Caribbean rice porridge recipe

4.7.23 | Recipe by Renz

If you love a comforting breakfast, then you have to try this creamy rice porridge recipe. It is a delicious porridge that has delicate and subtle warming flavors and is perfect for the whole family.

A bowl of creamy rice porridge topped with aniseed and grated nutmeg in a white bowl.

If you love something that is comforting and delicious then this rice porridge recipe is something you will want to try. The recipe is far easier to bring together than you might think and from start to finish you will have a batch ready in less than an hour. You can batch cook this so it is ideal for breakfast for the week.

I love how you can easily enjoy the subtle flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg as it is, or you can add different toppings and flavors including different types of milk. It is a versatile and easy recipe to follow.

The creamy rice porridge is decadent but yet so simple to prepare. With less than 10 ingredients you will have a nutritious breakfast, that everyone is going to love.

And after trying the rice version, you can also make some cornmeal porridge, another great comfort food.

What exactly is rice porridge?

Rice porridge is a delicious and nutritious breakfast dish that is hearty and filling. Similar to other rice porridges made around the world (also known as congee), it is made by cooking rice grains in water and milk until they become soft and creamy. This creamy and delicious breakfast option is filling and offers a burst of flavors that will keep you energized throughout the morning.

However, what sets this version of this dish apart from the others, is its unique combination and the use of traditional flavors. This sweet and comforting porridge is often flavored with spices such as cinnamon, bay leaf, and nutmeg, and sweetened with condensed milk or brown sugar.

It is a common dish in Caribbean cuisine (who doesn't love a big bowl of rice porridge for breakfast?) and is enjoyed not only for breakfast but also as a comforting treat on cold days. It is known for its creamy texture and rich flavors, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

One of the key advantages of this dish is its versatility in accommodating dietary restrictions. It is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, making it suitable for those with dietary sensitivities or allergies. Additionally, it is also can be made vegan-friendly, providing a plant-based alternative to traditional breakfast options.

Ingredients needed to make this rice porridge recipe

The flavors of the Caribbean come alive in this delicious and comforting porridge. To create this classic dish, you'll need a few key ingredients.

So, grab your pot, start cooking, and enjoy a bowl of this delightful dish!

The ingredients needed to make Jamaican rice porridge portioned out as needed.

It is a good idea to ensure that you can get all of the ingredients together. Focusing on this first means that the cooking process will be simple. You will need:

  • Uncooked rice - though I use long-grain rice (white rice), you can choose also to use brown rice or jasmine rice. The cooking time will vary depending on the type of rice used.
  • Milk - Regular whole milk is fine, but you can easily amp up the texture if you opt to use almond milk or coconut milk instead or any milk of your choice.
  • Ground nutmeg - not to be left out. The addition of nutmeg enhances the flavor of the porridge. You can use whole nutmeg and grate or use the powder.
  • Bay leaves - Fresh is best to get the full flavor of the bay leaf, but dry can be used. Just double up the amount if you are using dry.
  • Cinnamon sticks - If you don't have the cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon can be used.
  • Salt and vanilla extract - help to bring out all the flavors of the dish.
  • Condensed milk - I prefer to sweeten with condensed milk but brown sugar, or maple syrup are all great options. These sweeteners will add a touch of sweetness and richness to the porridge.
  • Water - you will need water to wash out the rice prior to cooking then water is needed to boil the rice.

    How to make the rice pudding

    Now that you have all your ingredients to hand it is time to make the rice pudding.

    1. One of the first things you could do would be wash the rice out a couple of times. You wash until the water is running clean.

    2. Then get your chosen pot that is large enough for the rice. I love using my Caraway saucepan to make porridge. Add the rice, water, salt, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves to the pot. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat.

      Water, rice, and spices in a deep pot to be put on the stove to boil.

    3. Once you reach that point, lower the heat to medium-low and boil until the rice is soft and tender. Make sure when you squeeze a rice grain it is not hard to squeeze. Stir occasionally while the rice is boiling, to avoid the rice sticking to the pot.

    4. Once your rice is ready, add your milk, vanilla extract, and nutmeg while stirring continuously.

      A measuring cup of milk being poured into the boiled rice with water and spices to make the porridge creamy.

    5. Continue to simmer for another 8 minutes so that it becomes creamy. Make sure you have the consistency that you like. (I prefer mine with more liquid than thickness). Add more milk if you think it is needed.

      A spoonful of completed rice porridge showing the rice grains.

    6. Remove from heat, and sweeten with your sweetener of choice. Add the condensed milk in batches so that you don't make it too sweet. Serve as it is or add some delicious toppings. I have made some suggestions below.

