If you’ve never tried arroz con leche, stop what you’re doing and make this Mexican rice pudding recipe asap.
It’s rich, sweet, and oh-so-creamy.
This traditional Spanish dessert has been delighting families for generations. And now it’s popular all over the world.
That said, it’s especially beloved in Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico and Costa Rica.
Loaded with chewy rice and sweetened milk, it’s yummy served hot or cold.
So try this Mexican rice pudding the next time you crave something sweet. It won’t disappoint.
Authentic Arroz Con Leche Recipe
Mexican rice pudding features cooked rice simmered in milk with cinnamon for a hint of spice.
It becomes insanely thick and creamy, so every bite is luxurious. And that’s all down to a remarkable trio of milks.
That’s right, it’s not just plain old 2% in here.
Instead, you’ll use a mix of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk. That makes it impossibly luscious and sweet.
Ready to learn how to make arroz con leche (rice with milk)? Read on!
My favorite thing about this recipe (other than the taste) is how easy it is to make.
You only need a handful of pantry staples, and it’s ready before you know it!
- Rice – As you’ve probably guessed, the main ingredient in the dish is rice. I use long-grain white rice, but you can substitute it with basmati rice.
- I don’t recommend brown rice since it won’t give you the same creamy texture.
- Milk – For a pudding-like, rich, and creamy texture, use a blend of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk.
- Cinnamon Stick – For a warm, comforting flavor and extra depth in deliciousness.
- Raisins – I would say these are optional, but the burst of fruity goodness is what makes this dessert so darn addictive!
- Ground Cinnamon – For garnish.
How to Make Mexican Rice Pudding
You’ll find detailed instructions and the recipe below. But for now, here’s the highlights:
- Rinse and cook the rice. When the rice is clean, drain most of the excess liquid from the pot. Then add more water and the cinnamon stick. Cook until the rice is tender – about 15-20 minutes.
- Mix the milks together, then add them to the cooked rice. Do this when the rice is cooked and strained. Also, remove the cinnamon stick.
- Cook the rice again, then add the raisins. Stir constantly for about 20 minutes, add the fruit, then remove the pot from the heat.
- Cool, serve, and enjoy. Allow the rice pudding to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Add a dusting of ground cinnamon and serve warm.
Or let it cool completely, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge until ready to serve chilled.
Tips and Variations
The basic recipe for Mexican rice pudding only requires simple ingredients, and it’s a breeze to make.
But some variations and tips can elevate this dessert to the next level.
- Choose the right rice. The best rice for arroz con leche is medium to long-grain white rice. I’ve used Basmati and Jasmine as well, though they do have a slight fragrance, which is noticeable.
- I don’t recommend brown or short-grain rice (like Arborio) because brown won’t give you a creamy finish. And short-grain is more likely to turn to mush.
- Don’t skip the rice rinse. This removes excess starch and keeps the pudding from becoming too sticky.
- This is why I don’t recommend sushi rice – it’s very starchy and sticky, which will be too much for the pudding.
- Use sweetened condensed milk. To make the pudding even creamier and sweeter, use sweetened condensed milk. Or use coconut condensed milk for a mild, nutty taste.
- If you don’t like it very sweet, cut the amount of condensed milk in half.
- Add spices and flavorings. Along with cinnamon, you can add all kinds of warming spices, like nutmeg or cardamom. I also like a splash of vanilla.
- Make it vegan. Use vegan condensed and evaporated milks and your choice of dairy-free milk. Just keep in mind, coconut milk will add flavor, as will oat milk or sweetened almond milk.
- Top with fruit or nuts. After the pudding has cooled, top it with sliced bananas or strawberries, chopped nuts, or chewy dried fruit.
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating
While making this tasty dessert is easy, you may end up with leftovers. Or, if you want to make it ahead, you can keep a big batch for later.
And proper storage, freezing, and reheating practices will ensure it maintains its flavor and texture.
- To Store: Once the Mexican rice pudding has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container. Store the pudding in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- To Freeze: Technically, you can freeze Mexican rice pudding, but it may change texture when thawed. But if you have to, make sure it’s cold. Then transfer the pudding to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Label the container with the date and freeze it for 2-3 months.
Rice and dairy don’t freeze well, and this dish is a double whammy. Since the rice is soaked in milk and already creamy, you may find it’s mushy when thawed.
So if you can avoid it, don’t free arroz con leche.
- To Reheat: Add a portion to a microwave-safe dish, cover it with plastic, and heat it in 30-second increments. Add a splash of milk if it’s very thick, and stir between intervals.
You can also heat it in a stove and stir it over low heat.
If reheating frozen pudding, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating as directed above.
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