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Portuguese Rice Pudding recipe

Portuguese Rice Pudding recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Dessert
  • Puddings
  • Rice pudding

My mum would always make this delicious, creamy rice pudding and sprinkle cinnamon on top before serving.

85 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 200g (7 oz) caster sugar
  • 1.4L (2 3/8 pints) semi skimmed milk
  • 200g (7 oz) uncooked white rice
  • 2 eggs, beaten

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:1hr5min

  1. In a large saucepan over high heat, combine sugar and milk. When bubbles form at the edges, stir in rice and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 60 minutes, stirring often, until rice is tender. Do not allow to boil.
  2. Remove from heat and vigorously stir in beaten eggs, a little at a time, until well incorporated. Serve warm.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(70)

Reviews in English (56)

by HOLLY9000

I've made this recipe many times and always get compliments on it. I sometimes add a bit of vanilla too.-15 Sep 2008


Very good my gran use to make it-15 Sep 2008

Yummy! amazing recipe, perfect for those of us that dont like baked rice pud.I added vanilla and nutmeg and i also quatered the recipe and it was still lovely-24 Sep 2011

Portuguese Rice Pudding

This Portuguese rice pudding, made by cooking rice with whole milk infused with citrus and cinnamon and making it like custard with the addition of egg yolks, is creamy and comforting. Finished with pistachios, the pudding is wonderful for dessert or breakfast, served hot or straight from the fridge.

Adapted from Nuno Mendes | My Lisbon | Ten Speed Press, 2018

This traditional Portuguese rice pudding, arroz doce, is cooked risotto-style with a lilt of citrus and the warmness of cinnamon. Yet aside from a little stirring, it’s easy as can be. The inclusion of egg yolks ensures the pudding is as thick and creamy as any rice pudding you’ve ever had. And if the mere thought of a not-too-sweet pudding with the subtle lilt of lemon and orange doesn’t send you running to your pantry to check if you have sufficient rice to make this recipe right away, well, we can’t help you.–Angie Zoobkoff

Portuguese Rice Pudding (arroz doce)

This Portuguese rice pudding recipe (arroz doce) is another one from Nelson’s book of traditions. It’s definately a favourite for him. He had this dessert many times while growing up–most memorably during his teen years living in the Azores.

Nelson describes how this is often served after the big feasts during the Holy Spirit festivals (Festas do Divino Espírito Santo) and the Saint John festival (Festa de São João) on the Island of Pico in the Azores. Having said that, he recalls that this dessert also made it’s way onto the table at many other times of the year.

As far as we know, the Holy Spirit celebrations date back to the 14th century when the poor would gather as a community to receive a meal, and gifts and food to take home. These traditions of sharing food are still maintained today across the Azores Islands–though it’s no longer just about serving the poor. The food, festivities and customs vary from island to island but the focus is always to celebrate the Holy Spirit and to share with one another. Nelson remembers these times of the year fondly. The town was full of energy some people would decorate the church, the cultural centre, and the streets others would be busy cooking big feasts and, the philharmonic would be practicing to perform for the town’s guests. Click here to find out more about these celebrations, on the Azores Government website.

This is a simple dessert that’s made with only a few ingredients. We’ve seen this made in various ways some add raisins some use vanilla others use only the egg yolk and, I remember my mom making rice pudding in shallow dishes. Nelson considers it a true comfort food. I admit that rice pudding is not my favourite–I’m partial to chocolate–chocolate pudding, chocolate cake, chocolate cookies… you get the idea. But, Nelson always makes a large batch of this, so it would be rude not to help him, right -). Our kids don’t like the texture of rice in dessert, so they’re not big fans, but Nelson says they’ll figure out this goodness some day. In the meantime, more for us!

