Cranberry Vanilla Rice Pudding and a Giveaway

This post is part of Virtual Potluck!  Please click the tab above or follow the link to learn more about us and explore the rest of our group. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter now too, so make sure to join there so you won’t miss anything! It is our second potluck and we are again being hosted by Donna of Cookistry. Make sure to head on over to her site and browse all the goodies that have been brought to this potluck, sponsored by Marx Foods.

Marx Foods was kind enough to send us samples of mushrooms, vanilla beans, rice, and peppers. Our challenge was to create a festive dish to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck. Turkey was provided, but side dishes were left up to us. We could use all the ingredients (one Virtual Potluck member took on that challenge) or just one or two. Let me tell you–you really should check out every recipe in this potluck–we cooked up some really delicious stuff this time! It’s easy when you’re starting with quality ingredients.

I used the vanilla beans and the “Italian Vialone Nano Rice.” Rice pudding may not be “traditionally” a Thanksgiving recipe, but I tried to make it more festive by adding tart, fresh cranberries and fragrant vanilla.

This turned into a creamy, delicious dessert perfect for any occasion, including breakfast! Oh yeah…and Thanksgiving. Something for people who might not love pie. Or for people who DO love pie, but are still hungry.

Cranberry Vanilla Rice Pudding
adapted from Joy the Baker

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup short grain Italian rice
1 heaping cup of fresh cranberries
4 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean

1. In a small saucepan, over low heat, warm the milk. Don’t boil it–bring it to almost boiling and then turn off the heat.
2. In a large pan (I used my dutch oven) over low heat, melt your butter. Once it is melted add the rice and cranberries and stir to coat and slightly toast the rice, or about 1-2 minutes.
3. Ladle in about 3/4 cup of the warm milk and continue to stir. Once the rice is absorbed, add another ladle of milk. Continue this process–stirring nearly continuously until the rice is tender (taste it!) and your milk is almost gone. Mine took about 25 minutes. Make sure to watch out for the cranberries–they like to pop! Be careful.
4. Add the final bit of milk, the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
5. Enjoy! I prefer it warm.

Verdict: Perfect comfort food. You get a little tartness from the cranberries but then the luxiorious sweetness for the dark brown sugar and vanilla beans.
Husband’s take: He never tried any of this. Whoops!
Changes I would make: None!
Difficulty: Easy! Just make sure you have 25 to 30 minutes to devote to it so you can constantly stir it. It’s what makes it delicious!

Before I announce the giveaway, have you heard of Marx foods? I’ve spent so much time on their site browsing the delicious ingredients and foods they feature. Some things you’ll find there are:

  • truffles (buy me these for Christmas: Let me know if you need my shipping address.)
  • pumpkin and sage ravioli and other amazing looking pastas
  • dried peppers
  • kangaroo, turtle, alligator, ostrich, llama, and frog (yeah, you heard right–tell me you haven’t been dying to try a kangaroo rump?!)
  • edible flowers (make your plates beautiful!)
  • exotic fruits
  • grains, lentils, honey, sugars, salts, seeds, coffees, oils, spices (what more do you need?)
  • ice cream molded in the shape of corn on the cob, footballs, and Santa. Santa!
  • Cheese. I’d like to try this one, please.

Guess what? If you want to buy me those truffles or cheese? Marx foods will give you a discount! Okay, so they’ll give you the discount even if you’re shopping for someone other than me. Just enter “POTLUCK” into the “Coupon Code” field at checkout for 10% of everything in the store.  Valid 11/21 – 11/27.

UPDATE: Winner has been chosen and contacted via email. Congrats to Alexis who said, “Yum, this looks super comforting for a cold, rainy night.” Enjoy your samples!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS: One winner with receive samples of vanilla beans, dried Habanero chilies, and dried aji Amarillo chilies.

To Enter:


Comment on this post. Tell me which Marx food product you would most like to try.

For Extra Entries (MAKE SURE to leave an extra comment for each or they won’t count!):

1. Follow @virtualpotluck on Twitter
2. “Like” Virtual Potluck on Facebook 
3. Subscribe to my RSS feed or add your name to my email list (please confirm when you get the email asking you to do so).
4. Tweet about this giveaway! You can use this if you want: “Enter to win @marxfoods samples from @not_rachaelray! #virtualpotluck #giveaway”
5. Share this giveaway on your Facebook page.
6. Visit any other Virtual Potluck blogger (see all the posts here) and enter at least one other giveaway. Come back and let me know which one you entered.


That’s up to seven chances to win! Enter by Sunday night and I’ll choose a random winner on Monday morning. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I choose another winner. Prize will be shipped by me. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was sent free products to use and review. However, all opinions expressed in this post are, as always, 100% my own. I was not compensated for this post other than the free products.

When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
I love to see what you're creating!


  1. Pingback: Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Vanilla Bean Whipped Butter - Rachel Cooks

  2. Pingback: 30+ Cranberry Recipes for Thanksgiving and More - Growing Up Gabel

  3. This looks so delicious. I have wanted to make rice pudding for a while now, but I still haven’t gotten around to it. I’m definitely going to add it to my recipe box!

  4. What a great twist on rice pudding! It’s one of my favorites and I love the use of the cranberries. YUMMY!

  5. I am already Subscribed to your RSS feed

  6. I “Like” Virtual Potluck on Facebook

  7. I Follow @virtualpotluck on Twitter

  8. I would love to try the sausage!

  9. Dang! This looks so good! I love rice pudding.

  10. That rice pudding is such a pretty color – great use of cranberries.

  11. I follow your RSS feed.

  12. I liked Virtual Potluck on Facebook.

  13. Ok sooo I actually would like to try the alligator meat… I’ve heard it’s REALLY good and I’m a fairly adventurous eater and have wanted to try it for awhile now. Weird? Maybe. But I’m okay with that :)

  14. oh my gosh, i would LOVE to get my hands on some vanilla beans!

