Arroz Con Leche – Spanish Rice Pudding Recipe

When I first went to university in the UK I stayed at the halls of residence and the food was notoriously bad. So one day I was delighted when I saw there was rice pudding for dessert. Little did I know it was nothing like the rice pudding I was accustomed to! I was even horrified to see a dollop of jam in the bowl.

Arroz con leche is the Spanish version of rice pudding, it is creamy, sweet and unlike the (bland) British counterpart, it is flavoured with lemon rind and cinnamon, a match made in heaven and so typical of many Spanish sweets.

Even though this is usually considered a basic home dessert, it still requires some skill as it can easily burn and needs quite a lot of stirring, although nothing too strenuous! In Gibraltar this is also very typical especially at Easter time, and it is usually served cold, straight from the refrigerator. It does take a long time to cook, but it is so worth it, and for me it is proper comfort food. It is also customary to sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top just before serving. It is also perfectly possible to make a vegan dairy free arroz con leche using dairy free milks.

Arroz Con Leche – Spanish Rice Pudding Recipe
Yield: 8-10 Servings
Difficulty: Medium
Cooking time:


  • 250 g round rice (paella rice or pudding rice)
  • 2 large (or 3 small) sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • 250 ml of water
  • 1½ litres of whole milk
  • 227 g tin of evaporated milk
  • 400 g granulated sugar
  • 9 oz round rice (paella rice or pudding rice)
  • 2 large (or 3 small) sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of water
  • 6 cups of whole milk
  • 8 oz tin of evaporated milk
  • 2 cups of white sugar


  1. Peel the lemon in large chunks trying to avoid having any of the pith (white part), as this will be bitter. It is best to try and have large sections of peel as this will make it easier to remove at a later stage.
  2. Put the rice in a large deep pan with the peel of lemon, the cinnamon sticks and half the sugar.
  3. Add enough water to cover the rice by about 2cm (a bit less than 1 inch).
    Note: The original recipe calls for ‘1 finger’ or as they say in Spanish ‘un dedo‘, which is rather vague as the measurement will depend on how big the pan is. However about 1 cup should suffice.
  4. Start cooking on a low to medium heat until the water starts reducing by the rice absorbing it and the rice starts to become a bit tender. This can take about 15 minutes from when it starts to simmer.
  5. Add the rest of the sugar and start adding the milk a little bit (about half a litre, or 2 cups) at a time and stir non stop so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan as it will taste of burnt milk if it does.
  6. Once the rice is soft and cooked and the mixture is creamy add the tin of evaporated milk, still stirring constantly and once it starts to simmer take off the heat.
  7. Remove the lemon rind but leave the cinnamon sticks in.
  8. Cover and allow to cool completely so that the rice absorbs the rest of the milk equally. Once cold decant into a large bowl or glass tray and sprinkle ground cinnamon on top.

Do you like this recipe? Give it a rating!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars 4.80 from 5 reviews
Have you made this recipe?

If you make this recipe please share with the world! Post it on Instagram and tag @veggiegib and use the #veggiegib hasthag.

3 thoughts on “Arroz Con Leche – Spanish Rice Pudding Recipe

  1. I would like to offer a simpler (no need for carefull measurements) and foolproof method. The ingredients are virtually the same as your own…this recipe makes enough for 6-8 servings. A milk saver (round glass disk you place in the milk when boiling, is an excellent aid- available from BIA!)

    1 glass of rice (paella type round rice)
    1 glass water
    5 glasses of milk, whole or semi
    1/2 glass sugar. (More to taste but one glass is too much i find)
    1 or 2 cinnamon sticks (look for the shorter tougher type that dont break up)
    Zest of 1/2 a lemon. (Use a potato peeler)
    Ground cinnamon to taste and a bit of extra sugar for final topping.


    Place rice, water, lemon zest & cinnamon stick in a medium sized pan.
    Bring to a gentle boil stirring constantly.
    Once the water has reduced (5 mins) add the rest of the milk and sugar.
    Bring to the boil then immediately reduce to simmer (A ‘Milk Saver’ is useful at this point. Insert it at this stage so it doesn’t boil over). SImmer for about 20 mins or until rice is tender.

    Note: Dont be fooled by the liquidy consistency of the mix when cooked. Once it begins to cool it WILL thicken, but just enough to give you a delicious consistency.

    Remove zest pieces and cinnamon stick then pour into the desired container or individual dessert bowls and refrigerate if needed. Allow to cool then sprinkle with a Iittle sugar and cinnamon before serving it warm or cold. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks for sharing your method! Next time i make it I’ll be sure to try it, it sounds easy enough. This dish is one of those that every family has its own particular way of doing it.

    2. True Ivan. You have a great page my friend, nice wholesome healthy and typicallly yanito recipes for us all to try and treasure. Many thanks

Comments are closed.