Baked Rice Pudding

In Turkey, rice pudding is a cold dessert and never served hot. Because it needs time to chill, this easy version – which is halfway between rice pudding and crème brûlée – is best made the day before you want to serve it. 

Time: 30 minutes (and overnight to set)
Serves: 4


  • 80g short-grain rice

  • 700ml milk

  • 100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

  • 2 drops of natural vanilla extract

  • 65g cornflour

Bring 300ml of water to the boil in a large saucepan and add the rice. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking (add a splash more water, if necessary). When the water has been absorbed by the rice, add the milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Cook for another 15 minutes.

Mix the cornflour with a little water until a smooth loose paste forms. Stir into the pudding mixture. It will quickly thicken. Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Pour into ramekins or small serving bowls and chill in the fridge until cool and set (about 5 hours or overnight).

Once chilled and set, you can either serve it as it is, sprinkled with cinnamon (in which case it is just called sütlaç) or caramelise the top. Preheat the grill to medium and lower the rack underneath so the puddings are approximately 15cm from the heat.

Sprinkle each pudding with caster sugar and place under the grill for approximately 5 minutes until the sugar is melted and bubbling and has turned a deep brown (watch carefully as there is a fine line between caramelised and burnt, and it can happen very quickly). If you can resist tucking in while they are warm (I often can’t), chill again before serving.


Recipe taken from Istanbul, by Rebecca Seal
Step onto the streets of Istanbul and you’ll see a city of wonderful contradictions: wander out of an edgy bar and you’re likely to turn a corner and stumble across colonial-era embassy buildings and tea houses brimming with old men playing okey. It’s this fascinating culture, where east meets west, that inspired Rebecca Seal and Steven Joyce to create Istanbul, a food tour of this wonderful city. Rebecca’s easy yet delicious recipes capture the flavours of Turkey, incorporating both modern and traditional flavours.

You can buy Istanbul at

Published by Hardie Grant

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