arroz-con-leche-rice-pudding Recipes

arroz con leche (rice pudding)

Almost without fail, January — which is always too cold, too dull, and too overdue for an antidote for holiday excess — puts me in the mood for rice pudding and this year was no different. I played around with it all month. I made my standard. I made a “creamiest” version I found online that landed me with an undercooked eggy puddle and a wobbly belly. I made a baked version that never came together. And I caved to my husband’s repeated request for chocolate rice pudding which is something you will never see on this site because it was, hands down, the most revolting looking dish I’ve yet to ladle into a bowl. (I added 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate added to my old favorite, and nixed the almond. See? Now I’ve saved myself a photography challenge!)

rice!

But it took me until February got me daydreaming of warmer climates to figure out what I’d really been looking for: arroz con leche. Now, here’s the thing — I did it wrong. I mean, it’s inevitable that it will seem wrong to someone who grew up eating it. There are as many versions of arroz con leche as there are Spanish-speaking grandmas who stir it up, and rarely are two versions alike. That’s the best part.

arroz con leche with raisins

soft, creamy rice pudding

Here’s what they have in common: Most are thinner than you may expect from rice pudding, not overly sweet and generally just scented with cinnamon and lemon or orange zest (though I’ve seen lime used too). Many use a can of sweetened condensed milk, some us evaporated milk as well. Raisins are optional but common. Some use an egg or even two, many do not. Vanilla is sometimes used, often skipped. There are Dominican version, Peruvian version, Cuban versions, Colombian versions, Spanish versions and guys, all I want to do right now is go visit each of them, audition them on their home turf. Road trip, anyone?

Alas, I am in New York City where more (!) snow (!) is predicted and lazing about is the order of the day. I’m trying to make the most of it, I really am and this pudding, it helps.

arroz con leche, looking all fancy

One year ago: Soft Pretzels and Meatball Sliders
Three years ago: Baked Tomato Sauce

Arroz Con Leche
Adapted from Ingrid Hoffmann

Do you like Cozy Shack rice pudding? Has the rice pudding you fell in love with at New Jersey diners and New York delis been elusive to you at home? Well, step right up! (Can you see me in my cape and top hat, waving you into the circus tent? No? Sigh.) Look no further! All of your rice pudding dreams will come true right before your very eyes!

Ahem, more soberly: I made a few changes to the original ingredients, adding salt and swapping large peels for finely grated zest. Some fun ideas for next time: Swapping out some of the milk for an equivalent amount of coconut milk. Swapping a jar of store-bought dulce de leche for the sweetened condensed milk.

Original recipe says it serves 4, I say 8, easily

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cinnamon sticks (I had very large canela sticks — see bottom for more info — so I only used one)
2 strips of lemon or orange zest (can use a peeler to get a larger piece)
3 whole cloves or a tiny pinch of ground cloves
4 cups water
1 egg
3 cups whole milk (updated to note that many people, including my mother, successfully made this with lower fat milks)
1 (12-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (I realized after the fact that my can had been 14 ounces, had no averse effect)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Soak the rice, cinnamon sticks, lemon or orange zest and whole or powdered cloves in the water in a heavy saucepan for 1 hour.

After soaking, bring the rice mixture to a boil on high heat, uncovered. When it starts to boil (about 5 minutes), lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 12 more minutes or until water is almost evaporated.

While rice is cooking, beat the egg in a bowl. Add the milk and stir well to mix. Add the egg mixture, condensed milk, salt, vanilla extract and raisins, if using, to the rice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring carefully, until it thickens slightly or until desired consistency about 25 to 35 minutes (see notes that follow).

(About cooking time: Many reviewers said 25 to 35 minutes was way too much cooking time for them, and that 15 to 20 minutes would have been better. I was all ready to pull my pot off early, but actually needed almost 30 minutes. Still, want to give you a heads up that yours might be done sooner.)

(About “desired consistency”: I cooked mine until all but 10 percent of the liquid had been absorbed, which yielded a creamy, not-too-thick pudding. If you like your arroz con leche thinner, pull it off the stove when more liquid is left. This pudding does most of its thickening as it cools, but the end result should still be thinner than traditional rice pudding.)

Remove citrus zest and cinnamon sticks. Let cool uncovered, then chill the rest of the way in the fridge.

Mexican cinnamon: A long time ago, I bought a jar of canela (Mexican "soft cinnamon") sticks from Rancho Gordo and this was the perfect time to bust it out. The cinnamon flavor is just a little different than we’re used to, a little less loud and one note, a little dynamic. It smells exactly like a cross between a cinnamon stick and apple cider. Seriously! When simmered with the pudding for almost an hour, the pudding had an almost spicy edge to it and an unmistakable flavor I associate only with arroz con leche.

