Brown Sugar Rice Pudding

Brown sugar rice pudding (click through for recipe)While I was staring mindlessly off into the distance, stirring this rice pudding for the necessary 15-18 minutes, it dawned on me that rice pudding is nothing more than dessert risotto. 

It's basically the exact same process with slightly altered ingredients. I wonder which came first? I also wondered if anyone has ever served both, back to back. That would require an awful lot of stirring. 

Brown sugar rice pudding (click through for recipe) To me, rice pudding seems like a summer-month treat. Probably because it does not require turning on the oven to complete. And everyone knows that turning on an oven completely negates air conditioning and makes your electric bill one million dollars.

Okay. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration. That's just what my dad led me to believe when I lived with my parents growing up. Oven baking was strictly forbidden once the air conditioner was turned on for the summer. I give my dad a hard time about this from time to time, but the truth is I'm just as frugal. 

Dad says we are "Cheap-mans." Which is a play off our last name, Chapman. πŸ™‚

Best rice pudding recipeBrown Sugar Rice Pudding, serves 2-3.

1/2 cup arborio rice
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low/medium heat. Add in the rice and cook for a couple minutes until the rice grains become somewhat translucent.

How to make rice puddingIn a small pot, combine the milk and cream, and warm over low heat.

Once the rice is ready, stir in the milk, half a cup at a time, stirring until most of the liquid has dissolved before adding more. It will take about 15-18 minutes of stirring for all the milk to become incorporated into the rice. 

Then add the brown sugar and vanilla extract. These will both add additional moisture to the pudding, so continue stirring and cooking for another 2 minutes so some of the liquid can reduce.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. If you plan to store your pudding in the refrigerator overnight, press some plastic wrap over the top of the pudding (unless you are one of those weirdos you really likes pudding skin; then just cover like you normally would).

I'm just kidding. You're not a weirdo.

Brown sugar rice pudding (click through for recipe)  Serve with some sliced fresh fruit (I had figs) and a little honey. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • Cheap-mans! Too funny. I LOVE rice pudding, can’t wait to make this!

  • Strangely, rice pudding means the opposite to me! I usually make baked rice pudding, so it a)is definitely a winter dessert b)takes very little work! Nevertheless, this looks delicious so maybe I’ll change my ways just this once!
    (I do love pudding skin though! That’s the best part!!)

  • Looks yummy! You can also do rice pudding in a slow cooker which is cheaper than an oven and you don’t have to stir it forever.

  • Looks deliciously caramel-y to me. The figs also add a nice touch–I’m looking forward to eating some fresh ones soon!

  • These look phenomenal! I love brown sugar and figs together. I would sautΓ© some butter on a pan, add some brown sugar and caramelize the cut open figs for even more delicious flavour!

  • Rice pudding is just like dessert risotto! haha I’ve never made that connection before. I happen to love both but have never made rice pudding – flagging this on my “to try” list! Xo, D

  • -rice pudding + figs?! A whole new world!
    -Pudding skin, cringe.
    -In my brain, rice pudding is more of a winter breakfast/dessert. I mean, that surely doesn’t stop me from enjoying it all season of the year. I’m the same way with soups and chili.


  • My family has always baked rice pudding in the oven, so its been more of a winter dessert….excited to try it this way for the summer!

  • Hahah I laughed out loud at the “awful lot of stirring” part. Mmmmm risotto.

    One time my friend and I made enchiladas in Phoenix (during the summer) and her dad made us put them on the grill because of A/C. Yeah, those enchiladas didn’t turn out well. πŸ™‚

  • My issue with rice pudding is the texture—any suggestions how to differentiate the texture (figs and pudding, both slimy/gooey/runny)?

  • I’m a little meh about rice pudding – it’s a consistency thing – but I’m going to try this anyway. Looks too good not to!

  • I love rice pudding. It has always been one of my favorite desserts and this brown sugar / honey is a wonderful addition.

  • My Grandma comes from Northumberland in England and we’ve always oven cooked our rice puddings. 1pint milk (preferably full fat) two handfuls of pudding rice, one handful of sugar (whichever kind you like best). You can put cream in if you want, just add more rice. Never, ever add more sugar because it’s way too sweet and you can always ‘season to taste’ afterwards. Bash in the oven for 4 hours at a medium temperature and voila!

  • When you talked about the air conditioning, I was wondering if you guys do something for saving this planet. I mean, you obviously use a lot of materials for the diy’s, but do you have an ‘ecological plan’ as well, or some tricks for using recycled objects, or some things you really pay attention to? I think climate change is a really important issue and I would love to hear how you cope with it!

  • I love that he calls you guys “Cheap-mans”. ha! I think I’m the only frugal one in my family (and maybe my step-dad too). Also, I can’t think of any play on the last name, Reyes, that would have to do with frugality. As much as I love cooking and baking, I really try to avoid the oven as often as possible during the summer months, until it’s cooled down a lot. Therefore: rice pudding it is!


  • Cheap-mans, lol!!! We make something similar in Southern part of India..its called Payasam in Tamil language, there are lotsa varieties with dhal, vermicelli, etc. Its a must in all the traditional weddings as ONE of the desserts (had it in ours), also we make it on special occasions or festivals as well. We all love it! πŸ™‚


  • Just made this and I’m waiting for it to cool. The suspense is killing me, it smells so good!

  • This sounds straight up DECADENT! LOVING IT! Is there anything more summery and delicious than a fig? I mean, come on now. Same with the air conditioning- living in LA’s valley is so $$$ in summertime! Eeek, ovens = bad, no! Thanks for the recipe, I never have actually tried rice pudding, let alone a homemade version of it- bookmarking this! – Kathryne :0)

  • I had never thought of it as a sweetened risotto, I feel kinda silly for never making that connection before! haha. This sounds great, though!

  • Yum! I love brown sugar…I’ve taken to using it in my breakfast tea rather than white sugar. It gives it a nice depth of flavor. This looks great!

  • Just made this only using skimmed milk and it taste so creamy its a brilliant pudding, I’ll so be making this again πŸ™‚

  • emma, i got 2 words for your dad about the summer oven situation. those words are: toaster oven. since we live in texas, where summer seems to be the season most of the year, that’s what we use instead of our regular oven. we got a whole lot of counter space though. rice pudding reminds me of the story “the pokey little puppy.”

  • This went down extremely well on a wintry night in Melbourne, Australia. A great year-round comfort food. YUM!