Rice Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

4.92 from 70 votes

Classic Indian Rice pudding made with rice, sugar, milk and flavored with cardamom, nuts and touch of rose water. This creamy pudding is one of the most popular Indian desserts!

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Creamy and aromatic Rice Kheer aka Indian Rice Pudding is made with basic ingredients, and is the quintessential Indian dessert that every Indian grows up eating.

Flavored with cardamom, nuts & rose water, it’s the best way to finish off an Indian meal.

Rice Kheer served in a clay bowl and garnished with rose petals and a golden cast iron pan with nuts and rose petals in the background

I can’t believe it took me so long to share a basic rice kheer recipe on the blog.

Kheer, a rice pudding is probably the most common dessert that’s made in every Indian household.

It’s one dessert that I grew up eating on a regular basis. Whenever there would be a celebration or a festival or just because we felt like eating a dessert, kheer was what mom always made.

What is Kheer

Kheer is Indian rice pudding made with only three basic ingredients- rice, milk and sugar. And I think that’s the reason it is so commonly made in India because the basic ingredients are so readily available everywhere.

My recipe calls for more than 3 ingredients but those are all optional and add ons. A simple rice kheer that my mom made was always made with only rice, sugar and milk.

In India when we use the word kheer, we are usually referring to the kheer made with rice.

However kheer can be made with other things as well like tapioca pearls, carrot, almonds etc. I love all variations but if you are looking for a classic Indian dessert, then it doesn’t get better or more authentic that a bowl of rice kheer or chawal ki kheer as we would call in Hindi.

I always prefer using whole milk to make my rice kheer, it makes the kheer more rich and creamy and I highly recommend the same.

kheer served in a clay bowl with a spoon and a pan of nuts and rose petals in the background

Flavoring the Kheer

Like I said, you can make the kheer without any flavor with just the 3 basic ingredients. However, few spices and flavors are often added to the kheer to make it even more delicious!

Cardamom: of course the most common and my favorite. I never make my kheer without it.

Rose Water: a splash of rose water goes a long way in giving the kheer that flowery aroma.

Saffron: this was not used commonly in my home. But if you are making kheer for a special occasion then you can add some strands of saffron. Will give it a nice color and aroma.

Nuts: I personally love nuts in my kheer. I usually add cashews, almonds. I like raisins too but Sarvesh isn’t a fan so I don’t usually add them.

Kewra essence: is an extract distilled from pandanus flowers and used to flavor lot of Indian dishes and desserts. I add it sometimes but completely optional.

Serving Suggestions for Kheer

So should you serve the kheer warm or chilled?

The good news is that you can serve it either way, it’s just a personal preference.

Personally, I have always loved chilled kheer. I remember whenever mom would have kheer, I would take out my portion in a bowl and place it in the freezer to chill.

I always eat my kheer chilled.

On the other hand, many people I know prefer eating it hot straight out of the pan.

Either way, rice kheer is delicious and an easy dessert which you can make quickly with minimal ingredients.

three clay bowls filled with kheer arranged in a straight line

Can you Make Kheer Vegan?

Yes, definitely!

Just swap the regular milk with almond milk and it would taste just as good.

In fact I have a recipe for kheer made with almond milk here.

Also to keep the recipe vegan, skip the step of roasting the rice with ghee in the beginning.

Next time you cook an Indian meal, make sure to finish it off with this lovely kheer. You taste buds will definitely thank you!

Method

1- Rinse the rice until water turns clear. Then soak the rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes. Once soaked for around 20 minutes, drain the rice using a colander and set aside.

I used basmati rice here, you can use any other rice as well.

2- Heat a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Then add 1 teaspoon of ghee to it and then add the soaked & drained rice. Also add 3-4 crushed green cardamom pods.

Toss the rice with the ghee and cardamom for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly until aromatic.

3- Then add the milk to the pan and stir well. Set heat to medium-high.

4- Let the milk come to a boil, this will take around 10-12 minutes. Stir in between so that milk doesn’t stuck to the bottom of the pan.

step by step pictures of making rice kheer at home

5- Once the milk has come to a boil, lower the heat to low and let the kheer cook for around 25 minutes on low heat. Stir every 2 minutes or so.

The milk will reduce considerably after 25 minutes and the kheer would look thick and the rice will be completely cooked.

If you want super thick kheer, cook for 15 more minutes at this point.

6- Add in the sugar and mix.

7- Also add in the nuts. I used cashews and almonds.

