Rice Kheer (Chawal Ki Kheer) is a traditional Indian rice pudding that is quite easy to put together and makes for a great dessert. Make this creamy, one-pot dessert with basic ingredients in under 45 minutes (Gluten-Free, One-Pot, Vegetarian).
I am also sharing 7 variations that you can try once you master the basic recipe.
What Is Kheer
Kheer is a traditional Indian dessert made using milk, sugar, and flavorings.
The word Kheer is derived from the Sanskrit word “Skheer’ which means milk.
So basically milk is the main ingredient of this dessert with other ingredients like rice, vermicelli, sago, lentils, etc added to it.
Vegetables and fruits like pumpkin, carrots, beet, bottle gourd (lauki), mango, strawberries, etc can also be used to make it.
Kheer is known by different names in different regions of India. In South India, it is called Payasam, or Payasa, while in Bengal it’s called Payesh.
Rice Kheer is a popular North Indian-style rice pudding recipe made using raw rice, milk, sugar, and flavorings. In South India, it is called rice payasam and is made using jaggery.
Rice kheer is the most commonly made variation of kheer.
In India, when we say kheer, it just means rice kheer however many different versions of this Indian dessert can be made.
This Indian-style creamy rice pudding is super easy to make and requires very few basic ingredients which are mostly available at home all the time.
Chawal ki kheer is mildly sweet and can be flavored using a variety of ingredients.
The most common flavorings are cardamom powder and saffron but you can also use rose water or kewra essence.
Although it is one of the simplest desserts to make, you can mess it up if the milk and rice ratio is not proper.
Make this delicious and simple kheer recipe for festivals, get-togethers, special occasions, or just a weekend lunch, it is going to impress everyone who has a bite.
I am sharing the traditional recipe to make kheer at home with exact measurements.
Along with the traditional method, I am also sharing the recipe to make it in a pressure cooker, instant pot, with sweetened condensed milk, and using already cooked rice.
This recipe can be easily scaled up or down as per your requirement.
Milk – Always use whole milk (full-fat milk) to make it rich and creamy.
To make a vegan version, use any plant-based milk instead of dairy milk. Almond milk and coconut milk are my favorite vegan milk to make Indian desserts.
You can also use a combination of milk for a taste change.
Rice – The type of rice makes a huge difference in the final taste and texture of the kheer.
In a perfect kheer, rice gets incorporated into the milk and you don’t see it standing out. It is only possible if you use short-grain rice with high starch content.
Many people suggest Basmati rice to make it but actually, it is preferred to make biryani and pulao but not kheer.
Basmati is known to hold its shape and it also has low starch content. How much ever you cook it with milk, it will never become creamy.
Each region in India has a locally grown short-grain rice variety and people use it to make this dessert.
Always choose short-grain rice with high starch content. It will give the dessert a nice creamy texture.
I like to use Jeera Samba, Gobindobhog, Ambemohar, etc to make it.
My recent fav is Maharashtrian Indrayani. It just dissolves in the milk making the dessert really creamy.
If at all using basmati to make it, then use the broken variety of basmati and not the long grain.
Saffron – Saffron strands are optional but they give a lovely color and flavor.
Sugar – Adjust the amount of sugar as per your taste and preference.
You can also use brown sugar, jaggery, or other sugar-free options as a substitute.
Cardamom Powder – This is a must ingredient! Many people avoid adding it, but believe me it just changes the flavor game.
You can also use crushed green cardamom pods in place of ground cardamom.
Dry Coconut – This is optional, but I love the taste it adds to the pudding.
Other Flavoring Options – Apart from cardamom and saffron, you can also add other flavorings like rose water, kewra essence, or orange blossom water.
Nuts & Fruits – Add slivered dried nuts like almonds, cashew nuts, or pistachios, and dried fruits like golden raisins or black raisins for a lovely crunch.
How To Make Rice Kheer
Rinse 3 tablespoon uncooked short-grain starchy rice with water 2-3 times and soak it in ½ cup water for 30 minutes.
Make sure to soak the rice as it makes it easier to cook.
Heat 1-liter whole milk (full-fat milk) in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat.
Keep stirring frequently to avoid scorching at the bottom of the pan.
When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low.
Drain the water from the rice and add it to the pan along with 15-20 strands of saffron, 15-20 raisins, and ¼ cup grated dry coconut.
Note – Do not add dry coconut unless the milk comes to a boil otherwise it may curdle.
Cook uncovered on low heat until the rice is cooked and the milk is thickened (45-50 minutes). Mash the rice frequently with the back of the ladle while cooking.
Scrape the sides of the pan every 8-10 minutes and add the solidified milk back to the pan.
Note – The perfectly cooked kheer will be thick and creamy like a chunky custard and have rice grains almost incorporated into the milk.
Keep in consideration that it will thicken some more once cooled.
Once the kheer has thickened to the right consistency, stir in ¼ cup granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder and cook for a minute.
Check for sugar and add more if required and cook for another minute for it to dissolve.
Note – Never add sugar before the rice is fully cooked. The rice stops cooking as soon as the sugar is added and if it’s not cooked well, you will be left with uncooked grains, how much ever you cook it later.
