Mexican Rice Pudding
One of our favorite Mexican desserts is arroz con leche, a Mexican style rice pudding. From a simple list of ingredients; rice, milk, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, you create a rich dessert great than the sum of its parts. It’s delicious served warm or cold. Our photographer Andrés shares his family’s authentic recipe.
An Adaptable Easy Recipe
Every cook in Mexico has their favorite arroz con leche recipe that they have tweaked and modified over the years. Some add sweetened condensed milk, some add evaporated milk, some add raisins. Some make it very sweet others make it lightly sweet. Some prefer it very moist almost to the point of being wet while others like it a little bit dry. You get the idea. It’s really up to you.
It’s a kid-friendly dessert too that I also consider Mexican comfort food at it’s best.
How to Make Arroz con Leche
The ingredients you need you probably already have on hand. All are inexpensive pantry staples.
- long grain white rice
- whole milk
- cinnamon stick
- vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon
- raisins (optional)
Cook the Rice First
Bring the water to a boil, then add the rice, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Your cooked rice is ready.
Prepare the Arroz con Leche
While the rice is cooking in a medium pan soak the cinnamon stick in 1 cup of milk.
When the rice is ready add it to the milk with the cinnamon stick and turn the heat to low.
Add the sugar.
Add the salt then cook for 10 minutes stirring regularly.
After the rice has absorbed some of the milk add the butter.
And add the remaining cup of milk.
Then add the vanilla.
Stir to mix the ingredients well. Continue cooking over low heat for 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat then cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
Getting Your Rice Pudding Recipe Just Right
The rice pudding will have absorbed much of the liquid but it should still be creamy. Here is how to adjust it to your liking.
- Too dry? If you find that it is too dry, stir in ¼ cup of milk at a time and heat for a couple more minutes until you get the level of moisture that you want.
- Too wet? If you find that it is too moist, just cook over low heat until enough liquid has evaporated.
Serve warm or cold. Spoon rice pudding into a dessert bowl or cup then dust with ground cinnamon and garnish with a bit of cinnamon stick if you like.
English – Spanish Recipe Glossary
- Recipe – Receta
- Rice Pudding – Arroz con Leche
- Dessert – Postre
- Ingredients – Ingredientes
- Rice – Arroz
- Milk – Leche
- Butter – Mantequilla
- Water – Agua
- Condensed Milk – Leche Condensada
- Sweetened Condensed Milk – Leche Condensada Dulce
- Sugar – Azúcar
- Cinnamon – Canela
- Raisins – Pasitas
- Vanilla Extract – Extracto de Vainilla
- Delicious – Delicioso
What is your favorite way of preparing it? Share in the comments below.
Arroz con Leche Recipe
- 1 medium pot or high-sided pan with lid
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Kitchen spoon
- ¾ cup white rice long grain
- 2 cups whole milk divided in 2 parts
- 1 ¾ cups water
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. butter
- ½ tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ground cinnamon to taste
- ½ cup raisins optional
Prepare the Rice
- Bring the water to a boil, then add the rice, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Prepare the Arroz con Leche
- While the rice is cooking in a medium pan soak the cinnamon stick in 1 cup of milk.
- Add the cooked rice to the 1 cup of milk with the cinnamon stick and turn the heat to low.
- Add the sugar and the salt then cook for 10 minutes stirring regularly.
- Add the butter and stir well.
- Add the remaining cup of milk and vanilla. Stir to mix the ingredients well. Continue cooking over over low heat for 2 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and cover. Let rest for 5 minutes.
- Dust with ground cinnamon and garnish with a bit of cinnamon stick if you like.
- Add ½ cup raisins when adding the remaining cup of milk.
- It will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. Serve cold or reheat.
- It does not freeze well.
Mrs. Rosario Rodriguez Brusniak says
My family is Mexican American and I remember growing up with my mom cooking and then refrigerating the rice pudding for us to share as a dessert on the weekends. I also remember that my mother did not use whole milk but rather used evaporated milk. How could I adapt your recipe so that I can use the evaporated milk. I tried another arroz con leche recipe, this one with condensed milk, regular milk and evaporated milk and although it tastes a bit like my mother’s (the cinnamon stick flavored the rice as I remember my mother leaving in the cinnamon sticks in the pudding). This recipe was VERY sweet. I would like to try your recipe because of the granulated sugar component, just wondering about substituting the evaporated milk for the regular milk. Would appreciate a reply.
This is the most amazing food I have ever had!
I used half the milk and sugar and it turned out perfect. The taste is incredible. Thank you!
In the recipe, under the ingredients list you call for 1/2 tblsp of vanilla extract but in the pictures above you are using a 1/2 tsp when adding the vanilla
I made this some recipe and it was so good. Gave me flashbacks of my childhood.
I meant…simple* not some …I made this simple* recipe
Jason Peterson says
I’m from Europe and call this simply a “rice porridge”, and prepare other grains using the same method. I combine everything at the start except volatile flavorings, and boil for approximately 25 minutes, to the point when the rice grains are soft but still distinct. Then I add butter and vanillin. Vanillin seems to be imperceptible until the dish has been chilled. Quick and simple.
I don’t understand the purpose of cooking the rice dry first. That requires special care with the water ratio, timing and a tight lid. But then you soak the rice in milk and make it fall apart into a smooth and creamy texture. So why cook as dry loose grains first? Is the milk better when cooked for only 12 min?