Translated, arroz con dulce means "sweet rice" in Spanish. The dessert is a sweet rice pudding with coconut and raisins that is normally associated with the holidays, thanks to spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Arroz con dulce is a traditional Christmas dessert in Puerto Rico and several other islands, but it's delicious any time of year.
This is a forgiving recipe that can easily be tweaked to your tastes. Add star anise to the steeping spices for a little extra spice, add orange peel or a little orange extract, or use currants or dried cranberries in place of raisins. It’s very easy to add your special touch and make it your own.
For best results, use whole spices and fresh ginger. If you don't have whole spices handy, some ground spices can be added along with the raisins and coconut.
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- 1 piece of ginger (about 1 inch, peeled and sliced)
- 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1 cup medium-grain rice (or short-grain rice)
- 1/2 cup white sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes (sweetened)
- Garnish: ground cinnamon (to taste)
Gather the ingredients.
In a large saucepan or pot, bring 3 cups of water to a simmer. Add the ginger pieces, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and salt. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the flavors are infused into the water.
Remove the spices and save the infused water.
Put the infused water back into the saucepan or pot. Add the coconut milk and 1 more cup of water. Bring to a boil.
Add the sugar, raisins, and coconut and thoroughly stir. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring a few times.
After 20 minutes, remove the lid and stir. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked through and creamy. The water should be absorbed. If the water is absorbed but the rice is still not cooked, add a little hot water (about 1/4 cup) at a time and continue to cook until done.
Once the rice is cooked, pour into your serving dish or dishes. Allow to cool and place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.
Garnish with cinnamon before serving and enjoy!
- Double-check that you are using medium or short-grained rice and not long-grained rice.
- This isn’t a recipe you can leave unattended. It will need stirring to keep it from sticking and burning in the pan.
- It’s meant to be served cold. To speed up chilling, put the finished rice in your serving dish or individual dessert cups and refrigerate before serving.
- The amounts of spices are flexible, so feel free to adjust them to your preferences.
- Save a few raisins and maybe a cinnamon stick for garnish.