Spanish Leche Frita Dessert Recipe

Spanish Leche Frita Dessert

The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Standing/Chill Time: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Yield: 16 squares
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
166 Calories
7g Fat
21g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 166
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 10%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 33mg 11%
Sodium 36mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 78mg 6%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 100mg 2%
*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.)

Leche frita is one of the most delicious and popular Spanish desserts. You can find it in both restaurants and pastry shops throughout Spain, but it's also fun to make at home. The translation of "leche frita" can be a bit puzzling because it means "fried milk." The "milk" here is actually a deliciously sweet, firm, cold milk-pudding that is encased in a warm and crunchy fried shell of flour and egg.

This traditional Spanish dessert is easy to prepare but needs time to chill so it hardens enough for frying. Plan for at least three hours in the refrigerator, though overnight is preferred. Leche frita can be enjoyed in a few different ways. It's fantastic hot out of the fryer with a scoop of ice cream, but some people prefer to eat it at room temperature, or cold from the fridge. Try it all three ways and decide which is your favorite.

"The Spanish cinnamon-spiced leche frita were delicious. It is an easy recipe, but make sure to leave plenty of time for chilling. I left them to chill overnight, and they firmed up nicely and were easy to work with. They were excellent coated with cinnamon sugar and served with a scoop of ice cream." —Diana Rattray

Spanish fried milk - leche frita dessert/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) cornstarch

  • 1 cup (129 grams) all-purpose flour, divided

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 4 cups whole milk, divided

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • Olive oil, for frying, more for the pan

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Ground cinnamon, or cinnamon sugar, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Spanish Leche Frita Dessert ingredients

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, 1/3 cup of the flour, and the sugar.

    In a large bowl, whisk together cornstarch, flour, and sugar

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  3. Add 1 cup of the milk and whisk to combine.

    add milk to the flour mixture in the bowl

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  4. Let stand at room temperature until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

    milk and flour mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  5. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 3 cups of milk and the cinnamon stick over medium-low heat.

    milk and a cinnamon stick in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  6. When the milk begins to bubble, remove it from the heat. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

    bubbling milk and a cinnamon stick in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  7. Gradually pour the warm milk through a medium mesh strainer into the cornstarch-flour-sugar mixture, whisking the mixture constantly .

    strain the flour and sugar mixture and pour in milk

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  8. Return the mixture to the saucepan over low heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency, 10 to 12 minutes.

    milk and flour mixture cooking in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  9. Lightly oil a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with oil. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches overhanging on opposite ends (the parchment handles will help you remove the mixture from the pan).

    baking dish greased with olive oil

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  10. Pour in the leche frita mixture to a depth of 3/4-inch.

    milk and flour mixture in a baking dish

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  11. Let come to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator, covered, for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

    chilled leche frita mixture

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  12. Use the parchment handles to lift the leche frita mixture out of the pan.

    loosen chilled leche frita mixture

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  13. Cut it into 16 equal size squares, about 2 1/4 inches each.

    leche frita pieces on a wood cutting board

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  14. Whisk the eggs together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    eggs whisked in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  15. To a large, non-stick skillet, add the butter and about 1/4-inch of oil. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts.

    frying pan with olive oil and butter

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  16. Place the remaining 2/3 cup flour on a rimmed plate. Dredge each leche frita square with flour, shaking off any excess.

    dredge the leche frita squares in flour

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  17. Dip 4 to 5 pieces into the beaten eggs.

    dip the leche frita squares in egg

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  18. Carefully transfer to the hot oil and fry until light golden, about 1 minute per side.

    leche frita in a frying pan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  19. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining pieces.

    leche frita on a paper towel lined plate

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 

  20. Sprinkle with cinnamon as the the leche frita become done. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Spanish Leche Frita Dessert (Fried Milk) with cinnamon on top

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 


It is important that the leche frita aka "fried milk" be at least 3/4-inch thick or it will be very difficult to fry and flip. Keep this in mind as you choose which dish to use, especially if you decide to double the recipe.

Recipe Variations

  • For vanilla flavor, add a scraped vanilla bean, or a teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste to the milk with the cinnamon stick.
  • Add citrus notes to the pudding mixture with a few strips of lemon or orange peel.
  • Feel free to swap out the olive oil with a neutral oil suitable for deep frying, such as canola or vegetable oil.

How to Store Spanish Fried Milk

  • Refrigerate cooled leftover leche frita squares in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze any fried leche frita, arrange them on a baking sheet and freeze. When frozen solid, wrap them in plastic wrap and foil and put them in a resealable freezer bag. Label with the name and date and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost them in the refrigerator overnight.