Recipe: Overnight Rice Pudding for a Cold Winter’s Morning

By the time I post this, the UEFA Soccer Cup will be over, and we will know whether Italy or Spain has won.  I am not, in all probability, going to get up to watch it, even though I did cunningly pick Italy in the office Soccer Cake Sweep and did, it must be confessed, derive great delight from Italy’s victory over Germany.  It was suggested by my Milanese colleague that we should both get up at 4am tomorrow to go and watch the soccer somewhere central.  Alas, I do not have the youthful energy of my Milanese colleague, so the best I am likely to do is get up half an hour or an hour early tomorrow morning to watch the end of the game on my TV at home.

(I didn’t.  Which is a good thing, because Spain won 4-0, and that would not have been worth losing sleep for…)

Since it is currently *extremely* cold in Melbourne, this calls for a suitably warm and comforting breakfast.  And let’s face it, there’s nothing better in cold weather than slow baking.  It warms the house, and makes everything smell wonderful, and, ideally, you get something to eat at the end of it (note that I am not counting my chickens at this stage – I haven’t actually eaten the results of this recipe yet, though it is now in the oven).

I saw a recipe a while back for rice pudding cooked overnight,  and I had great plans for adapting it to my slow cooker.  Since my slow cooker has decided to take indefinite strike action, I’m returning to the oven idea.  I’ve changed the recipe a fair bit – I can’t face cream in breakfast food, and why have currants when there are raisins in the world?  And spices?

… Suffice it to say that this is my recipe now.  Here’s hoping it will be a good one! (It is – lovely and orangey and sweetly spiced, but not too sweet.  Very stodgy and soft and baby-foodish, but that’s pretty much the point of rice pudding.  Definitely good winter breakfast material, and I just wish I’d thought to stew some apples to go with it.)

Your shopping list

1/2 cup arborio rice
2 1/2 cups milk (low fat works fine, as does soy or coconut milk, I understand)
1/4 cup raw caster sugar (or any other sugar of your choice)
2 tablespoons of sultanas
1 tablespoon of raisins
zest of 1 small orange
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a shake of nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp butter

Now what will you do with it?

Pre-heat the oven to 100°C.

Grease a small (4 cup) ovenproof dish.  Rinse the rice in cold water, drain, and put into the dish, along with the milk, sugar, and, basically, everything else except the butter.  Mix around a bit, though it will basically be a big milky bath at this point.

There really is rice under there…

Dot the top with butter, which is to say, float little dabs of butter on the aforementioned milky bath.

Cover the dish tightly with foil, put into the oven and go to bed.

The only reason I took this photo was so that I could caption it “Foiled again!”.

In the morning (ie, about 8 hours later), go and see if it’s done.  If it’s still too soupy, remove the foil and let it cook until all the liquid has been absorbed.  In other words, don’t do this on a work day, unless you are insane like me.

Eat, while watching Italy beat Spain at the soccer, hopefully…

(Or, in this case, not so much…)

I found that it was a tiny bit on the dry side (that’s not really a good description, as it is mushy and soft and wet, but there was a dryness to the back of the rice) , so I would serve it with some stewed fruit or yoghurt – despite all that milk, it goes well and isn’t too rich.

That actually looks fairly disgusting, but it tastes very good.


Hooray! This is already gluten-free, nut-free and egg-free, and since it works with non-dairy milks and butters (and, for that matter, you could replace some of the milk with a juice, too), is also easily made dairy-free and vegan.  We win!  Not low-GI, sorry, but I’m going to figure out a barley version at some point soon, since I love the idea of a hot, pre-made breakfast waiting for me on a wintry morning.

As for variations, the sky is your limit.  Any combination of dried fruit you like would be great here – dried cranberries go wonderfully with orange, for example – and you could play with any of the sweet spices (cloves, allspice, cardamom, ginger).  Lime zest and coconut milk would be fun, with dried mango or pineapple and maybe some allspice or cardamom.  Or add some nuts, for extra protein – they will soften a bit, but would still be gorgeous.  Mmm, how about apricot and pistachio rice pudding, with almond milk and orange-flower water?   Or lemon zest and dried blueberries or strawberries?  And of course chocolate and hazelnuts would also work.  Though possibly not for breakfast.

You could probably make a savoury rice pudding – also known as a risotto, I rather suspect – by changing the flavour profile towards cheeses and herbs and diced vegetables.

My inner Nonna wants to make this more nutritious by beating an egg into it, but my inner Nonna is convinced that eggs and milk cure all ills, and I’m not sure she can be relied upon in this instance.  But the flavours of this pudding do rather resemble some of the eggnogs I grew up with.

I’m going to feel very silly if I get up tomorrow morning and this pudding hasn’t worked.  Especially if Spain wins.  But what do we write blog posts for, but to make sport for our readers, and laugh at them in our turn?

To be continued in the morning…

At least the pudding worked!


This time last year…

Market Day!
Living Dangerously
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14 comments for “Recipe: Overnight Rice Pudding for a Cold Winter’s Morning

  1. Signe Wegener
    July 2, 2012 at 8:30 am

    This sounds good–I’ll have to try it! I make a very simple “overnight rice pudding” but in a cold oven…
    Boil 2 cups of water, add 1/4 tsp salt and 1 cup arborio rice. Let the rice boil on low heat until the water is almost evaporated (about 10 minutes). You then add about 6 cups of milk. Bring it to a boil, cover the pot, and put it in a cold oven overnight. Next morning, you reheat it (add milk if necessary).
    Leftovers are great mixed with whipped cream, served with raspberry or caramel sauce.

    • July 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

      I do love ‘cold oven’ food – Nigella Lawson has an amazing pavlova-type recipe for which you preheat the oven to something really high, put in the pavlova, and immediately switch the oven off, so that the pav cooks overnight as the oven cools…

      Mmm… I do like the idea of caramel sauce on rice pudding…

  2. Danika
    July 2, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Spain might have won, but you get bonus points for using one of my favourite quotes from Pride & Prejudice. 😉

  3. July 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    sounds delicious – and the weather really calls for warm breakfasts (though I just ate cold leftovers out of the fridge because I was too tired even to microwave this morning) – do you think the texture is different from a rice pudding cooked at a hotter temp? I have made cholent where the potatoes taste amazing because they are cooked so slowly (might be a good slow cooker recipe if yours recovers)

    • July 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      I think it was softer and maybe a little drier than the ones I’ve made in the oven over a couple of hours.

      I am particularly enamoured of how incredibly easy it was.

  4. katt
    July 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    This sounds amazing. Do you think it will work in a slower cooker. I just have a stupid oven that clicks off every two hours, and I do not fancy getting up every two hour to turn it back on. Thanks

    • July 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Katt,

      Ugh, getting up every 2 hours? I should think not!!

      Yes, I think this recipe would work very well in a slow cooker – most slow cookers operate at 100°C on their lowest setting, which is the temperature I had my oven at for this, and I cook this recipe covered, so the environment should have similar humidity. 8 hours should be about right.

      Kind regards,


  5. July 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I was so in for this, but then EEK! Squidgy raisins/sultanas! DOUBLE EEK! Orange doom!

    However, if we swapped in some dried cherries and lemon instead, I’d be all over this 😛

    • July 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Dried cherries and lemon would work, for sure. Even better with pistachios or toasted almonds, yum!

      (I have to know – were you traumatised by an orange as a child?)

  6. July 9, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Looks interesting, though I don’t tend to go that sweet for breakfast. For possible savoury versions, have you considered variants on congee?

    • July 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

      I’m actually not that fond of rice, I just like the *idea* of rice pudding, and sometimes that translates to eating it. Congee always sounded as though it was a combination of all my least favourite things…

  7. July 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Using brown rice would lower the GI somewhat…

    • July 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      A good thought. Though wouldn’t the general mushiness that comes from an overnight cooking time tend to increase the GI anyway? Not that I know much about this, but from the lists of lower and higher-GI foods, I get the distinct impression that mushiness is not generally a characteristic of low-GI foods…

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