Creamy Rice Pudding on the Hob is a quick and simple way to make this delicious classic dessert. This recipe is thick, luscious and isn’t at all difficult to make. Ready in under an hour and with no need to turn on the oven, you’ll be making this stovetop rice pudding recipe on repeat.
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I simply do not have the patience to wait for rice pudding to cook in the oven. It seems to take an extraordinary amount of time when you can achieve the same, if not better results in far less time on the stovetop. And that’s before we consider any energy costs savings of using a hob vs the oven (assuming you don’t have it on anyway).
There are versions of rice pudding made around the world. Some classically baked like arroz doce from Portugal. Others that are highly flavoured like kheer with additions like coconut, saffron, dried fruit, nuts or rosewater or coconut sticky black rice pudding from Thailand.
But my version is a simple plain rice pudding. The rice and dairy are the predominant flavours. I cook it like this firstly because I love the actual taste of rice and secondly because it is then a neutral vehicle for any toppings or mix ins that you fancy.
How to Serve Creamy Rice Pudding
Now I have never been a fan of cold rice pudding, like with cold custard, I find the concept a bit grim. But I couldn’t stop eating this version, even when it was cold. I don’t know what the difference is but I would happily eat this either way which makes it as great for a summer dessert as a winter one.
The options for toppings are endless and I’m sure you already have your ideas and favourites. You’ll see a few different topping options on this page.
I’ve gone fancy and topped with roasted plums and scattered them with toasted flaked almonds.
And I’ve kept things even more simple with just a little muscovado sugar which has always been one of my favourites.
Ingredients for Stovetop Rice Pudding
I start the rice pudding a little like you would a risotto – stirring the rice in melted butter and the sugar giving it all a chance to melt and fully coat each grain of rice. This helps the flavour of the butter to really penetrate into the rice which then expands as it cooks.
Because of this, I always use salted butter and I always use real proper block butter. The flavour is integral to the finished pudding and margarine won’t cut it. Please do not skimp this.
“Pudding rice” as its sold in the UK is a short grain starchy rice. The actual variety of rice is basically never disclosed on the packet but to be honest it really doesn’t matter. Anything sold as pudding rice is as you would expect, specifically designed for making rice pudding recipes.
But in a slight plot twist, I’ve discovered that anything sold as “sushi rice” or “Japanese sticky rice” is pretty much the same as pudding rice. All are short grain and starchy with an indistinguishable difference in taste. So much so that I often buy pudding rice to use in my sushi and sticky rice recipes.
I wouldn’t recommend going any further off piste with your rice choice. It needs to be short grain and it needs to have a certain amount of glutinous quality. It is worth noting that despite being referred to as glutinous, there is no gluten. It is simply the starch in the rice that creates a glutinous texture.
I did lots of testing to get the level of sweetness of this pudding just right. It is sweet because it is a dessert but it isn’t so overly sweet which gives lots of scope to add sweeter toppings.
Keeping with the theme of a very simple rice pudding flavour, I only use white sugar in this recipe. I even find golden granulated adds an extra flavour which can start to overpower the rice and dairy.
As it is melted, it doesn’t matter if you use caster (superfine) sugar or regular granulated sugar. I generally use the latter as its cheaper.
You can absolutely make a great creamy rice pudding using only milk. But adding double cream (heavy cream) just makes it extra super luxurious, thick and creamy. Only 1/3 of the total dairy is cream but it makes a hell of a difference so if you can, please do include it.
If you really don’t want to, you can use all milk. But while I’ve said you can use any milk if including the cream, I would recommend using full fat whole milk if only using milk. This will help with the thickness of the finished pudding.
Other than choosing whether you use cream and what milk you’re going to use, I would exercise caution in mixing up this recipe. Of course you can add other flavours or spices etc but I do think they are better added as toppings or stirred in after cooking.
Make Vegetarian or Vegan Rice Pudding
This rice pudding recipe is suitable for vegetarians as written.
To make a vegan rice pudding on the hob, you will need to use plant based butter, milk and cream alternatives.
This may require some experimentation to find the best alternatives which hold up to the cooking process without splitting, curdling or adding any kind of undesirable flavour. With the variety of plant milks available now, this will really be down to personal preference and most vegans will already have their go-to products. So if you’re cooking for someone else, I would suggest asking them for recommendations.
Allergy Friendly Rice Puddings
This recipe is free from egg, gluten and nuts.
