The creamiest Arroz Con Leche that you’ll ever have. This Arroz Con Leche recipe is spiced, flavorful, and deliciously sweet. None of that bland rice pudding that’s out there. Ready in just 30 minutes!
Arroz Con Leche Mexicano
I have the best Arroz Con Leche recipe out there, like forreal. Just look at how creamy it is.
I tried and tried before getting to this baby right here. Try it. It’s packed with flavor, perfectly spiced, and so creamy. I once inhaled a whole batch in the middle of the night (Arroz Con Leche is truly of my go-to comfort foods down here in Latin America).
I’m telling you, this rice pudding will always be there for you.
Why this is the best Arroz Con Leche recipe:
- Creamiest arroz con leche you will ever have, really.
- Packed with flavor thanks to the spices used, this isn’t some bland rice pudding.
- Deliciously sweet.
- Ready in just 30 minutes.
- Cozy and comforting, if you need a hug, this is a whole make-out session.
What Is Arroz Con Leche Made Of?
- Rice. You want to use a long-grain white rice for this recipe but you don’t want to wash it or soak it as usual. The reason why you you usually wash/rice your rice is mainly to remove extra starch from the rice so it can turn out nice and fluffy, not creamy and sticky but in this case you want creamy and sticky so no need to wash it, you want all the starch!
- Water. For cooking the rice.
- Cinnamon. You can use whole or ground, I usually just use whole because I find it has much more flavor than processed cinnamon.
- Cloves. Again whole or ground, I use whole.
- Orange or lime peel. If you don’t have organic fruit on hand I recommend using an extract instead (just a few drops). I prefer orange but a lot of people in Latin America love lemon so do your thing.
- Evaporated milk. This is key. It will give your rice pudding the creamiest texture ever while providing some extra flavor. If you don’t have some on hand, I will provide how to quickly make it at home with regular whole milk in the notes of recipe card down below. Note that evaporated milk isn’t condensed milk: evaporated milk isn’t sweetened and tends to be thinner.
- Sugar. I like to use brown sugar and I highly recommend it because it adds a tiny bit more character to your arroz con leche but you can also use white sugar.
- Butter for extra flavor and creaminess. This is optional but it’s a nice trick that I recommend trying. Use unsalted.
- Vanilla extract for flavor.
How to make Arroz Con Leche
- Cook the rice. The secret to a good rice pudding where the rice is nicely cooked and not underdone and crunchy or mushy is to cook your rice in water and spices until the water has evaporated. You don’t want to wash the rice because you want it to retain all the starch it has because starch will help your pudding turn out even creamier. The spices will infuse the rice as it cooks.
- Add the evaporated milk. If you don’t have evaporated milk at home, I share a quick and easy way to make it at home in the notes of the recipe card down below. This ingredients is important because it’s what makes your arroz con leche incredibly creamy. Mix well and allow to come to boil.
- Add the sugar and keep mixing and cooking until the mixture starts thickening. Once the pudding has thickened, lower the heat, and allow to simmer while you stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
- Serve immediately for hot arroz con leche or allow to cool down to room temperature and then pop in the refrigerator to chill for cold arroz con leche. Check out the list of toppings and add-ins down below for some inspo!
Best Rice Pudding Toppings And Add-Ins
- Raisins. This is a very popular choice in Latin America! Make sure they’re softened (soaked in boiling water for 60 seconds) before adding them to your arroz con leche.
- Shredded coconut. Fresh or store-bought. This is another popular choice!
- Alcohol. Typically a splash of rum or aguardiente (a liquor made of sugar cane) to make it boozy!
- Dulce de leche. Delicious!! But if you plan to add dulce de leche to your arroz con leche, please reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe or it may turn out to sweet.
- Nuts like pecans, walnuts, almonds, whatever you like.
- Chocolate. I love a local chocolate bar that’s spiked with alcohol for this but any chocolate works from chocolate chips to chocolate bars!
- Fruit. Bananas, fried ripe plantains (maduro), apples, pears, berries, choose your favorite!
Can I make Arroz Con Leche ahead of time?
