Mama Reed’s Southern Style Rice Pudding


Always set your table like the President is coming to dinner”. That was Mama Reed’s philosophy. Kind and generous mother of ten and my great grandmother, I’ve only known her through family stories.

My mother used to live next door to her as a child. She and her sister would find out what their mother was having for dinner and then what Mama Reed was making and choose which house they wanted to eat at! Mama said they chose Mama Reed’s house quite often. True to her own words, at each and every meal her humble table was set to the nines with all of her depression glass dinnerware, strategically placed worn silverware, and pressed glass tea glasses which had been purchased with peanut butter in them. They may not have had much, but they were proud and willing to share what they did have.

Mama told me a story about the Jewel Tea man coming one evening, right around supper time. Of course, Mama Reed invited him to eat but he had already eaten so she asked if he’d like a glass of tea. When he said he would, she realized that with a table full of guests already, she had poured out all of the tea and there was none left. Without a thought, she seated him in the living room and walked through the dining room towards the kitchen, grabbing up her untouched glass of tea on her way. In the kitchen, she took an empty glass and put a few ice cubes in it so it would sound as if she were making a new glass. She then appeared with her glass, giving it to him, and later poured glass of water for herself. That’s southern hospitality.

Of course, Mama Reed was an amazing cook. This is her special recipe for rice pudding. Like the other matriarchs in my family, she was adept at making do with what ingredients were on hand and affordable, which made rice a regular ingredient for her cooking (even now, we all love a bowl of hot rice served with butter and sugar for breakfast). Most rice puddings are cooked in a pot on top of the stove, but our family has always baked rice pudding. When baked, it develops a wonderful custard and transforms into a rich and comforting dessert. This pudding would be served at dinner for dessert and any leftovers could be re-served for breakfast. True comfort food. I’m sure Mama Reed would be proud to know we’re still loving it today.

You’ll need: rice, eggs, milk, sugar, salt, raisins, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Actual recipe is at the bottom of this page.

Crack eggs into a bowl and beat well with whisk.

Stir in sugar
southern style rice pudding
Add Vanilla and Cinnamon

And milk.


Add Raisins

And stir in cooked rice.
Pour into casserole dish which has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Place dish in a 9×13 inch pan and pour an inch or so of water into pan.

Bake at 300 degrees for 90 minutes.

After the first thirty minutes of baking, stir from the bottom.

Mama Reed’s Southern Style Rice Pudding
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins
  1. Beat eggs. Stir in sugar. Add other ingredients. Stir.
  2. Spray oven proof casserole dish with Pam. Pour mixture into dish.
  3. Set dish in pan of hot water and bake at 300 degrees for 90 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes of cooking insert spoon at edge of pudding and stir from the bottom to distribute rice and raisins.

As promised in a previous post, these are photographs of the view of the Tennessee River from my mother’s back porch.


There used to be a tree on that island. There have been several trees planted on that island recently, actually. Another one fell victim to the beavers this morning. :) There is a crane off to the left on the island, Mama said to tell y’all his name is “Leroy” and he lives there.

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  1. Mommy's Kitchen says

    Thats such a nice story Christy and a pretty view. Your right I cook mine on the stove and dont add raisins what a nice addition. Most people dont like rice pudding I just look at them and say your crazy right!!!

  2. Southern Plate says

    Tina (Mommy’s Kitchen)- I had Rice pudding for a bedtime snack, morning breakfast, and lunch today!! Thank you for reading about my Mama Reed. Even though I never knew her, I’m still pretty proud :). What would my blog be without you, Tina? Honestly!

  3. Southern Plate says

    Stephanie: Thank you so much! You know, I sometimes wince a bit as I post, hoping y’all don’t think I was too long winded with my story telling!
    I think all women love rice pudding. Have any of you ever known a woman who didn’t love it in some form? I’m curious. Oh lord, I gotta go make me some more now…

  4. Southern Plate says

    Noble Pig!
    I am trying not to gush that you came to my blog…oh heck…GUSH!!!
    Wow, thank you!!!
    I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment!

