Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now

Appetite for Knowledge

Rice Pudding

Chances are you have tried rice pudding at least once in your lifetime, and if you have, you may associate it with your childhood. Did you know that humans have been enjoying this dish for thousands of years across the world? Rice pudding is a simple dish made by mixing rice with water or milk and other ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon, and raisins to add flavor. This dish can be enjoyed at dinner time or as a dessert in which case a sweetener is added. Traditionally rice pudding wasn’t as sweet as what’s it’s known for today.


Historically rice was found in the kitchens of the elite, as it was an expensive import. Instead of butter suet was used, which was also easier to find then. Some ancient rice pudding recipes would actually be stuffed into sausage skins and then roasted or fried before serving. How would you like your rice pudding dessert served in the form of a sausage? Well, back then they thought it was good, so maybe it’s worth a try!


Healthy Twist

Rice pudding is traditionally made with whole milk, cream, and lots of sugar making it high in solid fats and added sugars. But there are some simple switches we can make in order for it to be healthier so we can enjoy this dish more often. One simple switch is to try using brown rice instead of white for added dietary fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends making at least half of our grain’s whole, to help us get our recommended dietary fiber each day to help prevent chronic disease. You’re right, brown rice takes longer to cook than white/refined rice, but with the use of an electric pressure cooker, you can cook your brown rice within 25 minutes! Another switch you can make is to use low-fat milk rather than whole milk or heavy cream, which will cut down on the solid fats. Solid fats have been shown to increase our risk for cardiovascular disease. One other simple switch that you can make is to use unsalted butter, which can help slash the amount of sodium we consume. Americans on average consume around 3,400 mg of sodium per day, however, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that as adults we limit our sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day.


Easy Yet Delicious

Rice pudding whether sweet or not, is also easy to make! It’s as simple as cooking your rice and throwing in your remaining ingredients to flavor the dish! If you don’t like raisins, you can omit them or replace them with another dried fruit of your choice. If you want to make a savory rice pudding, you can use broth instead of milk, and omit the sweetener. Whatever rice pudding creation you make in the future try making a few simple switches to retain more nutrients while decreasing your solid fat and sodium intake.


Creamy Brown Rice Pudding

Recipe Source:

Yield: 4 servings



1 ½ cups water

¾ cup uncooked brown rice

1 ½ cups low-fat milk

1/3 cup white sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup low-fat milk

1 egg, beaten

2/3 cup raisins

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted

½ teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Combine water and rice over high heat in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 50 minutes. Alternatively, you can use an electric pressure cooker to cook your rice quicker.
  2. Combine cooked rice, 1 ½ cups milk, sugar, and salt in a clean saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining ½ cup milk, beaten egg, and raisins. Cook 3 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract. Serve warm.


Written by University of Wyoming Extension- Cent$ible Nutrition Program Educator Shelley Balls, MDA, RD, LD



  • United States Department of Agriculture, USDA
  • Food and Drug Administration, FDA
Rice Pudding in a mug

Contact Our Expert!


Extension Educator:
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

University of Wyoming Extension

Feedback Form

Follow UW Nutrition and Food Safety

Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Rules of Use. Thank You.

For more information, contact a University of Wyoming Nutrition and Food Safety Educator at or Ask an Expert.

Have a Question?

Contact Our Expert!


Extension Educator:
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

University of Wyoming Extension

Subscribe to UW Nutrition and Food Safety Newletters


Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

The University of Wyoming is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader