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.
Can this be made with almond milk for those who are lactose intolerant?
I personally haven’t tried, but I don’t see why not 🙂
a very different kind of desert for me, thank you, like the sweet – savory contrast with rice
I love the combination of all these ingredients. It reminds me of tapioca pudding. Yum!
I am really excited to try this! I have had it before, but haven’t ever made my own. This recipe looks super easy & delicious!
One of our favorite desserts! This recipe is so easy and so delicious!
I bet the flavor is outstanding! I have to try this asap!
So creative and I know this has to be absolutely delicious!
This looks delicious! Can’t wait to make it.
this is fabulous! So good!
This was so easy to make. Loved it. I do have a question tho, Can this also be eaten cold? And If I wanted to add some apple parts, when should I add them? At the very end or with the milk? Thanks! <3
Yes, it can be eaten cold, though I prefer it warm. I haven’t added apples, but I would think when I add the milk, so they have time to get soft, though I am not totally sure. I would have to try it out.
I remember my Dad loving this! i was so excited to try this recipe and guess what? i liked it- It is really good! thanks for the recipe, it reminds me of my dad.
My 6 yr old granddaughter had her tonsils out today and this was her craving when she woke up. Your recipe had all ingredients i had in house to make her happy <3
Yay! That’s awesome that she was craving this! Glad you had all the ingredients on hand 🙂 Thank you!
Can you tell what brand of white rice you use?
Would a long grain basmati rice work?
I can’t remember what the brand was, but it can be any brand. I have not tried the long grain basmati rice, but it should work 🙂
I Used only half of the condensed milk to cOntrol the sweetness and it turned out great!
I am so glad you liked it! Thank you for sharing that with me!
Going to make this for an at home school project i have to do! i cannot find the link to the video though, is there anyway you can send it to me?
I am sorry, I do not have a video, just the pictures. I hope that will still help 🙂 Good luck!
Auick question… I only have 2% milk and short grain rice. Will it still work? Also, when the rice is boiling in the water, do you cover it, or no? Thanks!!
I am sure they will both work, but it might not be the exact same consistency. I personally haven’t tried, so I can’t say if it would be the same or not.
You have it in the recipe that its made in 25 days, im pretty sure that you mean 25 minutes
LOL..thanks for catching that! I will fix that 🙂
LOL..I don’t think I meant that. I will fix that 🙂 Thank you!
Hi there !
I Just love all your recipes !! They are soo yummy, your site is my go to for dessert, dinner & breakfast! Dont stop poSting new stuff !
Thank you for SHARING your good stuff !! (:
Awe, thank you so much for saying that! I am so glad you do! I will keep posting, if you keep stopping by!
Happy you think so 🙂 Thank you so much!
I love this recipe and plan on making it for dessert on Christmas. If I double it, do I need to boil the rice for twice as long?
You might need to. Just keep an eye on it 🙂
Just made this. Instead if whole milk i used Vanilla rice milk. ( what I had on hand)Turned out awesome. Thanks for a wonderful recipe 😋
You are so welcome! Thank you for sharing what you did!
I made this without measuring, and just guesstimated most of it and it came out absolutely perfect.
Happy to hear that!! Glad you think so 🙂 Thank you!
Hi! I am wondering if almond or oat milk instead of whole milk is better for this recipe.
I haven’t tried, but you definitely could try 🙂
I used oat milk and believe it turned out better than using regular milk!
Awesome!! So glad to hear!
This is the best arroz dulce I have ever had. Sooo good. I do add some raisins. I’m so glad I found your recipe. Thank you for sharing!
I am glad you found it, too! Thank you for trying it!
This recipe is outstanding. I swapped the cinnamon for dried parsley, onion, and garlic, and I replaced the milk with chicken broth. I also took the liberty to add some chopped up chicken breasts as well, and it was delicious. 5/7 out of seven, perfect score.
Sounds like you turned Arroz con Leche into Arroz con Pollo. Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing what you do!
Thanks for the laugh!
Loved the recipe! Quick, easy and delicious.
