Comfort Food Classics: Arroz con Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)

Arroz con Leche is the ultimate in Mexican comfort food. Creamy and delicious with a hint of cinnamon, this Mexican rice pudding is a warm and comforting hug in a mug.

How to Make Mexican Arroz con Leche -

Classic Mexican Arroz con Leche 

Arroz con Leche is another of those traditional Mexican dishes that takes me back to my childhood. I don't think there was a week that Pappy didn't whip up a huge olla (pot) of Arroz con Leche. Pappy was of the belief that Arroz con Leche was the caldo de pollo (chicken soup) of desserts, in that it could cure just about anything. And he was always looking for an excuse to make this creamy deliciousness: birthdays, rainy days, holidays, Tuesdays, sick days, and any day ending in the letters "s" or "o". (The days of the week in Spanish end in either "s" or "o": lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, sábado y domingo.)

How to Make Traditional Mexican Arroz con Leche 

Every family has their own unique recipe for Arroz con Leche. Today I'm sharing the classic version, made with just rice, water, milk, cinnamon, sugar, and raisins, if you like them. There are other versions of Arroz con Leche that also include sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk, which I'll be sharing soon, but today it's all about the traditional arroz con leche like our abuelitos (grandparents) and favorite tías (aunts) used to make. 

Traditional Mexican Arroz con Leche recipe -

Yield: 8 servings

Arroz con Leche

Arroz con Leche is the ultimate in Mexican comfort food. Creamy and delicious, this Mexican rice pudding is a warm and comforting hug in a mug.+-w
prep time: 5 MINScook time: 60 MINStotal time: 65 mins


  • 1 cup long-grain rice 
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 (3-inch cinnamon stick) 
  • 4 cups whole milk 
  • 1/2 to 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional) 
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (optional) 
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk (optional) 


  1. Bring rice, water, salt, and cinnamon to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low; let simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until the rice is cooked through and almost all of the water has evaporated. (That starchy water that remains after the rice is cooked through is what is going to help make our arroz con leche extra creamy.) 
  2. Stir in the 4 cups of milk. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar; let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until milk comes to a boil.
  3. Sweeten with granulated sugar to taste. If adding raisins or dried cranberries, stir them in with the granulated sugar. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar (to preven milk from spilling over); let simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until rice mixture is thick and creamy. 
  4. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or let cool completely and refrigerate until ready to serve. Spoon rice pudding into bowl or coffee mugs. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Buen provecho! 
  1. To help thicken your arroz con leche, mash the rice lightly with a potato masher.
  2. If your arroz con leche is still not creamy enough for your taste, dissolve the cornstarch in the cold milk. Stir into the rice pudding, and let simmer until desired thickness. 
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  1. I like cold and alot of cinnamon powder...


  2. I made the arroz con leche this morning for myself and my 2 munchkins... absolutely delicious. Thank you for the recipe!

  3. J Olivarez-MazoneJuly 6, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    I add condensed Pet's milk sometimes. My hubby's favorite breakfast is this and he isn't even Mexican.

  4. i always use evaporated milk instead of regular milk

  5. Leslie thank you thank you thank you. I can not tell you how many times I have tried to make rice pudding. My mom tried teaching me, she wrote her recipe a million times and I just could not get it right. Rice would be either undercooked or overcooked. Too much sugar, not enough, too spicy (accidentaly put cayenne instead of cinnamon, I know stupid mistake) Not only did you provide a recipe that taste good but you made it so simple that I can now say that I can do this with my eyes closed. My whole family and I thank you :) Keep up the great work
    Vanessa M

    1. Thank you so much, Vanessa M! You are too sweet! I'm glad I was able to help! :)

  6. thank you so much for all your help. your recipes are so easy to follow and your style and ingredients are exactly what my family loves. My husband is Mexican and I am from El Salvador so I had no Idea how to make him his favorites! thanks again!

  7. hi, do you ever provide calorie count for the entire recipe? I can figure it out, but having it already in the recipe at the end would be SO much better. Thanks, it does sound good and yummy.

  8. This post is gorgeous!! Beautiful photography as usual!! Absolutely mouthwatering.

    Maycee (

  9. Ay dios mio ... sounds sooo good !!!