Garnish with almond and cashew nut slivers and dried rose petals and serve hot or chilled.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rice pudding is a broad term for rice and milk dessert. It is made differently all over the world. The Indian version of rice pudding is called kheer.
It has Indian flavors such as cardamom powder, and saffron. Sometimes, people also like to add rose water or kewra water for extra flavor and to give it that royal touch.
Add 1 cup of cooked rice per liter of milk and cook until the kheer thickens. Then, add sugar and other ingredients as per the recipe.
To make it in an Instant pot, add raw rice and ½ cup water to the pot and close the lid. Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 10 minutes. Let the pressure release automatically for 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually. Open the lid. Press SAUTE and add milk to the pot and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently until the kheer thickens. Add sugar and cardamom powder and cook for another minute. Serve hot.
To make it in a pressure cooker, add rice and ½ cup water to a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high heat for 3-4 whistles. Switch off the heat and let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and add milk and stir well. Cook on medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently until the kheer thickens. Add sugar and cardamom powder and cook for another minute.
Cook milk, rice, saffron, raisins, and dry coconut until the rice is cooked and the kheer has thickened. Now add ½ cup of sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoon sugar, and cardamom powder and cook for another minute. Garnish with slivered nuts and serve hot or chilled.
Cook milk, rice, saffron, raisins, and dry coconut until the rice is cooked and the kheer has thickened. Remove the pan from heat and let the kheer cool down for 20-25 minutes.
Add liquid jaggery or grated jaggery to the pan and let it rest for 10-12 minutes until the jaggery slightly dissolves. Now, put the pan back on the heat and cook it on very low heat until the jaggery melts completely. Garnish with slivered nuts and serve hot or chilled.
Rice Kheer Variations
Caramel – Add ½ cup caramel syrup and ¼ cup chopped nuts to the cooled kheer.
Chocolate – Add 2 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons condensed milk, and 100 g Cadbury’s chocolate (broken into small pieces) to a pan and cook on medium heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool down. Add this mixture to the cooled kheer and mix well.
Nutella – Melt 1 cup Nutella in a microwave or a pan. Add it to the cooled kheer along with ½ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts.
Strawberry – Chop 200 g strawberries roughly. Add them to a pan along with ¼ cup sugar.
Cook for 10-12 minutes until slightly syrupy.
Remove the pan from the heat and let this mixture cool down. Mix it with cooled kheer.
Rose – Add 4 tablespoon rose syrup and 3 tablespoon gulkand (rose jam) to the cooled kheer and mix well.
Mango – Add 1 cup mango puree and 1 cup chopped mangoes to the cooled kheer.
Oreo – Crush 10-12 oreo cookies and add them to the cooled kheer along with ½ cup chocolate syrup.
Sabudana – Add ½ cup of soaked sabudana (tapioca pearls) along with rice. You can also add grated carrots or vermicelli.
This kheer is the quintessential Indian dessert to make for festive occasions or special days.
Serve this quick and easy dessert either hot, just off the stove, or chilled. I personally like it chilled.
Top it with slivered nuts like almonds, pistachios, and cashew nuts for a lovely crunch.
You can also garnish it with a few dried rose petals.
Serve it on its own or with some savory snacks during festivals such as Diwali, Holi, etc.
I love to serve it after my fancy North Indian meals.
This dessert will last in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container. Bring it to room temperature before storing it.
If you like to serve it hot, heat it in a pan or in the microwave.
If you feel it has become a little thick, then add in some milk and heat it nicely.
Do not freeze the kheer. The milk curdles when thawed.
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Rice Kheer Recipe (Indian Rice Pudding)
- 3 tablespoons uncooked short-grain starchy white rice (some of my favorite varieties are Gobindobhog, Ambemohar, Indrayani and Jeera Samba)
- 1 litre whole (full-fat) milk
- 15-20 strands saffron (optional)
- 15-20 raisins
- ¼ cup finely grated dry coconut
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds and cashew nuts
- Rinse rice with water 2-3 times and soak it in ½ cup water for 30 minutes.
- Heat milk in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat.
- Keep stirring frequently to avoid scorching.
- When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low.
- Drain the water from the rice and add it to the pan along with saffron, raisins, and dry coconut.
- Note – Do not add dry coconut unless the milk comes to a boil otherwise it might curdle.
- Cook uncovered on low heat until the rice is cooked and the kheer is thickened (45-50 minutes).
- While cooking, keep mashing with the back of the ladle.
- Keep stirring very frequently while cooking.
- Keep scraping the sides of the pan and add the solidified milk back to the pan.
- Note – The perfectly cooked kheer will be thick and creamy like a chunky custard and have rice grains almost incorporated into the milk.
- Keep in consideration that the kheer will thicken some more once cooled.
- Once the kheer has thickened, stir in the sugar and cardamom powder and cook for a minute.
- Check for sugar and add more if required and cook for another minute for it to dissolve.
- Note – Never add sugar before the rice is fully cooked. The rice stops cooking as soon as the sugar is added and if it’s not cooked well, you will be left with uncooked grains, how much ever you cook it later.
- Transfer the kheer to small serving bowls. Garnish with almond and cashew nut slivers and dried rose petals and serve hot or chilled.