Authentic Mexican Arroz Con Leche

This Mexican Arroz con Leche is so creamy, aromatic, and packed with nostalgic flavors. You can serve it warm or cold, and tweak the recipe to your taste preferences.

Taking arroz con leche from a cup with a spoon.

About The Recipe

Mexican arroz con leche is a creamy and heartwarming dessert made of white rice, milk, sugar, and cinnamon.

As you might know, rice pudding is a dessert widely known in the world. Almost every country has a version of this popular sweet treat.

The popular dessert is a staple in Mexican cuisine too, has very few ingredients, and is very simple and easy to make.

The cooking method is what’s called slow-cook, and it involves mixing the ingredients in a large pot until the rice is cooked and finished with a creamy and decadent texture.

The main difference between rice pudding and arroz con leche is that the Spanish pudding is made with egg yolks, to make it creamy, while the Mexican dessert is often made with condensed or evaporated milk to get the same results.

Arroz con leche in a cup. Seen from above.

Ingredients Needed

  • RICE: If you want to use Mexican rice but you don’t live in Mexico, check up on Mexican online stores or Amazon. Otherwise, use any medium-grain rice to make this recipe.
  • MILK: I am using whole cow’s milk for this recipe, its fat content is perfect to make this Mexican rice pudding creamy.
  • CONDENSED MILK: I used homemade condensed milk but feel free to use store-bought.
  • SUGAR: The recipe calls for white sugar. If you want to add other types of sweeteners just take in mind the taste and texture of the final dish may change as well.
  • CINNAMON: Use 1 stick of Mexican canela or 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon (or half and half).
  • LIME ZEST: For that little touch of citrus, you can swap for orange zest or peel.
  • VANILLA: Use vanilla extract, paste, or a vanilla pod.
Ingredients for arroz con leche placed in a countertop and labeled with names.

Best Type Of Rice To Use

In Mexico, the most common rice to use is the one available there, which is a long grain type. If you don’t have Mexican rice available where you live, other types are also a good option for this recipe.

Basmati, Jasmine, or any other long or medium grain white rice will work too.

I’ve found that medium grain rice is better when it comes to rice pudding because they are rich in starch and results in a creamier texture.

I don’t live in Mexico, so I often use arborio, carnaroli or roma.

How To Make Arroz Con Leche

Place rice in a pot or large saucepan with milk, sugar, and cinnamon.

Adding rice to pot with milk.

Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil while mixing all the time. Do not stop stirring or the milk will spill out.

Mixing ingredients in a pot for arroz con leche.

Reduce heat to low and keep cooking for about 20 minutes while stirring regularly. NOTE: Do not let the pot unattended or the rice will stick to the pot’s bottom.

Cooking arroz con leche in a pot.

Once the rice is cooked through and creamy, adjust the consistency by adding a little more milk if you want.

Arroz con leche cooked in a pot.

Turn off the heat and mix in the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and lime zest.

The remaining heat will bring out the flavor and wonderful aroma of vanilla and lime.

Added vanilla and lime zest to the pot with arroz con leche.

Serve the rice pudding in bowls or serving cups, sprinkle with ground cinnamon for extra flavor, and serve warm or cold.

Serving arroz con leche in cups.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Don’t leave the pot unattended. 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 continuously checking out the pot.
  • Stirring also helps to break some of the grains and make the pudding thicker and creamier.
  • The texture is really up to you. If you like your rice 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.
  • Rinse the rice before cooking or not? There is a long debated topic about why and why not we should rinse the rice before cooking. I always rinse my rice, even when making this recipe. But I understand that some people would find it unnecessary (for instance, my Italian husband). For this recipe, I rinsed the rice slightly, not to the point where the water became clear but just a quick rinse under cold water.

Recipe Variations

  • Other types of milk. Some recipes use also evaporated milk to make it creamier or add half and half, or even heavy cream.
  • Other spices. Besides cinnamon, you can also use star anise, cardamom, nutmeg, or whole cloves to make it more aromatic.
  • Add texture. Raisins are the first option when it comes to this Mexican rice pudding, but other dried fruits or nuts work too, think of pistachios, pecans, coconut, or dried cranberries.
  • Make it vegan. Use coconut milk and coconut cream, soy milk, or almond milk to make it vegan-friendly.

How To Eat

Mexican rice pudding can be served hot, warm, room temperature, or even cold from the fridge.

As a dessert, snack, or even for breakfast with chopped fresh fruit on top, this Mexican recipe is truly versatile.

In cold weather, you can make it with more milk so it can be suitable for drinking and serve it with animal crackers or galletas Marías.

If served cold, you can sprinkle your favorite nuts, grated coconut, chocolate sauce, or a dollop of cajeta on top, it makes the perfect chilled dessert for sunny days!

Arroz con leche served in cups.

How To Store And Reheat

  • Fridge: Allow your Mexican rice pudding to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Allow to cool down, transfer to a bag or container, label it with the cooking date, and store for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • Reheat: You can reheat arroz con leche on the stovetop, just add it to a pot with a splash of milk and reheat over medium heat while stirring constantly until warm.

Watch The Video

Authentic Arroz Con Leche Recipe.

Arroz Con Leche

author Maricruz
This Mexican arroz con leche is so creamy, packed with comforting flavors, and can be made in just 20 minutes!
prep 5 minutes
cook 20 minutes
total 25 minutes
serving 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup white rice (read notes)
  • 7 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup condensed milk
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 lime (zest)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder (+ more to serve)

Instructions
 

  • Add milk, rice, sugar, and cinnamon (stick and powdered) to a large saucepan or pot.
  • Mix to combine and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and keep cooking for about 20 minutes while stirring regularly (read notes).
  • Once the rice is cooked through and creamy, adjust the consistency by adding a little more milk if you want.
  • Turn off the heat. Mix in the condensed milk, vanilla extract, and lime zest.
  • Serve in cups with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.

Notes

  • You can use Mexican rice, Basmati, Jasmine, or any other long or medium grain white rice will work too (like arborio, carnaroli, or roma).
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 142mg | Potassium: 573mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 538IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 444mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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More Easy Mexican Desserts

  • Carlota de Limon. This Mexican icebox cake is fresh, tangy, and so limey.
  • Fresas con crema. Strawberries and cream with a Mexican twist.
  • Mexican Flan. So easy to make and one of the best desserts for family meals.
  • Mexican Jello. Colorful and so pretty, this mosaic gelatin is a must-have for parties!

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Recipe Rating




One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I loved this arroz con leche recipe! It was SO creamy and perfectly sweet. I used risotto rice and it came out perfect, it took about 20 minutes to finish the cooking and I just added a little bit more milk than the recipe calls for. Thank you!