Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dairy-Free Rice Pudding

Around the holidays, our family has a favorite traditional dessert. My dad started making it several years ago when he learned about the Danish tradition of eating rice pudding for Christmas. Apparently the tradition is to hide an almond inside the pudding, and then whoever finds the almond in their serving gets a special surprise gift. We haven't adopted the tradition to include the almond surprise, but we have all gotten hooked on this creamy, rich dessert. Every year, we continually ask our dad in the weeks leading up to our holiday visits when he's going to make his famous rice pudding so that we are sure not to miss out.

The original recipe is made by boiling the rice in whole milk, and then folding in with whipped cream. Unfortunately, in recent years my sister, mom, and I have developed an intolerance for dairy (insert sad face). But, instead of missing out on this favorite dessert, I decided this year that we needed to come up with a dairy-free alternative that we could enjoy along with everybody else. I figured that substituting any non-dairy milk to cook the rice in was an easy fix, but the challenge was what to do about the whipped cream. Then I discovered this awesome trick of making whipped cream using coconut milk, and knew that we were in business! The coconut cream is very similar to real whipped cream, and in this recipe it adds in a perfect kiss of coconut flavor. I'm looking forward to adding to our holiday tradition, and making this alongside my dad's version from now on!

Dairy-Free Rice Pudding
PREP: 20 minutes           COOK: 1 1/2 - 2 hours            READY IN: 2 1/2 - 3 hours

  SIMPLE         HEALTHY      YUM
pic name       pic name      pic name


  • 3/4 cup short or medium-grain white rice (such as Jasmine or Calrose)
  • 3 cups non-dairy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (to make whipped cream, see directions below)
  •  2 cups frozen berries (thawed)


  1. Combine the rice, milk, and white sugar in the top of a double boiler, with water in a saucepan underneath. Heat over medium-low heat on the stove top for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, keeping the rice and milk covered. Stir occasionally, and remove from heat once the rice is soft and the milk is mostly absorbed.
  2. When the rice is cooked, stir in the almond extract and set aside to cool. In the meantime, prepare the whipped coconut cream (directions below). When the rice has cooled, fold in the whipped cream. Serve in individual bowls topped with berries.
To make whipped cream with coconut milk:
  • Refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight. (The coconut milk should be very cold in order to whip it.)
  • Open the chilled can, and drain off the liquid (you can save this to make smoothies, etc.). Put the more solid part of the coconut milk can in a small mixing bowl. Using a hand blender, whip the coconut cream for 3-5 minutes, until it starts to become fluffy (like whipped cream) and peaks form when you lift the beaters out.


    1 cup serving    297 calories   11.6 g fat   43.4 g carbs    6.4 g protein    20.7 g sugar   


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