I grew up eating rice pudding made with leftover rice – milchreis (German rice pudding) is often made with rice cooked in high-fat milk or sometimes cream and milk, but we always made it with leftover cooked rice. It takes much less time and is a good use of leftovers.
This coconut milk rice pudding was a natural transition away from using dairy milk for me, several years ago, and it’s truly excellent. It is milchreis, in terms of the general method and ingredients, but does have a slight, pleasant, undertone of coconut.
Applesauce is a traditional topping but use what you have on hand or what’s in season. Rhubarb compote, fresh berries, orange slices – it’s a neutral base, so you can go wild with everything else.
- Cooked Rice: I usually use short-grain brown rice, but had basmati on hand for these pictures. Any type will work (you don’t need to buy milchreis/arborio).
- Coconut Milk: canned, full-fat! It will seem like too much but the rice will absorb some and you need it for proper creaminess.
- Maple Syrup or Honey: sweeten to taste. You can always top with more if you haven’t added enough.
- Ginger: fresh, for a hint of spice. This is optional and can be switched for other spices.
- Vanilla: powder, paste, or extract. Simmer with a whole bean if you’re fancy.
- Toppings: fresh berries, as pictured, or whatever you like.
Notes and Substitutions
Salt isn’t added to the pudding as leftover rice should already be salted. Adding any more would be too much. Again, because the rice is cooked, the type doesn’t really matter (starchy varieties are usually used for pudding).
Additional spices could include cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, or, if you prefer something fresher, lemon or orange zest.
Keep an eye on the pot and stir if it seems to be simmering hard. As with any milk-based dessert, the bottom can burn quickly if left too long.
The leftover water from the canned coconut milk can be used in smoothies, curries, or to replace some or all of the liquid needed in bread and other baking.
More Coconut Milk Desserts
Coconut Panna Cotta
Three Ingredient Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Triple Coconut Bread
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Coconut Chai Ice Cream Bars
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Coconut Milk Rice Pudding
- 400 grams cooked rice*
- 250 ml canned coconut milk, cream only
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely grated
- ½ teaspoon vanilla powder 1 teaspoon extract
- Fresh fruit or preserves for topping
- Add the rice, coconut milk, maple syrup, ginger, and vanilla to a small saucepan. Stir to combine.
- Cover and bring to a simmer on low-medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Once the rice pudding is ready, about half of the coconut milk will be absorbed and it should be creamy but not claggy.
- Serve warm, topped with fruit, applesauce, or jam. Leftovers can be refrigerated in a sealed container for 2-3 days, but this is best fresh.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was originally published in March 2018. It has been updated most recently as of May 2021.
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