    If you do make it, let me know how it turns out!

  5. Southern Plate says

    Dee: Isn’t Knoxville the greatest little town? I just love going there!

    I’m gonna go eat more rice pudding now! I use Splenda in mine so there is no guilt!
    P.S. I just love comments!

  6. Pam says

    Just wanted to let you know that I made Mama Reed’s Rice Pudding today and OMG it is WONDERFUL! I’m packin’ myself a little goody bowl of this to take with me to work tomorrow. Thank you so much for posting these recipes and the stories to go along with them. The stories make the recipes so very special. :o))
    ~in dee by gawd Southern Maryland

  7. Southern Plate says

    Lisa – it is lovely, isn’t it? Living so near, we tend to take it for granted and don’t often sit and listen to the water like we should. I’ll try to do that next time I am at my mother’s now. Thank you for the reminder!

    Pam – thank you for letting me know! I am SO THRILLED you liked her recipe and know Mama Reed is smiling down on us now.
    I need to make me some soon….
    Southern Maryland, reckon what y’all’s accent sounds like? ~hugs~
    Thanks for reading and especially for commenting!!!
    Christy :)

  8. Dot says

    Christy, I love your site and all the wonderful down home recipes– the storie all take me back down memory lane and to my own childhood which goes back alot futher than yours…I’m much older than you and the stories remine me so much of my grandma and my owm mama– their quote was ” waste not want not” and in our poor home front– we didn’t have any thing to waste, everything was put to use.. Cooking along with you puts me back in the kitchen with grandma and mama– I can still smell all the goodies from the kitchen!!!! Thanks for a wonderful site and for all the memories you bring back to this old lady.. You are a real doll for keeping alive your family memories… Love ya, Nana Dot

    • says

      Thank you so much, I’m just tickled to have you hear and even more that I get to call you Nana!!!!!!

      Isn’t it amazing how incredibly rich we all were? Thank goodness we didn’t have money to distract us from what real wealth was.

      Christy :)

  9. Donna says

    What a sweet story! I have always been a huge fan of rice pudding, and can’t wait to make it! I’m from the South, in NW Ga., so I can relate to your recipes. Haven’t seen one yet that didn’t sound delish!

  10. dragongirl66 says

    OH my goodness! When I read ‘the jewel tea man came’ I flashed back to when our own man used to come and my mom always bought his banana bread mix. It was to die for!! My mom bought so much of it, there was a joke in the family that my little brother was the son of the ‘jewel tea man’. hahaha. (of course he looks like a carbon copy of my dad – and oh my, my mom was DEFINITELY not ‘that’ kind of woman – for shame). Keep those stories coming girl, I need more reminiscing. Now..I’m off to the kitchen to make this deeeelicious sounding rice pudding.

  11. Selma says

    Oh, thank-you, Christie, for another wonderful recipe. I LOVE Rice Pudding but I’ve never had it baked. I can’t wait to try it. Have you ever made it with brown rice? I was just telling my hubby this morning how I love to read your blogs because you write just like you’re talking to “me”. Then I read your post and, sure enough, you’re talking to “me”. LOL What a precious woman, Mama Reed. I, too, love the pictures from your Mother’s back porch … such a serene view. Hello to “Leroy”. Thanx, again, for sharing yourself and family with us!!! Sending you a big ole hug!!
    As Always,
    Selma (the lady in the Netherlands)

  12. Glenda says

    Hi Christie, I grew up on rice pudding. My mother would sometimes add cocoa to hers and make it into chocolate rice pudding. ( I prefer it without the cocoa.) We would also have rice with butter and sugar with hot biscuits for breakfast. We were very poor and we appreciated whatever was put In front of us. I love all of your blogs and recipes. God bless you in all that you do. Glenda from NC

  13. Janet Kaltenbach says

    Hi Christie,

    I have always made baked rice pudding as did my Momma and Grandmama! I didn’t know there was any other way! LOL! But I am diabetic now, so I am interested in how much Splenda you added so that I may substitute it! I am SOOOO hungrey for this rice pudding! Like you, we had it now only for after dinner, but (if there was any left) for breakfast too! YUM!

