There are two ways to make rice pudding: with an egg or without. I'm firmly in the egg camp. Made without eggs, rice puddings lacks the richness and body I love in this classic dessert. Made in a pressure cooker, rice pudding takes about 30 minutes and comes out creamy and perfect each time.
Any white rice, except instant, works great in this recipe. The texture varies depending on the rice you use. (Don't use brown rice in this recipe, as it requires a longer cooking time and a different ratio of liquid to rice.)
- Long grain: For classic and creamy rice pudding.
- Medium or short grain: For a thicker, risotto-like rice pudding
- Jasmine or basmati rice: For an aromatic pudding that picks up the flavors of the rice.
Traditional rice pudding is made with milk. For the best results, use whole milk — it gives you a thick, rich pudding. The recipe does work when made with 2% or 1% milk, but just be aware that the pudding won't be as thick and creamy. Avoid non-fat (skim) milk because it makes a thin and watery final product.
Dairy-free? Simply replace the whole milk with coconut milk. Since full-fat coconut milk is so rich, I recommend either using equal parts full-fat coconut milk and water to replace the milk or an equal amount of light coconut milk.
Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice
Here's where you can customize the flavor of the rice pudding to your liking.
- Sugar: This recipe calls for 1/3 cup granulated sugar, but if you prefer your rice pudding with only a hint of sweetness, reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup.
- Dried fruit: For the best flavor, soak any dried fruit you use in liquor for an hour or so before using. If you want to avoid using liquor, soak the fruit in hot water for 20 minutes and then drain before adding to the pudding.
When do you add vanilla? You'll notice that the pudding is cooked under pressure without any vanilla extract. This is because the flavors get lost after spending time under pressure. Wait until after the pudding is cooked to stir in the vanilla for the best flavor.
To finish the pudding and transform it into a rich, custardy affair, two large eggs are added to the pudding when it's done cooking under pressure. To prevent the eggs from scrambling when they hit the hot pudding, you want to temper the eggs by slowly mixing about one cup of hot pudding into the whisked eggs. The warm egg-pudding mixture is then slowly whisked back into the pudding.
Once the eggs are added, cook the pudding until it thickens. This takes about three minutes and requires constant stirring to prevent the pudding from scorching, so switch the pressure cooker to the sauté setting for this step.
Pressure-Cooker Rice Pudding
For the dried fruit (optional):
1/2 cup dried fruit, such as raisins, currants, chopped apricots, or chopped prunes
Liquor (rum, brandy, Armagnac, or amaretto) OR warm water
For the pudding:
3 cups whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup long-, medium-, or short-grain white rice
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
If using the dried fruit, place it in a small bowl. Add enough liquor or warm water to just cover. If using liquor, allow to stand for about 1 hour; for water, let the fruit soak for 20 minutes. Drain before using.
Combine the milk and sugar in pot of electric pressure cooker. Turn on the sauté setting and warm the milk and sugar until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and salt and stir to combine.
Close and lock the lid. Pressure-cook for 10 minutes at HIGH pressure.
When the cooking cycle has completed, turn off the pressure cooker. Do not allow it to switch to the "keep warm" setting, as this can cause the bottom to scorch. Allow the pressure to release naturally, this takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Whisk the eggs in a heatproof medium bowl. Carefully open the lid of the pressure cooker. Very slowly whisk 1 cup of hot pudding into the eggs. (This prevents the eggs from scrambling.) Slowly whisk the egg-pudding mixture back into the rest of the pudding.
Turn on the sauté setting. Cook the pudding, stirring constantly, until it thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the electric pressure cooker and place it on a wire rack or trivet. Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon and drained soaked dried fruit, if using.
To prevent pudding from overcooking, immediately transfer it to individual bowls or a 8x8-inch baking dish. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Dairy-free: You can substitute 3 cups of light coconut milk or 1 1/2 cups of regular coconut milk mixed with 1 1/2 cups of water for the whole milk.
- Storage: Leftover rice pudding can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.