This easy rice pudding recipe is one I grew up with in Germany. Simply combine rice with milk, vanilla bean, sugar, and a little butter, then let it simmer and thicken. I love to top my Milchreis (that's what we call it in Germany) with cinnamon sugar, warm cinnamon apple sauce, or hot cherries for a warming afternoon treat, dessert, or even a meal!
If you love rice pudding, you'll also love my steamed dumplings with homemade vanilla sauce (another German comfort meal called Dampfnudeln).
How to make rice pudding
Once I discovered I could make a German-style rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon sugar at home in America, life was never the same again. There is something so comforting and special about Milchreis that brings me straight back to my German childhood.
In Germany, I often bought this treat in the yogurt aisle. However, American-made rice pudding tastes nothing like German rice pudding to me.
German rice pudding is thick and creamy, made with cow's milk, round-grain rice, and a warming touch of real vanilla (I use a real vanilla bean for mine). After briefly cooking the rice in some butter, it's simmered in milk and a little sugar to slowly thicken the mixture.
I love serving mine with spiced apple sauce, warm cherries, or simply some cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.
Who invented Milchreis?
It's uncertain where Milchreis was invented. Some say it's Italian (made with whole milk and short grain rice like I did) and others that it's Austrian and resulted from making a meal from items from the pantry.
- Rice. I use Arborio (round-grain rice) for my rice pudding as I feel like it brings me the most authentic results.
- Milk. To get the best taste, use whole milk (although lower-fat versions work well, too). Feel free to use a dairy alternative milk instead.
- Vanilla. I use a real vanilla bean, scrape out the middle and cook the pods with the rice as well. Vanilla bean paste is a great-tasting alternative. Vanilla extract can also be used if you don't have either.
- Sugar. No need to use much as the natural milk sugar helps sweeten the rice pudding as well.
- Cinnamon Sugar. This is for sprinkling on top when you're ready to serve it. It's a classic topping for rice pudding in Germany.
Watch me make homemade rice pudding and see just how easy it is!
Easy Rice Pudding (Milchreis)
- cinnamon sugar optional, other popular toppings are warm cinnamon apples, apple sauce, or warm cherries.
- On medium high, melt butter in a large pot, then add the washed rice for 1 to 2 minutes.15 grams butter, 250 grams round-grain rice
- Add the milk, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds and pods (or vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract). Combine with a spoon bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.1 ¼ liter milk, 50 grams sugar, 1 vanilla bean
- Once boiling, set to low, and cover with a lid.
- Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- The rice pudding is now ready to eat and can be served warm or cold. I love topping mine with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar or hot cinnamon apples or hot cherries (you could use warm pie filling if you like it sweeter).cinnamon sugar