    Christie, I just love your reminicing about your family! My parents, grandparents etc are all gone now and your tales just bring back sooooo many memories. You just keep going girl! We love to hear your tales. And of course, your Southern Recipes too!


  14. Martha says

    Being a insulin dependent diabetic is really hard for someone like me who loves to bake. Wanting something sweet today, I had printed and set this recipe aside until I picked up some milk as I dont drink milk. Well, I made it as directed except added extra cinnamon and extra raisin, cause I like um, and this is one awesome dish. I ate it straight out of the oven, a blowing and a eating… it was hot but I got a good blower. LOL Thanks Christy for the awesome diabetic friendly recipe..Cant wait for your cookbook. BTW wanted to let you know I really enjoyed (a few weeks ago) Bill Gent taking on your job for the day…He did a great job.

  15. Brenda says


    Thanks so much for this recipe. My mom died when I was 6 yrs. old. She used to make rice pudding before she passed away and I loved it! I’m now grown with grandkids and ecstatic that you posted this recipe. I’ve not been able to find one that sounded similar to hers. I’m definitely going to make this…maybe tonight. Thanks so much!!!

    BTW…I have your cookbook and then went back and bought a copy for my 3 daughters. I love the fact that you make your recipes so easy to follow and so do my daughters. I love down home recipes! Keep up what you are doing – we love it!!!!!

  16. Jennifer says

    Fantastic! I have looked for a rice pudding recipe I can trust; now I have found it! I have ‘winged-it’ a couple of times, but been left with an end product lacking some taste or another, or one so dry it begs not to be consumed, but to be trashed. Lol!

    Love, love, love the pictures. They would have to threaten me with bodily harm to get me to come in off the back porch, if I had a view like that!

  17. says

    I love your stories about your family, brings back very sweet memories of my GrandMothers too. It reminds me that one of my GrandMothers always set a beautiful table, she said use your beautiful things don’t save them for “Special ” times, for what is more special than your family everyday. I also grew up eating rice, butter ,sugar and a little milk for breakfast. But always fixed in a pan on the stove, My hubby won’t eat rice , but I love it fixed in any way possaible, so I’m going to try baking your rice pudding, it sounds really good. And what beautiful pics at your Mothers,

  18. ann b says

    my grandmother would make rice pudding for me. she didn’t bake it , it was cooked on the stove. She put in cinnamon,butter,egg, vanilla, and milk and cook it . I remember when she would then come and tell me to come to the table and that’s what I would find-I really miss those times –
    Also, thanks (just like the others say)for helping us remember the past when times were easier(though we didn’t think so growing up at times)and would give for those times to come back-your stories make me go back and remember and love it.

    ps. have tried several of your recipes and hubby loved them allespecially your crock pot beef roast and pork roast !

  19. Peggy says

    Christy~ I just ate a bowl of this rice pudding and it literally brought tears to my eyes! Finally, after almost 30 years of unsuccessfully trying to recreate my Nanny’s rice pudding I was eating it! My grandmother was a terrible cook with the exception of her rice pudding. I had watched her make it as a young girl so I had some idea of the “how” but was never quite able to get it right. She didn’t have it written down and by the time I had a real interest in trying to make it she was no longer able to tell me. When I read your recipe the other day I thought hmmm…this sounds like it might be similar to Nanny’s. Well, it wasn’t just similar it was right on. Our family is from New York, but I know that Nanny’s father was from Georgia. I’m guessing that’s where the recipe must have come from…maybe handed down. I’m just so glad I found your site and this recipe. I saw you on QVC and then looked up your site after the show! Thanks again. I will be making more of your recipes. ~Peggy

    • says

      Oh Peggy! ~BIG HUGS~ Thank you so much for sharing this with me, it made my day.
      I am so glad that I could share this recipe with you and that it brought back those wonderful memories.
      And I am really thankful you found us, welcome to the family!!

