A Rice Kheer recipe that is a keeper and my family’s heirloom recipe that you will love for its deliciousness. This traditional Indian rice pudding made with basmati rice, whole milk, sugar, nuts, saffron and cardamom is slow-cooked to perfection making for a rich, creamy kheer. I share our favorite rice kheer recipe that is made easy with my stepwise photos and video.
Table of Contents
About Kheer Recipe
Kheer is an Indian sweet made with cereals, lentils or their flours. The Indian cuisine has many variations of kheer recipes. Kheer is like a pudding traditionally made with milk, sugar and some dry fruits. The choice of spices and flavorings are usually cardamom, rose water, kewra water or saffron. So you must be wondering what is rice kheer?
Rice kheer is basically Indian version of rice pudding made with basmati rice, whole milk, sugar, nuts and spices. It is also one of the most popular kheer variant made in North Indian cuisine together with Seviyan Kheer (Vermicelli Pudding) and Phirni (thick rice pudding).
I learned to make this kheer recipe from my mother-in-law. For any religious or festive occasions, my mother-in-law always makes rice kheer.
Generally, we make it in a slightly large quantity, but I have scaled down the recipe which can give you 4 to 5 small servings of this rice deliciousness.
Like the other kheer versions, rice kheer is also easy to make and the entire recipe can be made in one pan or pot.
Just that you need to keep a check when the kheer is simmering and stir it at intervals. This is an easy slow-cooked recipe and does not demand much cooking skills.
In South Indian cuisine kheer is called as payasam. Rice payasam can be made both with milk and coconut milk. The sweeteners can be sugar or jaggery. I have also shared Rice Payasam made with milk.
This delicious rice kheer can be made for any festival or celebration like Diwali or also as a sweet dessert which you can serve after meals.
How to make Rice Kheer
Check below a detailed step-by-step guide that will help you in making kheer easily.
1. Rinse ¼ cup basmati rice a couple of times in fresh water and then soak in enough water for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile when the rice grains are soaking, take 1-litre full-fat milk in a heavy wide pan or saucepan or kadai.
3. Keep the pan on low to medium-low heat. Stir at intervals so that the milk does not burn at the bottom of the pan.
4. Let the milk come to a boil.
5. Take 1 tablespoon milk from the pan in a small bowl. Let the milk become warm. Then add a few saffron strands to the milk. Keep aside.
6. After the milk begins to boil, drain all the water from the rice and add it to the hot boiling milk.
7. Mix very well with a spoon.
8. Simmer and cook rice on low heat. No need to cover the pan when the rice is cooking.
9. Cook the rice grains till they are 50% done or half-cooked.
10. Then add 5 to 6 tablespoons of sugar or add as required. You can add raw sugar or white sugar. I generally use unrefined raw sugar.
11. Mix the sugar in the milk.
12. Continue to cook rice on low to medium-low heat. Do stir at intervals.
13. Simmer till the rice is almost cooked.
Flavorings Rice Kheer
14. Then add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder.
15. Add 1 tablespoon each of sliced almonds, chopped cashews and sliced pistachios. You can blanch the almonds if you prefer or just slice them raw.
You can include various other nuts according to your preferences.
16. Mix well.
17. Then add the saffron dissolved milk.
18. Again mix and continue to cook on low heat till the rice kheer thickens and the rice grains have completely cooked.
19. Switch off the heat when the rice grains are completely cooked. The kheer will also thicken. On cooling, rice kheer thickens more. Scrape milk solids from the sides of the pan and add to the kheer.
20. Lastly add 1 tablespoon golden raisins. At this step you can add 1 tablespoon rose water or kewra water (pandanus water).
21. Pour the kheer in individual serving bowls. You can serve the rice kheer, hot or warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftover rice kheer and use it within 1 to 2 days. You can eat it cold, or reheat it until warm.
If the kheer has become very thick add a splash of milk and reheat.
I have compiled tips & frequently asked questions on rice kheer recipe from the comments received on this recipe.
Tips + FAQs for Kheer Recipe
- Are rice pudding and rice kheer same?
Yes, both are same. Rice kheer can also be called as rice pudding. Basically rice kheer is Indian rice pudding. The flavourings are typically Indian like cardamom powder and saffron. Some variations also add rose water or kewra water.
- Are the rice grains cooked or raw?
To make rice kheer, raw rice grains are cooked in milk. But the rice grains are soaked in water for 20 to 30 minutes. By the time the rice gets cooked in the milk, the milk also reduces and thickens. So what you get is a creamy and rich rice pudding. But of course there is another way rice pudding is made and that is by using cooked rice or you can use leftover cooked rice.
- Which dry fruits and nuts to add?
Dry fruits and nuts are added in rice kheer to make it more flavorful. We always add almonds, cashews, pistachios and golden raisins along with saffron and cardamom powder. You can even add one or two types of nuts or whatever dry fruits you have in your kitchen. Some nuts like pinenuts, chironji, pecans can also be included.
- Can I soak rice grains overnight?
Yes, of course, you can make kheer with rice that has been soaked overnight. Only the cooking time will be less.
- What is the proportion of rice to milk?
The proportion of rice is 1:16 for rice and milk respectively. Using this proportion you can easily double or triple the recipe or make in more quantities.
