Baked Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries

By Amanda Paa – Updated March 16, 2023
This easy baked rice pudding is super creamy and comforting, no stirring on the stovetop. Made with jasmine or basmati rice, and topped with jammy tart cherries in their own sauce.
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Effortless Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries {baked, so all hands off! so creamy, can be served warm or cold}
Effortless Baked Rice Pudding with Tart Cherries {gluten-free dessert}

How to Make Baked Rice Pudding

There are a myriad of ways that rice pudding can be made, both in ingredients and technique. I’ve made it on the stovetop {like risotto once too}, used leftover rice, short-grain and long -grain rice, with coconut milk, but none have been as “right” as this effortless, baked version. There’s little to be done other than combining the rice with the milk, maple syrup, and vanilla bean, then letting it do it’s thing in the oven.

It’s a technique learned from Mark Bittman, that I adapted slightly, swapping maple for the sugar, adjusting the liquid to rice measurement after a few tests. And broiling it the last few minutes to get those caramel-y brown spots on top.

Save This Recipe Form

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below & we'll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you’ll get more great recipes and tips from us each week!

You’ll think there’s too much liquid, even after you pull it from the oven, but patience is a virtue here. As it cools, the rice (I used jasmine) continues to soak up the milk and plump (swell). It will end up creamy and comforting, the rice tender, but not falling part. The vanilla bean adds such an amazing floral essence that I just can’t get enough of when matched with milky dairy.

Effortless Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries {baked, so all hands off! so creamy, can be served warm or cold}
Effortless Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries {baked, so all hands off! so creamy, can be served warm or cold}

Ingredients for Baked Rice Pudding:

  • Jasmine rice
  • Whole milk
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Maple Syrup

Which type of rice is best for rice pudding?

Although this dish is most commonly made with arborio rice, I don’t often have that in my pantry. I find that jasmine rice has a delicate floral scent that goes so well with cream and vanilla. It also has enough starch in it to thicken the pudding. Basmati rice also works well.

Effortless Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries {baked, so all hands off! so creamy, can be served warm or cold}
Effortless Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries {baked, so all hands off! so creamy, can be served warm or cold}
Effortless Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries {baked, so all hands off! so creamy, can be served warm or cold}
Effortless Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries {baked, so all hands off! so creamy, can be served warm or cold}

Favorite Way To Eat Rice Pudding

These saucy tart cherries! Simmered with honey and black peppercorns, reminds me of a jammy ice cream topping, but purely fruit and not so sugary. They elevate this cozy pan into some kind of wholesome harmony, especially as a holiday dessert with its festive red.

And actually, having it be the last thing of the day could potentially help you get some better zzzzzz’s. Research shows that Montmorency tart cherries (these were frozen after being picked this summer from a family farm in Michigan) may help improve the quality and duration of sleep, reduce the severity of insomnia and increase overall sleep efficiency. And I like good sleep. :) They’re also one of the few food sources of melatonin, which I know many people take in supplement form.

The beauty of this recipe is that both parts can essentially be made up to two days ahead, then served warm, room temperature, or even cold (which I actually prefer). Minimal work, maximum soothing powers. Enjoy, xo.

Effortless Baked Rice Pudding with Tart Cherries {gluten-free dessert}
Effortless Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries {baked, so all hands off! so creamy, can be served warm or cold}
Effortless Baked Rice Pudding with Tart Cherries

More Rice Recipes:

Creamy Baked Rice Pudding with Saucy Tart Cherries

This easy baked rice pudding is super creamy and comforting, no stirring on the stovetop. Made with jasmine or basmati rice, and topped with jammy tart cherries in their own sauce.
No ratings yet
Prep Time :20 minutes
Cook Time :1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time :2 hours
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry jasmine rice (or basmati)
  • 3 1/2 cups of whole or 2% milk (do not go less than that in terms of fat)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 of one vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

Cherry Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen Montmorency tart cherries thawed + 3 tablespoons of their juice from thawing
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2-3 teaspoons tapioca starch or cornstarch

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • In a large gratin dish (holds at least 6 cups), combine rice, milk, maple syrup, salt and seeds of vanilla bean. Stir to combine and set empty vanilla bean half on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, stir. Continue baking for 30 more minutes, then stir. At this point there will be a bit of skin that you are stirring back in stir back in. Cook for 30 more minutes. The rice will plump and start to become a more noticeable part of the mixture and the skin becomes more visible and darker. The pudding is getting close, bake 5 more minutes.
  • Take the dish out and set it on the counter. You will see that once it sits for even a minute, even though you don’t think it’s done, it will start to sink in just from this short test, a sign it is absorbing the liquid.
  • Now broil on low for 3 minutes, until you get some brown spots on top. Take out and it may seem a little liquidy still, which is how it should be because it will thicken by letting cool for at least one hour. If you chill it overnight in the refrigerator, it will be very thick.
  • Then serve with saucy cherries, below.
  • While the rice is baking, make the cherries. Add frozen tart cherries, honey, tart cherry juice, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 12 minutes, stirring a few times. Then dissolve the tapioca starch in water, and stir into mixture. Cook for another minute, until thickened.

Notes

You’ll think there’s too much liquid, even after you pull it from the oven, but patience is a virtue here. As it cools, the rice (I used jasmine) continues to soak up the rice and plump, especially once it's refrigerated. It will end up creamy and comforting, the rice tender, but not falling part. Best served at room temperature.

