Pumpkin arroz con leche is a delicious twist on the classic arroz con leche rice pudding. This creamy dessert perfectly captures the flavors of fall and winter with the addition of pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. It’s comforting, cozy, and so good!
Pumpkin arroz con leche is a delightful twist on the traditional Latin American and Spanish dessert, combining creamy, sweet rice pudding with the rich, autumnal taste of pumpkin.
This recipe uses pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice and is dusted with cinnamon for all those warm and comforting fall and winter flavors.
The dish can be served hot or cold and is made with common pantry ingredients. It makes a great alternative to pie or other traditional holiday desserts and will surely be a crowd-pleaser!
- Milk: I used 2%, but you could also use whole milk for a thicker and richer flavor. Though recipe has not been specifically tested with a milk alternative, but almond, soy, oat, or cashew milk should work.
- Pumpkin: Using 100% pure pumpkin is what you need. Make sure not to accidentally grab pumpkin pie filling at the store!
- Rice: Using long-grain white rice is best in desserts since it absorbs liquids well. Varieties like jasmine or basmati are great.
- Cinnamon: I use cinnamon sticks to extract as much cinnamon flavor as possible.
- Pumpkin pie spice: I like adding just a dash to add even more pumpkin flavor.
How to Make Pumpkin Arroz Con Leche
Cook the rice: In a large pot over high heat, add the rice, cinnamon, salt, and water, and bring it to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. You want to make sure most, if not all, the water has evaporated.
Add milk: Stir in the milk, cover, and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Make sure to stir the mixture occasionally to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
Add pumpkin and sweetener: Stir in the pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice until the pumpkin is smooth and has been fully incorporated. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
Rest: Remove the pot from the heat and let it thicken for 15 minutes. This will be hard, but you can do it!
Serve: Once cooled and thickened, serve immediately with a sprinkle of cinnamon and chopped nuts if desired.
- Use 100% pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Stir the mixture often to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and the milk doesn’t burn.
Although this recipe already tastes amazing, there are a few other add-ins worth mentioning.
- Cloves. Adding whole cloves alongside the cinnamon sticks will make this arroz con leche taste even more seasonal. I’d recommend adding only one or two whole cloves.
- Raisins. To add some texture and variety, stir in some raisins when you add in the pumpkin puree. They’ll plump up and get juicy.
- Milk. Instead of using regular milk, you can add a mixture of evaporated and sweetened condensed milk. This creates an ultra-rich, creamy, and sweet taste. I’d recommend using 12 ounces of evaporated milk and 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk.
- Dutch oven. One of my favorite cooking vessels! This is what I always use to make my pumpkin arroz con leche.
- Whisk set. Great for whisking in the pumpkin puree for a smooth and silky consistency. This comes in 3 different sizes.
- Ladle. This is long, sturdy, and great for stirring and serving.
Storing and Reheating
Storing and freezing: Arroz con leche can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. However, keep in mind that the texture may slightly change when reheated.
Reheating: It is best to reheat it either on the stove or in the microwave. You may need to add a splash of milk or water as it may have thickened quite a bit in the fridge.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.