Rice Pudding with Sea Salt-Caramel Sauce

rice pudding with sea-salt caramel sauce and berries
Photo: Con Poulos
Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 50 mins

With a little love and the right recipe, the humble rice pudding can be positively romantic. Our pudding gets a mousse-like fluff from folding in whipped cream, while toppings such as berries, chopped toffee, pistachios, and a sea-salt-flecked caramel sauce make it dazzle for date night. Pick up your spoons and end the evening on a high note.


  • 2 cups whole milk

  • ¼ cup Italian short-grain rice, such as Carnaroli or Arborio

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons plus ¾ cup granulated sugar (for caramel)

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste or extract

  • ¼ cup light corn syrup

  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream

  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Jacobsen

  • Chopped pistachios, raisins, dried apricots, and toffee bits, for serving

  • Fresh raspberries and blackberries, for topping


  1. Bring milk, rice, and kosher salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture has the texture of creamy porridge, 30 to 35 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

  2. Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, stir together remaining 3/4 cup sugar and corn syrup. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until sugar has dissolved and mixture boils, about 5 minutes. Uncover; continue boiling, swirling pan occasionally until mixture turns amber, 3 to 4 minutes more (if crystals start to form, brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush).

  3. Carefully add 1/2 cup cream in a steady stream (it will bubble vigorously). Remove from heat, add flaky sea salt, and stir until smooth. Let cool completely.

  4. Whisk remaining 3/4 cup cream to soft peaks; fold into cooled rice pudding. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Serve rice pudding in bowls with caramel sauce, pistachios, dried fruits, toffee, and fresh berries on the side.

Cook's Notes

To chill this dessert in minutes, transfer the pudding and caramel to bowls set inside larger bowls of ice, stirring occasionally as they thicken and cool. Extra caramel can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.

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