Arroz Doce! Mmmmm… This is a great way to start off my blog for a couple of reasons. #1 – This is Easter week and coming from a Portuguese family, no Easter (or any holiday really) is complete without rich and creamy, Portuguese Rice Pudding. Growing up, I can’t recall a gathering without it. #2 – This is a super easy recipe, but for some reason, it took me years to master it. My mother can attest to the many times I called her reviewing her recipe and trying to figure out how I possibly could have missed a step. So, what I would like to do is take you through the process to help you avoid the pain I endured from failed attempt after failed attempt and lead you to a perfect rice pudding in one shot for your Easter table!

Now please, please, please don’t confuse Portuguese Rice Pudding with traditional American style rice pudding you may find on your grocer’s shelves which is little more than vanilla pudding with cooked rice mixed in for kicks. No, no, no… My mother’s rice pudding is anything but!

A couple of tips I have learned over the years before we get started. First, you will need a heavy bottom stainless steel pot with a lid. I’ll be honest, most of my cooking is done in non-stick cookware, but it just doesn’t work so well for this recipe because sometimes the rice will stick to the bottom (regardless of what type of cookware you use) and if it does, we need it to stay there otherwise, you will end up with a bunch of brown bits floating through your final product, not so pretty or tasty. Next, the type of rice you use for this dish is pretty critical. You will need to find regular medium grain rice. Please don’t try this with a brown rice or a boil in the bag rice or any type of minute rice and absolutely nothing parboiled. Just plain cheap medium grain white rice is fine. If you want to get fancy, you can get the slightly pricier River Rice, which is my Mom’s preferred brand, but its not necessary if you just follow these guidelines. Also, I want to note that this recipe is very easily doubled or even tripled if you have a big enough pot, but I would not go further than that.

Start off with 3 cups of milk and one cup of water in that heavy bottom pot I mentioned.

Whole milk is preferred, but 1% or 2% works just fine too… however, I would stay away from skim… note: I have done this with lactose free milk and it works out just great!

Add a small pinch of salt, don’t go crazy here.

Add in one lemon rind, just like this and turn the burner on to medium/high until the liquid comes to the start of a boil… so, you’ll want to watch that pot because the start of a boil can turn into a boil over in seconds with that much milk in the pot. (if you don’t care for lemon, you can absolutely leave this ingredient out, it will still be delicious… this method leaves the dish with a subtle undertone of lemon – nothing strong)

Next, add in the rice and stir. Then cover the pot and turn the burner down to med/low – low. (so just above the lowest setting on your knob) Be sure to stir periodically.

After about 20 minutes or so, this is what you should see in your pot. If not, give it a bit more time, but keep your eye on it, because it can happen quickly.

Sugar is essential to this recipe… Please don’t reduce this ingredient as you will not have the results you are looking for. Stir this in when your rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed as shown above. The sugar will then cause your rice to have more liquid as the sugar melts in. (((Here is where I always messed up… for some reason I skipped this step, DON’T SKIP THIS STEP! This is what gives the pudding it’s proper consistency))) Cover the pan and cook another 5-10 minutes on med/low heat… Stir frequently! (every 2-3 minutes)

Once the liquid has once again mostly absorbed into your rice, very very quickly stir in the yolk of one large egg… you want to mix in rapidly so you don’t end up with chunks of cooked egg… this is meant to thicken your pudding and add some richness. And you are done! (If you have an egg allergy, this step can be left out, it will be a little different, but still pretty yummy)

Now you will have something that looks like this… pour into a shallow dish and gently shake back and forth to disperse the pudding… at this point, fish out the lemon rind as it has done it’s job.

While your pudding is still hot, grab some cinnamon and a cookie cutter or anything with a small rim, it’s traditional in my family to use a shot glass as seen here, for decorating.

Gently touch the rim of your glass on pudding to moisten. Then dip into the cinnamon. Then back to the pudding to start your design. Repeat in any pattern you like. If I’m not doing this for a party or to serve as dessert for a dinner party or something, I will totally just sprinkle the cinnamon on top. But, since we are talking about Easter, this is what I do. A fun bunny design cut out of paper and laid on top would be great too… be creative.

