Nothing tastes as cozy as a bowl of creamy vegan rice pudding that has the perfect rice texture—not mushy or gluey. It calls for common ingredients found in your pantry that you can easily grab when the craving strikes. Adding some spices and a handful of raisins really elevates this dish into a dessert that can be served just as it is, straight out of the pot.
This rice pudding recipe tastes so much better than what you’ll get at your local diner as it uses all-natural ingredients. I’ve made it vegan-friendly by swapping out dairy milk for a non-dairy alternative (I like to use almond milk). Instead of using refined sugar to sweeten the dish, I use maple syrup.
A Brief History: Rice Pudding
Rice pudding has been around for centuries. It is thought to have originated in China, which has an ancient rice culture. However, this has been disputed by some food historians who argue that rice pudding likely originates in India, which has an ancient rice culture as well as an ancient sugar culture.
Essentially, rice pudding is rice cooked in a creamy liquid with sugar. It has a rich, sweet flavor and a creamy consistency. Sometimes it’s topped with nuts, fresh or dried fruit, or spices to add flavor and a nice crunch.
Nearly every country in the world has a rice pudding recipe. In Spain, it’s called arroz con leche and is made with rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest. If you go to the south of India, it’s called payasam where rice is slowly boiled with sugar or jaggery and nuts. In northern India, a similar variation is referred to as kheer.
Travel to the Middle East and you'll find that rose water is added to the pudding to give it a unique taste. In Iran, it’s referred to as firni, which is rice that has been blended into a coarse paste and then cooked with spices and nuts.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredients used in this recipe not only make it vegan-friendly but it’s also healthier and gluten-free.
Rice. Medium grain or short grain rice are the best varieties to use. They produce a creamy rice pudding with grains that are soft but not mushy. Risotto (arborio) and Calrose rice work well. I prefer to use leftover cooked rice because it’s a great way to avoid food waste and I get to use up my leftovers in a different way.
Non-dairy milk. I prefer to use unsweetened nut milk. My go-to is almond milk from Three Trees.
Maple syrup. This adds subtle sweetness without making the pudding taste “maple-y.” Start with a ¼ cup and add more at the end if you want it sweeter. You can also use dried date paste, honey, or agave nectar.
Spices (optional). I like to use cinnamon, ground cloves, and cardamom for that deliciously cozy flavor.
Vanilla extract. This goes nicely with the spices.
Raisins (optional). I like using raisins or currants for those little bursts of sweetness. Feel free to leave them out if you’re not a fan.
How To Make Vegan Rice Pudding
In a medium-sized pot add the cooked white rice and raisins.
Next, add the maple syrup and almond milk. I use a ratio of 1:1 for cooked rice and milk.
Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of ground cloves and ground cardamom.
Stir the mixture and bring it up to a boil on medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cover it for about 20 minutes.
Stir every once in a while to prevent sticking, until the rice is tender and the liquid has cooked down considerably. You’ll know it’s done when it’s about the consistency of thick yogurt. If it’s too thick for you, thin it out with a bit of almond milk.
Serve warm or at room temperature. You can also chill it completely in the fridge and serve it cold. Pretty dessert glasses are a great way to add a little pizzaz to your presentation.
Vegan Rice Pudding: Tips And Tricks
1. For thicker rice pudding, combine a teaspoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder with a tablespoon of water or milk and whisk to combine. Pour into the rice pudding and stir for 1-2 minutes while it thickens.
2. Get creative with toppings for your rice pudding. Add your favorite dried fruit, toasted nuts, or a fresh fruit compote.
3. If you don’t like your rice pudding to be as creamy, use long grain rice. It produces a pudding that is slightly drier and chewier than one made with short and medium grain rice.
4. Rice pudding thickens as it cools. Reheat over low heat and add more milk to thin out as needed.
5. Don’t be heavy-handed with the spices since they could easily overpower the classic flavors of this dessert.
6. Keep leftover rice pudding in the fridge for up to 4 days. Let it cool completely and store in an airtight container. You can also freeze rice pudding but it tends to separate and will not be as creamy after it thaws.Print
If You Enjoyed This Recipe Then Try…
My brown rice porridge with apple-pear compote that is the perfect vegan, whole-grain breakfast you need to start your day.
Or my lemon pudding parfait recipe, a sweet dessert treat that will leave you craving for more.
This creamy mango chia pudding recipe from Loving It Vegan that is so sweet and healthy you can have it for breakfast or dessert.
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