Arroz con Leche, or Mexican rice pudding, is a comforting and simple no-fuss Mexican dessert guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth! It can be served hot or cold and is made with only 6 ingredients.
What is Arroz con Leche?
Arroz con Leche, or Mexican rice pudding, will forever remind me of my family. It’s a comforting, simple, and easy dessert made from a few ingredients, including long-grain white rice, sugar, milk, and cinnamon sticks. It can be served hot or cold, and is eaten year-round!
There are many arroz con leche recipe variations out there. Some include sweetened condensed milk, others use whole milk, some use evaporated milk, and some use a combination of all three!
I like to keep things as simple and as uncomplicated as possible, and this version is just how my mom makes it. This recipe uses only 6 simple ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen.
- Milk: Whole milk is best for a creamy and thick consistency, but 2% also works.
- Sugar: I used granulated sugar, but you could also use dark brown sugar to add a subtle caramel flavor.
- Rice: Long-grain white rice is best. Varieties like jasmine and basmati also work.
- Cinnamon: You’ll need 2 cinnamon sticks. Either ceylon or cassia variety work great.
- Salt: A pinch of salt adds balance to all the sweetness in this recipe.
How to Make Arroz con Leche
- Cook the rice: In a large pot or Dutch oven, mix together the water, rice, cinnamon sticks, and salt. Bring it to a boil, reduce to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add milk and sugar: Stir in the milk and sugar and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring often, until the arroz con leche has thickened.
- Serve: Serve in bowls with desired toppings or refrigerate for 2 hours and serve cold.
- Stir the mixture often to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and the milk doesn’t burn.
- If the arroz con leche thickens too much, stir in a splash of milk or water until the pudding reaches your desired consistency.
- Use long-grain white rice for the best results. Jasmine and basmati rice also work great.
Add mix-ins like raisins or other dried fruits. I recommend adding it when you add in the milk. This gets the fruit to plump up in the pudding, and adds a great texture to each bite!
Use sweetened condensed milk instead of granulated sugar. This is a popular variation that makes the pudding decadent, extra creamy, and sweet. To make this variation, omit the sugar and add 1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk.
Once your arroz con leche is ready to eat, here are a few great options for what to top it with:
Storing and Freezing: Arroz con leche can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days. You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Just be aware that the texture may change slightly when reheated.
Reheating: It is best reheated in a pot on the stove, or in a bowl in the microwave. You should add a splash of milk or water as it may have thickened a bit too much in the fridge.
- Combine the water, rice, cinnamon sticks, and salt in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the milk and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring often until thickened.
- Serve warm or refrigerate for 2 hours and serve cold.
- Garnish with ground cinnamon, chopped nuts, or raisins if desired.
- Milk: Whole or 2% milk is recommended. I don’t recommend using skim/nonfat milk. This recipe has not been tested using a milk alternative like almond, soy, oat, or cashew milk, though I’m sure it would work!
- Mix-ins: If you’d like to add in a mix-in like raisins or other dried fruit, I recommend adding it when you add in the milk.
- Storage + Freezing: It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-6 days. You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Just be aware that the texture may change slightly when reheated.
- Reheating: It is best reheated in a pot on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave. You may need to add a splash of milk or water since it will have thickened in the fridge.