Portuguese Rice Pudding recipe:

1 cup rice, medium grain, white

3 cups milk, whole (1 or 2% also works)


Bring water and milk to a boil with the lemon rind and salt on medium high. Add in rice and stir, turn burner down to just above the lowest setting, cover the pot. Stir occasionally. About 20 minutes later most of the liquid should be evaporated… also, test the rice to see that it is fully tender… this is when you add in the sugar and stir. The mixture will become liquefied again, continue cooking on low for another 5-10 minutes, stirring more frequently. Once most of the liquid has once again absorbed into the rice, add in the egg yolk, stirring vigorously. Pour into a shallow dish and sprinkle with cinnamon or form a design with cinnamon. Enjoy!

note: this is a naturally gluten free recipe… just ensure that each ingredient brand you use specifically is gluten free (as it should naturally be) and you are good to go!

Arroz Doce – Portuguese Rice Pudding

Arroz Doce – Sweet Rice Pudding, has always been my family’s favorite served on Christmas Eve. This is one of the most famous Portuguese desserts served around the Holidays and at celebrations. But I everyone loves it any time of the year! It’s pure Portuguese comfort in one bite!

Aletria, a sweet pasta dessert is also a traditional dessert for the Holidays. Enjoy!

Makes 6-8 servings


1. In a large heavy saucepan, bring the water, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel to a boil.
2. Add rice, bring to a boil and cook on medium heat until all the water has evaporated.
3. Add the hot milk and cook for at least 25 minutes on low heat stirring once in a while.
4. Add the sugar, stir and cook for 5 minutes longer. Turn off heat.

Meanwhile beat egg yolks.

Temper the eggs by adding a few tablespoons of the rice mixture to the eggs and mix well.

Remove from heat. Add the remaining eggs into the rice and stir well.

*Be sure the rice is not boiling. Simmer for about 1 minute.

Remove lemon peel and cinnamon stick.

Pour into a large serving platter or individual servings.

Let cool and garnish with powdered cinnamon.

To make design: Dip a small shot glass into water, then into the cinnamon.

Gently indent desired circles to form design of your choice.

Store in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Here’s the gallery of the photos I took.

Short grain, round ones are the best types to use. The same ones are used for making risotto.

They’re perfect for rice pudding because they release more starch, hence the creaminess, while still maintaining a firm center.

Yes, all rice pudding will become thick and firm once they’re cold.

It’s better not to do that since it’s got eggs and milk.

It’s safer to place it in the refrigerator as soon as it cools down — about two hours from taking it off the heat.

Once it’s cold, place it in an airtight container, then keep it in the refrigerator — it’s suitable for 3 to 4 days.

Yes, but make sure you store it in a tight, freezer-proof container first, then place it in the freezer for more extended storage.

It should be good for about three months.

I know some do not like using a microwave, but I have some friends who use it for quick reheating.

Otherwise, you can transfer it in a pan and place it on how heat — gently stirring until it gets to your preferred temperature.

Looks absolutely delicious right? Give arroz doce a try, and let me know what you think in the comment section below!



- Rice, milk, cinnamon powder, water, granulated sugar


In a saucepan, pour the water, lemon peel, cinnamon stick, a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. When starts boiling, remove the cinnamon stick (reserve the cinnamon stick). Reduce to low heat and pour the rice. Stir and cook about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the milk together with the cinnamon stick in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. When starts boiling, turn off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick. When the rice is cooked, pour the milk, stir with a spoon and boil over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Add the sugar, stir, remove the lemon peel and cook about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour with a ladle the rice in individual bowls. Sprinkle with cinnamon, let cool and serve. Bon appetit.

Portuguese Rice Pudding recipe - Recipes

Portuguese Sweet Rice, or Arroz Doce, is one of the most popular and traditional desserts in Portuguese cuisine. It is a unique dish with simple ingredients which are combined to create a deliciously sweet and creamy egg based rice pudding.

