to sealing. Next press the porridge button.
- Set the timer to 18 mins. When it is done press cancel & switch off. Wait for the pressure to release naturally.
- When the float valve drops, open the lid and add cardamom powder & rose water. Stir well.
- Rice kheer will be runny at this stage. Give a good stir.
- For a thicker consistency you cook on saute mode for a few mins until thick. It will thicken further after cooling.
- Transfer kheer to serving bowls & garnish with nuts & raisins. You can also chill the rice kheer and serve.
- Nuts: Some people prefer to blanch the nuts & use. You can just skip frying the nuts & blanch them instead. Here is how to do it the blanching.
Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Then add nuts and soak for about 10 mins. Peel off the skin and pat dry. Chop them as desired. Alternately, you can just use some dry roasted cashews.
- Milk for Instant pot version: This recipe can be made even with 2 cups of milk. It will taste like a normal pudding and not a rich kheer. To get the rich, creamy & authentic taste use about 2.5 to 3 cups of milk. Evaporate & thicken the excess milk on a saute mode once the pressure releases.
- This recipe has been tested in a 6 qts Instant Pot. You may optionally add 2 whole cardamoms & a pinch of saffron along with rice for extra flavor.
- Adding a bit of ghee first to the instant pot prevents the milk from getting scorched.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Rice kheer recipe first published in October 2016. Updated and republished in July 2021.