Rice kheer is a traditional Indian rice pudding and extremely popular during festivals and celebrations. You only need rice, milk, sugar, cardamom, and nuts to make this creamy dessert! Vegetarian, one-pot, and gluten-free.
Rice Kheer is a very popular, creamy, and delicious Indian dessert that is a staple in many homes.
It is by default the traditional dessert to celebrate something special or on auspicious occasions and festivals or simply when we craved dessert.
Mom made Sevai Kheer often and especially when she was fasting as we all loved it. But on my husband's side, they make kheer with rice more.
Some like to use cooked rice for making this dessert, but for today's post, I'll be sharing how to make kheer recipe from scratch. It is my MIL's recipe that comes out perfect every time I make it!
What is kheer
Kheer is a traditional Indian pudding made with rice, milk, and sugar, and hence the name.
It is a one-pot recipe involving cooking the milk until it's reduced and thickened and then sweetened with sugar (traditionally) or condensed milk (milkmaid).
Various flavors like cardamom, saffron, rose water, kewra essence are added along with and nuts and dry fruits like cashews, pistachios, almonds, raisins, dry shredded coconut to make it richer and flavorful.
It is usually served warm or cold as a dessert with a meal or on its own.
In India, each region has its own version of kheer and called differently like Chawal ki kheer in the Northern Indian, tandalachi kheer in Marathi, and payasam in Southern India.
- Rice: I prefer using basmati rice but any variety of rice will work.
- Dairy: Whole milk is my preference but for richer kheer, use half and half or some cream.
- Sweetener: I use white granulated sugar. You can make rice kheer recipe with condensed milk (milkmaid) too which gives a great creamy texture and caramel flavor. I like a combination of both (sugar and condensed milk) too.
- Nuts and dry fruits: Almonds, cashews, pistachios, raisins, dry shredded coconut (optional). I love adding these to my kheer as they add so much texture.
- Flavors: Cardamom powder is the staple flavor. Optional - saffron for that nice hue of color and aroma, rose water for that floral flavor. Little goes a long way. You can also add some vanilla extract or Kewra essence if you like.
Step by Step Instructions
1 - Wash the rice 3-4 times until the water runs clear and soak it for 20-30 mins then drain and keep aside.
2 - Soak the almonds in hot water for 10 mins, peel the skin off and roughly slice them. Also, roughly chop the pistachios and cashews and keep them aside with raisins.
3 - In a thick-bottomed pot bring milk to a boil on medium-low heat. Stir in between to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
4 - Stir in the drained rice into the boiled milk.
5 - Cover and cook on low flame until the rice is ¾th cooked (approximately 20 - 25 mins). Keep stirring intermittently to prevent the milk and rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. For a thicker kheer, cook for another 10 mins.
6 & 7 - Once you see that rice is almost cooked, add the sugar, cardamom powder, saffron, dry fruits -cashews, raisins, and almonds (reserving few for garnishing along with pistachios).
8 - Mix well and cook on low heat until the mixture thickens and the rice is completely cooked. (approximately 10-15 mins). Keep stirring intermittently to prevent the milk and rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Take it off the heat and let it cool. The Kheer will thicken as it cools.
Delicious, rich and creamy Kheer is ready!!
Kheer in Instant Pot
Making Rice kheer in Instant Pot is a breeze. It requires no monitoring or continuous stirring. Very easy and convenient. I've been making my kheer this way ever since I bought it.
To make kheer in the instant pot just add all ingredients, press porridge mode, and cook for 20 mins followed by natural release. Stir well and kheer is ready. For thicker kheer, start saute mode and cook for 5 mins stirring intermittently. And voila!! kheer is ready!!
Storage and Serving
Kheer can be served warm or cold. If you are serving it warm, garnish with some more dry fruits and serve right after its ready.
If you prefer it cold, allow kheer to come to room temperature and refrigerate for a couple of hours to overnight before serving.
Kheer tends to thicken when refrigerated so thin it out by adding some milk to the consistency you like just before serving.
