Arroz Con Leche | A Budget-Friendly And Easy Recipe

This Mexican arroz con Leche is so creamy and easy to make that you won’t believe that the recipe doesn’t even need cream or any fancy kinds of milks to make it. An easy and budget-friendly recipe that you can serve warm in the coldest months or also as a cold and refreshing dessert in summer.

Mexican Arroz con Leche served in small white bowls with cinnamon powder sprinkled on top.

What Is Arroz Con Leche?

Arroz con Leche is a rice pudding dessert with a thousand nationalities. From the cold arctic lands, passing through the hot deserts in the Middle East, to the exotic Thai beaches, this dessert is loved in every country and language.

The recipe is made by simmering white rice in a milk mixture with various spices and flavors. From cinnamon to coconut milk, to cardamom, to orange/lemon peel, and many others.

This arroz y leche could not have been the exception because, as you might know, also in Mexico we have a recipe that everyone, grown-ups, and children, loves.

Closeup on arroz con leche.

Ingredients Needed

Mexican arroz con leche has very few ingredients, the basic recipe is very simple and easy to make, but you can also adjust it to your taste and preferences.

  • RICE – Choose a type of round grain rice, as it gradually releases the starch during cooking and absorbs the aroma and flavor of the other ingredients very well.
  • MILK – The most recommended is whole cow’s milk since its fat content helps to make the rice creamy and does not need other ingredients for it. If you want to experiment with other types such as vegan beverages it is also a good idea but be aware that the final texture of the dessert might change a bit. Condensed milk is often used to add creaminess to the recipe too.
  • SUGAR – The recipe calls for refined white sugar, but you can add other sweeteners such as honey, stevia, agave syrup, etc.
  • EXTRAS: Oh the sky is the limit! Mexican arroz con leche is usually cooked with a bit of cinnamon but not only; the recipe varies from family to family, so other ingredients are added such as lemon or orange peel, star anise, cardamom, vanilla, raisins, etc. Check out our recipe for Mexican cinnamon rice pudding.

TO SERVE: Arroz con leche can be served with a pinch of ground cinnamon or a sprinkle of crushed pistachios, hazelnuts, etc. But some people like to serve it also with grated coconut, jam, or chocolate chips (one of my favs!). It really depends on you and what do you have in your pantry.

Ingredients for arroz con leche labeled and displayed on a marble surface.

How To Cook It – 3 ways

  • IN THE STOVE – Just follow the recipe below. This method is a little bit time consuming but is also my preferred method, in my opinion, the rice texture is more creamy and soft.
  • IN THE RICE COOKER – To cook rice pudding in the rice cooker you will need a little more liquid. Proceed by first ADDING a cup of rice with 2 cups of water plus the cinnamon, let it cook for a maximum of 10 minutes, and then pour 4.5 cups of milk, the orange peel, and the sugar. Cook for the necessary time until the rice is tender. You may need more milk since the rice cooker tends to consume a lot of liquid, so check the cooking every 5 minutes and add as necessary.
  • IN THE CROCKPOT – 1 cup (240 ml) water + 1 cinnamon stick. On high for 30 minutes. Add 1/2 cup (115 gr) of rice, 3 cups (720 ml) of milk, and continue cooking on high for 2 hours. Stir, add 1/2 cup (100 g) of sugar, and continue cooking on high for one more hour. If you want to rectify the consistency, you can do so by adding more milk at the end of cooking.

The step by step recipe + VIDEO

  • Rinse the rice lightly with cold water, put it in a pot, and add the cinnamon stick. Add water and turn the heat to medium.
  • Once the water begins to boil, low the heat to a minimum and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes, always taking care that the water does not evaporate completely.
  • Add the milk and the lemon peel. Raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.
Arroz con leche in a pot. Pictured before and after adding the milk.
  • As soon as it comes to a boil, low the heat again to a minimum and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring the rice occasionally to help it not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Uncover the pot and turn the heat up to medium, add the sugar, and cook stirring gently for another 5 minutes or until the rice is very tender and arroz con leche has the desired texture (SEE NOTES).
Mixing the arroz con leche with a spoon.

Recipe Notes & Tips

This recipe for Mexican Arroz con Leche is really easy and simple to prepare, just a few ingredients and you’ll have a perfect dessert for any occasion. So, here are some tips that might help you to cook the most creamy and delicious Mexican rice pudding:

  • If you’re cooking arroz con leche on the stove, don’t leave it unattended for so long as the milk and starch in the rice make it too easy to burn. It is best if you cook it while you are doing other things in the kitchen, so you are always checking out the pot.
  • But at the same time, you don’t need to be stirring the rice all the time while cooking it. It will be enough to leave it over low heat and stir every 5 or 6 minutes. Stirring also helps to break some of the grains and make the pudding to thicken.
  • Rinse the rice lightly before cooking. This is just to remove the impurities that the rice could possibly have in the package, but we don’t want it to lose all the starch either since it is precisely this that will make the arroz con leche thicken.
  • The texture is really up to you. If you like mexican arroz con leche a little liquid, you can add more milk at the end, about 2 minutes before turning off the heat. If, on the other hand, you want it to have a more pudding texture, you can cook it a little more until almost all liquid evaporates.
Three small white bowls with arroz con leche.

How To Store & Reheat

Place your leftovers in an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. To Reheat, add a splash of milk and heat it up in the stove mixing from time to time or in the microwave with 30s intervals and mixing in between.

Watch How To Make It

More Easy Mexican Desserts

Arroz Con Leche

This Mexican arroz con leche is so creamy and you don't even need cream or any fancy milks to make it this way because our recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients.
PREP 5 minutes
COOK 35 minutes
TOTAL 40 minutes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup rice (I used Roma)
  • 3 ¼ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 ⅔ cup water
  • orange peel
  • 1 stick cinnamon

Instructions

  • Rinse the rice lightly with cold water, put it in a pot and add the cinnamon stick. Add water and turn the heat to medium.
  • Once the water begins to boil, low the heat to a minimum and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes, always taking care that the water does not evaporate completely.
  • Add the milk and the lemon peel. Raise the heat to bring the mixture to a gently boil.
  • Continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring the rice occasionally to help it not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the sugar and cook, stirring gently for another 5 minutes or until the rice is very tender and the pudding has the desired texture (SEE NOTES).

NOTES

  • If you’re cooking this dessert on the stove, don’t leave it unattended for so long as the milk and starch in the rice make it too easy to burn. It is best if you cook it while you are doing other things in the kitchen, so you are always checking out the pot.
  • But at the same time, you don’t need to be stirring the rice all the time while cooking it. It will be enough to leave it over low heat and stir every 5 or 6 minutes. Stirring also helps to break some of the grains and make the pudding to thicken.
  • Rinse the rice lightly before cooking. This is just to remove the impurities that the rice could possibly have in the package, but we don’t want it to lose all the starch either since it is precisely this that will make the arroz con leche thicken.
  • The texture is really up to you. If you like mexican arroz con leche a little liquid, you can add more milk at the end, about 2 minutes before turning off the heat. If, on the other hand, you want it to have a more pudding texture, you can cook it a little more until almost all liquid evaporates.
Nutrition
Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 319mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 324IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 249mg | Iron: 1mg
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