Make your own Indian dessert at home. Indian rice pudding, also known as Kheer, is a traditional Indian dessert that's creamy, delicious and easy to make!
I learned this recipe from my mother. She makes it whenever there's a special occasion - Diwali, Holi, or someone's birthday! While I've never had much of a sweet tooth, her Indian rice pudding is one I happily enjoy. It's easy to make, creamy, comforting, and so delicious!
What is Indian rice pudding?
Indian rice pudding, also known as Kheer originated in the Indian subcontinent. It's traditionally made with milk, sugar, and Basmati rice (or rice, tapioca, vermicelli, or sweet corn), and flavored with Indian spices such as cardamom and saffron.
Kheer takes about 30 minutes to make and is served at the end of a meal as a dessert.
Ingredients you'll need
- Milk - Kheer is traditionally made with whole milk. However, I use plant-based milk. Note that the flavor of the milk you use will affect the overall taste and consistency.
- Basmati Rice - Basmati rice is perfect for this recipe. But you can also use Jasmine rice if you don't have Basmati rice on hand
- Cardamom Powder - Add aromatic flavor with cardamom powder or a few cardamom pods (be sure to remove the pods before serving).
- Saffron - this adds a delicious flavor and adds a little color. If you don't have this ingredient, feel free to skip it. It will still taste great!
- Sweetener - Use a sweetener of choice. Cane sugar is traditionally used but you can use maple syrup or coconut sugar instead.
- Optional Ingredients - Add more flavor, including raisins, slivered almonds, pistachios, and seeds.
How to make Indian rice pudding – step-by-step
1. Soak the Basmati rice in water. Ideally, you want to soak the rice for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Thoroughly rinse the rice in water until it runs clear.
2. Add ingredients. In a medium saucepan, add milk, cardamom powder, saffron, and sweetener.
3. Turn the heat to medium-high. Bring the milk mixture to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low.
4. Add Basmati rice to the milk. Mix gently.
5. Simmer until cooked. The milk will start to thicken and the rice will become tender. It will take about 20-30 minutes for the rice to milk to reduce to about half its original amount. Stir every 5 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat and let the Indian rice pudding cool down for a few minutes. Add additional toppings, if desired, and serve or store for later.
Storing and reheating
Fridge: Kheer will last for 3-4 days in the fridge. Be sure to cool it down completely before storing it in an airtight container.
Reheat: When you're ready to enjoy it again, either serve it cold or warm it up in a small saucepan.
Is kheer eating hot or cold?
You can either enjoy it warm or cold! During the summer, it's best to serve it cold. Alternatively, during the cooler months, it's usually served warm.
How do you thicken kheer?
If the kheer is too thin for your liking, simply simmer the mixture for an additional 5-10 minutes until you reach the desired consistency.
More easy Indian recipes
- Kitchari Recipe
- Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- Easy Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)
- Aloo Tikki (Indian Potato Patties)
- Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer)
Did you make this Indian rice pudding recipe? Leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let us know how it turned out! Save this recipe for later by pinning and be sure to tag me on Real + Vibrant’s Instagram to show me your creation!
This post was originally published in October 2016, updated June 2019 with new photos and a rewritten post. No changes were made to the recipe – it’s just as tasty as it's always been!
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons pistachios
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes or overnight. Rinse well in water until it runs clear.
- In a medium saucepan, add milk, cardamom powder, and sweetener. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the milk mixture to a gentle boil.
- Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and add Basmati rice. Stir gently.
- Simmer until the milk starts to thicken and the rice is tender. It will take about 20-30 minutes for the rice to milk to reduce to about half its original amount. Stir frequently.
- Turn off the heat and let the Indian rice pudding cool down for a few minutes. Add additional toppings, if desired, and serve or store for later.