This arroz con leche recipe was given to my grandmother many years ago by an Asturian cook.
One of the first memories I have is when my grandmother used to make arroz con leche for dessert for all of us. Today, that combination of creaminess and cinnamon flavor takes me straight back to my childhood. That’s why I’m going to share this dessert recipe with you with special affection.
Cooks all over the world give this rice pudding dessert their own touch and that’s what makes it so special.
What is Arroz con Leche?
Arroz con leche is a traditional Spanish dessert made from rice, milk and sugar. This delicacy was invented many many years ago in the Far East. However, in Spain we have made this dessert our specialty, especially in Asturias, where this arroz con leche recipe comes from.
I hope you end up loving this Spanish dessert as much as we all do at home.
What Rice is Best for Spanish Rice Pudding?
In order to make a delicious, creamy arroz con leche, I use short-grain rice, also known as pearl or glutinous rice. This variety of rice has a high starch content. When cooked, the starch is released from the grain and adds creaminess to your rice pudding.
One, two, three … describe your favourite dessert in three words … Arroz, con, Leche?
On my dessert list, it is in the top 3 without a doubt. And I have a feeling it’s on my children’s list too.
When you finish making this arroz con leche, it’s time to invite friends and family over to eat it. The moment they have the spoon in their mouths, they will not be able to do anything else but…. mmmmmmmm….
How to Make Arroz con Leche
This Spanish rice pudding is made from whole milk, rice, butter, sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon. You only need to use as equipment a cooking pot and a wooden spoon.
Don’t get discouraged if the first time it doesn’t come out as expected! Persist, be patient and you will see how eventually you will make a creamy arroz con leche. Anyway, this recipe is explained step by step so that your arroz con leche comes out delicious the first time!
Arroz con Leche Recipe: Step by Step
1. In a cooking high pot (without turning on the heat yet), add 6 cups of whole milk, 1⅓ tablespoon of butter, one cinnamon stick, a lemon peel and ½ cup of rice.
Tips for this 1st step:
- When peeling the lemon, make sure to avoid the white part right under the skin since it has a bitter taste. For this, I recommend using a vegetable peeler.
- Use a cinnamon stick, not ground cinnamon.
2. Stir with a wooden spoon for 10 minutes over high heat ( level 9 on glass-ceramic ).
3. Reduce heat to medium ( level 4 on glass-ceramic ), stop stirring and let the rice with milk cook for 15 minutes.
4 . Then, add ¾ cup of sugar into the rice with milk mixture and stir again for 5 more minutes!
Tips for this 4th step:
- One last stirring effort! In this step you have to stir well to keep sugar from sticking.
- At this step the mixture starts to thicken. Don’t worry if you see it a little runny, the rice will thicken as it cools. If you keep cooking until it thickens as desired, the rice may harden.
5. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
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 6th 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 Spanish arroz con leche!
What if my Spanish Rice Pudding doesn´t come out as creamy as I expected?
Don’t worry if it comes out a bit liquid, you can pour it back in the cooking pot and cook it over low-medium heat for a few more minutes. It may only need 5-10 minutes more. Keep in mind that it will also thicken as it cools.
If you have a dinner party and want to serve arroz con leche for dessert, I recommend serving it in the morning. Each guest can top their own serving of rice pudding with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.
If you liked this Spanish recipe, I invite you to try also this flan with sweetened condensed milk.
Authentic Spanish Arroz con Leche
- 6 cups whole milk (1½ liter)
- 1⅓ tablespoon butter (20 grams)
- ½ cup rice (85 grams)
- ¾ cup sugar (170 grams)
- 1 lemon peel
- 1 cinnamon stick
- In a cooking high pot (without turning on the heat yet), add 6 cups of whole milk, 1⅓ tablespoon of butter, one cinnamon stick, a lemon peel and ½ cup of rice.
- Stir with a wooden spoon for 10 minutes over high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium, stop stirring and let the rice with milk cook for 15 minutes.
- Add in ¾ cup of sugar and stir again for 5 more minutes.
- Pour rice pudding into a bowl. Remove lemon peel and cinnamon stick.
- Allow your arroz con leche to cool to room temperature for 20 minutes and then put it to chill in the refrigerator.
- Et voilà! You have just made a Spanish arroz con leche!