Did you make this?

tag @heartbeetkitchen on instagram and hashtag it #heartbeetkitchen

December 14, 2016

COMMENT & RATE

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

25 comments

  1. Alison

    OH MY WORD — I’m unsure how exactly I ended up on your page or this particular recipe (yay, internet!) but I bought all the ingredients and prepped this for breakfast this morning. I used full-fat coconut milk in place of the dairy, but that was my only change. This is absolutely outstanding, and I am bookmarking it forever. The black pepper in the saucy cherries gives it such a unique flavor, and the combination of the coconut and vanilla is decadent without being sinful (i.e. no gluten, dairy, or refined sugar for me). Thanks so much for this one — and now that I’ve found your page, I’m going to click around and try some of your other recipes.

  2. Cheryl

    can this be made with almond milk?
    We are dairy free also.
    Thanks! It looks amazing :)

    • amandapaa

      hi! i haven’t tested it with a non-dairy milk. my guess would be that you’d need a higher fat content, like homemade cashew milk!

  3. Kristin

    Hi,
    This recipe looks lovely and I can’t wait to try it with the rainier cherries I have! I was wondering if your rice was pre-cooked? Or did you put uncooked rice straight in the oven? Also, does it bake for a total of about 1 hour or 1 hour 30 minutes? You mentioned baking and stirring a few times and I wasn’t sure if you just cook for 1 hour and stir half way or if you cook for 1 hour 30 minutes (and stir every 30 minutes). Thank you for your help and I’m looking forward to trying the rice pudding!

    • amandapaa

      hello! the rice is uncooked and it bakes for 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes.

  4. Bronte

    This sounds so delicious! I’m looking for recipes to make with a bunch of rice my mother gave me. The cherries sounds so good. Does it reheat well? There’s only 2 of us so I know we can’t eat that much! Can’t wait to make it.

    • amandapaa

      I actually prefer eating it cold, so haven’t rewarmed! It’s only two of us here as well, and we ate it for about 3 days. I would guess that it would heat well, over the stove.

  5. Sherrie

    Winter is my favorite season. I know people think I’m crazy for that, but the stillness and nostalgia of the snow and grey days make me feel comforted and at peace. I was instantly transported to that place when you described walking to brunch. Wish I could’ve been there with you. I want to use tart cherries more often. And you know my black pepper loving heart adored the addition of that to mellow it all out. LOVE, xx.

  6. betty

    Oh Amanda, your posts always slay me. This is just beautiful – alex in particular will LOVE this because he is OBSESSED with rice pudding. At the grocery store he never fails to swoop up a pack of rice pudding if he sees it, it’s definitely overdue for me to make him a homemade good version :). I’ve found the one I’m going to make!

    • amandapaa

      lol, i always wondered who bought those rice pudding packs – now i know! i have to say, i think this might beat it. :) all the love, friend!

  7. Tessa | Salted Plains

    First of all, these shots are gorgeous. I have always loved rice pudding but have never made it myself! This needs to change and now I have a perfect recipe to start with. I had no idea that tart cherries were such a source of melatonin – sleep is something that has not come easily as of late. Love that little tidbit! Beautiful, Amanda. xo.

    • amandapaa

      thank you tessa! i think you should give it a go. in fact, i just took another pan of it out of the oven. no lie. because i can’t stop making it! xo

  8. michelle @ hummingbird high

    oohhh i love how vanilla-y that base is. look at all those specks! xo

    • amandapaa

      i couldn’t resist putting a lot of vanilla bean seeds in. reminds me of my favorite homemade ice cream! xo

  9. Valentina @Hortus

    Love how you related the rice pudding whiteness to snow! This post feels so cozy. I absolutely want to try this. I have never tried rice pudding before, which is funny as rice pudding is definitely a popular recipe in my culture. I’ll surely be trying this! Pinned <3

  10. Claire

    You make such a non-photogenic (but delicious) dish look so elegant!! Could you substitute almond milk for the 2% in this recipe, or would a higher fat milk like cashew or coconut work better? Thank you in advance! I’m excited to feed some hot and sweet rice pudding to my family on Christmas morning! Merry Christmas to you, and a warm and joyful New Year!

    • amandapaa

      Claire! Thank you so much for the kind words about the photos. I had fun trying to capture something, like you said, that can be a little challenging. I haven’t tested it with a non-dairy milk, but if I had to guess, I’d say full fat coconut milk or cashew milk, well stirred, would be your best bet because of the higher fat. Let me know if you do try it! xo

  11. Christine DesRoches

    My mom used to bake her rice pudding and it was my favourite thing, ever. Yours is bringing up so much nostalgia right now! I’m also dying to try that broil method for a toasty, caramelized topping. I’ve heard that cherries can aid in sleep too and that’s enough reason for me to make this for dessert, asap ;)
    Your wintery morning sounds delightful. Hoping you two get many more this season! xoxo

  12. Abby @ Heart of a Baker

    I still reallllly need to make it to Michigan to try their cherries! I adore things that I can mix together and pop in the oven, they are truly the BEST. I love the idea of saving cherries for these cold winter months, it gives us hope for the summer to come :)

    • amandapaa

      You’re so close, you need to hop over! And for them, having tart cherries in the freezer is like our rhubarb. The best to pull out in the winter months! xo

  13. Ruby

    These beautiful photos really do remind me of the white peacefulness of snow. Lovely! And saucy cherries just sound full of attitude and amazing. xo

    • amandapaa

      wintery feels! and i have been putting those cherries on yogurt and toast too. definitely full of personality. so good to see you today! xo

  14. Sarah | Well and Full

    Many of the recipes I end up posting are ones that I didn’t even consider photographing, so I hear you! Sometimes our impromptu cooking makes the best recipes :)

  15. Karlie

    Oh this looks amazing! I love rice pudding and Michigan cherries are theeee best :)

    • amandapaa

      THE best! I had such a fun time being there during the harvest this summer, and now it is so much fun to cook with them. They are a perfect match for the vanilla and cream. Thanks for stopping by Karlie!