2 cups water
1 cup white rice
4 egg yolks
2 cups hot milk (whole works best)
1 cup sugar
1 lemon or orange rind
Cinnamon powder to decorate

1) Bring water to a boil in medium saucepan.
2) Add rice and cover, simmering for 20 minutes.
3) Now add the milk, sugar, lemon or orange rind, and the egg yolks, stirring constantly until reaching a thick consistency, about 15-20 minutes.
4) Remove from the heat and pour into one large serving plate.
5) Set aside and let cool for about an hour.
6) Cover with the cinnamon powder and serve.


1/2 cup short grain white rice (I used Arborio-an Italian short grain but it’s your choice. Use quality rice.)
1 Tablespoon butter Water per cooking instructions on the rice package
4 Cups of whole milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Egg yolks-hand beaten
Rind of one lemon Or teaspoon of lemon zest
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1/4 Teaspoon salt or to taste
Thin lemon slices for garnish and ground cinnamon for sprinkling

Measure all ingredients before you begin. You will be stirring this rice from beginning to end 45 minutes or so. Have everything close by so you can reach it. Have your iPad or Kindle available for entertaining while you stir.

Add the milk to a saucepan, preferably a pan with a pour spout. Heat over low heat to just about a simmer … Do this while beginning the next steps.

In a heavy bottomed pot (cast iron if you have it) melt the butter over low almost medium heat. Your pot will take some time to reach a good temperature. Add the rice to the butter as the pot is increasing in temperature. Stir for a couple of minutes.

Add about a third of the required water to cook the rice (See rice package for the amount of water needed to cook 1/2 cup rice-rice types require different amounts) Cook until the rice has absorbed the water, stirring constantly. Add the second third of the water and do the same, stirring constantly. The starch in the rice will cause the rice to thicken. Add the last bit of water and cook until the rice is done and the water is gone.

Now for the longest cooking time … About 30-40 minutes. Add the rind of the lemon or the zest or both and the cinnamon stick along with one cup of the milk to the rice. (Keep the milk saucepan hot but not boiling during this process) Continue stirring rice mixture until thickened. Add another cup of milk along with the sugar. Continue stirring until hot and thickening. This heating process should be just at a simmer. Add another cup of milk and stir until thickening. Add the last of the milk and salt, if using. Continue stirring. The pudding should begin to take form … The rice becomes more noticeable as the liquid begins to cook down.

Remove about 1/4 cup of the hot rice mixture and quickly beat it into the yolks. Pour this back into the pot and stir well to avoid ‘scrambled eggs’ in your pudding. Add the vanilla. Continue stirring. When it becomes the consistency of hot pudding it’s done. Remember it thickens even more when cooled.

Remove the rind and cinnamon stick. Let cool to room temperature. This pudding is served at room temperature or after it’s refrigerated. Your choice. Enjoy!

Portuguese Lemon Rice Pudding – Arroz Doce com Limao

This recipe for Arroz Doce is a variation from the original that uses milk. This recipe is made using condensed milk and lemon pudding. This dessert comes out very rich, creamy and lemony.

Thanks to Leonor Santos for the recipe and photos! I love the Acores tablecloth! Enjoy!

Arroz Doce (Rice Pudding) by Leonor Santos


1 pound Carolina rice

4 cups whole milk

4 cups water

2 cans condensed milk

1 stick Margarine

Zest of 1 lemon

2 boxes of instant lemon pudding

In a heavy pot place rice, milk, water, margarine, condensed milk and lemon zest. Stir from time to time.

When the liquid starts to boil, lower flame and keep stirring from time to time.

When the rice is cooked and all the liquid is absorbed turn off burner, remove from flame. Add the instant lemon pudding and stir fast until everything is incorporated.

Place in serving plates and decorate with cinnamon.

Photos credit: Leonor Santos

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