How to Use Leftover Rice to Make Easy Rice Pudding

By Lori A. Selke

Start to Finish: 20 minutes Servings: 4 Difficulty Level: Beginner

rice pudding in a pot
credit: Szakaly/iStock/Getty Images
Turn leftover rice into a simple dessert with just a few additional ingredients.

Leftover rice makes a great base for a batch of rice pudding, and rice pudding makes for an easy and pleasing dessert or breakfast dish. This recipe is both rich in flavor and frugal in philosophy, a pleasing combination.


  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Put rice, milk, sugar and spices in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the rice is plump and the liquid is reduced.

Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled, as you prefer.


Different types of cooked white rice will give a different texture to the finished pudding, but all can be used successfully in this recipe.

Dried raisins are a common addition to this dish; experiment with other dried fruit as well, such as whole dried cherries or diced dried apricots.

Add orange or lemon zest if desired.

A pinch of cardamom and/or nutmeg can be added as well.

Substitute honey or maple syrup to taste for the sugar.

For a nondairy version of rice pudding, substitute coconut milk. Or try rice milk, vanilla-flavored soy milk or almond milk. You will need to adjust the sugar to taste.


Be careful not to scorch the milk both while bringing it to a boil and after reducing to a simmer.