Coconut Cardamom Rice Pudding

Coconut Rice Pudding with blueberries

October 20, 2023

In Hawaii, rice is a staple. We eat it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Growing up it was a given that my mom would get a pot of rice going, regardless of what she was making for dinner.

Given the importance of rice, rice pudding is a dish rarely seen on menus. While neutral in taste, rice is generally seen as part of an accompaniment to savory dishes, not as a dessert.

Why rice pudding?

I’ve been mildly curious about rice pudding and then I came across this post from It provides a guide for making rice pudding using raw or cooked rice, dairy or non-dairy milks, with or without flavor add-ins. It is from that basic guide that I created this lightly-spiced, tropical version.

As I experimented with the recipe, it occurred to me that in some ways, this is a sweet version of Chinese congee or chook. It also has similar (sweet) roots as Thai sticky rice and mango dessert. In many ways, this recipe is a blend of those two dishes.

Coconut Rice Pudding with toasted coconut

Keep it simple

When I first tried the recipe I wanted to put in all kinds of different spices and flavors – rice pudding by itself sounded so boring. But I was messing too much with a tried-and-true recipe. The main flavoring comes from the coconut milk. But I did let myself have a tiny bit of ground cardamom as opposed to the more traditional cinnamon. Some may find the cardamom too floral. If so, switch it out for cinnamon or leave it out all together.

Where you can play around with flavors, I found, is in the toppings. The purists don’t have to add anything at all. But for others, you can offer toasted unsweetened coconut, fresh berries, or a lovely fruit compote. The choice is yours (and theirs).

Coconut Rice Pudding with different toppings
Top rice pudding with a fruit compote, fresh fruit, or toasted coconut

So if you’ve been hesitant about trying rice pudding like I was, give this recipe a try. Or go back to the original guide on and come up with your own combination.

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Coconut Rice Pudding with blueberries

Coconut Cardamom Rice Pudding

  • Author: She’s Almost Always Hungry
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


This tropical version of traditional rice pudding is highlighted with the flavors of coconut and cardamom. It is based on a recipe from



1 cup uncooked rice (short or long grain)

1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk

2 1/4 cups whole milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom*

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter

Toasted unsweetened shredded coconut, berries, or fruit compote for garnish


Place rice, coconut milk, whole milk, sugar, cardamom, and salt into a medium pot.

Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent rice from sticking.

Reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is very tender and the mixture starts to thicken, 20 to 22 minutes. If the mixture is too thick and the rice is still undercooked, add more whole milk, ¼ cup at a time.

When the rice is very tender, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and butter. Taste and add more sugar if desired.

Serve the coconut rice pudding warm or cold. If it becomes too thick, stir in additional whole milk until you have the desired consistency.

Garnish with toasted coconut, berries, or fruit compote.


*If you don’t like cardamom, substitute with cinnamon or leave out completely.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 236.59
  • Sugar: 3.35 g.
  • Sodium: 190.31 mg.
  • Fat: 14.35 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 11.6 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 23.15 g.
  • Fiber: 0.32 g.
  • Protein: 4.92 g.
  • Cholesterol: 11.99 mg

Keywords: rice, coconut milk, cardamom

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