My mom knows rizogalo is the key to my heart. Her yiayia (grandma) dished it to warm the bellies of her grandkids. Her mother did likewise. Then it was my mom’s turn to keep the rizogalo tradition as an after dinner treat the same way her yiayia did. Blending her yiayias recipe with local author Ellen Furgis’ recipe and countless different batches later, my mom reached rizogalo perfection. Now she serves her version of rizogalo to me and my brothers—and of course all of our hungry friends who can’t get enough of Mama Saltas’ rizogalo.
Rizogalo is not only my favorite dessert but is also my favorite thing my mom makes, period. It always brings me back home. And I live at home. Yes, I’m one of those Greek kids who can’t seem to leave the nest. And why would I want to leave? I get daily lifetime lessons from my dad, my brothers constantly keep me laughing, and I get special homemade batches of rizogalo from my mom. I’ve got it made. As long as my mom keeps making her rizogalo, the only place I’m moving is into the kitchen to refill my bowl.
I’ve made rizogalo many times on my own using her recipe, but there’s just something going on when my mom makes it that makes it more delicious. Maybe she pours the milk in more smoothly or sprinkles the cinnamon on top more evenly than I do. Whatever she does, it’s thick. It’s creamy. It’s home. And now it’s yours. So go ahead, grab a bowl and warm your belly, it’s time to treat yourself with rizogalo.
- 11 cups whole milk
- 1 cup rice (I prefer a long grain rice or Arborio)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 eggs, separated
- Ground cinnamon for serving
- In a deep saucepan add milk, rice, sugar, and butter. Bring mixture to a boil, being sure to stir constantly from the bottom to avoid scorching.
- Reduce the heat and continue to cook at a medium simmer, uncovered, until the rice is soft (about 1 hour to 90 minutes). The mixture will thicken. Occasionally stir throughout this period.
- When the rice is fully cooked, remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the yolks. Slowly add half a cup of the rice mixture into the eggs, continually stirring. This will avoid them cooking into scrambled eggs when added to pudding.
- Now, carefully add the egg mixture into the hot pudding and blend together.
- You can enjoy rizogalo either warm or cold. Cold leftovers are the best.
- Dust with a generous amount of cinnamon on top before serving.
Sorry, 1.5 hours to cook the rice at medium heat? Is that a typo? After boil it takes about 20 minutes to cook Rice normally.
Hi Maria! No, not a typo. For the rice to blend with the other ingredients it requires that slow cook time. Just be sure to blend consistently.
The time requirement is not for the rice to cook but for the milk to thicken. Yes, the rice will cook in about 30 minutes but the liquid in the milk will not be reduced to the desired thickness. It may take you less time if you use heavy cream or evaporated milk.
Hi Sissy, yes you’re exactly right! Cook to desired thickness. I’ve noticed for the milk I use I like to slow cook it all together. I will clarify on my blog for others! Thank you!
I don’t use the long grain rice, takes too long to cook, I use Carolina rice, better for rizogalo, aND I leave out the butter…for a twist, once cooked add a box of vanilla cook and serve pudding and add two more cups of milk at room temp, or warmer, it’s really good!
I’ve tried cooking it with that rice as well but seem to like the slow rice method. I’ve also done half MJB rice and half sushi rice. The sushi rice makes it thicker. It’s fun to play around at times! I’ll have to try the way you add vanilla and more milk at the end as well. Thank you for your comment! 🙂
I always add a tbs corn flour and orange or lemon peel in my own, never vanilla !
( my yiayia’s recipe)
Oh that’s an interesting twist. I will have to try it with some lemon or orange peel. Vanilla adds a nice touch for me! Gotta love all the different variations of rizogalo 🙂