Arroz Con Leche: Mexican Rice Pudding

Arroz Con Leche: Mexican Rice Pudding

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Soak:: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
319 Calories
8g Fat
54g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 319
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 197mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 47g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 311mg 24%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 459mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Rice pudding is a beloved dessert found in cuisines all over the world, including Mexico where it is called arroz con leche. This version is thick and creamy with the added warm spice of cinnamon and the welcoming chewy texture of raisins. The rice and milk combine with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, adding richness and sweetness to this comforting dessert.

When making rice pudding, it is best to use short- or medium-grained rice, such as arborio, as it will give you the creamiest texture. In this recipe, the cinnamon flavor comes from cinnamon sticks, but if you don't have any, simply use one teaspoon of ground cinnamon instead. And be mindful that the raisins need to soak in water before being added to the rice pudding; about 30 minutes in some warm water will plump them up nicely.

Arroz con leche may be served hot or cold. Add a little sprinkling of cinnamon and a small pat of butter if the pudding is hot.

"I love rice pudding, and this arroz con leche was excellent! Cinnamon sticks give it a subtle flavor, and the cinnamon garnish reinforces it. It was easy to prepare, too. Just keep an eye on the pudding near the end and stir it occasionally to keep the rice and milk from scorching." —Diana Rattray

Arroz con Leche
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 1 1/4 cups water

  • 1 cup short or medium grain rice, such as arborio

  • 2 medium cinnamon sticks

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup raisins (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes to soften and drained)

  • Ground cinnamon, for garnish, optional

  • Softened butter, for garnish, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for rice pudding

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. Combine the milk and water in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

    Bring milk to boil in a pot

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Stir in the rice, add the cinnamon sticks, and continue cooking at a bare simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is softened, 20 to 30 minutes.

    rice and cinnamon sticks in a pot with milk

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. When the rice is soft, remove and discard the cinnamon sticks.

    remove cinnamon sticks from the rice mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Stir in the condensed milk, vanilla, salt, and raisins.

    condensed milk, vanilla, salt, and raisins added to the rice mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Return to a low simmer and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice has a pudding-like consistency, 10 to 15 minutes more.

    Arroz Con Leche: Mexican Rice Pudding in a pot

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  7. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dot of butter, if desired.

    Arroz Con Leche: Mexican Rice Pudding in glass container

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack


If you don't often cook with sweetened condensed milk, you may want to familiarize yourself with the difference between evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk; they will be shelved together in the grocery store and may have similar looking labels, but they are not the same and can't always be swapped for one another. Sweetened condensed milk is evaporated milk with sugar added; if you use the unsweetened evaporated milk, the rice pudding will not be sweet.

Recipe Variations

  • Garnish the arroz con leche with toasted coconut along with the cinnamon.
  • Serve the pudding with a swirl of thick dulce de leche or caramel ice cream topping.
  • Top the rice pudding with toasted slivered almonds for extra texture.
  • Instead of raisins, consider dried cranberries or chopped dates.
  • For a brûlée effect, transfer the warm arroz con leche to ramekins and top with an even layer of granulated sugar. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar.
  • Give the pudding caramel flavor by replacing the sweetened condensed milk with a 14-ounce can of dulce de leche.

How to Store Arroz con Leche

  • Refrigerate cooled arroz con leche within 2 hours and enjoy it within 4 days.
  • You may freeze rice pudding for longer storage if necessary, but be aware that the texture will likely change when thawed. To freeze, transfer the cooled rice pudding to a resealable freezer bag. Press out as much air as possible, seal the bag, and label it with the name and date. Defrost the frozen arroz con leche in the fridge overnight.
  • To reheat arroz con leche, put it in a saucepan and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk or water—heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until hot. Alternatively, put it in a microwave-safe container with 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on 100% power for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.