8- Cook the kheer for 5 more minutes after adding the sugar and nuts. The sugar should dissolve completely. Don’t worry if your kheer doesn’t look very thick at this point.

It will continue to thicken as it cools down.

step by step pictures of making rice kheer at home

Remove pan from heat. Stir in rose water (if using). Garnish with more nuts and serve kheer warm or chilled.

I let my kheer chill for 4 to 5 hours before serving.

Kheer served in a clay bowl with 2 spoons on the side and more bowls of kheer on the side

If you’ve tried this Rice Kheer Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2017.

Rice Kheer

4.92 from 70 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Soaking Time: 20 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 5
Classic Indian Rice pudding made with rice, sugar, milk and flavored with cardamom, nuts and touch of rose water. This creamy pudding is one of the most popular Indian desserts!

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup rice 50 grams, I used basmati rice or use 1/3 cup for a thicker kheer
  • 1 teaspoon ghee also known as clarified butter
  • 3-4 green cardamom pods slightly crushed
  • 1 liter whole milk
  • 4-5 tablespoons sugar 50-62.5 grams, adjust to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped nuts I used chopped cashews & almonds
  • 1.5 teaspoons rose water optional
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Instructions 

  • Rinse the rice until water turns clear. Then soak the rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes are up, drain the rice using a colander and set aside. 
  • Heat a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Then add 1 teaspoon of ghee to it and then add the soaked & drained rice. Also add 3-4 crushed green cardamom pods.
  • Toss the rice with the ghee and cardamom for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly until aromatic.
  • Then add the milk to the pan and stir well. Set heat to medium-high.
  • Let the milk come to a boil, this will take around 10-12 minutes. Stir in between so that milk doesn't stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the milk has come to a boil, lower the heat to low and let the kheer cook for around 25 minutes on low heat. Stir every 2 minutes or so. The milk will reduce considerably after 25 minutes and the kheer would look thick and the rice will be completely cooked. If you want super thick kheer, cook for 15 more minutes at this point.
  • Add in the sugar and mix. Also add in the nuts. 
  • Cook the kheer for 5 more minutes after adding the sugar and nuts. The sugar should dissolve completely. Don't worry if your kheer doesn't look very thick at this point. It will continue to thicken as it cools down.
  • Remove pan from heat. Stir in rose water (if using). Garnish with more nuts and serve kheer warm or chilled. I love mine chilled and serve it after chilling it in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours. 

Notes

  1. Use whole milk to make the kheer. It makes it so much creamier.
  2. You can flavor the kheer with saffron. For that, crush saffron strands and add to 1-2 tablespoons of warm milk. Once you see a nice yellow color, add it to the milk after the kheer has cooked for around 20-25 minutes. 

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 86mg, Potassium: 314mg, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 325IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 239mg, Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
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Hi, I’m Manali!

Bringing you easy, delicious vegetarian & vegan recipes! Eating veggies can be fun, you just need to get creative in the kitchen with the right set of ingredients!


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Recipe Rating




193 Comments

    1. Crush it using a mortar and pestle finely. Yes you can remove the skin of the cardamom pods, but the seeds will be difficult to pick out. You can use cardamom powder in place if you like.

  1. 5 stars
    I just made this recipe. Delicious! Thank you.

    I checked the strength of the cardamom flavor during the 25 minute cooking time. I “slightly crushed” the cardamom pods to begin with. The pods were old and the flavor seemed weak. So I added a few more pods and ground them up a bit in the mortar and pestle before adding them. Some black seeds remained and some were ground up. The flavor came out perfect at the end.

    Thanks again.

  2. 5 stars
    This came out really good! My family enjoyed it.
    We used to go eat at an Indian Buffet in Texas and they always had a huge steel pot of Kheer on ice at the end of the buffet line for dessert.
    We LOVED that rice kheer and this recipe of yours, Manali is really good – so close to that restaurant we frequented – brings back fond memories. I did not use rose water because I didn’t have any and I used ground cardamom because I didn’t have pods, still came out so good. Thanks for sharing it 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I had leftover Basmati rice I hadn’t eaten at an Indian restaurant and used that to make this. I had to improvise since I wasn’t cooking the rice. I’m happy with the result but was wondering if you had suggestions about how you’d modify the recipe if you have already-cooked rice. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for trying! I have never made kheer with cooked rice. But you can mix cooked rice (you can even blend the rice a little) with sugar and milk and cook for around 10 minutes until desired thickness in reached.

