The Indian version of a sweet pudding is what we refer to as Kheer. It is basically a milk-based dessert, which has other ingredients, sweetener and flavorings added to it. The most classic version of this dessert is the rich Rice Kheer, where you slow-cook rice grains, whole milk and sugar to perfection. Addition of saffron, nuts, cardamom, etc. is quite subjective when it comes to this typical Kheer Recipe. This particular creamy version is my family’s heirloom recipe which you will love for its deliciousness.
What is Kheer
The make of the Indian sweet dish (dessert) Kheer usually consists of cereals, lentils or their flours. Sometimes even fruits and veggies.
It resembles a pudding, and traditionally made with milk, sugar and some dry fruits. The choice flavorings include certain spices like saffron, cardamom, nutmeg, etc. and others like rose water, kewra water, etc. You may use vanilla or other fancy ingredients to flavor some of the modern-day preparations.
Indian cuisine has many variations of a Kheer Recipe. So, you must be wondering what exactly is a Rice Kheer? It is basically the Indian variant of the rice pudding. The main ingredients in it are basmati rice, whole milk, sugar, ground spices and nuts.
Sometimes, regional versions like the Bengali Payesh use nolen gur (date palm jaggery) in place of sugar as a sweetener. This results in a kheer which is usually light brown or beige in color.
More On The Recipe
This Kheer Recipe is a special from my mother-in-law’s recipe book. Till today, she makes the lovely Rice Kheer for any religious or festive occasion. I’m glad I got a chance to learn the know-hows of making it from her.
Just like other Kheer varieties, Rice Kheer is also quite easy to make, by just slow-cooking the ingredients together in one pan or pot. The reason, I sometimes refer to this Kheer Recipe as the one-pot rice pudding.
You just have to keep an eye on it, while it is simmering and keep stirring at intervals. It really does not demand much cooking skills.
Kheer, known as payasam, is also crucial in South Indian cuisine. It is possible to make Rice Payasam or Paal Payasam as it is locally known, with either milk or coconut milk. The sweeteners can be sugar or jaggery.
Usually at home, we make this Rice Kheer in slightly larger quantity. But I have scaled down the recipe which will yield about 4 to 5 small servings of this decadent Kheer.
This super tasty Kheer recipe is a perfect fit for festive occasions like Diwali, etc. You can also serve it as a dessert after your lunch or dinner meals.
How to make Rice Kheer
Below is the detailed step-by-step guide that will help you to make 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. While 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 boiling milk.
7. Mix very well with a spoon.
8. Simmer and cook the 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-done.
10. Then, add 5 to 6 tablespoons sugar or 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. Stir at intervals.
13. Simmer till the rice grains are almost cooked.
Flavor Rice Kheer
14. Then add ½ teaspoon green 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 prepared saffron 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 soften completely. The Kheer will also thicken. Scrape milk solids from the sides of the pan and add to the Kheer.
Make a note that on cooling, Rice Kheer thickens more.
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 Rice Kheer in individual serving bowls, and serve hot, warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftover Rice Kheer and consume 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.
- Rice: For an amazing aroma, preferably use basmati rice. In case you don’t have it at home, use any other fragrant rice, long-grained rice or regular rice variety.
- Milk: Use full-fat milk or whole milk to get a creamy and rich consistency. Though you can make kheer with low-fat or toned milk too, but the consistency will be less creamy.
- Sweeteners: You can use either raw sugar or white sugar as a sweetener. You can also use jaggery. But add jaggery only after Kheer is done. Once it is made, keep it on the kitchen counter for 4 to 5 minutes, till the heat reduces a bit. Then, add jaggery. If using brown sugar, also follow the same method as that for jaggery.
- Almonds: You can blanch almonds in a microwave as well. Take almonds in a microwave safe bowl and cover with water. Microwave at HIGH for 2 to 3 minutes. You can even skip blanching of the almonds, if you wish.
- Nuts: Adjust the quantity of dry fruits, nuts and sugar, as per your likings. You can also add 1 tablespoon rose water or kewra water (pandanus water) to the Rice Kheer.
- Storage: Refrigerate leftover Kheer and consume within 1 to 2 days. Reheat till warm before serving or serve chilled. If it has turned very thick, add some milk and then reheat.
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, you get a creamy and rich rice pudding. But there is another way rice pudding is made, and that is by using cooked rice or leftover cooked rice.
Dry fruits and nuts are added in Kheer to make it more flavorful. We always add almonds, cashews, pistachios and golden raisins along with saffron and green cardamom powder.
You can even add one or two types of nuts or whatever dry fruits you have in your kitchen. Some nuts like pine nuts, chironji, pecans can also be included.
Yes, certainly. You can make this dish with rice that has been soaked overnight. Only the cooking time will be less.
The proportion of rice to milk is 1:16, respectively. Using this proportion, you can easily double or triple the recipe or make in more quantities.
You can easily make chocolate Rice Kheer with this recipe. Either add 1 to 2 tablespoons cocoa powder or add grated chocolate once it is cooked. Use a good quality cocoa powder or couverture chocolate.
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.
When making a dish like Rice Kheer, where time is taken for the rice grains to cook, it’s 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 it on low to medium-low heat.
More Questions Answered
Are rice pudding and Rice Kheer same?
Yes, both are same. Rice Kheer can also be referred to as rice pudding. Basically, Rice Kheer is an Indian rice pudding. The flavorings are typically Indian like cardamom powder and saffron. Some variations may have rose water or kewra water.
Can I use any other type of rice for this Kheer Recipe?
Though basmati rice is generally preferred for making Rice Kheer, 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 it with the ingredients you have in your kitchen.
Can I use condensed milk or Milkmaid to make kheer?
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 Kheer will become very sweet. So, mix it with some milk and then add. If using condensed milk, skip sugar.
Can Kheer Recipe be made sugar free?
Yes, you can use your preferred sugar-free sweeteners and add them to the Kheer once it’s done.
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Kheer Recipe | Rice Kheer
- ¼ cup basmati rice
- 1 litre whole milk – 4 cups
- 6 tablespoons sugar or add as required
- ½ teaspoon green 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 rice kheer
- Then add ½ teaspoon green 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. You can add your preferred nuts and dry fruits to the kheer.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Rice Kheer recipe post from the archives first published in 2013 has been republished and updated on October 2022.