- Can rice kheer be made sugar free?
Yes, you can use sugar-free sweeteners and add them to the kheer once its done.
- Can I use jaggery in rice kheer?
You can use jaggery. But add jaggery only after the rice kheer is done. Once the kheer is made, keep it on the kitchen counter for 4 to 5 minutes, till the heat reduces a bit. Then add jaggery. You can check this Bengali variation of rice pudding made with palm jaggery – Payesh Recipe.
- Can I use brown sugar?
With brown sugar, also follow the same method as that for jaggery.
- Can I make chocolate rice kheer with this rice kheer recipe?
You can easily make chocolate rice kheer with this recipe. Either add 1 to 2 tablespoons cocoa powder or add grated chocolate once the kheer is cooked. Use a good quality cocoa powder or couverture chocolate.
- Can I use condensed milk or milkmaid?
You can use condensed milk, but then cook rice first in milk or water or half-half of both. Then add the sweetened condensed milk with some milk. If you just add condensed milk, the rice kheer will become very sweet. So mix it with some milk and then add. If using condensed milk then skip sugar.
- Why has rice become lumpy in rice kheer?
If the rice grains are cooked too much or if the milk gets reduced too much or is less, then rice grains become lumpy. To fix this add some more milk in the kheer and break the lumps with a wired whisk or spatula.
- Can I use any other type of rice for rice kheer?
Though basmati rice is generally preferred for making rice kheer, but you can use any other fragrant variety of rice or long grained rice too. You can even use regular variety of rice. Basically, you can make rice kheer with the ingredients you have in your kitchen.
- Why has milk got burnt or browned?
When making a dish like rice kheer, where time is taken for the rice grains to cook, its always best to use a heavy thick bottomed kadai (wok) or pan. Frequent stirring of rice grains when the milk is simmering ensures that the milk does not get burnt from the bottom. Also, cook the rice kheer on a low to medium-low heat.
Gluten Free Recipes
North Indian Food
If you made this recipe, please be sure to rate it in the recipe card below. Sign Up for my email newsletter or you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest or Twitter for more vegetarian inspirations.
Kheer Recipe | Rice Kheer
- ¼ cup basmati rice
- 1 litre whole milk – 4 cups
- 6 tablespoons sugar or add as required
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder or 5 to 6 green cardamoms powdered in mortar-pestle(choti elaichi powder)
- 1 pinch saffron strands or 14 to 16 saffron strands
- 1 tablespoon chopped or sliced almonds or blanched almonds
- 1 tablespoon chopped or sliced cashews
- 1 tablespoon chopped or sliced unsalted pistachios
- 1 tablespoon golden raisins
- Rinse ¼ cup basmati rice a couple of times till the water runs clear of the starch.
- Then soak the rice in enough water for 15 to 20 mins.
- Blanching almonds – heat water in a small pan or pot. When the water comes to a boil then switch off the flame and then add 10 to 12 almonds to it. Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes. Then peel and slice almonds. This is an optional step.
- Meanwhile, when the rice grains are soaking, take whole or full fat milk in a heavy wide pan or saucepan or kadai.
- Keep the pan on a low to medium-low heat. Stir at intervals so that the milk does not stick at the bottom of the pan.
- Let the milk come to a boil.
- Take 1 tablespoon milk from the pan in a small bowl. Let the milk become warm. Then add a few saffron strands in the milk. Keep aside.
- After the milk begins to boil, drain all the water from the rice and add it to the hot boiling milk. mix very well.
- Simmer and cook rice on a low heat. No need to cover the pan when the rice is cooking.
- Cook the rice grains till they are 50% done or half-cooked.
- Then add sugar. You can add more or less sugar according to your preferences. Mix the sugar in the milk with a spoon.
- Continue to cook rice on a low to medium-low heat. Do stir at intervals. Simmer till the rice is almost cooked.
Flavoring the rice kheer
- Then add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder. Add blanched and peeled sliced almonds and chopped cashews and sliced pistachios. Mix well.
- Then add the saffron infused milk.
- Again mix and continue to cook on a low flame till the rice kheer thickens and the rice grains have completely cooked.
- Switch off the heat when the rice grains are completely cooked. The kheer will also thicken. On cooling rice kheer thickens more. Scrape milk solids from sides and add to kheer.
- Lastly add 1 tablespoon golden raisins. At this step you can add 1 tablespoons rose water or kewra water to the kheer.
- Pour the kheer in individual serving bowls. You can serve the rice kheer, hot or warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftover rice kheer in a closed container and eat it in 1 to 2 says.
- You can enjoy it cold or warm it before serving. If the kheer has become very thick then add a splash of milk and reheat it until warm.
- 1 tablespoon rose water can also be added to the rice kheer.
- Preferably use basmati rice for that fragrant aroma. If you don’t have basmati rice then use any fragrant rice variety or long-grained rice or your regular rice.
- You can also blanch almonds in a microwave. In a microwave safe bowl, take the almonds and cover it with water. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes. You can omit to blanch the almonds if you want.
- Amount of dry fruits, nuts and sugar can be adjusted as per your taste.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Rice Kheer recipe post from the blog archives (first published in October 2013) has been updated and republished on 4th July 2021.