You are so welcome! I’m so glad you like it as much as we do! 🙂
Made this today because my daughter was asking for it. It was easy and perfect. Thank you for all your great recipes. Easy to follow and delicious.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate it! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe and others. 🙂
What is the purpose of boiling the rice in water first and then in milk? You don’t want dry loose grains because it is not a side dish, lose a lot of starch to the drained water, and don’t avoid cooking the milk. Instructions of cooking the rice dry in water exist from all over the world. But why?
I call this a “milk porridge” and eat it a lot. But I simply combine water, milk, sugar and salt at the start. The amount of milk depends on how frugal I need to be. Then add volatile flavorings at the end: butter, vanillin and coconut oil. Vanillin is interesting because I can’t feel it while the porridge is warm. Serve with cinnamon.
I would say because when you boil it in water, it becomes a water drink called “horchata”; it’s and option, but it’s a good tastings water. “agua” ; it’s a drink that you can enjoy after the rice is cooked and drained. just try it next time. Save the water and add sugar and cinnamon, OH and don’t forget to shake it and drink it COLD. you’ll love it!! HORCHATA
Really great and simple recipe. Only need a few products that I can stock up on at the store, I didn’t even need to add sugar. I did add one tablespoon of Vanilla extract when I added the milks. Great for one person to eat over a day or two, and only cost me like $3 to make a pot.
Make sure you follow the directions, I put two cups of rice because one looked like a little and I ended up having to throw half of the cooked rice away since it was so much. that rice expands really quick, one cup is plenty.
Thanks for the feedback! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the recipe and that it’s affordable too!
Very good recipe! Easy and tasted authentic! Thank you.
Thank YOU! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe!
Super delicious, I didn’t use either the evaporated nor condensed milk, nor cow milk and I couldn’t have enough. I just used almond/Cashew silk milk. Very delicious.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! And thanks for sharing what you used. I’m happy to hear it was tasty!
Thanks for letting me go right to it.!!
was delicious! I added about a quarter cup of brown sugar because I have a super sweet tooth lol.
Mmm I bet the addition of sugar was delicious! So glad you enjoyed!!
Just finished making it, it was more pudding so I put a little more whole milk afterwards. It didn’t taste as sweet when I made it the first time(which turned out beautiful!) do I need to add something to make it more sweet?
We think it’s sweet as the recipe is written, but you can add in a little sugar too if you want it a bit sweeter.
Delicious! We’ve made this and absolutely loved it. I highly recommend this easy and tasty recipe.
So delicious! We ate the leftovers for breakfast with a little milk. I still had a little left so we froze it. It was even good after being frozen! Yum!
Thanks for sharing! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!!
Yes this rice pudding was so easy and taste so good so so good I’ve never left a comment but this deserved one well done
Thank you so much!! So happy to hear you enjoyed the dish.
Can you substitute using almond milk instead of the whole milk? Or can the whole milk be taken out completely?
I haven’t tried subbing for almond milk, but I imagine it would be just fine! You’ll have to let us know how it turns out if you make the swap. 🙂
First time making this!!! It was amazing. Fantastic recipe!!!
Thank you!! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it!
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?
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/
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!!~
You’re welcome!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!
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!
can I use instant rice?
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.
Yay! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for giving it a try.
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.
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!!!
Thanks for the feedback! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe!
I made this delicious recipe for my kiddos and they LOVED it! Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome! I’m so happy to hear your kids loved it!
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!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you found the recipe and enjoyed! Thanks for the feedback too.
Thank you 👍
I’m making this the night before. Storing in porcelain pot. Should I leave out or let cool and put in fridge? Thanks!
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?
Can you make with leftover rice?
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.
I just did this and it turned out great!! I used 2c cooked rice and added the cinnamon stick with the milks!
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.
Megusta el arroz con leche y esta manera de hacerlo es facil y practica , gracias
So so good! This recipe was so easy and tastes amazing!
Love u recipes
Thank you for trying it. I am not sure what happened. I haven’t had that issue before. Adding raisins is a good idea!
THis is Arroz Con Leche, try a rice pUdding recipe instead for your desired results
Arroz con leche is often runny, it’s not like a traditional rice pudding.
Sorry to hear it isn’t thickening for you. Did keeping it covered on low help at all?