Dairy Free Stovetop Rice Pudding: Please refer to my notes for making the recipe vegan. Axactly the same swaps will be required and the same suggestions about experimenting and preferences apply.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Rice Pudding on The Hob
I’m not sure if a hob or stovetop would be considered equipment as such but there is something that you should note.
The success of this rice pudding rests on being able to complete most of the cooking process on a very small heat source. For me the smallest gas ring on my 5 ring hob is just low enough.
If you know that you don’t have a very small ring, you may need to employ a heat diffuser. This will generally be handy to have for cooking any rice dish and many others so would likely be worth the invest if this is an issue for you.
You will also need a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid. The size of the pan needs to be larger than you think to prevent the milk boiling over. For the same reason the pan must have a good tight fitting lid. Using kitchen roll also helps in the prevention of the boiling over.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
You can make the rice pudding up to a couple of days in advance. It must be stored in a very well sealed container in the fridge to prevent any unwelcome flavours being absorbed. I don’t find that cling film over the dish is sufficient in this case.
To reheat you can simply microwave or pop it back into a saucepan and heat to desired temperature. Make sure to keep stirring so it doesn’t catch and burn. You will probably find that the pudding has become thicker having been cooled and reheated. You can simply add more milk until the pudding is your preferred thickness to serve.
Leftover Stovetop Rice Pudding
This recipe doesn’t make a huge batch so you’re unlikely to have so much leftover that you are struggling to use it up.
If however you don’t want just another bowl of rice pudding, you could make a cold layered dessert. Think layers of crumbled biscuits or cake, fruit curd or spreads like biscoff or nutella and whipped cream.
Creamy Rice Pudding Tips
Please don’t ignore my tips on how to prevent the milk boiling over as the pudding cooks. I can tell you that it happened several times during my testing and it is a pain in the butt to clean up – not to mention a waste of ingredients and time.
Be careful not to allow the butter and sugar to start to brown and caramelise before adding the dairy otherwise you’ll end up with a caramel rice pudding. Unless you want caramel notes of course, just don’t take it too far or it will become bitter.
Don’t skip the resting stage – this is integral to the overall texture of the rice pudding. You are looking for a harmonious goop on the spoon, not just bits of rice floating around in liquid.
It is worth quickly pointing out that no skin will form when making rice pudding on the hob. To me this is a total win as congealed baked milk doesn’t appeal. But just in case that is your jam, I don’t want you to be disappointed.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Creamy Rice Pudding on the Hob (Stovetop)
- Saucepan – Large with tight fitting lid
- Kitchen Paper
- 60 g Salted Butter
- 100 g Pudding Rice - or sushi/sticky rice
- 100 g Sugar
- 400 ml Double Cream (Heavy Cream)
- 800 ml Milk - any
- ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Measure 60g Salted Butter, 100g Pudding Rice and 100g Sugar into a large saucepan.
- Stir the pan over a medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has started to dissolve. Go slowly, you don’t want the butter to start to brown. Take the pan off the heat if it looks like that is about to happen.
- Once melted, add 400ml Double Cream and 800ml Milk to the pan along with ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes.
- Continue to heat the pan over a high heat. You will need to stir the pan often paying particular attention to scraping the bottom of the pan so the rice doesn’t stick.
- Once the milk/cream has started to simmer, move the pan to the lowest heat source available on your hob/stove.
- Quickly place the lid on the pan. Sandwich a sheet (or two) of kitchen paper between the pan and the lid. The lid should fit very snugly. This is essential to ensuring that the milk doesn’t boil over so don’t skip this step.
- Allow to simmer for a total of 30 minutes. At the 10, 20 and 25 minute marks remove the lid and paper and give it a good stir. Replace the lid and paper each time. If the kitchen paper is sodden, replace it with a fresh piece.
- After the 30 minutes is up, remove the lid and allow to gently simmer for a further 5 minutes. Stir regularly although this doesn’t need to be continuous. You will see the pudding start to thicken.
- Take the pan off the heat, add the lid (you don’t need any kitchen paper this time) and allow to sit for 10 more minutes.
- Once you remove the lid, the rice will have absorbed even more liquid and the remainder will have thickened slightly more.
- If at this point you aren’t happy with the texture of the pudding, you can either simmer further to reduce the liquid more and make it thicker, or add a little more cream and/or milk if you prefer it to be thinner.
- Serve hot or cold as desired.