There is nothing as comforting as rhubarb and custard to see you through the last of the winter’s chill. Traditional rice pudding is baked in the oven, but I never heat the whole oven up for something I can do just as well on the hob.

(Serves 4) 54p a portion

200g rhubarb, £1.50
50g sugar, 4p
150g long grain rice, washed, 6p
600ml whole milk, 36p
385g custard, 20p

Slice the rhubarb and cover with water in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for five minutes. Remove the rhubarb with a slotted spoon and reserve to serve on top of the pudding.

Add the rice to the rhubarb poaching water with the milk and bring back to the boil before reducing to a simmer for 20 minutes, or until soft, sticky and creamy.

Stir in the custard before serving, and top with the chunks of rhubarb.

TIP: If you’re cooking something else in the oven at around 180C/350F/gas mark four, put all the ingredients for this pudding in a lidded casserole dish for half an hour or so on the bottom shelf.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

First published in The Guardian, 12 March 2014. Photograph by Graeme Robertson for The Guardian.


  1. I became addicted to Spanish style rice pud many years ago. Cooked on the hob with cinnamon and lemon peel, then served chilled, absolutely delicious and wonderful for summer when you feel like something more substantial than standard summer fare.

  2. Jack
    Fresh rhubarb is a long way off, here in New England-usually May.Meanwhile, I DO have some home canned, rhubarb sauce. How would you suggest converting your recipe to use the home canned, rhubarb?
    Thanks for any suggestions!

  3. We have just lost two ‘big hitters’ who really cared about the social impact on people’s lives because of the economy – way the capitalist system is being managed. At its worst it amounts to a death sentence. Your input is splendid. More power to your elbows, dear Jack, I say. You are much loved – cometh the hour, cometh to woman, as they say. And that woman is YOU. At the end of the day, politics is about the balance to be struck between power and morality. Read Bertolt Brecht’s poem – A Worker reads History when you can, even though its all about chaps..

  4. That looks gorgeous. I do a lovely one also on the hob, to a Welsh recipe with marmalade and whiskey. Killer ingredient price wise ( but also taste wise!) if you don’t already have it in is the whiskey. Maybe not also for a young child, but it is a good winter warmer.

    • I’d try dates instead of sugar and coconut cream instead of cows milk.

      And cinnamon and nutmeg on top, mmmmmmm…

      • I use brown rice, coconut milk, raisins and nutmeg……no sugar, no dairy, and I have it for breakfast, it is absolutely heavenly :))

  5. do you know what the custard measurement is in volume? I tend to use custard powder for instant custard so need to know an approximation of the amount to make (or do I substitute ml for g?)

  6. I have some rhubarb juice in the freezer (I save everything!), here’s how I can use it up – thank you! Bought your book last week, probably more recipes in there than any cookbook I’ve bought before – thanks for that too!

  7. Oh this recipe takes my right back to my childhood. My gran used to make the best rice pudding, and rhubarb and custard, and this combines both of those. I suppose it would be OK to use short-grained pudding rice, as well. Will have to give this recipe a go – thanks Jack.

  8. Is the custard made with custard powder and milk etc, eg half a pint or a ready made carton. nic

  9. I’ve got a big pot of rice pudding cooking in the crockpot today…so easy, so good! Never thought of adding rhubarb, but then there’s still snow and ice here so it will be a while before the rhubarb appears. Maybe I’ll try it then!

  10. I only have 1 rhubarb plant, normally I just stew it and have on its own as a naughty but nice supper. If there is not enough stalks, just bulk it with apple in either tart, pie or crumble. I can’t wait try this dish now, my rhubarb is still little so have to be patient. Another suggestion but haven’t try it yet might be good with a natural yogurt that is a bit of cooled cooked rhubarb. I love pudding for last meal of the day especially when feeling cold.

  11. My rhubarb is peeping out in a promising way. I will wait for that and serve it chilled, might chance a smidge of cardamon if i am feeling cutting-edge. You do a cracking job Jack.

  12. I love rice pudding, and recently I threw together a ‘sticky toffee rice pudding’.

    So simple, just add chopped dates and a sprinkle of brown sugar to your basic recipe! I also used coconut milk as an extra indulgent treat (and this made it vegan). You need very little sugar as the dates add natural sweetness. I baked mine but it could work on the hob.

    Oh, and it doesn’t look particularly great till you give it a good stir – but it tastes great!

    Might try this rhubarb one next. 🙂

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