Rice pudding with cherries and salted coconut crumble

Craving something sweet? This rice pudding recipe uses up basic pantry items, making it a budget-friendly option.



Note: + cooling time



  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (100g) arborio rice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
  • 680g jar pitted morello cherries, drained reserving liquid

Salted coconut crumble

  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 40g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup (35g) flaked coconut
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes



To make the salted coconut crumble, preheat oven to 170°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine the flour, butter, sugar, coconut and salt in a bowl. Spread the coconut mixture over the lined tray. Bake for 10-15 mins or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.


Combine the coconut milk, milk, rice, salt, cinnamon and 1 tbs sugar in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 mins or until the rice is tender and the liquid is almost absorbed. Set aside for 5 mins to cool.


Meanwhile, place the reserved cherry liquid and remaining sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 5 mins or until syrup thickens slightly. Add cherries and stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.


Divide rice pudding among heat-proof cups or serving bowls. Top with cherry mixture and salted coconut crumble.

Dietary information


Rice pudding recipe

For a sweet, hearty, warming dessert that’s perfect for any time of year, rice pudding is one of the best go-to dishes. Creamy rice is sweetened with milk, sugar and vanilla for a completely satisfying bowlful. From India and Africa, to America and European countries, every corner of the globe has its own variation of the comforting dish, and it’s with good reason. Rice pudding is easy to prepare and the ingredients are often pantry staples, which makes it a budget-friendly sweet treat. It’s also a versatile dish - you can switch up ingredients, depending on what you have on hand or what you have a hankering for, plus you can add any topping you like, from sweet and fruity to warm spices with nuts. 

This recipe uses pitted morello cherries from a jar, a brilliant way to get the sour-sweet fruit into your pudding without having to wait for cherry season. And because it’s the perfect partner for cherries, coconut is also used with the rice for extra creaminess, and as a salted crumble topping for a savoury hit and crunch. So if you’re looking for a brilliant recipe for rice pudding, this dish delivers.

Ingredients for creamy rice pudding

To make the creamy rice pudding, you’ll need 400ml coconut milk and 1½ cups (375ml) of regular milk. A short-grain rice works well in rice puddings as they contain more starch, which gives you a creamier pudding. Arborio, used for risotto, is perfect for this recipe. You’ll also need some salt and ground cinnamon, which will give your rice pudding a warming spiced flavour, plus some caster sugar. A 680g jar of pitted morello cherries and its liquid are used, and the liquid is cooked slightly to thicken.

For the salted coconut crumble, you’ll need some butter to give the crumble a golden colour, flour, sugar, salt and flaked coconut.

How to make a warming bowl of rice pudding

First, make the crunchy crumble. Preheat your oven to 170°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the flour, butter, sugar, coconut flakes and salt in a bowl and combine the ingredients, rubbing them in together so they’re mixed in well. Then spread the coconut mixture over the lined tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Set it aside to cool.

Then it’s time to make the rice. For this, you’ll need to use a medium heavy-based saucepan so the heat is distributed evenly during the cooking process. Place the coconut milk, milk, arborio rice, salt, cinnamon and 1 tbs of the caster sugar in the sauce pan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. When it’s reached boiling point, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 25 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid is almost absorbed. Stir the mixture every now and again as you’re cooking to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan. Set the rice aside for 5 minutes to cool down.

While the rice is cooling, you can prepare the cherries. Place the cherry liquid in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the syrup thickens a little. Then add the cherries and stir to combine. Set aside to allow it to cool.

When it’s time to serve, top the rice pudding with the cherry and the thickened liquid and scatter the salted coconut crumble over.

Now get cooking

There are plenty more variations in rice pudding flavours for you to try. Top your next warm bowlful with the enriched flavours of roasted strawberries in this rice pudding with roasted strawberries recipe. If you’re short on time but still need your sweet fix, these quick rice puddings will hit the spot. And for a slow cooker rice pudding featuring aromatic spices, try this Persian-style slow-cooker rice pudding.

Nutrition Information

Per Serve

Energy 1510kJ/361 Cals (17%) 

Protein 5g (10%) 

Fat 17g (24%) 

Sat Fat 14g (58%) 

Sodium 240mg (12%) 

Carb 47g (15%) 

Sugar 30g (33%) 

Dietary Fibre 3g (10%)



Leftover rice pudding can be stored in airtight containers for up to 3 days in the fridge. You can add a little milk before reheating it in the microwave to loosen the mixture. You can also freeze rice pudding in airtight containers for up to 3 months. Thaw it out in the fridge overnight before reheating it in the microwave.

Store leftover crumble topping in an airtight container or resealable bag at room temperature for up to a week. You can use the leftover crumble topping on cakes, fruit crumbles and ice cream.


Yes, to use a slow cooker to make this rice pudding recipe, simply place all the coconut milk, milk, rice, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a slow cooker and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 hours on high and 3-4 hours on low, stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn’t catch on the base of the slow cooker, or until the rice is cooked the liquid thickens.


When it comes to rice pudding, there are plenty of flavour combinations to try. Any fruit - in-season fresh, stewed or canned - makes a great topping, as do nuts like pistachio, almond, macadamia and walnuts. You could also add spices like cinnamon and cardamom, and drizzle over maple syrup or honey.

Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.