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Classic arroz con leche is a Mexican variation of rice pudding that is sweetened with condensed milk and topped with cinnamon.
This delicious Mexican dessert is simple to make and a classic rice pudding recipe. If you love cinnamon and love Mexican sweets, you also won’t be able to resist our Mexican Hot Chocolate or Horchata!
What is Arroz con Leche?
Arroz con leche was a dessert that my mom grew up on. My great-grandma made it, and I wanted to find a recipe that tasted just like hers.
Fortunately, I did just that and now have introduced this delicious dessert to my own children. But, what is it exactly?
If you’re not familiar with Mexican rice pudding, arroz con leche translates to rice with milk and can include other ingredients like cinnamon and raisins. The dish also has some sort of sweetener, whether it’s sugar or sweetened condensed milk.
This rice can be served warm or cold, but either way you have it, it’s a tapioca-like treat that is delicious. It can also be served as a breakfast dish too!
How to Make Arroz Con Leche
RICE. Combine water, rice, and cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and cook for 16–18 minutes.
SEASON. Drain any remaining liquid, remove the cinnamon sticks, and return the rice to the pan over medium-high heat.
SAUCE. Add sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk. Bring the milk mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly. The milk can easily burn, so it is important to stir constantly as it thickens.
ENJOY! Divide rice among serving cups and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve warm.
There are lots of toppings you can add to this easy arroz con leche recipe from fruit to nuts. Here are some of our favorites:
- brown sugar or honey
- raisins, craisins, or dried fruit
- nutmeg or cinnamon
- coconut or chopped nuts
Make perfect Mexican sweet rice by starting with the best rice.
Rice. Long-grain white rice works best, brown rice may be used. Jasmine rice or basmati rice are both types of long-grain rice and are great choices for this recipe. For best results, avoid instant rice.
When cooking the rice be sure each piece has time to absorb the milk and becomes a soft and creamy consistency. If all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is not quite done, then add ½ cup water and continue to simmer so that the rice does not come out crunchy.
Make it without sweetened condensed milk. The sweetened condensed milk makes it more rich and creamy, but it can also be omitted. Use a mixture of ¾ cup more milk and ¾ cup sugar instead.
Make it in the slow cooker. We actually have a slow-cooker Rice Pudding on the site. Ingredients aren’t exactly the same, but the taste is very similar.
Variations. Golden and regular raisins are a classic to add to this dish. To use raisins, add them once you are cooking the rice (during the last 20 minutes).
Other additions include some of the toppings we listed above. Various fruits, nuts, and spices will change the recipe and add a bit more flavor.
Storing This Dessert
Make ahead of time. Allow Mexican rice pudding to come to room temperature before pouring it into an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for 5-6 days.
FREEZE. It can be frozen, but it may not have quite the same texture once it thaws. Leftover rice pudding can be stored in the same manner.
To reheat. We reheat it in a pot and add a bit more cinnamon to the top before serving. If it’s too thick, add a splash of milk when reheating. If you are in hurry you can reheat smaller portions in the microwave.
You’ll want to choose long-grain white rice such as jasmine rice or basmati rice when making arroz con leche. For best results do not use instant rice.
One reason that rice may still be crunchy is that it has not been cooked long enough; another reason is that there was not enough liquid added. If it looks undercooked and dry, add ½ cup water and continue to cook.
For more Sweet Mexican recipes, check out:
Arroz con Leche Recipe
- 7 cups water
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1 cup whole milk
- ground cinnamon for topping
- Combine water, rice, and cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and cook for 16–18 minutes.
- Drain any remaining liquid, remove the cinnamon sticks, and return the rice to the pan over medium-high heat. Add sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly. The milk can easily burn, so it is important to stir constantly as it thickens.
- Divide rice among serving cups and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve warm.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.