Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)

Arroz con leche (“rice with milk”) is a lightly sweetened rice pudding of Spanish origin. It is a dessert made in homes all over Latin America as well. Its ingredients and preparation are simple. Like all home classics, seasonings differ from country to country and even from cook to cook.

While this dish is often known as Spanish rice pudding, oral history suggests that the dish may have been brought to Spain in some form by Moorish travellers. Its origins, just as likely, resemble those of many traditional dishes we take for granted–a creative response to an unexpected surplus or leftovers. In the days before reliable refrigeration, cooks applied considerable ingenuity to preserving these surpluses. Recipes like arroz con leche quickly endeared themselves to cooks whose first impulse was staving off both hunger and waste. A Chilean version adds two eggs toward the end of cooking; as the hot mixture cooks the eggs, the final product is more like custard than arroz con leche made with milk alone.


  • 225 gm rice
  • 450 ml water
  • 225 ml whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 110 gm sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp butter, for greasing the pan
  • 225 ml heavy cream
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle on top


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Put the rice and water in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to low heat and cover the pan.
  • Cook the rice for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
  • In a medium bowl, stir the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon peel until blended.
  • Add the rice and stir gently until all ingredients are well mixed.
  • Butter a 9-inch pie pan and spoon the mixture into it. Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove pudding from the oven, stir it, and cool for 15 minutes.
  • While the pudding cools, beat the heavy cream in a large bowl until it forms soft peaks.
  • Fold the rice pudding into the whipped cream.
  • Serve in a dish, warm or chilled, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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