Arroz con leche

//Written by Francisca Gomez//

This delicious dessert came to the Americas with the arrival of the Conquistadors, and it has been adapted over centuries all over the continent. The version below is the one that I learned from my mother in Chile. Cool and refreshing, it is perfect for the hot summer afternoons. My preferred consistency for arroz con leche is on the watery side, but if you want it thicker, pay attention to step #7, and consider adding a little bit more rice (from ¼ to ½ cup additional rice). The recipe is simple enough that you should feel encouraged to experiment, until you reach the perfect consistency for your taste.

Servings 4-6
Cook Time 30 Minutes
Total Time 35 Minutes


1 liter milk (whole, low- or non-fat)
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup rice (any kind, but short-grain is recommended)
¼ cup sugar
Optional: cinnamon powder, orange or lemon peel, brown sugar (to replace the sugar)

Photo credit: Francisca Gomez


  1. Pour the milk into a medium-sized pot and place on the stove over medium heat (Tip: to speed up the process, heat the milk in the microwave first).

  2. Add the cinnamon stick.

  3. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring occasionally. Depending on how hot the milk was to begin with, this will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.

  4. When the milk boils, add the rice, sugar and the orange or lemon peel.

  5. Continue to stir occasionally, until the milk comes to a boil again, about 8 minutes.

  6. When the milk boils, count another 10 minutes, and then remove the pot from the heat.

  7. Cover the pot and let the mixture sit for about 4 minutes if you prefer your arroz con leche to be more watery, or 6-8 minutes if you prefer a thicker, denser mixture.

  8. Pour the arroz con leche into a bowl, and place it in the refrigerator. Let it cool 1-2 hours.

  9. When you are ready to serve, remove the cinnamon and the orange or lemon peel, and sprinkle the top of the arroz con leche with powdered cinnamon.

Finished arroz con leche. Photo credit: Francisca Gomez


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