Reviving Leftovers into Delight: Creamy Rice Pudding Recipe with Cooked Rice

Fact Checked By: Macaria Valerie

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Embark on a culinary journey of comfort and simplicity with the classic rice pudding recipe, a dish that transforms the humble ingredient of cooked rice into a luscious and creamy delight. In this recipe, we embrace the art of turning leftovers into a sumptuous dessert, infusing new life into the staple grain. Rice pudding, with its rich history and universal appeal, is a testament to the magic that can be created with everyday ingredients found in any kitchen.

In this guide, we will explore the steps to crafting this timeless dessert, a process filled with both ease and elegance. Perfect for those seeking to whip up a quick yet satisfying sweet treat, rice pudding with cooked rice is not just about the end result, but the joy found in the simplicity of its creation. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a beginner in the world of culinary arts, this rice pudding recipe promises to bring warmth and sweetness to your table, one spoonful at a time. Let’s dive into the comforting world of this beloved dessert, where tradition meets modern convenience.

Rice Pudding Recipe with Cooked Rice

This rice pudding recipe transforms cooked rice into a creamy, comforting dessert. It involves simmering the rice with milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt until thick and creamy. A beaten egg is then tempered into the mixture for added richness, followed by optional golden raisins for a touch of sweetness. Finished with a dollop of butter and a splash of vanilla extract for depth of flavor, the pudding is garnished with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg. This simple yet delicious dessert is versatile, allowing for warm or cold servings, and is an excellent way to repurpose leftover rice into a delightful sweet treat.

Here’s a simple recipe for rice pudding using cooked rice:

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 cups milk, divided (can use whole, 2%, or a non-dairy alternative)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon or nutmeg for topping (optional)
  • Combine Rice and Milk: In a medium saucepan, combine the cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups of milk, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, about 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  • Mix Egg and Remaining Milk: In a small bowl, whisk together the beaten egg and the remaining 1/2 cup of milk.
  • Temper the Egg Mixture: Slowly pour the egg mixture into the rice mixture, stirring constantly. This process is called tempering, which prevents the egg from scrambling.
  • Cook the Pudding: Continue cooking the mixture for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. This will thicken the pudding and cook the egg.
  • Add Raisins and Butter: Add the raisins (if using) and butter. Stir until the butter is melted and fully incorporated.
  • Final Flavoring: Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Serve: Spoon the pudding into serving dishes. It can be enjoyed warm or cold.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg before serving, if desired.
  • Refrigerate Leftovers: Store any leftover pudding in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2-3 days.

Enjoy your homemade rice pudding! This recipe offers a comforting, creamy dessert with the perfect balance of sweetness and a hint of vanilla, making it a delightful treat for any occasion.


Making rice pudding with cooked rice is a delightful way to create a creamy dessert. Here are some tips to ensure your rice pudding turns out perfectly:

  • Rice Type: Use white rice for the best texture. Leftover rice works well, but avoid using flavored or seasoned rice, as it can alter the taste of your pudding.
  • Milk Choice: Whole milk gives the creamiest result, but you can use 2% or a non-dairy milk like almond or coconut milk for a lighter version or to accommodate dietary preferences.
  • Slow Cooking: Cook the rice and milk mixture on low to medium heat. Slow cooking allows the rice to absorb the milk and flavors, resulting in a creamier texture.
  • Stirring: Stir the mixture frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan and to ensure even cooking.
  • Tempering the Egg: To avoid curdling, gradually mix a small amount of the hot rice mixture into the beaten egg before adding it back into the pot. This technique, called tempering, gently raises the temperature of the egg without cooking it.
  • Sweetness: Adjust the sugar to your taste. You can also use alternatives like honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar for different flavor profiles.
  • Add-ins and Flavors: Customize your rice pudding with add-ins like raisins, dried cranberries, or nuts. Flavor it with extracts like almond or orange, or add spices like cardamom or allspice for a unique twist.
  • Texture Preference: For a thicker pudding, cook it longer. If you prefer it thinner, add more milk during cooking.
  • Serving: Rice pudding can be served either warm or cold. If you prefer it cold, let it cool after cooking and then chill it in the refrigerator.
  • Garnishing: Top with cinnamon, nutmeg, or even a dollop of whipped cream for extra flavor and presentation.
  • Storage: Store leftover rice pudding in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It usually keeps well for up to 2-3 days.

Remember, rice pudding is a versatile dish, so feel free to experiment with flavors and ingredients to create a dessert that suits your taste perfectly!