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286 comments on arroz con leche (rice pudding)

  1. rachel

    I remember that you really dislike cardamom, but I once made a lovely version of this with the cardamom instead of cinnamon, and with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. Persian Yum.

  2. I love rice pudding. I grew up eating my British Honduras (now Belize) neighbor’s pudding. Can’t wait to try your recipe. I think I’ll substitute vanilla bean for the extract and put it in the beginning with the other spices. I don’t mind the black specks but love the flavor.

    1. deb

      Ann — Whoops, will edit that in now. (Original recipe didn’t have it either, but I guessed.)

      Rachel — Good recollection! I can imagine if you were someone who was not cardamom averse that it would work in here…

      Linda — Thanks. I’ll clear that up now. (I meant 12 and 14-ounce in the recipe, not 14- and 16-ounce.)

      Tasha — This one gets very, very soft. Especially with a thin, long-grained rice.

  3. Your rice pudding looks delicious. I made some once that I was happy with, but what I really want to make is chocolate short grain rice pudding like I had a couple years ago at Rice to Riches on a NYC visit. Any ideas?

  4. I wasn’t going to try this recipe until I read the words, “Do you like Cozy Shack rice pudding?” And I thought — why yes, yes I do. And so I’m off to the kitchen, printed recipe in hand. Thanks!

  5. Andrea Jay

    Ohhh. We went to Peru this last fall and it’s making me miss our vacation. My husband loves rice pudding and I think I’ll get extra points for making this one, thanks!

  6. Love,love,love this. I love rice pudding, too, but hate to play with eggs. So the flexibility here is my friend.

    And while I’m emerging from lurker-dom, the hair on Jacob is ridiculous. Just adorably, hilariously mop-like. The pics are outstanding.

  7. Its official – you are reading my mind. Just 15 minutes ago I looked up Cannelle et Vanille’s recipe as I have a subtle sweet tooth tonight that I can’t shake. But since I wasn’t in the mood to start a long recipe it now, I figured I would make it tomorrow. And now yours shows up in my reader – and I love that it is specked with citrus. It will be perfect to make for tomorrow’s rainy day.

  8. mel

    Finally a use for that condensed milk in my pantry! thank you!
    and i LOVE rice pudding. and i’m pregnant and must have everything i see on the internet, when it comes to food:) so thank you!

  9. Goodness. Here I am with a head full of dreams of a bread pudding, and they have all been squashed by the rice pudding. And I may have ordered some canela about 10 seconds ago. Thanks for the link. I await its arrival impatiently.

  10. Krista

    I can not (underlined) wait to make this. We’ve been talking about making a big batch of rice pudding for weeks- this is a sign! Thank you!

  11. Yummmmm….I’ve been thinking about rice pudding, and now you’ve got me absolutely craving it. I usually make mine with leftover rice, but this looks excellent. I have some wonderful cinnamon in my pantry that I need to use – seems like the perfect fit.

  12. These look great! I’d always had it with lime growing up – you wanted to get the cinnamon stick in your bowl but avoid the lime. I also found a version with milk, evaporated, and condensed that would be an arroz con tres leches but haven’t tried it yet.

  13. “This photoshoot ended abruptly when a second after the last shot was taken he let loose a spectacular amount of gak. On daddy’s side of the bed. I may or may not have high-fived him for managing to spare both my side and my sleeves/hair/jeans for once.”

    I think the last photo caption should have been, “hey mom, got something for ya!”

  14. Katie K

    you left out the milk! It’s in the directions, but not in the ingredient list (but is listed on Hoffman’s recipe) “Add the milk and stir well to mix. Add the egg mixture, vanilla extract and condensed milk to the rice and cook over medium-low heat.” Sounds delish!

  15. Hmm… I’ve always had a think about textures like that, but maybe I’ll give this a try. I made bread pudding today. Do you have a recipe for that, or for bread and BUTTER pudding? I’m English and I live in rural ME, and I’m trying to reclaim this stuff.

  16. omg this is so cool! My family is Chilean and my mom made this all the time growing up. Can’t wait to try it with the zest and egg, ours was always milk and cream based only.

    Thank you.

  17. Mashi

    I can’t wait to try this. I was just on the site earlier making the arroz con pollo, and have left over rice… so guess what I’m making over the weekend? (The arroz con pollo was amazing… impressed my Cuban father, whose only criticism was that it needed olives).

