Gluten-Free Is Me: Coconut Rice Pudding

For some reason I can’t quite explain, I thought it would be a good idea to volunteer to bring dessert to a dinner party who’s host runs a baking website. I have served Emily many dishes at my own abode, intimidation and stress-free. But I’ve never served her dessert.

Matters are further complicated by the fact that I am not really a baker, and am now gluten-free. As a gluten-free, non-baker, my first inclination when dreaming up dessert isn’t to figure out the perfect balance of rice flour to xanthum gum to tapioca starch to sorghum flour. It’s to go to the bodega on my corner and debate buying dulce de leche or chubby hubby. Or both??

Sensing that this strategy wouldn’t hold muster with someone who was planning on serving striped bass as an entrée, I decided to reach into my bag of savory tricks (i.e. my pantry) and make coconut rice pudding instead. I happened to have some whole milk on hand, but if you wanted to go gluten AND dairy free, you could probably just double up on the coconut milk.

This recipe is incredibly versatile, and if you’re trying to impress the dinners at your table as much as I was Emily, I’d add a nutty garnish, like these colorful pistachios, or whatever your pantry has to offer, for extra bonus points.

Eat up!


Coconut Rice Pudding

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings

I love serving these little cuties in wine or punch glasses. It might seem like a pain to lug your own glasses over to a friend's house, but they end up being lighter than a cake in its pan.


  • 1/2 cup white basmati rice
  • One 13- to 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup pistachio nuts, roughly chopped


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, coconut milk, whole milk, sugar, shredded coconut, vanilla, and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. NOTE: Be careful not to let the milk foam up and over the pan when it comes to a boil. Bring the heat down immediately and don’t forget to stir!
  2. Turn the heat down to medium-low and gently simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally during the first 10 minutes, and more frequently during the last ten minutes when the mixture has thickened. When the pudding is done to your desired consistency (I like a looser, creamier pudding, so I air on the side of 20 minutes), remove from the heat.
  3. Divide the rice mixture between 4 punch or wine glasses (ramekins work too), about ⅔ cup per glass. Cool in fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days. Garnish with the pistachios and some toasted coconut flakes (optional). Serve at room temperature.

instagram  If you make this, share a photo and tag me @PhoebeLapine #feedmephoebe - I would love to see it!


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11 Responses to Gluten-Free Is Me: Coconut Rice Pudding

  1. Steph says:

    Yum! This looks delicious, Phoebe, and perfect for a party. Do you think that brown basmati rice and skim milk could be substituted for a (slightly-less) creamy week-night indulgence? xx

  2. feedmephoebe1 says:

    Totally! In fact, you could just use more coconut milk and make it dairy-free! Brown rice gets a little trickier since it takes so much more time than white rice to cook. I came across this Bittman recipe for brown rice pudding – he does it in the oven! Would be interested to hear how it comes out if you choose to make it that way! xo

  3. Jules says:

    Thank you for sharing delicious Gluten Free recipes!!!! These are fabulous options for a glutard

  4. Caitlyn says:

    This sounds so delicious — and I don’t even really like coconut! The pictures are so pretty too. Yummm.

  5. Amy Z, nyc says:

    I made this recipe this week for a lunch I hosted and it turned out delicious. I modified it to be non-dairy, using almond milk instead of cow’s milk. I also added a smidge of cardamom and cinnamon just because I felt it wanted a little something.

    Thanks, Phoebe for a great recipe!

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