Rice pudding is a simple comfort food that's equally at home on the breakfast table and the dessert tray. When you make it in a slow cooker, it practically prepares itself.
In a recipe with so few ingredients, each plays an important role.
Use 3 to 4 parts milk to 1 part rice and 1 part sugar. For creamier rice pudding, use a mixture of half and half and 2 percent or skim milk. If you like it with a more defined texture, cut back on the liquid.
Mix the rice, milk, sugar and dried fruit (if you're using it) in the bowl of your slow cooker. Set the temperature to low and cook for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
To prevent sticking, spray the inside of the slow cooker bowl with cooking spray before adding the rice, milk, sugar and other ingredients.
When the rice is tender and the pudding has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla, if you're using it.
For creamier, more decadent rice pudding, stir in beaten egg yolks halfway through cooking. Test the internal temperature of the dish before serving; it should reach a minimum of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate the potential for food-borne illness. Most slow cookers should have no trouble reaching this temperature on the low setting; however, if yours does not reach 160 degrees F, turn it to high for the last half hour of cooking and stir frequently to prevent burning.
Serve the pudding warm, or let it cool to room temperature.
If the liquid is absorbed before the rice is tender, stir in more milk and continue to let it cook.
If the rice pudding is too soupy, turn the slow cooker to high and cook, uncovered, for 15 to 30 minutes.
While rice pudding is creamy and delicious straight out of the slow cooker, it also serves as a sweet canvas for your favorite toppings, mix-ins and flavorings.
Top cold rice pudding with sliced bananas and granola.
Sprinkle warm pudding with cinnamon, nutmeg or your favorite spice combination.
Fold stiffly beaten whipped cream into cold rice pudding, and then top with fresh seasonal berries for a refreshing summer dessert.