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Paal Payasam | Rice Kheer Recipe

Paal Payasam | Rice Kheer Recipe

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Delicious and easy-to-make 3-ingredient paal payasam, Indian milk kheer prepared with rice, milk, and sugar! Rich and creamy kheer perfect for any occasion. 

close up shot of paal payasam served in glass jars with spoon inside

Paal means milk, and payasam means pudding/kheer in Tamil. Call this pal payasam or arisi paal payasam or paal payasam, milk pudding, or rice kheer; this humble and delicious dessert is perfect for any festival or occasion.

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My mom is my cooking guru, and I learned all the basics and many South Indian recipes from her, and this paal payasam is among them. I add my twists and make slight variations to my mom’s recipes, but I follow the recipe to T when it comes to this paal payasam. My mom doesn’t add any ghee-roasted nuts, raisins, cardamom, cloves, or other flavorings. But still, the payasam tastes delicious. The magic of slow cooking the rice with milk does the trick. 

Temple-style payasam

This payasam recipe is more like the Ambalapuzha paal payasam or the Kerala Sri Krishna temple paal payasam with white raw rice. The traditional Kerala payasam calls for red rice/chemba rice for the kheer, but we typically use short grain raw rice (pachaarisi), either ponni or sona masoori. 

We first roast the rice and soak it in water till the milk boils and then add the rice to the milk and let the rice cook in the milk. When the rice is well cooked, we add sugar and cook further, and that’s it. 

I know it needs constant attention, and it’s time-consuming. But as the saying goes, no pain, no gain, it’s worth the time, folks. The slow cooking brings out all the creamy goodness and deliciousness. So give this pal payasam a try, and I am sure you will love it. But if you are looking for some quick recipes, check out semi-homemade vermicelli kheer (Semiya payasam) or Instant Pot rice kheer. 

Ingredients

Rice – I used ½ cup of raw sona masoori rice (pachaarisi). You need at least ⅓ to ½ cup of rice for this kheer. We have always made this kheer with a short-grain raw rice variety, but you can also use Gobindobhog rice and basmati rice (for my Instant Pot version, I have used basmati rice). If you can source red chemba rice, go for it by all means.

Milk: We need 5 cups of milk, and I prefer whole milk for this kheer. But I have tried this with 2% reduced-fat milk but not with low fat or fat-free milk. 

Sugar: We need ¾ cup of raw sugar crystals, and for this, paal payasam sugar works the best. For a sweeter version, increase the sugar measure to 1 cup. You can swap the sugar with plant-based sweeteners. 

Optional – If you want to further flavor the kheer, add a pinch of ground cardamom, one crushed green cardamom, or a big fat pinch of saffron. Do not go overboard with cardamom or saffron.

overhead shot of milk pudding served in glass jars

Dietary specifications

This arisi paal payasam is a gluten-free and nut-free kheer. You can refrigerate the kheer for two days, but it thickens as it cools down. So add more milk to adjust the consistency before serving.

Arisi paal payasam recipe with step-wise pictures

  • Add the rice and roast the rice in a heavy bottom pan or kadai (I used my uruli).
roasting the rice
  • Roast until the grains bulge and the color turns slightly like below. Transfer the roasted rice, add 1 cup of water and let it soak till the milk comes to a boil.
roasted rice
  • In the same uruli, add the milk and bring it to a boil.
bringing the milk to boil
  • When the milk boils (in Tamil, we say pongu varumbodu), drain the water from the rice and add the rice to the milk. 
milk boiling
  • (Refer the picture colloage below) Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the rice cook in the milk. Keep a wooden ladle on top of the uruli to not overspill the milk. Keep stirring in between, and during the process, collect the frothy cream, scrape the sides, and add it back to the payasam. We are not making basundi here, but collecting and adding the cream back into the kheer enhances the flavor. Note – It took 35 minutes for the rice to cook. The timing might vary depending upon the vessel and the heat setting.  
  • When the rice is cooked, add the sugar, mix well, and mash the rice. Reduce the heat to low, cook for 12 to 15 minutes, and turn off the heat. Serve this kheer warm or cold. 
kheer stepset

Recipe notes

  • Adjust the sugar as per your sweet preference.
  • As the kheer cools, it becomes thick. If needed, add boiled milk as required before serving.
  • Refer to the faq section for more details.
arisi pal payasam served in three glass tumblers with flowers on the side on a wooden board

Frequently asked questions

Can I use low-fat milk for this kheer?

I highly recommend whole milk, but you can make the kheer with 2% reduced-fat milk. I won’t recommend fat-free milk. I haven’t tested this recipe with any plant-based milk.

Can I add nuts and other flavors? 

It is not necessary, but there is no harm in adding a pinch of saffron or cardamom. As I mentioned before, do not go overboard with these ingredients. You can also roast a few cashews and raisins in ghee and add to the kheer.

Can I use erythritol or other sugar replacements?

Honestly, I haven’t tested this recipe with sugar replacements. You can very well use it, and if using erythritol or monk sweet, I would go with ½ cup of sugar.

Explore other payasam recipes

PS If you try this paal payasam, please don’t forget to comment and rate this recipe. If you have any questions, please leave a comment, and I will get to it ASAP. Make sure to follow me on my Pinterest for more healthy and delicious ideas! Follow me on Instagram or join my Facebook Group for more recipe updates! You can also sign-up for my newsletter for weekly updates.

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rice kheer served in single serving glass jars with flowers on the side

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Paal Payasam | Rice Kheer Recipe

Delicious and easy-to-make 3-ingredient paal payasam, Indian milk kheer prepared with rice, milk, and sugar!  

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time1 hr

Total Time1 hr 5 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Indian

Servings: 6

Calories: 277kcal

Author: Srividhya G

Ingredients

Measurement Details: 1 cup = 240ml; 1 tbsp = 15ml; 1 tsp = 5ml;

Instructions

  • Add the rice and roast the rice in a heavy bottom pan or kadai (I used my uruli).

  • Roast until the grains bulge and the color turns slightly like below. Transfer the roasted rice, add 1 cup of water and let it soak till the milk comes to a boil.

  • In the same uruli, add the milk and bring it to a boil.

  • When the milk boils (in Tamil, we say pongu varumbodu), drain the water from the rice and add the rice to the milk.

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the rice cook in the milk. Keep a wooden ladle on top of the uruli to not overspill the milk. Keep stirring in between, and during the process, collect the frothy cream, scrape the sides, and add it back to the payasam. We are not making basundi here, but collecting and adding the cream back into the kheer enhances the flavor. Note – It took 35 minutes for the rice to cook. The timing might vary depending upon the vessel and the heat setting.

  • When the rice is cooked, add the sugar, mix well, and mash the rice. Reduce the heat to low, cook for 12 to 15 minutes, and turn off the heat.

  • Serve this kheer warm or cold.

Notes

  • Adjust the sugar as per your sweet preference.
  • As the kheer cools, it becomes thick. If needed, add boiled milk as required before serving.
  • Refer to the faq section for more details.

Nutrition

Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 90mg | Potassium: 287mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 329IU | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 1mg

I am not a nutritionist. The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It varies depending upon the product types or brands.

Update Notes: Originally posted in 2014. Now updated the post with recipe card and step-wise pictures.


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