Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts

Gelato di Riso (Rice Gelato From Florence)

5 from 1 vote
Made with arborio rice, which is Italian short-grain rice, my Gelato di Riso recipe is cold, creamy, and perfect — especially if you're a fan of rice pudding!
A tray of Gelato di Riso, rice gelato from Florence.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Gelato di Riso, or “rice gelato,” is an incredibly delicious gelato recipe and a traditional (and much loved!) recipe from Florence.

I know “rice gelato” doesn’t compute. If you’re a fan of gelato, you’ve probably had plenty of scoops of chocolate or fruit-flavored gelato, but maybe not gelato di riso. I really, really urge you to give this gelato flavor a try—I know you won’t be disappointed.

[ Try my No-Machine Strawberry Gelato recipe here! ]

Gelato di Riso is somewhat like a rice pudding ice cream. The rice adds a natural sweetness and creaminess to the gelato and gives it an incredibly intriguing texture. Every bite comes with a satisfying, chewy amount of rice. 

Two scoops of Gelato di Riso in a tray.

What Is Gelato di Riso?

Gelato di riso may sound odd to Americans, but it’s one of Italy’s most loved types of gelato! If you ever find yourself in Florence, you have to try the rice gelato. Traditionally, gelato di riso is made with arborio rice, which is Italian short-grain rice. (If you can’t find arborio rice, though, this recipe will work with any other starchy, short-grained white rice!) 

Unlike American ice cream, gelato is more rich and creamy, with a much more intense flavor, thanks to the lower fat percentages in gelato. If you’re a fan of rice pudding, then this gelato is absolutely one you need to try!

What You Need To Make Gelato di Riso

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Medium saucepan with lid
  • Small saucepan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Sieve
  • Ice cream maker

How To Make Gelato di Riso

This has quickly become one of my favorite summertime treats! Here is how you make gelato di riso (and don’t forget the printable, full recipe down below)::

  1. Soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes—this is a step you can’t skip!
  2. Drain the rice and put it into a medium saucepan with 2 cups of milk over low heat. Put the lid on the pot and cook, occasionally stirring to keep the bottom from burning until the rice is very soft and starting to break down. This will take around 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer the rice and milk mixture to a mixing bowl and stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Set the bowl aside to cool.
  4. Once the rice mixture is room temperature, set a sieve over the bowl. 
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar.
  6. Heat the remaining 1 cup of milk in a small saucepan over low heat until simmering. Then, whisking constantly, add one small ladleful of the milk at a time into the eggs.
  7. Return the egg mixture to the pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. This will take roughly 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Once thickened, immediately pour the mixture through the sieve and onto the cooled rice mixture. Stir to combine.
  9. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until the mixture is fully chilled.
  10. Churn according to the directions on your ice cream maker; this won’t take long as the mixture will already be very thick. Then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours. 

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Gelato di Riso

  • If you don’t have arborio rice, you can use Calrose rice or any other starchy, short-grained white rice.
  • Make sure that you soak the rice for the full 30 minutes and cook the rice until it is very, very soft, or the gelato might have too much texture!
  • Keep the heat on low while you cook the rice so that it doesn’t burn and keep too much of the liquid from evaporating.
  • This gelato is perfect the way it is, but you can add more flavor with a teaspoon of orange zest or a ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon or nutmeg, stirred in just before you churn.
  • Try this served with the cherry sauce from my Danish Risalamande recipe.
  • You can never go wrong by serving homemade gelato with homemade ice cream cones!

A bowl full of Gelato di Riso scoops.

How Do I Store Gelato di Riso?

Store your gelato di riso in an airtight container in the freezer. It will last for up to 6 weeks. 

Make More Ice Cream!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Gelato di Riso Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Made with arborio rice, which is Italian short-grain rice, my Gelato di Riso recipe is cold, creamy, and perfect — especially if you're a fan of rice pudding!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 2 pints
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
freeze for 6 hrs
Made with arborio rice, which is Italian short-grain rice, my Gelato di Riso recipe is cold, creamy, and perfect — especially if you're a fan of rice pudding!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 2 pints

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (2oz/57g) arborio rice
  • 2 cups (16floz/480ml) plus 1 cup (8floz/240ml) whole milk (divided)
  • ½ cup (4floz/120ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks (room temperature)
  • ½ cup (4oz/115g) granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes.
  • Drain the rice and place along with 2 cups of milk in a medium saucepan over low heat. Place a lid on the pot and cook, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from burning, until the rice is very, very soft and starting to break down about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the rice to a mixing bowl, stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract, and set aside to let cool.
  • Once the rice is at room temperature, set a sieve over the bowl.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar.
  • Heat the remaining 1 cup (8flox/240ml) of milk in a small saucepan over low heat until simmering, and then, whisking constantly and one small ladleful at a time, pour the hot milk into the eggs.
  • Return the egg mixture to the pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, roughly 2-3 minutes.
  • Immediately pour the mixture through the sieve and onto the cooled rice mixture. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until the mixture is fully chilled.
  • Churn according to the directions in your ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours. (Note: it won't need very long to churn as it will already be very thick.)
  • Scoop and enjoy! Store in the freezer for up to 6 week.

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John A Cheroki
John A Cheroki
5 days ago

Hi Gemma,
Can I substitute Splenda for the sugar. I can’t have sugar, alcohol sugar or honey, agave etc. and was looking for an ice cream I could make.

Thanks John

priya sarkar
priya sarkar
6 days ago

Hey Gemma, this looks yummilicious!!! Can it be made without the ice cream machine? Your other no-machine gelato recipe is my ‘go to’ for all ice cream bases:), so hope this can work too? Please advise. Thanks!

Hemali
Hemali
7 days ago

What is the option for eggs

Aslihan Akisik
Aslihan Akisik
7 days ago

What can you use instead of heavy cream, and can you make it?
Thanks! love all you recpies!

Emma
Emma
7 days ago

Hi Gemma, so I was wondering can I replace the heavy cream with milk?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!