  20. Dawn says

    I just love getting your emails – with all the crazy emails we get -yours are a breath of fresh air! I’m from the north but I grew up with rice with milk and sugar for supper. I still make it for my family. We cook the rice and put into individual bowls, heat up milk in the microwave, and put brown sugar on the rice (and sometimes a little butter), pour over the milk and stir and eat. It’s an inexpensive supper and great for those evening meals that are really running late. I’m gonna try the rice pudding too cause we love rice pudding. God bless!

  21. says

    I love all of your recipes and have been trying quite a few of them. I am from Canada and I don’t have any Southern roots. But these recipes are so similar to those made by my grandmothers, great aunts, older family friends and other older relatives. My Mom has a lot of these recipes written down and I have been trying to accumulate them and compile a book of sorts of stuff from the family and family favourites. I have been verifying what we have to what you post and they are almost right on. Rice pudding is one of my favourites and I make it on a regular basis, If I cook rice and there is some left over, I have it for breakfast with some milk and sugar. Everyone thinks I am a bit nutty, and perhaps they are right.. I must say that growing up we never went hungry but there wasn’t always quite enough and being the oldest I sometimes did without some of the items on the menu for supper. But as long as I had some potatoes or rice a few other things added to the rice would suffice.
    I thrive on getting comments on my cooking. The other day I made cabbage rolls (there’s my rice) and shared some with my sister. Her compliment was that they taste just like Nana’s (our Mom) YUMMMMM. I was thrilled – Mom taught me well. I made the Corn Salad to take to a 50th Birthday Party tonight – I sampled already and oh it is delicious. So “this lady from up North” is sure enjoying these Southern Place recipes.
    Thanks so much

    • says

      Sorry I edited my own post – should have read that I am sure enjoying these recipes from Southern places on Southern Plate Front Porch

      My brother thinks he has to dig deeper into the family tree to see if we have relatives from the “south”
      Some of these recipes are word for word what has been passed down for generations
      Thank you Christy

  22. Teresa says

    I hate to be the downer here, but I made this recipe, being very meticulous about the amounts, and it’s very runny and liquid after 90 minutes of baking. The other recipes I’ve found online are smaller in volume and recommend 90 minutes of baking at 325. Is there a typo in the oven temperature or time?

  23. Tricia says

    This took me back to my childhood. My mama always baked her rice pudding too. She made this and ‘Nilla wafer banana pudding (including making the custard from scratch) regularly. I was a lucky girl but I didn’t know it then!

  24. roberta mcclelland says

    The rice pudding recipe is nearly identical to my sweet Grandma Belknaps. She always added nutmeg to hers. My Grandpa would tease us kids telling us the raisins were bugs. I think he hoped we wouldn’t eat it and there would be more for him. Ha! We new better. There was nothing my Grandma cooked that was bad. Love going down memory lane with you.

  25. sharon goodrich says

    Christy, I love your stories that go along with your recipes. My husband loves rice pudding, but I’ve never found a recipe like my mom made. Your recipe looks like the perfect one – I’ll have to make this recipe for him. Thanks!

  26. Deb says

    Christy, I am the odd-ball of this group. I do not like rice pudding but my husband and neighbors went wild over it. I doubled the recipe and 5 people licked the baking dish clean. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe that is now in my book of must keep recipes. I have been saving recipes for over 40 years now and I am in the process of putting together a cookbook for my daughters 40th birthday. It will reveal all the secrets to my best recipes that she has grown up with and requested (to no avail) over the years. This recipe will be the first and formost in the pudding section. Thanks again.

  27. Laura says

    Christy, this sounds just like my Grannie’s recipe. I love rice pudding but have never been able to find a recipe the way she made it. This is it! Did you used to put raisins in your hot breakfast rice with milk and cinnamon and call it “spotted dog”? That’s what we did . Thank you for not using the “n” word (nutmeg). That would have ruined it for me. I’m a cinnamon gal all the way. Love you Christy.

