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Arroz Con Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)

This arroz con leche (Mexican rice pudding) is an ultra-creamy rice pudding lightly spiced with cinnamon. Served hot or cold, you will love this Mexican dessert!

Serve this dessert along with other Latin American favorites for a Cinco de Mayo celebration like sopapillas, homemade churros or tres leches cake!

A cup of Mexican rice pudding garnished with a cinnamon stick.
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Mexican Rice Pudding

If you’ve ever enjoyed a creamy and sweet arroz con leche recipe before, you know that there’s something so comforting about this traditional Spanish and Latin American dessert that is made with rice, milk and sugar!

This recipe is inspired by the Mexican rice pudding served at a restaurant I love. I keep the ‘rice with milk’ flavorings simple with just a hint of cinnamon and vanilla, similar to my horchata recipe. It’s a versatile dessert that can be jazzed up with your favorite toppings!

Recipe Ingredients

You can easily make this comforting Mexican-inspired recipe with budget-friendly pantry staples which makes it a great dessert to whip up anytime!

Arroz con leche ingredients on counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Three different milks: I use whole milk (2% would also work), one can of evaporated milk, and one can of sweetened condensed milk.
  • Vanilla: A small amount of Mexican vanilla or vanilla extract adds a lot of flavor!
  • Cinnamon sticks: It’s traditional to use cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon but use what you have on hand.
  • White rice: Short-grained white rice will give you the creamiest texture, but any white rice will do.


  • Coconut: Swap out one cup of milk for one cup of coconut milk to add a sweet coconut flavor to the dessert.
  • Dried fruit: Stir in raisins or other dried fruit when adding the milk so it gives them time to plump up and add texture to the Mexican sweet rice.
  • Granulated sugar. Skip the sweetened condensed milk and use 3/4 cup additional milk and 3/4 granulated white sugar instead. Your Mexican rice pudding won’t be as sweet and creamy, but still amazing.

How to Make Arroz Con Leche

Showing how to make arroz con leche in a 6 step collage.
  1. Heat milk. In a medium saucepan, stir together the milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and vanilla and heat over medium until warm.
  2. Boil water. Get the water ready for cooking the rice by adding it to a large pot along with the cinnamon sticks and salt and bringing it all to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook the rice. We’re using the stovetop method for cooking rice, so simply pour the rice into the water, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes. Stir a few times to prevent sticking.
  4. Combine milk and rice. Slowly stir the milk mixture into the rice and reduce the heat to low.
  5. Simmer. Leave the pot uncovered and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Continue to stir the rice frequently so it doesn’t burn.
  6. Rest. Let the rice pudding sit for 10 minutes before serving. It will thicken up slightly as it rests. Serve it either warm or cold with your favorite toppings!


Once your Mexican rice pudding recipe is ready, have fun with adding a variety of toppings to enjoy with it!

  • Stir in some chopped almonds, pecans, or pistachios just before serving.
  • Give the pudding a warm spicy flavor by adding some ground nutmeg, cardamom, or ginger.
  • Drizzle the warm rice pudding with honey, dulce de leche or caramel sauce.
  • Add some fresh fruit like chopped bananas, mangoes, peaches, or strawberries. Shredded coconut is also great sprinkled on top!

Expert Tips

  • A heavy-bottomed pot is the best option for cooking arroz con leche. Because of the dairy content, it can easily burn, a thick pot helps ensure even cooking.
  • Don’t overcook the rice. Cook it until it’s cooked through but it’s still slightly firm when you bite on it. If you overcook the rice, it will turn mushy.
  • Stir rice frequently. So don’t walk away from it while it’s cooking, but a few minutes of stirring is totally worth it to prevent sticking and possible burnt rice pudding.
  • If your pudding is too thick, stir in a splash of milk to help loosen it. If your pudding is too thin, let it sit off the heat to thicken or store in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Mexican rice pudding in a black pot with cinnamon sticks.

Recipe FAQs

What is arroz con leche?

Arroz con leche is a traditional sweet and creamy rice pudding dessert that is popular in many Latin American countries and Spain. 

The name translates to ‘rice with milk’ I think of it like a Mexican rice pudding and it uses three different types of milk to get its rich and creamy texture. 

What is the best rice to use?

I use white rice when making any Mexican rice pudding dish. Arborio, or Calrose are types of short-grain white rice that will give you the creamiest consistency.

Long-grain rice such as jasmine rice or basmati rice are also good choices. Do not use instant rice. Brown rice will not be as creamy plus will take too long to cook.

Can this dish be made ahead of time?

Yes, this sweet rice pudding can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. It can be safely stored for up to 4 days. For the best results, store the rice without the toppings and only add them when you’re ready to serve. You may want to add in more milk to soften it.

Can arroz con leche be frozen?

Technically, you can freeze it, but since you’re freezing dairy, it might change the texture. If you plan to freeze it, make sure you store it in an airtight freezer-safe container and then let it thaw in the refrigerator before reheating it.


  • Store: After it has cooled completely, store any leftover rice with toppings in an airtight container as soon as possible after serving. It will keep nicely in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: Your rice will have probably thickened up in the fridge, so adding a splash of milk can loosen it while reheating. Reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments until warm or in a saucepan on the stovetop on low heat. Stir frequently.
A glass full of Mexican rice pudding garnished with a cinnamon stick.

Looking for more fun pudding recipes? Try my bread pudding with a homemade bread pudding sauce or the best banana pudding recipe.

More Sweet Mexican Recipes

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Arroz con leche in a glass cup.

Arroz Con Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)

5 from 10 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This arroz con leche (Mexican rice pudding) is an ultra-creamy rice pudding lightly spiced with cinnamon. Served hot or cold, you will love this Mexican dessert!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Rest Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8



  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup white rice , rinsed well
  • 2-3 sticks cinnamon
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can condensed milk
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican vanilla , or vanilla extract

Optional toppings: Raisins, Ground cinnamon or cinnamon sugar, Brown sugar, or Honey


    • In a large pot, add the water, cinnamon sticks, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and water has evaporated. Stir occasionally.
    • In a medium saucepan, stir together the milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk over low heat until warm.
    • Stir the milk mixture into the rice along with the vanilla and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture has thickened to your liking. Stir frequently to keep rice from burning. Once thickened remove from heat. Stir in a couple more Tablespoons of milk if you need to thin it down.
    • Let rest 15 minutes and remove cinnamon sticks before serving. Serve warm or cold and add your favorite toppings. I love to add a dusting of cinnamon sugar over the top.


    Serving: If you serve the arroz con leche cold, you may want to mix in a Tablespoon or two of milk, as it will thicken as it cools.
    Cinnamon: Cinnamon sticks are preferred but you can use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon instead, if needed. If you’d like extra cinnamon flavor, you can add the cinnamon sticks with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the rice while it cooks. 
    Storage: Store leftover rice in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days.


    Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 317IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 325mg | Iron: 0.4mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: Mexican
    Diet: Gluten Free

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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