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"Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons shows you how to transform leftover rice into a creamy, gluten-free dessert spices + coconut milk. 

Gail likes to serve her rice pudding with this Easy Chocolate Sauce, but choose from any toppings you like, such as shredded coconut, chopped fresh or dried fruit, chopped nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, jam, caramel sauce, or crushed cookies. 

For another sweet way to use up leftovers, check out Gail's Bread Pudding With Bourbon-Butter Sauce.


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup plain leftover cooked rice
  • One 2-inch piece orange or lemon peel
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom or ginger
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, honey, agave or brown sugar
  • Mashed banana or 2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter (optional)


Serves: 2 to 4


In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk to a gentle boil over medium heat. Lower the heat, add the rice, peel and cardamom, stir and allow to simmer until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup and turn off the heat. Allow rice pudding to cool and thicken even more before serving. If desired, stir in the mashed banana or peanut/almond butter.

Serve rice pudding with any desired toppings.