Why This Recipe Is Just So Good…

The rice pudding recipe using cooked rice is exceptionally delightful for several reasons:

  • Creamy Comfort: The combination of milk and rice cooked to a creamy consistency creates a comforting texture that is both soothing and satisfying. It’s the epitome of comfort food, perfect for a cozy dessert or snack.
  • Simplicity and Convenience: This recipe is a fantastic way to utilize leftover rice, transforming a simple staple ingredient into a decadent treat. Its ease of preparation makes it accessible for cooks of all skill levels.
  • Versatility in Flavor: Rice pudding can be easily customized to suit individual tastes. Whether it’s through the type of milk, the amount of sugar, or the addition of spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, each variation can create a whole new flavor experience.
  • Richness and Depth: The addition of a beaten egg adds richness to the pudding, making it more luscious. Vanilla extract and optional raisins contribute depth and layers of flavor, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Comforting Warmth or Refreshing Chill: Rice pudding can be enjoyed warm, offering a comforting warmth, or cold, serving as a refreshing treat. This temperature versatility makes it suitable for different seasons and preferences.
  • Sweet Satisfaction: The gentle sweetness of this dessert is pleasing without being overwhelming. It strikes a perfect balance that satisfies sweet cravings in a more subdued, comforting way.
  • Nostalgic Appeal: For many, rice pudding evokes fond memories and a sense of nostalgia. It’s a classic dessert that has been enjoyed through generations, often bringing back memories of family gatherings or childhood.
  • Nutritional Value: Depending on the ingredients used, rice pudding can offer nutritional benefits such as carbohydrates for energy, protein from the milk, and the added health benefits of any fruits or nuts included.

In essence, the rice pudding recipe with cooked rice is cherished for its comforting texture, ease of preparation, versatility in flavors, and the sweet, nostalgic joy it brings to those who savor it.

Storage Instructions

Properly storing rice pudding is important to maintain its taste and ensure food safety. Here are the storage instructions for rice pudding made with cooked rice:


  • Cooling: Allow the rice pudding to cool to room temperature. However, avoid leaving it out for more than two hours to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Container: Transfer the rice pudding to an airtight container. This helps to keep it fresh and prevents it from absorbing any odors from the fridge.
  • Refrigeration Time: Properly stored, rice pudding can last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freezing (Optional):

  • Preparation for Freezing: Rice pudding can be frozen, though the texture might change slightly upon thawing. Creamier puddings tend to freeze better.
  • Freezer-Safe Container: Use a freezer-safe container or bag. Leave some space at the top as the pudding might expand slightly when frozen.
  • Freezing Duration: You can freeze rice pudding for up to 1 month.
  • Thawing: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours before you plan to eat it.

Reheating (If Desired):

  • Reheating Method: Rice pudding can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove. Add a little milk or cream if the pudding seems too thick after being refrigerated.
  • Heat Evenly: Ensure that it’s heated through evenly. In the microwave, stir it halfway through heating.

Additional Tips:

  • Stir Before Serving: If the pudding separates or becomes too thick in the fridge, a good stir can help restore its creamy texture.
  • Safety Check: Always check for any signs of spoilage like an off smell or mold before consuming, especially if it has been stored for several days.

By following these storage instructions, you can enjoy your rice pudding safely and deliciously over several days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Here are some expert-level questions and answers about making rice pudding with cooked rice:

Q: Can I use any type of cooked rice for rice pudding?

A: Yes, you can use most types of cooked rice, but short-grain or medium-grain rice like Arborio works best as they are starchier and yield a creamier pudding. Long-grain rice can be used but may result in a less creamy texture.

Q: How can I make my rice pudding creamier?

A: To make your rice pudding creamier, use full-fat milk or a combination of milk and cream. Cooking it slowly and stirring frequently can also help to release the starches from the rice, enhancing the creaminess.

Q: Can rice pudding be made without sugar?

A: Yes, you can make rice pudding without sugar. Consider natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar as alternatives. You can also rely on the natural sweetness of added fruits.

Q: How do I prevent my rice pudding from becoming too thick or too runny?

A: The key is to monitor the liquid ratio and cooking time. If it’s too thick, add more milk as it cooks. If it’s too runny, allow it to cook longer so more liquid evaporates. Remember, the pudding will thicken as it cools.

Q: Is it possible to make vegan rice pudding?

A: Absolutely! For a vegan version, use plant-based milk like almond, soy, or coconut milk, and substitute the egg with a vegan egg replacer or simply omit it. Use a plant-based butter or omit the butter as well.

Q: Can I add fruits to my rice pudding?

A: Yes, fruits can be a great addition. Raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped fresh fruits like apples, pears, or berries can be added. Add dried fruits while cooking, and fresh fruits after the cooking process to maintain their texture.

