Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding ~ this quick and easy dessert is a twist on everybody’s favorite comfort food ~ this rice pudding recipe can easily be made vegan, too.
Rice pudding is the mac and cheese of the dessert world.
Everybody loves it, everybody has a favorite recipe for it, and it can be changed up in a million ways, but why would you want to? Normally I’d say that I like my rice pudding creamy and straight up, with loads of vanilla bean specks and that’s it. But this recipe for a fresh coconut variation is a good example of why you should never get too cozy with the status quo.
When you make rice pudding with rich coconut milk, fresh coconut meat, and a splash of dark rum along with that vanilla bean, and then sneak it warm from the pan, it defies description. I feel like this is a just reward for all my efforts battling the whole coconut the other day.
For this creamy coconut rice pudding I use arborio rice
It’s the short grain Italian rice used for risotto. It’s got such great chewy texture and so much natural starch that I think it makes the creamiest pudding. It’s a perfect choice because I always have a half box left in the cupboard after one risotto. or another.
This is a great time to use up those leftover vanilla beans.
After I scrape out the seeds for a recipe, I always put the used pod back in the jar for later use. Those things keep on giving, let me tell you. Just dust them off and put them away for another day, there are so many gazillions of vanilla seeds in each pod, and you want to get your money’s worth! I keep one jar for the used and one for the fresh.
The toasted coconut on top add a nice sweetness and crunch.
It gives it some visual appeal, too, if you’re serving this to guests. I like this recipe because it can all be done on the stove. That just makes it seems like quick and easy project when I don’t have to mess with the oven. It can be eaten hot or cold, so it’s a dessert for all seasons, and if you’re a rice pudding lover I don’t have to tell you that it makes the best midnight snack and an even better breakfast.
My recipe calls for fresh grated coconut meat, and that is best for this pudding, but you could use packaged coconut, just make sure to get unsweetened. If you use sweetened, you will need to cut down on the amount of sugar.
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.
Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding (vegan or not)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- a couple of recycled vanilla beans
- 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut meat
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- 1 Tbsp dark rum, or 1 tsp rum extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, or more coconut milk for a vegan version
- 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted *
- Cook the rice in 4 cups water for 15 minutes.
- Drain and return the rice to the pan and add the coconut milk, vanilla bean pods, sugar, coconut meat, rum, vanilla paste and coconut extract.
- Bring up to a simmer and cook on low for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick and the rice is tender.
- Stir in the heavy cream, remove the vanilla pods, and ladle the pudding into serving dishes.
- Top with toasted coconut and enjoy hot, or refrigerate until chilled.
- * To toast the coconut, spread it out in a small saute pan and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until it turns a golden brown. It can burn in an instant, so watch it very carefully.
Questions and Reviews
I’ll wait for the instant pot version, which I’m sure you are working on!! Stirring for 20 minutes continually sounds like a lot of work. I made a rice pudding in the oven with arborio rice, which is fantastic and hands-off. This looks fantastic, and I’m sure many will love it. Your recipes are always great!
I have an amazing recipe for instant pot rice pudding, check it out Ann.
The recipe calls for 13.5 oz can of coconut milk butter but it does not specify unsweetened or regular. I look forward to trying this!
I buy unsweetened coconut in the can, Stacy.
This was very good, I made it vegan
Thanks Holly <3
If I make a double batch, does it freeze well if I want to save half to take to my sister? It’s absolutely fantastic and I know she would love it too! ????
I know you can freeze rice pudding, but you have to take care to use a freezer safe container so it won’t get freezer burn.
hi is vanilla bean paste the seeds from the pod?
Yes, it’s a paste made from the seeds, but less expensive and easier than using actual seeds. You can buy it in most large grocery stores, or check Amazon. They do vary in quality, and the one I like is Neilsen-Massey. It’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way.
you know, one of the first foods i cooked for Stella (the wee one) out of the Williams Sonoma baby/toddler cookbook was a coconut rice pudding. I thought “oh, ok, this is easy, it smells good….WAIT. THIS IS DELICIOUS.” and i used to make way extra to eat with her. because it’s wonderful, and i can’t believe babies get to eat that good. this one is obviously more sophisticated than the one i made, and certainly even more delicious, which means the wee one may get a new version of the treat soon.
i think rice pudding is weird, but i love coconut so much that it has driven me to bookmark this recipe. 🙂
You have convinced me that this is the best rice pudding ever.
This sounds wonderful and I can hardly wait to try it …luckily for me I have all the ingredients in the pantry!