  4. Is there a brand of rose water and kewra that you can recommend? Have never used either of these products and would hate to not like them because I got an inferior brand. I tend to shop by price unless I know a particular brand is worth the additional money. Thanks

    1. I don’t have a favorite brand. Any brand at Indian or middle eastern grocery store is okay. I have used sadaf brand in the past for rose water.

  5. I am going to try your rice kheer recipe. I found it while looking for recipes using cardamom. My swedish heritage uses cardamom and I’m always looking for new and different recipes. My question about your recipe is that you call for cardamom pods slightly crushed. So you put the pod in too? Do you take it out later? Or does it cook down so you can eat it. I don’t want to have someone choke on it! When I cook with whole cloves or bay leaves I always count what I put in so I get them back out before serving. Thanks!

    1. you can take it out before serving. In many houses in India, we often serve kheer with the cardamom pod in it and we just put it on the side before eating. If you have biting into cardamom, use cardamom powder

  6. 5 stars
    Hey there I have just made this Kheer. It turned out so well I made x3 and it took much longer to boil and reduce. Very happy with the result. My question is how long can you keep kheer refrigerated for, before it’s no longer good?

  7. 5 stars
    Excellent kheer. The rosewater and kewra, even though optional, absolutely makes this kheer just as wonderful from the kheer at restaurants. Thank you for sharing an amazing, easy to follow, detailed and thoroughly written and DELICIOUS recipe!

    1. Do you have a brand of rosewater and kewra you can recommend? And do you get it locally or online? I’m new to these products. Thanks.

      1. you can use both or just one. Personal choice. I often use both, just a tiny bit though else it can get overpowering

  8. I am making kheer right now. My family loves kheer we had it few times when we went to an Indian restaurant.

  9. 5 stars
    this also works really well with full fat coconut milk (as we are vegan) as an alternative to almond milk. thank you – a lovely recipe!

  10. 5 stars
    I have made this three times already! I use almond milk and sweetener (sucralose) instead of sugar. It’s perfect to finish a meal with.

  11. Hi! This looks soooo good. Have you ever tried using ground cardamom? If so, how much should I use for this recipe? Thank you, Sheila

    1. Start with 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom and go from there! Add it towards the end for maximum aroma 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    We made this last night and it was fabulous!! We will definitely be making this again!
    Thanks so much for sharing this receipe!

  13. The green cardamon gets lightly crushed so the seeds still remains inside? Do you remove the cardamom after kheer is cooked?

    1. You use just the seeds and no you don’t need to remove it from kheer. If you don’t want them, just use cardamom powder

  14. 5 stars
    Very tasty, and got compliments from my Nepali and Pakistani student workers – gave them a welcome taste of home.

  15. So disappointed. Followed this recipe perfectly. Used the 1/4 cup rice and 4 cups milk (converted liter to cups). Made it last night. Put in fridge overnight. Did not thicken at all. So wasteful!!

    1. Hi Sarah, sorry it didn’t work. But there’s no way the kheer won’t thicken after cooking the milk for more than 30 minutes. Kheer is a very basic Indian recipe which was made almost every month by my mom and I also make it very very often. So, I am very confident that this recipe is just fine. I think your intensity of heat was too low , maybe try medium-low for your gas next time. Also, as I mention in the recipe card, use 1/3 cup for thicker kheer if that’s what you prefer. This is how kheer is made traditionally, you do need very little rice compared to milk. This isn’t supposed be super thick like American rice pudding. Also everyone has a different preference when it comes to the texture of kheer.

    2. Did you cook uncovered? Must be uncovered to reduce. I would use more rice than 1/4 cup, personally, but since I detest American Rice Pudding that is super thick (gelatinous, even!), I prefer something looser like this.

  16. 5 stars
    This kheer is among my favorite things ever. I have made it several times and love the texture and the flavor, it’s heavenly. I prefer the rice pudding to be on the thicker side so I use 1/3 cup rice and cook it for an extra ten minutes, but that’s just based on your texture preference, it’s great no matter how you make it. Also, the rose water is not optional in my opinion, I love it’s flavor and the way it combines with the cardamom, I always add a full two teaspoons. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  17. Any chance you can make this with leftover basmati rice that’s already been cooked? Trying to find stuff to make with leftover rice. Also, you should mention how good this is to dip Naan in! My local Indian restaurant owner got me hooked on that! 😉

    1. Hmm I would cook the milk first alone until it thickens and then add the cooked basmati to it. Try it and let me know!

      1. I suspect this is how restaurants prep this, but without the starch from the rice, it may not thicken as much. Maybe add a touch of starch to the milk?

