Arroz con Leche

Classic Arroz Con Leche – a variation of rice pudding that is sweet and cooked with milk, evaporated milk and sweetened 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 pudding, you won’t be able to resist this yummy treat. Be sure to check out our Mexican hot chocolate and Tres Leches cake too!

Arroz con leche in glasses

What is Arroz con Leche?

Arroz con leche, aka rice pudding, was a dessert my mom grew up on. My great-grandma made it, and I wanted to find a recipe that tasted just like it. 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 rice pudding, arroz con leche is a Spanish dish made from rice mixed with water or milk and 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 also 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 process pic

How to Make Arroz Con Leche

Add water, rice and cinnamon sticks to a large saucepan and cook on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and let cook for 16-18 minutes.

Drain liquid from the sauce pan, remove cinnamon sticks and put rice back in the pan. Add all 3 milks – evaporated milk, condensed milk and whole milk to the pan. Let come to a boil.

Reduce heat to LOW and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly. The milk can easily burn so it’s important to stir as much as possible as it thickens.

Pour rice into cups and sprinkle on cinnamon. If you like more cinnamon, add 1 tsp of cinnamon (or more) in when adding the milks. We like to serve it warm, but it can also be cooled too.

substitutions & toppings

Can you make this with Brown Rice? Yes, although it may alter the consistency a little. It is a healthier version which gives you fiber.

Can you make it without sweetened condensed milk? We love that the sweetened condensed milk makes it more rich and creamy, but it can also be omitted. Just use a ¾ cup more milk and ¾ cup sugar instead.

Can you make in the slow cooker? Of course! We actually have a slow cooker rice pudding on the site. Ingredients aren’t exactly the same, but the taste is very similar.

What are the best toppings for arroz con leche? There are lots of toppings you can use from fruit to nuts, but here are some of our favorites:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey
  • Raisins
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut

Arroz con leche recipe process pictures

Variations & Storing

There are so many variations for this recipe. Golden and regular raisins are a classic to add to this dish, but since we aren’t huge fans, we omitted those. If you want to use raisins we recommend adding them once you are cooking the rice for the last 20 minutes.

Other additions include some of the toppings we listed above. Various fruits and nuts and spices will all change the recipe and a bit more flavor.

Can this be made ahead of time? Yes. Just store in the fridge in a tupperware for a few days. We reheat it in a pot and add a bit more cinnamon to the top before serving.

If it’s too thick, we recommend adding a bit of milk when reheating. 😉

Arroz con leche aka rice pudding in glasses

We love that we have this simple but tasty recipe on hand that brings back so many memories for my mom! If you want an even easier version, be sure to check out our slow cooker rice pudding recipe.

For more favorite recipes, check out:

Arroz Con Leche Recipe

5 from 115 votes
Classic Arroz Con Leche - a variation of rice pudding that is sweet and cooked with milk, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk and topped with cinnamon. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 84 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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 cinnamon sticks and return 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.

Video

Notes

Make Ahead: Just store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days. We reheat it in a pot and add a bit more cinnamon to the top before serving.
Variations: For a more intense cinnamon-flavored rice pudding, add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in Step 2 when adding the milks. You can also add raisins at this point, if you wish.
Toppings: Try topping each serving with a sprinkle of brown sugar, nutmeg or coconut or with a drizzle of honey.

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. I’m going to make this for a group of my high school students who will be traveling to Costa Rica with me this summer. What is your best recommendation for heating it up in a crockpot?

    1. If you are cooking it beforehand and then heating in the crockpot, I’d just turn it on high and let it warm up (stirring it a few times to make sure it doesn’t cook again). Once it’s warmed through, just leave the crockpot on warm. We also have a rice pudding recipe for the slow cooker. The ingredients aren’t exactly the same as the Arroz con Leche recipe, but the taste/texture is very similar. Here’s the recipe if you are interested in that one too: https://lilluna.com/rice-pudding/

  2. 5 stars
    First time making arroz con leche. This reminds me of my mom’s! I am a new fan and follower because of this post! Thank you!!~

    1. 2nd time making this rice and this turned out yummy! I do think, next time, I will have to purchase cinnomon sticks instead of usig powdered cinnamon. Thanks!

  3. 5 stars
    First time making this. It came out fantastic. A lot like the Portuguese rice pudding I’ve made in the past. This one is a lot quicker to make.

  4. First time I’ve made this with the sweetened condensed milk- it’s delicious but a bit too sweet . I would like to revise recipe maybe add a bit more milk but I’m concerned it may be too watery. Perhaps more rice AND milk.

  5. 5 stars
    This was excellent!!! I too was afraid it was too runny, but after cooking it sat for a little while and it thickened perfectly!!! Great recipe!!!

  6. 5 stars
    Ever since I was a little girl my mother and grandmother made arroz con leche. I don’t recall their exact process but the way I made it for my boys never tasted as well as theirs until I made your recipe! It may be wise to add “cook uncovered” so that it thickens properly. Oh my gosh, I love it and the only difference is I use almond milk and add 1-2 T ground cinnamon when I added the milks. Thanks for the share!

  7. I’m making this the night before. Storing in porcelain pot. Should I leave out or let cool and put in fridge? Thanks!

  8. My abuela used to make the best arroz con leche and never kept a recipe so thank you so much for sharing this! QUESTION: I think we’re having a shortage due to supply chain issues but I can’t seem to find cinnamon sticks in my area. The shelves are completely empty. Am I able to use ground cinnamon in this recipe and how much?

    1. You could certainly try. I always make it as the recipe says, but you can give it a try. You’ll have to let us know how it turns out if you do.

  9. How much is one serving in cups? Trying to see how much I need to make for my daughters class and I don’t know how much each serving is.

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