A favourite traditional recipe, German rice pudding or Milchreis is made with arborio rice - sometimes called risotto rice - cooked in sweetened milk with vanilla. It's creamy, just the right amount of sweet, and the perfect cozy treat on a cold day. This is an old recipe from Alex's family.

For some more delicious old-fashioned European desserts, try our bread and butter pudding, easy no-bake Swedish chocolate balls, or a Canadian twist on the French dessert with blueberry clafoutis.

Rice pudding in a bowl with blueberries on top.
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Ingredients

German rice pudding ingredients with labels.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Milk: this should be whole or full-fat milk, around 3.5% fat (a dash of cream mixed in wouldn't be amiss).
  • Vanilla: extract is easiest and works best here, but paste and powder are good too (don't waste a bean). A cinnamon stick can be simmered with the milk and rice as well but it doesn't impart much flavour as it's a fairly short cooking time.
  • Rice: this should be arborio rice, which might be labeled as risotto rice, but any short-grain round rice can be used. You can buy it labeled as Milchreis in Germany, but it's just arborio. We don't recommend using brown rice for this. Plain white rice can be used in a pinch.
  • Salt: most old German recipes won't include salt, but a pinch is a nice addition and helps to round out the flavours.
  • Add-ins: if you want to add raisins, they can be mixed in with the rice and cooked to make them more plump. Cranberries can be added in the same way, and fresh berries and applesauce are excellent toppings. Some people add lemon and orange zest, too.

How to Make Rice Pudding

While some methods call for pre-cooked rice, or mix the milk and rice together before bringing to a boil, Milchreis is made more like porridge.

Rice pudding steps 1 to 4, boiling milk, adding rice, stirring, and cooking with lid tilted.

Step 1: add the milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt to a pot and bring to a low boil.

Step 2: add the rice.

Step 3: stir the rice in well, making sure none is sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Step 4: simmer, stirring often, with the lid ajar, for about 20 minutes, and serve warm.

Top Tips

  • Keep stirring: if you let the pudding simmer without stirring, it will stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
  • Sweeten to taste: German rice pudding is most often served with cinnamon sugar, and that provides most of the sweetness to the recipe. It's a nice way to let everyone adjust the dessert to match their sweet tooth.
  • Don't skip the vanilla: this is a simple recipe, and every ingredient is important. For the best-tasting pudding, use the vanilla and choose a good one.

Recipe Notes

We've never tried making rice pudding in the slow cooker, and since it needs such a short cooking time, it doesn't seem necessary.

You don't want to rinse the rice before adding it to the milk. That starch is a big part of what makes this into a pudding - you don't really want individual grains of rice - so don't rinse it off.

If the pudding is a little dry, add a splash of milk before serving, or serve with some cream for each dish. It should be soft but not runny.

How to Store

Storage: keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. While it's best warm, you can serve the pudding cold too.

Freezing: we don't recommend freezing this as it ruins the texture when thawed.

FAQ

Is risotto rice same as pudding rice?

Generally speaking, they're both going to be arborio, but sometimes pudding rice cooks up a little softer than risotto rice. It all comes down to individual brands.

Is rice pudding eaten hot or cold?

While rice pudding can be served both hot and cold, Milchreis is most often served warm. You can choose what works best for you.

Can I use Arborio rice instead of pudding rice?

Certainly. Arborio rice is ideal for rice pudding and it's what's most often used for Milchreis.

If you make this German Rice Pudding recipe or any other dessert recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and YouTube.

Rice pudding in a bowl with blueberries on top.
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5 from 1 vote

German Rice Pudding (Milchreis)

A classic traditional recipe, German rice pudding or Milchreis is made with arborio rice cooked in sweetened milk with vanilla. The perfect cozy treat.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Equipment

  • Medium-large pot with lid
  • Spatula or wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar plus extra for topping
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup arborio rice
  • Cinnamon for topping

Instructions

  • Add the milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt to a medium-large pot. Bring to a low boil over medium-low heat.
    4 cups whole milk, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Add the arborio rice and stir well.
    1 ¼ cup arborio rice
  • Bring back up to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer with the lid on top, slightly ajar, stirring often, for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. The rice will not absorb all of the milk. This is normal as it will continue to absorb the liquid as it sits.
  • Serve warm with more sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and your favourite fruit.
    Cinnamon

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 281mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 267IU | Calcium: 204mg | Iron: 2mg

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