Christmas Desserts

Christmas Baked Rice Pudding

This recipe for Christmas Baked Rice Pudding is rich and creamy, and packed with warming whole spices. The perfect dessert for a cold winter’s evening.


Rice pudding – baked or otherwise – is one of those desserts that only comes around every so often. But when it does, you quickly remember why you enjoyed the last one you had quite so much.

It is rich, comforting food. It’s good food. Ok, it doesn’t sound particularly enticing – who in their right mind would choose baked rice pudding over a chocolate bomb?

Well, I would – that’s who!

This recipe – in truth – is an adapted version of my recipe for spiced rice pudding from way back in 2014. And it works just as nicely as a baked rice pudding, as it does a boiled one.

It just so happens that the whole spices in this rice pudding – cinnamon, clove, cardamom, star anise – lend themselves incredibly well to the festive period. In fact, the one pictured is going straight to a dinner party.

And could anything be more warming, more reassuring than that golden layer of thickened milk/cream/nutmeg covering the pudding?


What I hadn’t realised, though it seems so obvious, is that rice pudding is one of those ubiquitous dishes, with almost as many iterations as there are cuisines worldwide.

And it’s little wonder. Much like flatbread or pancakes, rice pudding is inexpensive and achingly simple to make with just a few ingredients.

At its most basic, rice pudding need be little more than leftover rice, milk or water, any flavourings you might have to hand, and something to give it just a little sweetness.


Naturally, you may wish to make this baked rice pudding ahead of time – exactly what I did. And it’ll keep for two or three days if stored quickly and properly in the fridge.

That said, a word of warning; for safety, either eat the leftovers cold or cover them and give them at least 30 minutes to heat through at around 120C (fan).

Finally, make sure you reserve some cream to serve alongside the baked rice pudding. A little goes a long way, and just a splash of cream will give the dessert an unmissable luxuriousness, especially if you’ve reheated yours.

No doubt someone will tell me that rice pudding should be served with a dollop of jam – and it often is. But in this case, adding a tablespoon of intense flavour to the mix will only detract from the subtlety of this dessert’s whole spice flavour.

Christmas Baked Rice Pudding

Serves 4-6


  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 200ml single cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 40g butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100g pudding rice
  • ½ nutmeg, freshly ground
  • Extra cream to serve


  1. Add the milk, cream and whole spices to a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer before stirring through the golden syrup, butter and salt. Remove from the heat.
  2. Preheat your oven to 160C (140C fan). Grease a shallow oven dish thoroughly with butter. Strain the cooled milk mixture to remove the whole spices.
  3. Add the pudding rice evenly to the dish, pour over the milk mixture and stir to combine. Cover the surface of the milk generously with freshly grated nutmeg.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 50 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown on top. Serve hot and with a drizzle of single cream.

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