Arroz con Leche Recipe (Rice Pudding Recipe)

bowl of arroz con leche with cinnamon stick

Arroz con Leche is a Spanish rice pudding or traditional rice pudding. This delicious dessert is warm flavors of cinnamon, plump raisins, and a creamy milk mixture that will make every bite the one you crave,

It’s a comforting dessert made with simple ingredients like rice, milk, cinnamon sticks.

The best part is that this delicious pudding can be served for breakfast, or as a dessert.

Popular in Latin America, this Mexican rice pudding delivers. It’s comfortable in a dish.

WHAT IS ARROZ CON LECHE?

Arroz con Lech translates from Spanish to English as “rice with milk”.

It’s really that simple to make too.

Rice cooked with a milk mixture, sugar and warm spices to create a porridge-like pudding.

Some recipes for this delicious Mexican dessert call for egg.

two bowls of arroz con leche

WHY I Love Rice Pudding

I have learned that nearly every home in the Latin American culture has its own version of Arroz con Leche.

Some prefer different rice grains. You can use long grain rice, some short-grain rice.

You can customize the taste profile by using different citrus such as lemon, lime, orange, sour orange.

Some family recipes offer plump, juicy raisins, others different fruits, or even chocolate.

Some use pre-cooked rice, but my experience is the recipes where the grains of rice are cooked in the milk mixture are the creamy pudding ones loaded with comfort and flavor, like my Instant Pot Rice Pudding Recipe.

Rice pudding is one of the most budget-friendly desserts–it utilizes everyday pantry ingredients.

You can enjoy creamy Arroz con Leche warm or cold.

Try exchanging the evaporated milk for coconut milk, oat milk, whole milk, almond milk, any nut milk. You’ll still have a rich dessert.

The First Time I Made Arroz con Leche:

I had a mad love affair with Arroz con Leche, living in Miami, Florida.

My husband’s mother and Abuela made it and I couldn’t get enough.

I asked for the recipe.

It was vague…rice.

So? I made rice.

That kept becoming more rice as it cooked.

I had buckets of cooked rice.

I decided, since it was one of my favorite desserts, I had nothing to lose, and turned it all into creamy rice pudding.

The second time I made it, I got specific measurements, which I share here so you can enjoy the Spanish version!

arroz con leche in a glass bowl garnished with a cinnamon stick

Ingredients Check List:

  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups short grain white rice (Arroz)
  • 1 (1/4 inch x 3 inch) strip lime peel
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick (Canela)
  • 2 tablespoons anise seed, crushed
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (leche condensada dulce)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (extracto de vainilla)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup raisins (Optional) (Pasitas)

close up of Arroz con Lech with raisens

How to Make Arroz con Leche

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 2 1/4 cups of water, rice, and lime peel. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is tender.
  • Step 2
  • While the rice is cooking, combine 1/2 cup of water, the cinnamon stick, and anise in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a low boil for 3 minutes, then remove the saucepan from the stove. Strain flavored water through a sieve, into a bowl and set aside, discarding cinnamon sticks and anise pieces.
  • Step 3
  • After the rice has simmered for 20 minutes, use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the lime peel. Adjust heat to low heat, and gradually stir evaporated milk and condensed milk into the rice. Mix in the cinnamon and anise-flavored water, vanilla, salt, and add raisins, if desired. Stir continuously but gently to keep the grains in tact, until the mixture thickens, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 4
  • If the pudding is too watery after 10 minutes, turn up the heat to medium-low and stir continuously. When pudding reaches desired consistency, remove from heat and pour into individual dessert bowls, or a large bowl. Arroz con Leche will thicken as it sits, absorbing the liquid.
  • Sprinkle generously with ground cinnamon.
  • Store leftover rice pudding in the refrigerator until ready to serve.authentic arroz con leche in bowl with cinnamon stick garnish

Tips:

Some like their Arroz con Leche wet, while others prefer it drier. It’s really a personal performance and this easy Arroz con Leche recipe is adaptable to all palates.

Make a complete Spanish Meal that includes Abuela Approved Black Beans and Arroz con Pollo for a complete meal!

  • Arroz con Leche too dry? Stir in ¼ cup of milk at a time and heat for a couple more minutes until you get the level of moisture that you want.
  • Arroz con Leche too wet? If you find that it is too moist, just cook over low heat until enough liquid has evaporated.
  • You can use any type of rice (brown rice you will need to adjust the time). I use short-grain or long-grain white rice. Basmati, Jasmine, work, and are less chewy than traditional white rice.
  • We like it sweet, but you may want to use half of the condensed milk the first time and try it. You can always add the rest of the can after tasting. 
  • You can use creamy canned coconut milk and sweeten the rice with sugar, and skip the condensed milk for a vegan, lower fat version.
  • If you put this in your refrigerator (or let it sit) the rice will absorb all the liquid. Just stir in warm milk to bring it to the consistency you prefer.

Raisins and Other Additions:

Raisins aren’t for everyone.

By the way, did you know there are many raisin varieties?

Perhaps Soaking raisins in brandy, tequila, or rum to spike the flavor might win you over? Just remember these make it an adult sweet tooth dessert!

Think outside the box. Raisins are traditional but you can add a different kind of dried fruit–think cherries, cranberries, mango, dates, whatever!

Throw in some chocolate chips.

Garnish with a pinch of grated orange zest.

Drizzle with maple syrup.

If you like this dessert, you may also like Instant Pot Flan.

bowl of arroz con leche with cinnamon stick

Arroz con Leche Recipe (Rice Pudding Recipe)

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Arroz con Leche is a Spanish rice pudding or traditional rice pudding. This delicious dessert is warm flavors of cinnamon, plump raisins, and a creamy milk mixture that will make every bite the one you crave,

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups short grain white rice (Arroz)
  • 1 (1/4 inch x 3 inch) strip lime peel
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick (Canela)
  • 2 tablespoons anise seed, crushed
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (leche condensada dulce)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (extracto de vainilla)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup raisins (Optional) (Pasitas)

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 1/4 cups of water, rice, and lime peel. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is tender.
  2. While the rice is cooking, combine 1/2 cup of water, the cinnamon stick, and anise in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a low boil for 3 minutes, then remove the saucepan from the stove. Strain flavored water through a sieve, into a bowl and set aside, discarding cinnamon sticks and anise pieces.
  3. After the rice has simmered for 20 minutes, use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the lime peel. Adjust heat to low heat, and gradually stir evaporated milk and condensed milk into the rice. Mix in the cinnamon and anise-flavored water, vanilla, salt, and add raisins, if desired. Stir continuously but gently to keep the grains in tact, until the mixture thickens, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. If the pudding is too watery after 10 minutes, turn up the heat to medium-low and stir continuously. When pudding reaches desired consistency, remove from heat and pour into individual dessert bowls, or a large bowl. Arroz con Leche will thicken as it sits, absorbing the liquid. Sprinkle generously with ground cinnamon. Store leftover rice pudding in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 151Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 109mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 3g

Nutritional Information may not be accurate

Did you make this recipe?

Share it on Social Media with #TodaysBestRecipe

Recommended Articles

Skip to Recipe