January 3, 2022

Coconut Rice Pudding

There have been many variations on rice pudding in my life over the years. This recipe is the closest approximation I have come to my all-time favorite, which was a coconut rice pudding I bought frequently at the food co-op behind one of my college rental homes. That rice pudding was cold, creamy, and totally reinvented how I thought of rice pudding.

Growing up, both of my grandmothers made rice pudding. Both versions were baked and custard-like, and served warm. I liked the warm rice pudding, but the texture was never as creamy as the version I found in college. This recipe combines my favorite features of each iteration: the rich, creamy texture of my college treat, plus the warmth of my family favorites.

Rice pudding is also a Christmas tradition in my family. My grandma makes her traditional rice pudding to accompany her Swedish holiday meal for Christmas Eve. Swedish rice pudding is served with lingonberries on top, as I’ve done here. Lingonberries are similar in flavor to cranberries - tart but sweet, and deep red in color, but smaller than cranberries. They’re not too hard to find, at either an import store or IKEA. If you don’t have lingonberries, any tart fruit topping is delicious served over this sweet and creamy rice pudding!

Ingredients assembled for Coconut Rice Pudding
Assemble your ingredients.

Rice cooking in a heart-shaped Dutch oven on the stovetop
This rice pudding follows a method similar to making risotto, gradually adding liquid as the rice cooks and stirring frequently.

Cooked rice pudding in a heart-shaped Dutch oven with a wooden spoon
Lightly sweetened, and super creamy.

Rice pudding served in a glass dish next to a jar of red lingonberries
Serve rice pudding warm, topped with tart berry jam or compote, such as lingonberries (pictured).

Original publication date: December 24, 2020

Coconut Rice Pudding

Creamy rice pudding garnished with tart berries is a holiday tradition in my family. This is my plant-based take on it.


Kira Freed - The Joyful Plateful











1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 cup short-grain rice, such as arborio or loto

32 oz. unsweetened coconut milk, beverage-style, room temperature  

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. sea salt


  1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat in oil. Saute the rice for 2-3 minutes, just until fragrant and very lightly toasted.
  3. Add 1 cup coconut milk, and stir frequently until mostly absorbed.
  4. Continue adding coconut milk ~3/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently and waiting until mostly absorbed between each addition, until rice is cooked through and tender, about 22-25 minutes. Note: You likely will not use the entire carton of coconut milk, but it will be close!
  5. With the last addition, add sugar, vanilla, and salt.
  6. Serve rice pudding warm, topped with fruit preserves or compote.
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