Almond Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

Almond KheerDesi has an incorrigible sweet tooth, and after I went vegan, he was, I think, secretly worried for it.But soon enough I started experimenting with vegan alternatives to baked goods like cookies and cakes and got better and better at them with time. However, Indian sweets, to which most of us from India are unreasonably addicted, were another matter altogether.While the role of non-vegan ingredients in baked goods is complementary or even purely functional– they serve as binders or help with the rising, etc– milk plays a central role in Indian sweets. In fact, most Indian sweets, with the exception of jalebi to my knowledge and some lentil-based kheers (a fluid Indian pudding), are dairy-based. At the very least, they call on you to add a dollop of ghee here and there which gives them their unique flavor.Some sweets are easier to veganize than others: Sheera, for instance, which I blogged about not so long ago. Kaju Katli is another favorite Indian sweet that’s not at all hard to make without any dairy ingredients.But today, I want to share my recipe for vegan kheer. The ingredient proportions I follow for my kheer are actually meant for rice pudding, but I like my kheer thick and rice pudding really just is kheer, minus a few spices and flavorings.I used almond milk, my preferred dairy substitute for Indian sweets because of its thick, rich consistency and wonderful nutty flavor. Soy milk is not as good an option because it does have a rather unique and strong flavor that enhances some baked goods and pancakes, but would not be as pleasant in the kheer.

I also added some cardamom which is my favorite spice and which lends a beyond-sublime flavor to sweets.

The kheer turned out quite amazing. It looks a little browner than regular rice kheer, but that’s because I use turbinado sugar which is brown and also because I added a bit of vanilla extract which I love in anything and which is particularly dashing in kheer.

Desi, who has been going around claiming he’s “cutting down on sweets,” couldn’t keep his hands off this kheer, and proclaimed it as good as the original. Good enough for me!
Vegan Kheer

Almond Kheer (Rice Pudding)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 8
  • ¾ cup basmati rice
  • 1½ cups water
  • 4 cups almond milk
  • ½- 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup almonds and cashew nuts chopped (you can use one of the other)
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • ¾ tsp cardamom powder (seeds from about 10 pods, crushed)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  1. Heat the rice and the water until they come to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed by the rice.
  2. Add to this the almond milk, vanilla, and ½ to ¾ cups of sugar, depending on how sweet you want it to be.
  3. Let the kheer simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Let it remain a little fluid because it will thicken as it stands.
  4. Heat the oil in a small skillet.
  5. Add the nuts and stir until lightly browned. Add the raisins and cardamom powder and stir for about a minute.
  6. Pour over the kheer.
  7. Enjoy!
  8. Tip: This kheer tastes great warm, but I love it most chilled
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Thanks for stopping by,and i must say u have a lovely blog…..Enjoyed reading about this kheer(never heard of this version so it was interesting)
    A must try…since my son loves sweet and i always try to give him some worthy sweet dishes

  2. says

    Rice pudding looks so delicious! I often make rice pudding with soy milk. I should try with almond milk sometime.

    So many diary alternatives in United States. United States is a paradise for vegans!

  3. says

    Good one Vaishali. Earlier I had tried Poha kheer using almond milk from Indira’s blog. It was so good. So I’m very sure that rice pudding would also taste great.

  4. says

    Nidhi, thanks!

    Miri, Thanks for pointing out. I have added it.

    Harkrishnaji, Notyet100, Alka, Thanks

    Kumudha: You are right indeed. We are lucky out here. I found a deliciously creamy vegan mozzarella the other day and now I am set for life!

    Meera, Anjali: Thanks!

    Aparna: Great question. I use readymade almond milk, but you could certainly grind the almonds and extract the milk. You might even want to use the pulp, because the almonds would add great flavor and thickness. If you do, let me know how it turns out!

    Usha, Madhuram, Cham: Thanks, ladies

    Sunshinemom: SO happy to hear you’ve turned vegan. Welcome to the tribe!

    Bee: Thanks!

  5. says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I didn’t have cashews or almonds, so I used pecans and added some almond extract. I love baked goods with cardamom. This is the most delicious dish! Thanks again!

  6. says

    Just made this especially for a special occasion I am observing (start of Ramadan) and used brown rice instead of white rice. Turned out pretty good; thanks so much for posting the recipe…I’m always trying to incorporate almond milk in south asian recipes as much as possible (in an attempt to reduce dairy intake) and really happy to come across this.

    Best regards to you,

  7. Anonymous says

    I can’t thank you enough for this recipe. Tonight is the second time I’ve made this and it is fantastic!! Thank you for your blog and all the work you put into your recipes. You are a gem!!

  8. says

    Thanks for inspiration :) I did no sugar method: few cups rice milk, 4 dates, 1 banana, sunflower seeds, two bags yogi calming tea (only cardamom I had!) cinnamon, vanilla extract, blended, then boiled and simmered with rice. I had to try not to drink all the recipe! It was better than a Mexican horchata!

  9. Judy says

    Can a sugar substitute such as agave, splenda or stevia be used? I’m both gluten intolerant and diabetic.

  10. Jess says

    Just came across your recipe. Going to try if for an Indian dinner party I’m having this week. How many days can this be made in advance?
    Thanks :)

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