Greek rice pudding

It can be served warm or chilled but always with lots of cinnamon on top!

Is there anything better than an easy homemade Greek rice pudding tainted with some cinnamon on top? Every time I make this humble dessert I’m amazed by the fact that just a few, simple and everyday ingredients can be transformed into something so heartwarming and cozy. The best thing about this dessert is that everyone can make it, it’s naturally gluten-free and it can very easily be made vegan. It can also be served warm or cold, but never without a generous amount of ground cinnamon on top.

The word rizogalo comes from the Greek words Rizi (rice) and Gala (milk). So, it’s like saying ricemilk. I I like to add a vanilla pod (cut in half lengthwise) and a cinnamon stick to the milk during cooking, because it gives the pudding an extra dimension and makes it so much more fragrant and comforting. Needless to say that this rizogalo along with this Greek superfood breakfast bowls recipe (kolliva) are my two favorite traditional sweet recipes.

Why Corn Starch is used

Cornstarch makes this easy Greek rice pudding extra creamy and gives it enough body to be pleasing to your mouth. Cornstarch is the main thickening ingredient for many creams and custards (like this faux mille feuille), especially when eggs are absent. Also cornstarch lets us use less rice in this recipe (using a lot of rice can result in a thick and dense, sticky pudding).

How much cornstarch to use? The quantity given here will result in an extra creamy and not very thick pudding. If you’re used to a rice pudding with a thicker consistency you can use an extra tablespoon of cornstarch. And for a more accurate measurement, if you have a kitchen scale use it to measure the cornstarch by weight.

Some notes/tips:

  • Flavor the milk/rice mixture with some vanilla (extract or a pod) and a cinamon stick for an amazing taste with warm and cozy aromatic notes.
  • Cook the rice with the water until completely cooked through before adding the milk
  • Use a plant-based milk to make it vegan
  • Always top with ground cinnamon!
  • Serve warm or cold (I prefer it warm, straight from the pot!)

The Recipe

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, veganKeyword: cinnamon, homemade, pudding, rice,

  • 1/2 cup risotto rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups milk (or almond milk for vegans)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup for vegans)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold milk (or almond milk for vegans)
  • ground cinnamon for topping


  1. Transfer the rice, the water, and the salt to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all of the water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes).
  3. The rice should be completely cooked through. If not, add 1/4 cup more water and continue cooking.
  4. Add the 2 cups of milk, the sugar, the honey, the cinnamon stick, and the vanilla extract or the vanilla pod (first scrape the seeds from the pod with a knife and add everything to the pot) and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring very often.
  5. Combine the cornstarch and the 1/2 cup cold milk in a small bowl and stir with a fork until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.
  6. Add this mixture to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the pudding starts to bubble.
  7. Cook for 1 minute and remove from the heat.
  8. Divide the rice pudding into 5 small bowls, glasses, or plates.
  9. Top with cinnamon just before serving. Eat!

Recipe Notes

  • If your prefer your rice pudding on the thicker side, use an extra tablespoon of cornstarch.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled for more servings.
  • After the rice pudding has cooled, keep refrigerated and consume within 3-4 days.

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