Classic arroz con leche is an indulgently creamy homemade dessert that comes together on the stovetop with ease. Serve this sweet, classic treat warm or cold, lightly dusted with ground cinnamon and watch it disappear!
Why You Will Love This Arroz Con Leche Recipe
This traditional Mexican rice pudding is easy to make and always a hit. Arroz con leche literally translates to rice with milk, but we call it delicious in any language! Here are a few reasons why you’ll agree:
- Comforting: Creamy, thick and sweet, every luxurious spoonful feels like a warm hug. The flavor is reminiscent of tres leche cake due to the use of three different milk products.
- Easy: Made simple with readily available ingredients, most of which you probably already have sitting on your pantry shelves.
- Authentic: If you’re a rice pudding fan, you’ll appreciate this traditional Spanish treat made with classic ingredients.
- Versatile: You can serve this rice pudding warm or cold! Serve it chilled for a refreshing treat on a hot day, or serve it warm for a comforting dessert on a chilly night!
- Gluten-Free: Full of wholesome ingredients, this rice pudding recipe appeals to everyone, but especially those avoiding gluten.
What You’ll Need
This simple recipe uses just a few ingredients that are budget friendly and easy to find. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.
- Rice: Use plain, long grain white rice for this recipe. Other varieties could be used but will change the taste and texture.
- Cinnamon Stick: Usually sold with 3 or 4 in a jar or bag, this whole spice version is located near the other ground spices.
- Milk: Use whole milk for the creamiest pudding.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: This is a thick, sweet and deliciously rich canned milk product located on the grocery store baking aisle.
- Evaporated Milk: A shelf stable, canned milk product, evaporated milk has a bold creamy taste. You can substitute it for half and half.
- Sugar: Use regular, granulated sugar, a mix of brown and white sugar for a caramelized flavor, or a good quality, equal measure sugar substitute.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract produces the best flavor.
- Raisins: Not a fan? Omit them or try one of the variations suggested below.
- Ground Cinnamon: Sprinkle on top for a lovely presentation and extra toasty flavor.
How to Make Arroz Con Leche
Let’s take a look at the steps for making this rice pudding recipe. It’s simple and easy. If you can stir a pot, you can make perfect rice pudding! Scroll down to the recipe card for full detailed instructions.
- Rinse: Place rice in a mesh strainer and rinse until water runs clear.
- Cook: Add rice, water, and cinnamon stick to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until rice is soft.
- Add Milks: Stir in all three milks, sugar, vanilla and raisins (optional). Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.
- Cool: Remove arroz con leche from heat and allow to cool. Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Pudding will thicken as it sits.
- Serve: Enjoy this rice pudding warm or allow to cool to room temperature, and then chill to serve cold. Top with cinnamon before serving.
Tips and Variations
Get ready to make a cozy dessert everyone will love, but before you get started, check out these helpful tips and tricks:
- Toasted Cinnamon: Lightly toasting the cinnamon stick in a dry pan before using will enhance the cinnamon flavor.
- Additional Cinnamon: You only need a single stick for the pudding, so toast an additional one to use for garnish. Finely grate the toasted cinnamon with a microplane grater on top before serving.
- Adjust the Thickness: This arroz con leche recipe will thicken up as it simmers and then cools. For an extra thick pudding, cook it a little longer. Do keep in mind that it thickens considerably when chilled in the fridge if serving cold.
- Adjust the Sweetness: If you prefer a less sweet arroz con leche, try replacing the sweetened condensed milk with another can of evaporated milk. From there, sweeten as desired with honey, sugar, or even maple syrup.
- Raisins: Don’t like raisins? Try your favorite chopped, dry or fresh fruits such as cherries, cranberries, pear, apple, pineapple or shredded coconut.
- Other Additions: Try dark chocolate chips, caramel sauce, toasted nuts or top with whipped cream.
How to Store and Reheat Rice Pudding
Rice pudding makes a great make ahead dessert and stores wonderfully. Here’s how:
- Fridge: Arroz con leche can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about 5 days.
- Reheat: To reheat, place the desired portion in a saucepan over low heat. You may need to add a splash of milk if it seems too dry. Heat until warmed through. You can also microwave it for 30 seconds at a time, stirring often.
- Freeze: To freeze, store in an airtight container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Transfer to fridge to thaw overnight before serving chilled or reheating.
Arroz Con Leche (Spanish Rice Pudding)
- Place the rice in a fine mesh sieve, and rinse it until the water runs clear.
- Place the rice, cinnamon, and water in a large saucepan. Bring the rice to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is soft. Be careful not to break the rice by stirring it too much.
- Once the rice is soft, add the whole milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. If you are using raisins, add them as well.
- Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.
- Remove from the heat and allow to sit and thicken even more. You can serve the Arroz con Leche now, while it is warm, or let it cool completely and refrigerate it to serve chilled. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon before serving.
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