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!
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
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
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. 😉
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:
- Spanish Rice
- Tres Leches
- Mexican Hot Chocolate
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Sour Cream Rice
- Instant Pot Fiesta Chicken and Rice
- Mexican Wedding Cookies
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 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.