Arroz con Leche (or Mexican Rice Pudding) is a delicious Mexican dessert made from simple ingredients including rice, milk, cinnamon, and sugar. It can be served hot or cold and is guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Arroz con Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)
Arroz con Leche is a Mexican, Spanish, and Latin American dessert recipe made with rice, milk, and various other ingredients depending on the origin of preparation.
It is one of my personal favorites, and one of those unique comfort foods that can be served year-round as it’s delicious both warm and chilled.
Delicious served straight from the pot or topped with all your favorite toppings such as raisins, ground cinnamon, cajeta (dulce de Leche), butter, or even toasted coconut flakes.
You’ll even find some versions infused with whole spices such as anise seeds, star anise, and nutmeg.
For today, however, we’re keeping this easy recipe pretty simple. A perfectly sweetened creamy canvas for all your favorite toppings and future Arroz con Leche variations.
What’s in Arroz con Leche?
Everyone has their own favorite version of Mexican rice pudding. The version we’re making today is pretty simple and my personal favorite. Made without evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk, here’s what you’ll need:
- Long-grain white rice
- Cinnamon stick (or two)
- Lemon rind (aka the lemon peel)
- Milk (whole milk is recommended)
How to Make Arroz con Leche
Measure and rinse your rice under cold water and drain well. Transfer to a medium saucepan.
Cover the rice with cold water so that the rice grains are just barely covered with water. Set heat to medium.
- TIP: we don’t want to add enough water to fully cook the rice, so the most you want to add is about one half to one cup of water, depending on the size of your saucepan.
As the water comes to a simmer, add the cinnamon sticks and lemon rind (remember to wash your lemon before slicing the rind). Continue to stir often until the water has been absorbed (this will take approximately 3-5 minutes).
Stir in the milk and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, for approximately 10-15 minutes.
Next, add the sugar and salt. Mix well to combine. Cover and cook over low heat for an additional 15 minutes.
- TIP: Do you prefer sweet or less sweet desserts? If you prefer your desserts less sweet, start with just half a cup of sugar and add more later if necessary.
Check the consistency. If the pudding isn’t as thick as you’d like, continue to cook, uncovered, stirring often to prevent burning.
- TIP: Rice pudding continues to thicken as it cools.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve chilled.
Garnish with ground cinnamon and chopped nuts, if desired.
More Rice Desserts,
If you try making this Arroz con Leche Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Arroz con Leche (or Mexican Rice Pudding)
- 1 cup long-grain white rice - for example, basmati or jasmine rice
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1-2 slices lemon rind
- 4 cups milk - (I used whole milk)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar - (add up to 1 cup sugar for sweeter rice pudding)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ground cinnamon, chopped nuts, raisins - optional toppings
- Rinse the rice under cold water (just a quick rinse, no need to soak), drain, and transfer to a medium saucepan.
- Cover the rice with cold water so that the rice grains are just barely covered with water. Set heat to medium.
- As the water comes to a simmer, add the cinnamon sticks and lemon rind. Continue to stir often until the water has been absorbed (this will take approximately 3-5 minutes).
- Add the milk (whole milk recommended) and stir well to combine. Return to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Add the sugar (start with just half a cup of sugar if you prefer your desserts less sweet) and salt. Mix well to combine. Cover and cook over low heat for an additional 15 minutes.
- If the rice isn’t as thick as you’d like, continue to cook, uncovered, stirring often to prevent burning.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. As it cools, it will continue to thicken. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve chilled.
- Garnish with ground cinnamon and chopped nuts, if desired.
- Delicious served warm or cold.
- Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- As written, this recipe is gluten-free and vegetarian.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)