Kheer Recipe – Indian Rice Pudding

In my most recent list of Indian dishes I want to make, I included kheer, the Indian rice pudding. It is a lot more delicious and exotic than regular rice pudding. Although I would never deny a Mexican rice pudding either.

I finally got all the ingredients I needed to make kheer, and two afternoons ago, I made kheer for the first time, and I did with success. The recipe is very simple.

I don’t follow recipes very well. I am a self-taught cook, and online recipes and Google info about food have been my inspirations and teachers. To make anything, I usually look up a recipe, in fact I look up many recipes of the same thing, and choose the best one for me. I always have the intention to follow the recipe exactly, but I never end up doing that. I make tweaks and substitutions along the way, and honestly, it always comes out good, at least my husband says so, and I believe him because he is very honest and not one to sugar coat anything.

So here is what I did to make kheer…


I chopped the nuts: pistachios, almonds, and cashews.

I am already making tweaks by chopping more nuts than the recipe needed. When I was taking this picture I thought: “whoa! it even looks like India!” I did not do it on purpose. Am I going crazy?

frying nuts

Then I fried the nuts in ghee (clarified butter) for a few minutes until lightly browned.


I set the nuts aside, to use the pot for the rest of the cooking.

Having good quality cookware is a worthy investment. It allows for better control of your food, easier cleaning, and longer lasting. A stainless steel kadhai is great for this kheer, or a red copper pan for many different uses, is a great option, too.


Then, I fried the rice in the same pot with leftover ghee, for a few minutes. I was supposed to add the milk now, but instead, I added some water to cook the rice further, and then the milk. Why did I do that? I read that for 1/4 cup of rice, 4 cups of milk are needed to cook the rice and let the milk reduce for 20-30min. So, to save time and milk, I boiled the rice in 1/4 cup of water for about 3-5 min, and then added 1 1/2 cups of milk to finish cooking the rice and let the milk reduce until ready.

boiling milk and rice

Brought the milk to a boil, lowered the flame and let the milk reduce for about 15min. Stirring often.

curshed cardamom

In the meantime, I crushed the seeds of one cardamom pod in my mortar and pestle to make about 1/4 tsp of cardamom powder, and got the pinch of saffron ready.



I tried the rice for readiness and added half of the nuts, a pinch of saffron which I rolled between my fingers to release the flavour, and the cardamom powder, then mixed well. I totally forgot about the coconut, it is not necessary but will definitely add it next time because I love coconut.

kheer kheer

Then, I added the rest of the nuts for garnish.




Gone in 3 seconds. (Maybe more, I am terrible at estimating passing time.)

What’s great about this dessert is that it can be served hot or cold. I had it warm, freshly made. And Josh, a couple hours later, woke up from his nap and tasted it cold. It makes me happy when he likes my desserts because he doesn’t have a sweet tooth. He really liked it. His words were: “wow, the flavors really come out the more you eat it. If they gave you more time to cook, you could win MasterChef.” I guess we watch too many cooking competition shows and he thinks I take too long to cook. It’s funny that he really meant it, but he is totally wrong. There is no way I could win, but it was nice to hear and see him eat his whole serving.

Kheer - Indian Rice Pudding Recipe


1/4 cup short/medium grained rice (rinsed and drained) I used basmati.
1/4 cup water
2 cups milk (whole is best for this dessert)
1-3 tbsp of chopped nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios. use one or all.)
5 raisins or more if you like (I left these out because I’m not a fan)
1 tsp ghee
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
a pinch of saffron
3 tbsp of sugar
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp of grated coconut (optional)
1/2 tsp rosewater (optional)


1. In a saucepan heat the ghee, add the nuts and raisins. Set aside when raisins are plump and nuts are lightly browned.

2. In the same pan, fry the rice for a about 3 minutes in low heat.

3. Add the water and cook the rice for about 5 min.

4. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Stir so the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom, and don’t let the milk burn. Add sugar.

5. Reduce the heat and let the milk reduce until a pudding like consistency and the rice is cooked. Stir the milk often. About 20 minutes.

6. Add the rest of the ingredients: saffron, cardamom powder, coconut, rosewater, salt, and half of the nuts and raisins.

7. Give it a stir and let sit for a couple minutes. Garnish with the remaining nuts.

Serve warm or cold.

Notes: You can also use half coconut milk and half whole milk. And you can also use sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar.


14 thoughts on “Kheer Recipe – Indian Rice Pudding

  1. Yummy!! Looks delish! x


  2. Haha.. Gone so fast because you only took a tiny amount! Looks wonderful and I going to try to make it for sure.. looks very authentic.. Congrats! Your hubby is a lucky guy! Loved your rice/water idea!.. You are getting to be a real good Mexdian!…


    1. Haha yeah. I had a second serving. 🙂 Thanks.


  3. Does that saffron really make a difference? I hear it’s so expensive.. does it have a taste?


    1. It is expensive. Josh said he couldn’t taste it. Every recipe I saw included saffron, but I think it’s not completely necessary unless you add more sticks to really bring out the flavor, and color!


  4. A tip from my mother’s kitchen: kheer is best cooked with 3-4 day-old rice. It absorbs the milk better and is a great way to recycle your leftovers.


    1. Thank you for the tip! I actually had some leftover rice and considered using it but then I remembered you have to fry the rice uncooked before cooking it. If you use leftover rice do you skip this step? Or do you fry it cooked?


      1. Mum doesn’t fry it at all. She just boils the rice with the milk, adds the nuts and saffron (sometimes not even this). For sweetness, she adds evaporated milk, not sugar.


      2. You’re very welcome! 🙂


  5. Wow! That looks delicious. I’ll have to give it a try.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where there are fortunately plenty of good Indian restaurants.


  6. Wow! That looks delicious. I’ll have to give it a try.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where there are fortunately plenty of good Indian restaurants.


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