Southern Baked Rice Pudding

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This rich and creamy baked Southern rice pudding recipe is a classic dessert in the South. Each bite includes tender raisins with pops of cinnamon and sweet vanilla.

southern baked rice pudding

This rich and comforting dessert and I can assure you that anyone who likes rice pudding will love this old-fashioned recipe too.

What is rice pudding?

Rice pudding is a dessert or dinner that includes rice cooked in sweetened milk. As the rice bakes and mingles with the other ingredients, the starch in it creates a rich and creamy dish with a custard-like texture. Those other ingredients, I hear you ask? Well, this particular Southern rice pudding recipe is made with cooked white rice, eggs, milk, sugar, salt, raisins, ground cinnamon, and vanilla extract. 

It takes about five minutes to prep, as all you have to do is mix those ingredients together. Then we pour this into the prepared, set it on a pan of water, and let it bake for 90 minutes. Yes, it’s a long time, but all you have to do is give it a couple of stirs and you can go about your business while it cooks. Hands-off baking? Sign me up!

Why bake rice pudding?

Baking this dish only requires stirring once or twice (depending on if you are using cooked or uncooked rice), versus frequent stirring if made on the stovetop.  But what I love most of all about baked rice pudding is that 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.

Check out some of my other delicious pudding recipes like Homemade Banana Pudding, Fruit Salad With Vanilla Pudding, Easy Bread Pudding, Vanilla Wafer Pudding With Pineapple, Homemade Choc Pudding, and Frozen Pudding Cups.

Recipe Ingredients

  • White rice
  • Eggs
  • Whole milk
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Raisins
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract

Helpful Kitchen Tools


southern baked rice pudding ingredients

How to Make Southern Baked Rice Pudding

First off… cook up your rice. It will be added later in the recipe.

eggs in the bowl for southern baked rice pudding

Then crack eggs into a large bowl and beat well with a whisk.

add sugar to eggs

Stir in sugar.

add milk to the eggs and sugar

Add milk to the eggs and sugar. 


add cinnamon to eggs, sugar, and milk

Add vanilla and ground cinnamon to the mixing bowl next.

add rice and raising for southern baked rice pudding

Add raisins, then stir in the rice.

fully stirred southern baked rice pudding

Stir it up until it looks like this.

pour mixture into dish to bake

Pour the mixture for the southern baked rice pudding into a casserole dish or 9×13 baking pan, which has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

water in the pan underneath the baking dish

Place the dish into a rimmed baking sheet or baking pan and pour an inch or so of water into the pan.

This is our water bath!

distribute rice and raisins during bake

Bake at 300 degrees for 90 minutes.

After the first 30 minutes of baking, insert a spoon at the edge of the pudding and stir from the bottom to distribute rice and raisins.

completed southern baked rice pudding

Scoop and serve in fancy schmancy crystal glass wear or even better…regular cups or bowls will do!

southern baked rice pudding


southern baked rice pudding


  • Store leftover rice pudding in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. You can enjoy it cold or reheat it either in the oven or the microwave. You might want to mix in a touch more milk to make it more pliable and prevent it from drying out too.
  • Now, you can freeze the rice pudding in a freezer-safe container for up to three months. However, please note that once thawed, the pudding won’t have the same consistency or texture. If you do freeze it, you can reheat it as mentioned above.

Southern Rice Pudding Recipe Variations

Here are some easy changes you can make to this baked rice pudding recipe:

  • Use a combination of milk and half and half, cream, or evaporated milk for an even creamier dish.
  • For a lighter dish, use a combination of milk and boiling water instead.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg and/or ground cardamom for extra flavor.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest.
  • Feel free to omit the raisins or swap them for other dried fruit, like cranberries, craisins, chopped dates, blueberries, chopped apricots, cherries, or golden raisins.
  • Another option is swapping them for chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
  • For vegan rice pudding, use your preferred plant-based milk alternative, like coconut milk or almond milk.
  • For chocolate rice pudding, add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.

Recipe FAQs

What is a traditional rice pudding made of?

A traditional rice pudding’s two main ingredients are rice and milk. The creamy dish can be served sweet or savory. In this instance, my dessert rice pudding is sweetened with sugar and vanilla with raisins and cinnamon adding extra flavor.

What type of rice is best for rice pudding?

Rice pudding is typically made with long-grain white rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, or arborio rice.

Do I have to cook the rice for pudding?

No, you don’t have to cook the rice for the southern baked rice pudding. I do so the dish doesn’t take as long to bake. You can add in uncooked rice but it will just take longer to make; potentially another 30 minutes to an hour or so. Make sure you stir more often too.  

Is rice pudding served hot or cold?

You can actually serve rice pudding hot or cold.

How to make Paula Deen’s rice pudding?

Paula Deen’s rice pudding is a very similar recipe. However, she uses a combination of milk and half and half, and she adds a pinch of ground nutmeg. 