Q: How long can I store rice pudding in the refrigerator?

A: Rice pudding can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make sure it’s cooled to room temperature before refrigerating.

Q: Can rice pudding be frozen?

A: Yes, although the texture may change slightly upon thawing. Freeze it in an airtight container and thaw in the refrigerator before eating. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Q: What is the ideal rice-to-liquid ratio for rice pudding made with already cooked rice?

A: The ideal ratio is typically 1 part cooked rice to 2 parts liquid (milk). This ratio can slightly vary depending on the desired creaminess of the pudding and the type of rice used. Adjusting the liquid can help achieve either a thicker or more fluid consistency.

Q: How does the choice of rice variety affect the final texture of the pudding?

A: The rice variety significantly impacts the pudding’s texture. Short-grain rice, like Arborio, tends to be creamier and more tender, making it ideal for a smooth pudding. Long-grain rice, like Basmati or Jasmine, can be used but will result in a firmer, less creamy texture. Leftover rice from savory dishes can be repurposed, but it’s best if it’s plain and not flavored.

Q: Can dairy-free milk be used effectively in rice pudding, and what adjustments are necessary?

A: Yes, dairy-free milk like almond, coconut, or oat milk can be used. These alternatives may alter the flavor slightly and can be less creamy than whole milk. You might need to adjust the thickening time or add a thickening agent like cornstarch mixed with water to achieve the desired consistency.

Q: What is the purpose of tempering the egg in the rice pudding recipe, and how is it done correctly?

A: Tempering the egg prevents it from scrambling when added to the hot mixture. It’s done by gradually adding a small amount of the hot rice mixture to the beaten egg, constantly stirring, and then slowly pouring the egg mixture back into the pot. This process gently raises the egg’s temperature without cooking it outright.

Q: How can flavors like cinnamon or vanilla be best infused into rice pudding?

A: For spices like cinnamon, adding a cinnamon stick during cooking allows the flavor to infuse throughout the pudding. It should be removed before serving. Vanilla extract is best added after removing the pudding from the heat, as high temperatures can diminish its flavor.

Q: What are some creative ways to serve or enhance rice pudding made with cooked rice?

A: Rice pudding can be served with a variety of toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, a drizzle of honey, or a sprinkle of cinnamon. For a richer dessert, it can be layered with fruit compotes or jams. Incorporating ingredients like orange zest, cardamom, or even a splash of rum can add an interesting twist to the classic recipe.

These expert-level questions and answers cover key aspects of making rice pudding with cooked rice, offering insights into how to achieve the perfect texture, flavor, and presentation.


In conclusion, this rice pudding recipe using cooked rice stands as a shining example of culinary ingenuity and comfort food at its best. It demonstrates how simple, everyday ingredients can be transformed into a dessert that is both satisfying and elegantly simple. This dish is not just about savoring a sweet treat; it’s a celebration of resourcefulness, turning the ordinary into something extraordinary.

The versatility of this pudding, accommodating various dietary preferences and available ingredients, makes it a universal favorite. Whether enjoyed as a warm, comforting bowl on a chilly evening or savored as a cool, refreshing treat on a warm day, rice pudding with cooked rice is a testament to the timeless appeal of simple, homemade desserts.

As we close this culinary chapter, remember that the best recipes are those that bring joy and satisfaction to the kitchen and the table. This rice pudding, with its creamy texture and gentle sweetness, is sure to become a cherished addition to your recipe collection, a sweet reminder of the beauty in simplicity.

Photo of author

Macaria Valerie

About the author

With over 15 years of experience in the culinary world, Macaria Valerie has developed a unique niche expertise in the art and science of rice cooking. Born in Taipei and raised in San Francisco, Macaria's passion for perfectly cooked rice is a blend of her Taiwanese roots and modern culinary techniques. She has traveled across Asia, gathering traditional rice recipes and cooking methodologies. Macaria is not just about plain rice. She's explored the depths of risotto in Italy, paella in Spain, biryani in India, and sushi in Japan. Yet, she believes that the core of these dishes lies in mastering the basic foundation - the rice. In her popular blog, "Expert Reviews Best Rice Cooker", Macaria shares not only her favorite rice recipes but also reviews the latest in rice cooker technology. She's been a consultant for major kitchen appliance brands, aiding in the development and testing of their rice cooker lines. In her spare time, Macaria conducts workshops and classes, ensuring that the art of cooking perfect rice is accessible to everyone. Whether you're aiming for a simple bowl of fluffy white rice or venturing into the intricate world of flavored rice dishes, Macaria Valerie is your go-to guide in the rice cooker niche.

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