Leftover kheer can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Serve straight out for cold or microwave for few seconds for warm kheer.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Whole milk gives it a nice and creamy texture but low-fat milk will work too. If you want to take the creaminess to the next level you can substitute 1 cup of milk with half n half or cream.
- Make kheer in a heavy-bottomed pan. It will distribute the heat more evenly so that the milk won't scorch on the bottom of the pan.
- Add 1 teaspoon ghee when cooking in Instant pot to prevent the burn or scorching.
- You can use dried fruits and nuts of choice. I prefer to add cashews, almonds, and raisins and they go very well with this kheer. Prefer to reserve the pistachios for garnishing. But you can alter it based on your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! This is a great make-ahead dessert. It will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days. The flavors develop even more and I think it tastes better the next day!
Yes jaggery can be used in place of sugar to make kheer. However add jaggery only after cooking is complete. Allow kheer to rest for few mins and while its still warm stir in the jaggery and mix.
Yes, replace whole milk with oat milk, almond milk, or cashew milk. Soy milk can also be used but it may alter the flavor.
Both are made with same ingredients but the main difference is Kheer is made with whole rice while phirni is made with ground rice.
More Indian Dessert Recipes
Hope you enjoy this creamy Rice Kheer!! If you give this recipe a try, please rate by clicking stars ⭐️ in the recipe card. Thank you ❤️ ! You can also follow me on Facebook | Instagram to see what’s cooking in my kitchen!!
- ¼ cup rice using basmati rice
- 4 cups milk using whole milk, See notes for options.
- ½ cup sugar adjust to taste, or condensed milk
- 25 pieces mixed nuts almonds 10 each of almond and cashews and 5 shelled pistachios
- 2 tablespoon raisins
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- pinch saffron strands optional
- 1 teaspoon ghee for Instant pot cooking
- Wash the rice 3-4 times until the water runs clear and soak it for 20-30 mins then drain and keep aside.
- Optional - Soak the almonds in hot water for 10 mins, peel the skin off and roughly slice them.
- Similarly, roughly chop the pistachios and cashews and keep them aside with raisins.
To make kheer on stovetop
- In a thick bottomed pot bring milk to a boil. Stir in between to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the soaked and drained rice to milk. Stir well and cover and cook on low flame until the rice is almost cooked (approximately 20-25 mins). Keep stirring intermittently.
- Once rice is almost cooked, add the sugar, cardamom powder, saffron, dry fruits (cashews, raisins, and almonds). Reserve few for garnishing along with pistachios.
- Mix well and cook on low heat until the mixture thickens. (approximately 10-15 mins).Keep stirring intermittently to prevent the milk and rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Take it off the heat and let it cool. The Kheer will thicken as it cools. Delicious, rich, and creamy Kheer is ready!! Serve warm or chilled. Enjoy!!
To make kheer in Instant pot
- Add all the ingredients into the Instant pot stainless steel insert. Mix well. Close the lid with vent in sealing position.
- Press porridge mode and cook it for 20 mins. Allow natural release. Open the lids and mix well.
- For thicker kheer, start saute mode and cook for 5 mins or until desired consistency is reached. Or add more milk to thin it out.
- The Kheer will thicken as it cools. Delicious, rich and creamy Rice Kheer is ready!! Serve warm or chilled. Enjoy!!
- I have used Basmati Rice for this recipe, but any kind will work.
- Whole milk gives it a nice and creamy texture but low-fat milk will work too. If you want to take the creaminess to the next level you can substitute 1-2 cups of milk with half n half or cream.
- Make kheer in a heavy-bottomed pan if using the stovetop method. It will distribute the heat more evenly so that the milk won't scorch on the bottom of the pan.
- Sugar can be replaced with condensed milk (adjust to taste) for that rich creamy caramel texture and taste.
- You can also use jaggery or brown sugar and adjust sweetness to your taste.
- If using jaggery or brown sugar, add it after cooking to prevent milk from curdling.
- Rose essence can be added if you prefer floral flavor in kheer.
- Add 1 teaspoon ghee when cooking in Instant pot to prevent the burn or scorching.