Today I´m sharing with you how to make arroz con leche so that it comes out as creamy as the one our grandmothers used to make us for dessert.
This creamy homemade dessert is a classic Spanish dish I grew up on, and it has alongside flan the super power to take me back to my childhood every time I eat it.
I still remember my grandmother in the kitchen preparing this delicious dessert for us when I was a little girl.
What is Arroz con Leche?
Arroz con leche is a traditional Spanish dessert made from rice, milk and sugar.
In Spain there is a region well known for making the most delicious arroz con leche, Asturias, and it is where this arroz con leche recipe comes from.
This recipe was given from an old Asturian woman to my grandmother many years ago.
One, two, three… describe your favorite dessert in three words? Arroz con Leche!
On my dessert list it’s definitely in the top 3. And I have a feeling it’s on my children’s list too.
To make this dessert requires patience and practice, skills to achieve success in the kitchen (and in life!). Don’t be discouraged if the first time it doesn’t turn out as expected. If you persist, eventually you will find it easier and easier to make this creamy rice pudding.
In order you get it right the first time, every single step of this recipe is thoroughly explained.
Once you have prepared this easy arroz con leche (without condensed milk), it’s time to invite your friends and family over. I assure you that the moment they have this sweet, creamy treat in their mouths, they won’t be able to do anything else but…. mmmmmmmm….
I hope you end up loving this traditional Spanish dessert as much as we all do at home.
How to Make Arroz con Leche
1. In a saucepan (without turning on the heat yet), add 1½ liter of whole milk, 1⅓ tablespoon (20 grams) of butter, one cinnamon stick, a lemon peel and ½ cup (85 grams) of rice.
Tips for this first step:
- When peeling the lemon, make sure to avoid the white part right under the skin since it has a bitter taste.
- I recommend cutting the lemon skin with a vegetable knife to peel it at once and with no white part.
- To make a creamy arroz con leche, I use short-grain sticky rice, also known as pearl or glutinous rice, a variety of round-grained white rice that gently releases the starch from the grain to make your dishes incredibly creamy.
2. Cook on high heat for about 10 minutes while stirring with a wooden spoon.
Tips for this second step:
- Use a tall saucepan as the milk will rise and foam on high heat.
- Stir with a wooden spoon so that the rice doesn´t stick, and milk doesn´t rise and get out of the pot.
Counting down … The 10 minutes are up!
3. Lower the heat (on glass ceramic to level 4) and leave it cooking for 20 minutes.
4 . 5 minutes before the 20 minutes are up, pour in ¾ cup (170 grams) of sugar. Now it´s time to stir well!
Tips for this fourth step:
- One last stirring effort! In this step you have to stir thoroughly to keep sugar from sticking.
- You will see the mixture start to thicken, but it is still runny. don’t worry as the rice will thicken a lot when it cools down. If you wait until it is as thick as you would like it to be, rice may harden.
5. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Remove the lemon and the cinnamon stick.
6. Allow your arroz con leche to cool to room temperature for 20 minutes and then put it to chill in the refrigerator.
Tips for this sixth step:
- During resting time, rice thickens as it cools. Then, you can serve it.
- If it is stored in the refrigerator, I recommend you taking it out a few minutes before serving so that your guests can savor its creaminess.
7. Et voilà! You have made a delicious, creamy arroz con leche!
What if my arroz con leche doesn´t come out as creamy as I expected?
Don’t worry if it comes out a bit liquid, you can place it back in the pot and cook it on low-medium heat for a few more minutes. It may only need 5-10 minutes more. Remember that it will also thicken as it cools.
If you are having a dinner party and want to serve arroz con leche for dessert, I recommend you to make it in the morning. Each guest may cover their own serving of arroz con leche with a dusting of cinnamon powder.
If you liked this dessert recipe, I invite you to try more Spanish desserts.
Authentic Spanish Arroz con Leche
- 1½ liter whole milk
- 1⅓ tablespoon butter (20 grams)
- ½ cup rice (85 grams)
- ¾ cup sugar (170 grams)
- 1 lemon peel
- 1 cinnamon stick ( another option is to add vanilla )
- In a saucepan, add milk, rice, butter, cinnamon stick and lemon peel (without turning on the heat yet).
- Cook on high heat for 10 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon.
- Lower the heat (in glass ceramic to 4) and leave it cooking for 20 minutes.
- 5 minutes before the 20 minutes are up, pour in the sugar. Stir well.
- Pour into a bowl, removing the lemon and cinnamon.
- Let arroz con leche sit to room temperature for 20 minutes and then put it to chill in the refrigerator.
- Et voilà! You have just made a creamy arroz con leche!