Gatnabour – Armenian Rice Pudding

After dealing with some heavy-duty dental work this past week, I was only able to eat very soft foods for a few days. This presented me with the perfect opportunity to make Gatnabour. What an excuse, right? Its soft, creamy texture and delicately sweet taste was just what I needed after suffering in the dental chair for so many uncomfortable hours. It’s simple to make, but be ready to stand by the stove for about an hour to stir – and – keep a watchful eye on the pot. The end result will be worth every minute of your time!


Sweet and creamy Armenian rice pudding.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup uncooked rice (short grain is best)
  • 4 cups warm milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp rose water (optional)
  • ground cinnamon (optional)


  • Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Stir in rice; reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed – about 15 minutes. Make sure rice doesn’t burn or stick to bottom of pot. Rice will be a bit ‘al dente’. Remove rice from pot and set aside. Wash and dry the pot before going on step #2.
  • Add milk to the same 4-quart pot used in step #1. Heat milk until it is warm, but not boiling. Add the al dente rice to the warm milk and cook on low to medium heat for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should be thickening at this point, as the milk begins to evaporate. Stir in the salt and sugar; cook for 15 minutes more and continue to stir. The mixture should begin to resemble thickened rice pudding. Remove from heat and stir in the rose water, if using.
  • Pour pudding into individual dessert dishes; allow cool at room temperature. Serve immediately. The pudding can also be served chilled. Sprinkle top with cinnamon just before serving, if desired.


Robyn’s Notes:
  • I used skim milk and it came out great! The rose water and cinnamon added  very subtle, satisfying flavors to the pudding.
  • For a more festive touch, sprinkle the top with ground pistachio nuts, or add lemon or orange zest to the mixture as it cooks.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
(Visited 2,875 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Laura February 13, 2012 at 2:14 am

    mmmm…this looks so yummy!

  2. Anonymous February 14, 2012 at 2:14 am

    when do you use the 4 cups of warm water? I am assuming that is when the milk is warm?

    1. Robyn February 14, 2012 at 4:05 am

      To clarify: You don't use 4 cups warm water, it's 4 cups of milk. Perhaps the ingredient list should just read '4 cups milk' to make it less confusing.The milk is heated to just below the boiling point in step #2 so that it is warm, then the partially cooked rice is added. I hope this explanation helps.

  3. Marine February 23, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Love gatnabour.

  4. Anonymous March 1, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I think you have given my sisters and myself the missing rice pudding of our childhood that went to the grave with our 100% armenian grandmother. We have been searching and trying to produce her sweet, slightly souping, able to slip milk onto the spoon rice pudding!! Can't wait to make this!!

    1. Robyn March 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      I'd love to know if this recipe is similar to the one your grandmother used to make. Please keep me posted!

  5. October 5, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Looks amazing and comforting. Sounds like something I would really enjoy right now 🙂

  6. Anonymous August 21, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    What is the bed kind of rice do this recipe?

  7. Anonymous August 22, 2014 at 1:10 am

    What type of rice is best to use for this recipe?

    1. Robyn Kalajian August 25, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Your best bet is to use a short grain rice which tends to have more starch. I would not recommend using parboiled long grain rice for this dessert.

  8. Anonymous January 8, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Robin, my grandmother and mother made gatnabour exactly as you do. They did not use rose water, which is a matter of taste or how it was made in their region. It is yummy and doesn't last too long in the refrigerator!

    1. Robyn January 8, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      It doesn't last long around our home, either!

  9. didi March 19, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you for the inspired feelings. My mother prepares it too! I'm from Russia (Rostov-on-Don) overpowered my ancestors from the Crimea in 1779, unfortunately, most Armenians do not know the language (we're talking on the western dialect) and many recipes to die together with our parents. But thanks to you I find painfully familiar recipes and rejoice in tears. Thank you again. Be healthy and happy! Sincerely, Marina Kuruzyan

  10. Solange Belém October 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Olá! Gostei muito da receita. Obrigada por compartilhar 🙂

  11. brdngrl April 1, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Can you use non-dairy milk for this?

    1. Robyn Kalajian April 1, 2020 at 11:54 pm

      I haven't tried this with non-dairy milk, but I understand from others that Silk works well in making rice pudding. Would you care to experiment and share your result?

  12. Anonymous August 5, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Robyn! I made your Gatnabour recently – delicious! To make sure I stirred it frequently – and didn't walk away – I pulled a chair up to the range and sat there with my silicone spatula at the ready. In the Treasured Armenian Recipes cookbook there is an option for baking Gatnabour: "place all ingredients in Pyrex utensil and cook for one hour in the oven at 350…". I don't know if they mean to put the dry UNcooked rice OR par-cooked. Have you (or any readers) successfully baked Gatnabour? Thanks!

  13. Robyn Kalajian August 26, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Hi, sorry for the delayed response. If I were to make an educated guess, I'd say that since the stove top version says to start with cooked rice, then it wouldn't hurt to par-cook the rice before baking.

  14. Natalie May 29, 2022 at 2:32 am

    5 stars
    Turned out delicious, next time I’ll put a little less sugar for my taste but otherwise very much like my mum used to make it 😊

    1. Robyn Kalajian May 31, 2022 at 9:54 am

      I’m so happy to hear this, Natalie! Glad you liked the recipe.

  15. Raffi November 2, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    5 stars
    Armenian food is objectively the best

  16. Gigi January 9, 2024 at 2:36 pm

    5 stars
    This was a huge hit with the entire family, especially my little one! Will definitely make it again and again.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating