Thai Rice Pudding Recipe

Rice with Coconut Milk. Francis Kompalitch/Canopy/Getty Images
  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings rice pudding
Ratings (8)

This rice pudding recipe is scrumptious, healthy and nourishing, and meant to be served warm.

This Thai dessert starts with Thai sweet rice which is flavored with coconut milk, brown sugar, plus warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ​star anise.

An optional step includes adding red adzuki beans or red bean paste (this gives the pudding extra texture, vitamins, natural color, and flavor). Top with your choice of cream, milk (or condensed milk), soy or rice milk, or more coconut milk/cream. 

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups Thai sweet rice (also called "sticky" or "glutinous" rice)
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (palm, brown, or white to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves (ground)
  • Optional: whole star anise (for garnish)
  • Optional: cinnamon sticks (for garnish)
  • Optional: crushed peanuts (for garnish)
  • Optional: toasted coconut (for garnish)

How to Make It

  1. Place rice in a large pot that has a lid. Add 2 cups of the water and allow to soak for 10 minutes (or longer).
  2. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups water and salt to the pot. Stir well.
  3. Place over high heat. As soon as the water comes to a bubbling boil, reduce heat to medium-low (around 2.5 on your dial). Cover 3/4 of the pot with the lid (so that the lid is sitting askew, allowing some of the steam to escape).
  1. Boil the rice like this for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.
  2. Turn off the heat, but keep the pot on the burner. Place lid on tight and allow rice to "steam" in this way for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and add the coconut milk, stirring until incorporated (you may have to break up the rice a little with a spoon or fork).
  4. Turn heat on low and, while gently simmering, add 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar or to taste. Brown sugar will give you a darker color, while white sugar will give you pure white rice pudding. Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  5. Taste test for sweetness, adding more sugar if not sweet enough, or more coconut milk if too sweet for your taste.
  6. The rice will eventually absorb most of the coconut milk, creating a very thick rice pudding.
  7. Now you have two options -- either add more coconut milk to the pot to thin the pudding, then serve or scoop some of the pudding into bowls. Surround the pudding with a little coconut milk, cream, soy or rice milk, etc.
  8. Garnish each serving by sprinkling with extra cinnamon or nutmeg, and decorate with cinnamon sticks, whole star anise, and crushed peanuts or toasted coconut if desired.