Bengali Payesh Recipe | Indian Rice Pudding

Indulge in the rich and decadent flavors of Payesh, also known as Kheer, a beloved traditional Indian rice pudding.

This creamy and aromatic dessert is made by simmering fragrant basmati rice in sweetened milk and infused with delightful hints of cardamom, saffron, and a medley of nuts and raisins.

Whether enjoyed warm or chilled, Payesh is a comforting and celebratory treat that brings joy and satisfaction to any occasion. Savor the essence of Indian tradition with every luscious bite of this timeless dessert.

What is Payesh or Rice Kheer?

Payesh is a traditional Indian rice pudding native to Bengal and it is difficult to imagine any special occasion or festival without it! This Indian rice pudding, one of Bengal’s most popular dessert recipes, is here to take the crown. This sweet rice pudding embraces all types of celebrations and festivals, making them even more joyful and euphoric than before.

Payesh, the Bengali name for kheer, is made with love from simmering milk mixed with rice, sugar, and a pinch of cardamom powder, topped with a dazzling garnish of chopped pistachios, cashew nuts, and almonds.

Ingredients For Bengali Payesh Recipe  


For a creamy and rich texture, use whole milk (full-fat milk). If you are a vegan, you can use any plant-based milk, but the texture of the payesh won’t be as creamy. 

Half and Half

Adds a delightful richness and creaminess to this rice pudding.


You’ll need Basmati rice with its fragrant aroma.

Bay leaves

Bay leaves add a mild aroma to the dish that isn’t overpowering while still providing a pleasant aroma. (optional)


Adjust as per your taste. 

Nuts & Dried Fruits

To add a nice crunch to the otherwise creamy payesh, add dried nuts like cashews, unsalted pistachios, almonds, and golden raisins. 

How To Prepare Payesh or Rice Kheer?

1. Begin by washing and soaking the rice for 30 minutes, then drain well.

2. Now, take a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the milk and half and half to it and bring to a boil; keep stirring frequently. Add the bay leaves to the milk at the very beginning.

3. Once the milk is boiled, lower the heat and add the washed rice. Cook on low or medium-low for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

4. Next, add the sugar and the raisins if using.

5. Periodically stir because we don’t want this pudding to catch at the bottom and burn. 

6. When the consistency of the milk has reduced, and the rice has cooked through, and you have acquired the required consistency of the payesh, add nuts and cardamom powder.

7. Your payesh is now ready to be served. You can garnish it with some more dry fruits and nuts before serving. 

How To Prepare Payesh or Rice Kheer?

Pro tips for making the perfect Indian rice pudding

Start with high-quality ingredients:

Use fragrant basmati rice, full-fat milk, good-quality spices, and high-quality nuts and raisins for the best flavor and texture.

Soak the rice:

Soak the rice in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This helps the rice cook faster and results in a smoother texture.

Cook low and slow

Cook the rice and milk mixture in a heavy-bottomed pot over low heat, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and the milk has thickened to a creamy consistency.

Substitute Basmati with Arborio Rice

You can easily use Arborio rice as a substitute for Basmati in your Payesh recipe. While Arborio rice may not have the same fragrant quality as Basmati, its high starch content makes it perfect for creating a creamy and velvety texture in this dish. Try using Arborio rice and experience the richness and depth of flavor it adds to the Payesh.

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Indian dessert Kheer served in an antique bowl

Payesh Rice Kheer Recipe

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  • Author: Mish
  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


Enjoy this creamy, sweet, and luxurious rice pudding with nuts, saffron, and dried fruits.


  •  1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 2 Bay leaves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons golden or regular raisins (optional)
  • 11/2 cups sugar
  • A handful of pistachio nuts, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder


  1. Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes, then drain well.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pan bring the milk and half and half to a boil, stirring often. Add the bay leaves if using to the milk right at the beginning.
  3. Once the milk rises, lower the heat and add the washed drained rice. Cook on low or medium-low for about 10 minutes stirring often.
  4. Now add the raisins if using and the sugar and keep simmering the milk on low so the rice cooks.
  5. Keep stirring often so the pudding doesn’t catch at the bottom and burn.
  6. Cook for about 30 minutes on low, uncovered, stirring frequently.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, add the cardamom powder and the crushed pistachios.


You can substitute pistachio with slivered almonds.

Adding saffron to Payesh imparts a lovely nutty taste and beautiful color.

You can substitute Basmati RIce with Arborio RIce, it also works very well.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
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