Incredibly smooth and creamy, this Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding recipe flavored with vanilla, plump raisins, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, is a simple but decadent homemade dessert made right on the stovetop.
When I was 18, I worked as a legal secretary in downtown Salt Lake City. My office was next door to Lamb’s Grill, “Utah’s Oldest Most Famous Restaurant”. My coworkers and I would go to Lamb’s several times a week and I always had the same order: this incredible rice pudding.
Years later, the Salt Lake Tribune printed the recipe for Lamb’s Rice Pudding. It instantly became a family favorite and a regular recipe in our homemade dessert rotation.
And once you try it, you’ll see why. This smooth, creamy pudding with tender white rice sprinkled with cinnamon spice is all but guaranteed to turn even the staunchest rice pudding skeptics into lifelong fans.
In the years since I posted this Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding Recipe, Lamb’s has since closed. We were sad to lose such an iconic restaurant but so thankful to have this recipe to celebrate its legacy.
Update: This was one of the first recipes on Barbara Bakes. Over the years, I’ve made this Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding recipe more times than I can count, and I’ve updated this post to reflect what I’ve learned and to answer your questions.
Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding Ingredient Notes
The first thing you’ll probably notice about this Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding recipe is the short and simple ingredient list.
You probably even have most, if not all, of these pantry ingredients on hand. Long grain white rice, granulated sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Raisins and cinnamon are optional but highly recommended.
There are a few things to note before you make this stovetop rice pudding. First of all, the recipe calls for 10 cups of whole milk. 8 cups are used to cook the long-grain rice. The remaining 2 cups get mixed with the eggs to make the custard that thickens the rice pudding.
Yes, you do really need 8 cups of milk to fully cook the rice. For ultra-creamy and silky homemade rice pudding, you’ll need to cook the rice a bit more than you do for normal stove-top preparations with water. A large amount of milk ensures that one cup of long-grain white rice expands into a delightful pudding texture while absorbing sweet and creamy milk.
While raisins are optional, I definitely think they make this rice pudding special. They add a delightful textural change and a bit of natural sweetness. Other dried fruit, such as cranberries or cherries, would also add a nice touch.
The classic Lamb’s way to serve creamy rice pudding is topped with a pillow of whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. For the pictures, I also dressed it up with some crisp waffle cookies – although that’s rarely how I serve it.
How To Make Lamb’s Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding at Home
There are three steps to making perfect stovetop rice pudding. First, cook the rice, milk, and sugar. Then make a mixture of eggs, milk and a bit more sugar which is stirred into the cooked rice to create a luscious, creamy pudding.
First, the rice cooks on the stovetop, except with milk instead of water. Whole milk provides a silky and creamy texture to the finished rice pudding. You’ll cook the rice and milk with most of the sugar, which develops flavor as it cooks.
Remember to stir the rice frequently while cooking. It may stick to the bottom and cook unevenly if you forget to stir. The rice will take up to an hour to cook fully, so it does require some patience, but I assure you, it’s worth it!
It’s important to fully cook the rice all the way through before adding the egg mixture. Otherwise, your rice will not be tender. Note that the rice, even when it’s finished, will not absorb all of the milk. However, the grains are totally soft and tender, so it’s time to turn it into pudding!
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and remaining milk and sugar until well blended.
When you add the egg mixture to the cooked rice, pour it in a steady stream, stirring the rice constantly. Stirring prevents the hot rice from cooking the eggs as you add them.
Once the eggs are fully mixed into the rice and heated, a pudding/custard is created. If you’re using raisins, stir them in now. The heat will help soften them up. Then, remove the pudding from the heat.
The rice pudding will still be thinner than you like at this stage. But as the Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding cools, it will thicken up. After cooling at room temperature, you can refrigerate it to firm it up even more.
I love serving this creamy rice pudding hot, but Lamb’s used to serve their pudding chilled topped with whipped cream.
Can I Half or Double Old-Fashioned Stovetop Rice Pudding?
Yes! You can easily half this rice pudding recipe by simply cutting each ingredient by half.
You can also double it, however, you’ll need a large pot to hold 16 cups of milk and all the rice! The cooking time for the rice may also increase with more liquid, so be sure to test the rice before adding the eggs. It’s cooked when the grains are soft, tender and creamy tasting.
What Kind of Rice Makes Creamy Rice Pudding?
Opt for long-grain white rice for best results. The larger grains means the rice absorbs more milk, and more milk means more flavor!
When I adapted this rice pudding recipe for the Instant Pot, I found that arborio works great in a pressure cooker. It’s much faster to make in the pressure cooker, so if you’re short on time, your pressure cooker might be the best bet.
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 cups whole milk
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 t. vanilla
- 1 cup raisins (not in the original recipe, but for me it is a must)
- In large saucepan combine rice, 1 cup sugar and 8 cups milk. Cook, covered, until the rice is tender, stirring frequently (about 1 hour).
- In a mixing bowl combine eggs, 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla. Beat well to combine.
- When the rice is tender, add egg mixture; cook until mixture just starts to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in raisins if using; cool then chill. (It will thicken as it cools.)
- Lamb’s always served it cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, but I love it warm. It's great either way.
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More Favorite Homemade Pudding Recipes
- If you’re in a rush, I adapted this Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding recipe for the Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker on Pressure Cooking Today. It’s just as dreamy, in less than 30 minutes!
- Raspberry Bread Pudding unites soft, puddingy bread with zesty orange, cranberry and raspberry flavors.
- Classic vanilla Tapioca Pudding in the Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker is a simple, always popular throw-back dessert.
- Hot Fudge Pudding Cake from That Skinny Chick Can Bake is insanely chocolaty and sure to hit your chocolate and pudding cravings in one dish!