      2. we don’t use cornstarch in kheer at all, that’s not hot traditionally kheer is made and mine thickens a lot as is 🙂

    1. 5 stars
      I used your kheer recipe this today and it got really delicious! So simple and easy and good.
      Thanks for the recipe! ☺️

  18. Hi, I followed this recipe it is very nice but I have a problem with the rice it is still uncooked. Can you suggest anything I could do?

    1. Ahh I am not sure what’s going on. It’s strange for the rice to remain uncooked after being cooked for so long (more than 30 minutes in this case). Which rice did you use? Did you soak it like mentioned?

  19. 5 stars
    Stunning! I made this back in January and it turned out far better than I could of anticipated. I’m making it again this weekend 😋 a new favourite.

  20. I followed the recipe exactly and cooked extra the time, and it was runny even after being chilled overnight. I would have liked it more if it had more of a pudding consistency. Should I put it back in a pot and keep cooking or is it too late?

    1. you can put it back and cook some more. Kheer isn’t always super thick. It’s a very personal preference. Our homemade kheer which mom made was never like a thick pudding.

  21. 2 stars
    Followed this recipe to the last detail. Even made my own ghee which turned out great!
    Smelt amazing and tasted good.
    However, consistency turned out as a runny slop despite simmering for 45 minutes and waiting for it to thicken and the milk to reduce. Just did not happen 😔.
    I can make rice pudding , but this recipe just did not turn out as it should have. Will not make again.

    1. Hi Debbie, sorry you had trouble. I am unable to understand how milk would not thicken after simmering for 45 minutes. This has nothing to do with my recipe but just basic cooking. If you cook the milk for 45 minutes, it will thicken no matter which recipe you follow.

  22. 5 stars
    This was so good! I was worried that it would be too thin, so I made it with 1/2 cup of rice and that was a little too much – maybe 1/3 cup? I like things not to be too sweet and I also like a lot of rosewater so I added 2 tsp rosewater and only 3 tbsp sugar, which I think worked well. Overall, it was delicious and I will definitely make again.

  23. 5 stars
    I was a little worried when I saw that this recipe needed 1 litre of milk for what I thought was so little rice—but I’m glad I trusted the process because this kheer turned out BEAUTIFULLY! Absolutely delicious ❤️ It’s seriously good with any spice on top—cinnamon, nutmeg, almonds, anything. Thank you!

  24. 5 stars
    Mine turned out bit runny so I think my stove’s “low” might have been too low but the flavor was phenomenal! I did add some saffron. Thank you Manali!

  25. Like the receipe I want to make this kheer for 8 people. Can you please give the quantity of rice milk and sugar please.
    Thanks
    Deviani

  26. 5 stars
    Lovely recipe. Thank you!
    Has anyone tried freezing this? I have lots left over and my toddler only has small amounts.

  27. Amazing easy recipe with fantastic results .
    Thanks for this .
    It’s a hit with all my guests .
    I add saffron to it and this gives a lovely flavour.

      1. add with the sugar. You should first let it bloom my adding pinch of crushed saffron strands to 1 tablespoon warm milk, let stand for 5 minutes for the color and flavors to develop and then add in the recipe along with the sugar.

  28. 5 stars
    Hi! Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe. I have prepared it numerous times and I usually have it with Gulab Jamun.
    I’ll be making Butter chicken with naan this weekend and this rice pudding rice recipe will be our dessert!! 👍👍

  29. Is it really 1/4 cup rice to 1 litre of milk? After 24 hours in the fridge, hoping it would turn into something more than a big bowl of milk with a little bit of rice, I am confused.

    1. it indeed is! you cook the milk for a long time, it reduces a lot and then also continues to thicken as it cools. If you want a super thick kheer, use 1/3 cup rice but not more than that. This is how kheer is made!

  30. Hi and thank you for a very detailed recipe.
    It turned out great. I doubled the rice and only used 2 pints of full Fat milk. My husband is diabetic So I didnt add all the sugar. Also my daughter is not keen on nuts so I gently sautéed nuts and raisins in ghee in a small pan so they were crispy and fried and had this on the side for anyone who loves nuts… Me! 😁

      1. 5 stars
        I tried this recipe and it was very delicious! Plus, it was very easy to make with just a few simple ingredients. Thanks for sharing your recipe ☺️

      1. they don’t dissolve and I don’t remove them either. Just don’t bite into them when eating if you don’t like biting into them 🙂 you can also use cardamom powder if you like and skip the pods

  31. To make this vegan, could I use a plant based milk? Do you have a suggestion of which might be best?