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Riz au lait (French rice pudding)

Glass jar with a spoon full of French rice pudding topped with caramel.

5 from 19 reviews

French rice pudding, or riz au lait, is a traditional French dessert made with rice cooked in milk flavored with real vanilla bean.



For rice pudding:

  • 4.2 oz. (120 g) Arborio rice
  • 3 cups + 3 1/2 tablespoons (750 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean

For caramel:

  • 1/3 cup (75 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) salted butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons (50 ml) heavy cream

* If needed, please refer to Baking Conversion Charts.


  1. To make rice pudding, split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape off the seeds with the tip of a knife.
  2. Rinse the rice thoroughly with running cold water to remove the starch.
  3. Immerse it in a large saucepan of boiling water and simmer/blanch for 3 minutes. Using a colander or a fine-mesh sieve, drain the rice.
  4. Pour milk, heavy cream, place both the vanilla pod and seeds in a medium-to-large saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour in the drained rice, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring regularly with a wooden spatula. 
  5. Add sugar and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool. 
  6. To make caramel, pour sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. Don't use utensils. Just shake the pot over your stove until the caramel gets an amber color.
  7. Remove from the heat, pour the warm cream, constantly stirring (be careful of the splash). Add butter and mix for about one minute over low heat.
  8. To serve, discard the vanilla bean once the rice has cooled and divide riz au lait into dessert cups/bowls. Pour hot caramel over the dessert.


  1. For more creaminess, reduce the rice to 2.8 to 3.5 oz. (80 to 100 g) for 1 liter of milk.
  2. The rice is ready when it is soft and creamy and has absorbed almost all of the liquid. Please, remember that the rice will finish soaking up milk as it cools.
  3. If the rice is too compact when cooled, add a little warm milk to soften it.
  4. Make the caramel once ready to serve rice pudding. If it hardens, warm it up over low heat.
  5. Be careful not to overcolor the caramel to avoid it becoming bitter.
  6. Replace homemade caramel with the store-bought one or Bonne Maman® confiture de lait.
  7. Serve rice pudding warm, lukewarm, or chilled. Once it is cooled at room temperature, place the dessert in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


Keywords: riz au lait, French rice pudding,




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