Rice gelato

Rice gelato

Gelato di riso

1 litre of gelato
Lauren Bamford

There is a well-known Florentine gelateria that is particularly famous for its rice gelato but it’s a flavour that you will find in all good artisan gelaterie. It’s basically a rice pudding, whipped and frozen, so you have smooth, silky gelato with delightful little frozen pieces of rice.


Quantity Ingredient
80g risotto rice, such as arborio or carnaroli
500ml full-cream cold milk
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
A pinch salt
2 egg yolks
100g sugar
200ml milk, warmed
1 orange, zested
125ml well-chilled pouring cream


  1. Soak the rice for 30 minutes in cold water and drain. Place the rice in a saucepan with the cold milk, vanilla seeds and salt and cook over a low heat until the rice is very, very soft and the mixture becomes creamy. This should take about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it, stir occasionally and be careful the bottom does not burn. Transfer the rice to a bowl and let it cool.
  2. Prepare a crema (a pouring custard) by whisking the egg yolks with the sugar in a heatproof bowl until very pale and creamy. Add the warm milk, bit by bit, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. Place the bowl over a bain marie or double boiler and cook gently over a medium heat, stirring continuously for 10 minutes, or until the eggs reach and stay at 70°C for a few minutes. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer to check the temperature, it should take about 10 minutes in total and the mixture should thicken ever so slightly and be hot, but not boiling. Draw your finger across the back of the spoon – the line should keep its shape for a few moments. Remove from the heat and stir the rice through the crema along with the orange zest. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  3. Whip the chilled cream until soft peaks form and gently fold through the chilled rice mixture until combined. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then place in an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions until frozen and creamy. Serve immediately for a softer style gelato or place the mixture in an airtight container in the freezer for at least 45 minutes to serve in scoops.
  4. If you have stored the gelato in the freezer overnight or longer, let it stand for 15–20 minutes at room temperature to soften slightly before serving.
  5. To make this without an ice cream machine, place the mixture in a sturdy, airtight 1 litre container with a fitted lid and freeze for about 5 hours. After around 4 hours, fluff the gelato with a fork. As it loosens, you can begin to beat it with the fork or spoon until the mixture is smooth and rather creamy. Return to the freezer for another hour or so. Fluff again to obtain a creamy and consistent texture before serving. If necessary, let it stand for 15–30 minutes to soften slightly before ‘fluffing’, beating to soften and serving in soft scoops.


  • If making the gelato without an ice cream machine, it is recommended to serve on the day it is made, as it will be creamier. If you want to make it ahead of time and still have that creamy gelato texture, an ice cream machine is highly recommended.
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