Arroz Con Leche – Rice Pudding

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.

Two cups of Mexican Arroz con Leche.

An Adaptable Easy Recipe

Every Mexican cook 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.

Closeup of cup of arroz con leche.

It’s a kid-friendly dessert too.

How to Make

The ingredients you need you probably already have on hand. All are inexpensive pantry staples.

Ingredients:

  • white rice
  • milk
  • water
  • sugar
  • cinnamon stick
  • salt
  • butter
  • vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon
  • raisins (optional)
Ingredients to Make Arroz con Leche

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.

Adding Uncooked Rice to Boiling Water

Your cooked rice is ready.

Cooked white rice in pot on stove.

Prepare the Arroz con Leche

While the rice is cooking in a medium pan soak the cinnamon stick in 1 cup of milk.

Cinnamon Stick Soaking in Milk

When the rice is ready add it to the milk with the cinnamon stick and turn the heat to low.

Adding Cooked White Rice to Milk in Pan

Add the sugar.

Adding Sugar to Cooked White Rice and Milk

Add the salt then cook for 10 minutes stirring regularly.

Adding Salt to Rice in Pot on Stove.

After the rice has absorbed some of the milk add the butter.

Adding Butter to Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding) on Stove

And add the remaining cup of milk.

Adding Milk to Arroz Con Leche on Stove

Then add the vanilla.

Adding Vanilla Extract to Rice on Stove

Stir to mix the ingredients well. Continue cooking over low heat for 2 minutes.

Stirring Arroz con Leche in Pan on Stove

Turn off the heat then cover and let rest for 5 minutes.

Covered Pan on Stove

Getting It 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 1/4 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.
Cooked Arroz con Leche on Stove

Serving

Cups of Mexican rice pudding on table.

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.

Cup of Arroz con Leche

What is your favorite way of preparing it? Share in the comments below.

Provecho!

Cups of Mexican arroz con leche on table.
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4.64 from 11 votes

Arroz con Leche Recipe

Traditional Mexican Arroz con Leche, an easy to prepare rice pudding dessert flavored with vanilla and cinnamon served both warm and cold.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword rice pudding recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 353kcal
Author Andrés Carnalla

Equipment

  • 1 medium pot or high-sided pan with lid
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Kitchen spoon

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 2 cups milk divided in 2 parts
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • ground cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 cup raisins optional

Instructions

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.

Serve

  • Dust with ground cinnamon and garnish with a bit of cinnamon stick if you like.

Notes

Optional
  • Add 1/2 cup raisins when adding the remaining cup of milk.
Storage
  • It will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. Serve cold or reheat.
  • It does not freeze well.

Nutrition

Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 211mg | Potassium: 350mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 290IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 165mg | Iron: 1mg

More Mexican Desserts

1 comment… add one
  • Mrs. Rosario Rodriguez Brusniak

    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.

    Thank you!

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