What to serve with rice pudding?

Baked rice pudding can be served for breakfast, a snack, or dessert. It’s a perfect main dish as is. But if you like, you can enjoy it with a little something extra. This might be a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, a dollop of whipped cream, or a side of your favorite fresh berries.

How long does homemade rice pudding last?

Homemade rice pudding will last in the fridge for up to four days.

Can you reheat a rice pudding?

Yes, you can reheat rice pudding, either in the microwave or oven.

Southern Rice Pudding

This rich and creamy baked Southern rice pudding recipe is a classic Southern dessert. Each bite includes tender raisins with pops of cinnamon and sweet vanilla.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pudding
Servings: 8
Calories: 366kcal


  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  • Cook up your rice.
    2 cups cooked rice
  • Beat eggs in a large bowl with a whisk before stirring in the sugar.
    4 eggs, 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
    3 cups whole milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup raisins
  • Spray an ovenproof casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Pour the rice mixture into the prepared dish.
  • Set the dish in a water bath: a baking pan or baking sheet filled with hot water. Then bake it at 300 degrees for 90 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes of cooking time, insert a spoon at the edge of the pudding and stir from the bottom to distribute the rice and raisins.


Calories: 366kcal
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  1. Can this be made without raisins? And What size casserole dish? My mom baked her rice pudding and we had for dessert at supper time.

  2. Your Mom’s rice pudding sounds like my Mom’s only Mom used Carnation milk. We bake it in a water bath the same way. Sometimes I delete the raisins! She’s from Northern West Virginia so it must be the northern version with the Carnation milk! My husband never had it this way until I made it and he loves it! I usually use about half all the ingredients to make a smaller version!

  3. your recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked rice; as we know rice expands when cooked, so is it 2 cups of uncooked rice that gets cooked, or 1 cup of dry rice that becomes 2 cups when cooked?

  4. Christy, you have no idea how happy I am to finally find a rice pudding recipe that starts with cooked rice, because I often have left over rice, but never had a recipe to turn it into rice pudding. Thanks!!!! Is the water bath there to keep the pudding moist? Other than cooking it for the 90 minutes, how do you know the pudding is done consistency wise? I saw another commenter say she cooks hers longer than 90 minutes. Thanks.

    1. The water bath keeps the rice pudding from baking too fast and helps it bake evenly. It’s a really important step to end up with a great rice pudding that isn’t dry around the edges and is fully cooked in the middle. It will be “set” in the middle, it won’t jiggle like it does when you put it in the oven.

  5. At last I’ve rediscovered this recipe! I originally found a similar recipe in a spiral-bound book called “favorite recipes of home economics teachers” (or some such title). Of course this book disappeared, much to my chagrin.
    In order to fit the recipe into my available casserole dish/water bath container I’m going to need to”almost” cut your quantities by 50%. My recollection is that I used 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups of rice, 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1 tsp. of vanilla and 1/4 tsp. of salt. The rest of your recipe matches up with what I remember.

  6. Christy, first of all I am new to your email list. I am thoroughly enjoying them, just wish I had joined sooner! I did see you several years ago on a cooking show and loved your recipes and your wonderful personality. Due to some medical issues lost I interest in cooking for a while but am getting it back. Yeah!! My wonderful maternal grandmother used to make a rice pudding that I loved. She died when I was a teenager and I foolishly did not her recipe. My mother did not like to cook, she always laughed and said the only reason she had a kitchen was because it came with the house. Despite this she was a good cook but did not enjoy it. After a very tiring and emotional day yesterday of cleaning out my deceased parents storage building I made this rice pudding last night. I shed some tears while eating some, it reminded me of my grandmother’s. A heartfelt thank you for this recipe!!! After an emotional day I had something from my past that makes me happy and cheered me up. As a child and teenager I loved to bake, I was a throw back to both grandmothers and many great aunts I was told. So many of your Southern recipes remind me of them, so thank you for that. I now have my maternal grandmother’s rice pudding, I already have my paternal grandmother’s pineapple upside down (My Dad loved it!). Now if I can get close to my grandmother’s pot roast! I have wonderful memories of this roast!

    Sorry this is so long, but I wanted you to know how much this recipe and others of yours have meant to me. One bowl of rice pudding last night made me smile and cry. After a tough day I was once again reminded that although my parents and grandparents are gone parts of them are still here. Thank you and God’s blessings to you and yours.

    1. Welcome to Southern Plate April!!! I a man so glad you are enjoying the emails and recipes and I look forward to getting to know you!!! Yes, parts of them will always be with us, thank the Lord! God’s blessings to you and yours as well!!

  7. My family has a lake house near your mother’s house. I recognize the island! My mother was raised in town there. We have other family members that live on the river in the same area as your mom.
    Small world!

      1. I have all of your books and my family has been enjoying the recipes since your first book came out. Thanks for sharing the stories and recipes.

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