Arroz Con Leche is best eaten as it’s made when it’s still hot and creamy so I don’t recommend making it ahead of time unless you’re a fan of cold rice pudding, in that case make it ahead of time (by all means!) and allow it to cool it down to room temperature before chilling it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
How do you store Arroz Con Leche?
You can store your Arroz Con Leche covered or in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat until hot with a splash of milk or cream to loosen up the rice and restore some of its original creaminess.
If you’re wondering if you can leave rice pudding out overnight, the answer is typically no, especially in warm environments. I would just not recommend it. Bacteria in rice grows very quickly and if you add to it all the milk and moisture of arroz con leche, it’s just not the best thing you can do.
Your Frequently Asked Questions
What type of rice is best for rice pudding? A long-grain white rice such as Basmati. Depending on where you live, you might find different varieties and they may need more or less liquid and time to cook so it’s important that you also give a quick read to your rice package before starting the recipe.
How do you thicken rice pudding? You shouldn’t need to thicken your rice pudding as the starch contained in your rice and evaporated milk will do it for you. Once you add the milk, you want to make sure that you keep cooking the rice until it boils again because that’s when it will start to thicken. If you ended up with thin rice pudding by accident you can fix it by combining 2 tbsp of room temp or cold milk with 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch in a small bowl and then adding the mixture to the rice and cooking until thickened.
Why is the rice hard in my rice pudding? This has happened to me more than once at the beginning of my arroz con leche journey! There are two reasons. You either didn’t fully cook the rice in water during step 1 of the recipe or you added the sugar too soon instead of waiting for step 3. If you add the sugar before the rice has fully cooked, the rice won’t cook correctly. I recommend you start again.
Why is my rice pudding mushy? If your arroz con leche is mushy, you may have overcooked the rice or added too much liquid to you rice. As a rule of thumb, you always want to cook your rice following a 2:1 water/rice proportion.
Does rice pudding taste better cold or hot? It’s up to you to decide the answer to this one! If you love creamy, comforting, cozy treats I recommend you try it hot but if you live somewhere hot and or are craving a cold treat with a firmer texture, try it cold. I’m a major fan of hot arroz con leche, even down here at the Equator!
What do you eat rice pudding with? In Latin America, raisins and shredded coconut are a popular add-in but you can also have it with a dollop of dulce de leche, nuts or fruit!
HAPPY COOKING FROM THE EQUATOR!! I hope you’ll love this Easy Arroz Con Leche Recipe as much as I do!
PS: Please leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating ⭐️ if you make it! Your comments make my day!! You can also tag me on Instagram @itsdamnspicy 🌈💘
HERE ARE MORE LATIN AMERICAN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE:
- Rosca De Reyes (Latin American Three Kings Cake)
- Rompope (Ecuadorian Eggnog)
- Coconut Chicken
- Pan De Yuca (Ecuadorian Cheese Bread)
Arroz Con Leche (Arroz Con Leche Recipe)
- 1 cup (200 g) long-grain white rice such as Basmati (unwashed)
- 2 cups (500 ml) water
- 2 sticks cinnamon (or 1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 18 whole cloves (or 3/4 tsp ground cloves)
- 1/3 peel orange or lime (or 1-2 drops of extract)
- 2 cups (500 ml) evaporated milk* (*see notes for how to make it at home using whole milk)
- 1/3 cups (70 g) brown sugar
- 1 tbsp (15 g) unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Cook the rice. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the rice, water, cinnamon, cloves, and orange or lime peel (or extract). Once the water is boiling, cover and lower the heat. Cook until the water has evaporated and the rice is fully cooked, then discard the spices (if using whole) and peel. Depending on the type of rice you're using, this may take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
- Add the evaporated milk to the cooked rice and mix. Set the heat on medium and cook until the rice starts boiling again.
- Add the sugar and mix. Cook until the mixture starts thickening. Once the arroz con leche has thickened, lower the heat, and allow to simmer while you stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
- Serve immediately for hot arroz con leche or allow to cool down to room temperature and then cover and pop in the refrigerator to chill for cold arroz con leche. Check out the notes down below for toppings and add-ins.
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