Arroz Con Leche without the Sweetened Condensed Milk

Arroz con leche
Arroz con leche

It will be hard to find someone who does not fancy arroz con leche. It is a classic Latin America dessert loved by many people there. Each country has its own take on the recipe. This rice pudding is nothing like a regular rice pudding you will find in your neighborhood. The taste is much more complex. Despite being served cool, you will want to eat it at any time of the year. Let’s see how you can make this dish on your own.



  • 4 cups milk (you can choose whole milk, skim milk, or even plant based milk depending on your own preference)
  • 1½ cup water
  • ½ cup rice (most arroz con leche recipes will request for long grain variety, but if you want thick and creamy texture like risotto then short grain rice will work better)
  • ½ cup brown sugar or other substitutes (choose the solid sweetener instead of liquid one).
  • A cinnamon stick, the high quality and organic one is preferred.
  • A teaspoon grated peel of lemon.
  • Powdered cinnamon, for garnish.
  • A teaspoon vanilla extract or paste.
  • A pinch of salt.

Cooking Instructions:

  • Pour water, rice, and cinnamon stick into a medium size saucepan. Turn on the stove on medium heat until the water is boiling then lower the heat to low. Place the lid on top of saucepan.
  • Cook the rice for 15 minutes with the lid on until the water has been absorbed by rice.
  • Prepare a larger saucepan. Pour in milk, brown sugar, salt and vanilla extract into the pan. Turn on the stove on medium heat.
  • Gently stir in the cooked cinnamon flavored rice into the mixture.
  • Once everything has been incorporated, cook the rice and milk mixture for 45 minutes on gentle heat while stirring occasionally.
  • Add grated lemon peel near the end of cooking.
  • Take out the cinnamon stick then remove pan from the heat.
  • Transfer the pudding into another container with plastic wrap coverage.
  • Let the pudding cool down in room temperature before taking it to the fridge. It is recommended to let the arroz con leche cooling for 3 hours or even longer before serving.
  • Serve with sprinkles of powdered cinnamon.

As you can see, this recipe does not require sweetened condensed milk. It is able to accommodate people who do not consume such dairy product. You can also tweak the level of sweetness that you want to achieve. It is possible to add some fruits in the cooking process to improve its flavor. Some recipes will call for raisins. If not, you can create fruit compote on the side to be served alongside this flavorful dish.

This recipe is going to serve up to six people happily. It can be doubled and even tripled quite easily. The total cooking time for this recipe is a little over an hour. However, everyone will tell you to wait until the pudding is fully chilled before serving. It is a way to let the flavors mingle better. Beside the sweet flavor will benefit from being served cool. This arroz con leche is a simple way to amaze your family.