  15. I’ve never tried rice pudding before, but I go nutso over cranberries this time of year. I definitely want to try your rice pudding…but still eat that slice of pie :) That’s allowed, right?

  16. This rice pudding looks amazing! I would love to try the truffle cheese.

  17. Lovely twist to a a traditional rice pudding. Love the colors and the photographs look gorgeous!

  18. Totally my kind of rice pudding. Love the colors the cranberries add to it.

  19. Pingback: thanksgiving desserts

  20. this looks so good! I love rice pudding!!

    I’d like any of the Marx chocolate or anything they want to give me :)

  21. I would love the vanilla beans! This bread pudding would make a delicious Thanksgiving breakfast.

  22. Love your spin on a traditional rice pudding dish. Cranberries are so tasty, and they’re a great pop of color too! Lovely photos as well.

  23. I follow Virtual Potluck on Twitter

  24. I would love to try one of the truffles from Marx Foods. Just a little bit out of my price range though … ;)

  25. So happy you posted this. I whimically bought cranberries the other day and have no idea what to do with them.

  26. I “liked” Virtual Pot Luck on Facebook.

  27. I want to try the vanilla beans! I think they would be perfect for making homemade vanilla extract.

  28. yum, this looks super comforting for a cold, rainy night

  29. I LOVEEEE the “holiday colors” of the pudding! It just looks so pretty:)

  30. What fun we are having with the Marx foods and Virtual Potluck! You recipe is both beautiful and comforting! Perfect with our Virtual Turkey dinner! Love the photos!

  31. Those pictures are amazing! I bet the food was too!

  32. I love me some rice pudding! Yum yum yum.

  33. Wow, Rachel, this looks so good! Love the use of cranberries.

  34. It was the perfect timing for me to get this recipe in my RSS feed today! I still had two bags of cranberries from last year in my deep freeze that I’ve been looking to use, PLUS I had half a gallon of milk in my fridge that expired yesterday. So, I made a batch of this rice pudding this afternoon. It definitely took some time, but the results were worth it. YUM!

  35. I would LOVE to try the vanilla extract! You just can’t beat top notch vanilla.

    This rice pudding sounds delish!

  36. What a pretty color. Can’t wait to try this one.

  37. Rice Pudding is pretty much heaven in a bowl. I LOVE THE STUFF!! I love the take on the festive red … I know this would not last very long at my home.

    I would love to try the Sundried Tomato & Veggie Pansotti; They’re so pretty!!

  38. I’m skipping turkey and heading right to this!

  39. Mentioned it on FB!

  40. I commented on Diabetic Foodie’s site. Her mushroom appetizers look delish!

  41. I’d love to try Truffle Cheese

  42. I want to try the Oregon truffles! Oh my. :)

  43. I entered Donna’s giveaway on Cookistry.

  44. I shared this post on Facebook.

  45. This Texan would like to try the chilies

  46. I “like”d Virtual Potluck on Facebook.

  47. I follow Virtual Potluck on Twitter.

  48. I’d like to try their truffles, if I could afford them.

  49. I visited Farmgirl Gourmet’s blog and entered her giveaway :)

  50. I like Virtual Potluck on FB.

  51. The Marx Food Product I would most like to try is their truffles…

  52. Entered food hunters guide giveaway

  53. Shared on fb

  54. Tweeted about giveaway

  55. Subscribe to your rss feed

  56. Follow virtual potluck on twitter

  57. Like virtual potluck on fb

  58. The whole nutmeg. I have never tried it before

  59. I tweeted about the giveaway

  60. I subscribe to your RSS feed

  61. Ooo I want to try the pumpkin and sage ravioli!

  62. Look at THAT! Cranberry. Well, I’ll be.

  63. The vanilla beans would be amazing!

  64. what a cool idea–i love the color!

  65. Yummy rice pudding! Love seeing the black seeds from the vanilla bean in the pudding. Never thought of adding cranberries.

  66. This sounds so delicious, I love cranberry

  67. I entered the contest at Farmgirl Gourmet!

  68. Oh….the pudding looks so creamy and delicious! And cranberries in lovely color it gave to the recipe.

  69. simply beautiful and comforting for this season. I love rice pudding and it doesn’t get enough credit in my opinion. great giveaway- would love to try the vanilla extract

  70. I subscribe to Not Rachael Ray via email!

  71. I would like to try the Fresh and/or Dried Wild Mushroom Sampler!

  72. Farmgirl gourmet FTW! All of the other dishes had bad ingredients like shrimp and mushrooms :(

  73. shared giveaway on FB

  74. follow you via e-mail

  75. tweeted giveaway from @goturcrazy

  76. followed VP on twitter

  77. liked VP on FB

  78. I want to try the dried habaneros! I add chiles to EVERYTHING and have never used those

  79. Oh Rachel, I love you so much and this dish looks very pretty because of the gorgeous color, but I seriously dislike rice pudding. LOL. But I love you!!!! Looks like the rice made it very creamy…. But that is all I can say….AHHH!

  80. That is such a pretty dish of rice pudding! I love the cranberry addition.
    P.S. I am using my discount to get you that kangaroo you’ve been dying to try!

  81. Whoa that rice pudding looks fabulous! Love the addition of cranberries and the pink color of the pudding! Haha! :)
    I want to try the Tahitian Vanilla Extract!

  82. Wow! Not only does the dish look and sound divine but girl you give good food porn! Those pics are awesome ~ I need some tips and a better camera. :)

  83. I can’t wait to try the Tahitian vanilla extract! The rice pudding looks gorgeous and love your shot of fresh cranberries.

  84. i want to try the Tahitian Vanilla Extract

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