  28. Deanna says

    I love the story about your Mama Reed! She sounds so much like my grandmas! I am going to make this rice pudding for my dad soon, Rice pudding is his favorite sweet treat!

    Thanks for sharing!

  29. Christopher says

    Your story of Mama Reed sounds very much like my grandmother. Nana’s theory was that if you cook it, they will come. I’ve been very blessed with that same ability today.
    She was my kitchen mentor, starting me off with one fried egg. The year was 1956 and I was but 4 years old. When I was 7, she showed me how to make a proper custard, then on to my favorite dessert; rice pudding. She frowned upon my making a quickie version using Cook & Serve Vanilla Pudding, but admitted it was pretty good. One of the last meals we made for her was a leg of lamb and a traditional rice pudding: Two of her favorite foods. She went ‘home’ shortly thereafter. God rest her soul. God bless.

  30. Rebekah Wilson says

    Got this in the oven right now! It is very similar to the recipe I used years ago. Of course, I couldn’t find the cookbook it was in. Never fear! I’ve bookmarked this. My husband likes it very sweet and with extra raisins, so I added a bit more. I also added some zest from a tangelo. I did keep stirring it to mix up the raisins because it was still very liquid at 30 minutes. Thank for the post.

  31. magpie says

    Regarding Mom Reed’s Southern Baked Rice Pudding: Medium or large eggs, and whole, 2%, 1%, or canned milk? These two ingredients can make the difference between a flop and success. Anyone get that almost crispy custard top — what egg and milk did you use? Also I’m at 5000 feet. As you can tell, I’m one who does not like to experiment a few times to get it right.

    Thank you for a baked recipe. I’ve been trying to find a good one so with more information I will cook it up to see. I remember a creamy crispy top one in my childhood.

  32. magpie says

    I used large eggs and 2% milk. Very good taste with a smooth creamy consistency. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I am going to put it on broil for 5 minutes at the last to mimic that slighty crispy scum on the top I remember. Just may make it the very best I’ve had since childhood.

    • Debra Yarbrough says

      Christy i have been looking for this for a long time,as a child i grew up on a farm in little river alabama, we were very poor and my aunt “sis” was an old maid who did all the cooking for us while we worked in the fields,she would make us rice puddings for deserts,she passed away at 93 and left us her recipe but we could not get it quite right,for no one knew to put it in the pan of water.i do recall when i was sick one day and staying home with her that she put it in a pan of water but i was too small to understand how and why, thank you so much for showing how your family did this because this is what i remember my aunt doing so many years ago…..

  33. Jace says

    Made the rice pudding yesterday afternoon, and, IT IS ALL GONE. Haven’t made rice pudding in over 20 years, and I wasn’t really sure if anyone besides my self would really like it. Got my answer when I went to have a bite.

    The rice is cooking for the new batch, maybe this one will last more than a few hours.

  34. Dianne says

    Christy, I can’t tell you how many times I have made this Baked Rice Pudding! My husband has celiac disease & must eat gluten free. Between this and the Monster Cookies, those are his very favorite deserts! This pudding is in the oven right now. I have one question. I always have to bake a good bit longer than the recipe indicates and it occurred to me that I may be misunderstanding the instructions. After baking for 30 minutes in the hot water bath and taking out to stir, do you put back into the pan of hot water, or just put the casserole back into the oven without the pan of hot water? I have been leaving in the pan of hot water the entire baking time. Thanks.

    • says

      Hey Dianne!! I am so glad you are enjoying it!! Your husband is so blessed to have such a resourceful and loving wife! I continue cooking it in the water bath. It may be that your oven and mine are cooking it at different temperatures, this is pretty common. I’m about to get a new oven in a few months so I’ll have to see if that changes my cook times!

  35. Ellen Wallen says


    My mom and dad had 12 children. I grew up in a poor but hard working family. Rice pudding was one of my favorite desserts served at my mom’s table. I use to help her fix it when I was a small child. After cooking the rice pudding on the stove, she would put it in a big stone platter with merengue on top , then place it in the oven untill the merengue was lightly brown.


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