    Recipe notes and tips

    If you want to make the most out of this delicious rice porridge recipe then here are some notes and tips to help.

    • White rice is the preferred option for this dish due to its ability to cook quickly and provide a smooth texture to the porridge.
    • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This step is important as it removes any impurities or excess starch from the rice grains, resulting in a light and fluffy texture once cooked.
    • Make sure to stir the rice when you are boiling it. You don’t want it to stick. You don’t need to stir continuously, but stirring occasionally will prevent this from happening.
    • Once you add the milk and other ingredients make sure to keep stirring so that everything combines well.
    • Remember you can simmer the rice pudding to the consistency you like. Just add more milk if you prefer there to be a little more liquid.

    Grating of fresh nutmeg into a finished bowl of creamy rice porridge.

    Variations to try

    Like with a lot of recipes, once you have tried them out a few times you can look to make some changes and vary the recipe to suit your tastes and preferences. So I wanted to share with you some of them that you might want to try.

    • White rice is what has been used for this recipe as it boils faster, but you can use any rice you want. Keep in mind that brown rice has higher fiber content and a chewier texture. Consequently, it may require longer cooking times and additional liquid to achieve the desired consistency since it will need more water and will take longer to cook.
    • You can use any milk you like for this porridge recipe. Almond and coconut milk would add additional flavor.
    • Add some fresh berries to the porridge once cooked. It may not be traditional, but it will certainly add to the flavor and provide extra nutrients and vitamins.


    Like with any recipe, there are often questions that need answering. I thought I would share some of the common questions here, but if you have any comments or questions please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

    How should I serve the rice porridge?

    This porridge is just great as is. But if you want to be fancy with it, you could also add some toppings. Fresh fruit would be amazing, a drizzle of honey, or even a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Even a spoonful of peanut butter or preserve will work. Everyone has their preferred toppings, so you could add whatever you like.

    How do I store porridge?

    If you have any leftovers or have made a big batch for breakfast and dessert throughout the week then you may be wondering how to store it. Let it cool completely, and transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.

    You can also freeze portions. It will last in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. Let it thaw and heat it up on the stove before enjoying a nutritious breakfast.

    A small cup full of rice porridge on a brown coaster with aniseed in the middle and nutmeg sprinkled on top.

    What is the difference between rice porridge and rice pudding?

    I know many people interchange rice porridge and rice pudding but I do not think they are the same. What varies for me between the two is consistency. Rice porridge has more liquid and is more like a soup with soft tender rice.

    Rice pudding, something we also refer to as sweet rice in Trinidad, is thicker, creamier, and usually made much sweeter.

    The liquid to rice ratio is less and this usually can be eaten warm or cold.

    What if I already have cooked rice?

    If you have leftover rice it is still easy to make this recipe.

    More than likely the rice is not boiled soft so we will just need to soften it up some more. Add the rice to a pot and add enough water to the pot just an inch above the level of the rice along with the spices and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat then lower to medium heat until the rice is soft/tender. Then continue the recipe as directed adding in your milk.

    What other ways can I make porridge?

    This recipe is traditionally made on the stovetop in a pot but with the advancement in technology, you can make it in untraditional equipment and still achieve the perfect texture and flavor. Here are some alternate ways to create this dish:

    Instant Pot: If you prefer a quicker and more efficient cooking method, an Instant Pot is a great option. It's perfect for making porridge, as it can cook the rice in less time while maintaining the delicious flavors.

    Rice Cooker: For those seeking a foolproof way to make creamy rice porridge, a rice cooker is a must-have. It helps achieve a consistently smooth and creamy texture, but you may need to stir the porridge occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.

    These other methods of preparation can make the process of preparing porridge a breeze. Whether you choose a pot, instant pot, or rice cooker, you'll be able to enjoy a delicious and comforting bowl of porridge with ease.

    A close up of a bowl of rice porridge showing the grains.

    How would I make rice porridge vegan?

    You can look to make this vegan if you wish. All you need to do is choose your preferred dairy-free milk. Almond or coconut milk would work well. Instead of condensed milk, you could look to use an alternative sweetener such as agave nectar.

    I hope you enjoy making and eating your rice porridge, the ultimate comfort food. If you do try this recipe please leave a rating and a comment in the recipe card below. 

    Until next time!

    Here are some Caribbean rice dishes:

    Here are some Caribbean breakfast options:

    Fry bake and saltfish buljol
    Smoke herring
    Tomato choka
    Caribbean cocoa tea