  18. Anne

    Oh my goodness, Jacob’s hair is killing me: please don’t ever cut it! You’re lucky to have such a co-operative model … whenever my little dude catches me pointing the camera at him, his eyes go blank and his mouth drops open into this “huhhhhhh” pose. It’s like his zoolander move.

    Made your latest granola recipe this morning: yummy but a little too buttery//sugary for me (never thought I’d hear those words come out of my mouth!)

    1. deb

      Patty — They’re Iitalia Aarne old fashioned glasses, something we’ve slowly been building a collection of since our wedding (when we’d registered for the Stella wine glasses).

  19. Liz

    Jacob is so stickin’ cute! My mother always looked at cute babies and said things like “Mm I could just take a bite out of those cheeks!” I always thought it was creepy, but now I totally get it :-)

    Oh and the rice pudding looks pretty good too.

  20. Kelly

    hmmm… this looks and sounds amazing! I am trying to stay away from dairy, and I’m wondering if full-fat soymilk rather than regular milk, plus coconut milk instead of sweetened condensed would substitute?? (thinking…)

  21. Edi

    I love rice pudding and had to comment since my daughter made some yesterday. Even though we make it a bit healthy (fat-free milk and less than 1/2 c sugar) – I think it still is wonderful. Just rice, milk, orange zest and vanilla…THEN once it’s cooked and still warm you put a few (less than 10) chocolate chips in the bowl before adding the pudding. You can either stir it up and make a chocolate mess or just dip in and get bits of chocolate. It is WONDERFUL.

  22. Francheska

    Oh! This very similar to the Arroz con dulce we make in Puerto Rico! My grandma would make this during Christmas it took all day to make and the scent would drive me crazy, She’d first make a very concentrated tea-syrup thing with ginger, star anise, cinnamon and cloves then the rice, raisins, milk and god knows what else! Its very very popular over here and it sells really well! What i loved the most was the rice that stuck to the botton of her huuuuuge pot, brown and chewy and oh so good, Will have to make this over the weekend!

  23. geesh. i forget what i wanted to say the first time i commented – that’s all jacob’s fault. my grandma used to make leftovers into a sort of soufle. i always loved the dish more for its second shine. she would beat yolks with a bit of water to ribbon stage, then fold in the rice, then fold in the stiff whites, then baked it. then yum.

  24. I told the man at this little Indian buffet I go to, that I could easily come in and just eat an entire meal of rice pudding. He told me one lady came in and said she would like someone to fill up a bathtub with it that she could just sit in.

  25. I learned to make arroz con leche during a summer when I lived, nearly by accident, in a farm community in Costa Rica. I was chastised by the local ladies for not knowing how to make rice properly, by feel and eye not by measuring cup and timer. And once I mastered rice, I had to learn arroz con leche. We used the cones of dulche, and we cooked the rice in milk with frequent stirring to make it thick and creamy, almost like risotto technique. I’ve never been able to make it the same since coming home, but from time to time I get up the gumption to try again. You may just have given me an excuse.

  26. mixette

    Hmmm, you snagged me when you mentioned my beloved Cozy Shack. I popped over to Rancho Gordo and it looks like they still have that canela cinnamon. About time to order more beans anyway!

  27. Shannon

    I can’t wait to try this recipe–and all the others. I just got turned onto your site compliments of the actress Keri Russell who mentioned smittenkitchen.com as a favorite in March’s issue of Health magazine.

  28. Vicki in GA

    Love the recipe – I love raisins in rice puddin’
    I’m starved and deprived of sweets this week.
    This is definately on my to-do list.

  29. made it – loved it – definitely the new go-to, which is saying something after a good 8 years of looking for a really, really good rice pudding recipe. I threw in a couple of star anise pods, just cause they were lying there next to the cinnamon sticks, and it was nice. seriously good stuff. thanks for posting that. :)

  30. not only does that arroz con leche look amazing, but after reading this post i have the irresistible urge to squish your baby’s cheeks. you might possibly have baked the most adorable baby to ever walk the face of this earth! please post the recipe for such cuteness!

  31. Hannah

    Jacob is GORGEOUS!!! Yet again, you have the eager, wooed multitudes raving about your baby’s cuteness. What a lucky boy he is!! Althoug h perhaps his mama gets a little jealous? =)
    The rice pudding looks delicious.. I followed your links to your previous rice purddings, including the almond version and now I can’t decide which to make. Which is your all-time favourite? The almost BEST rice pudding ever? After you’ve told me, I’ll make that one as I probably won’t be able to try ALL of them out!!
    Deb, in this recipe can you substitute ground cinnamon for the cinnamon stick?

  32. ThinkingFish

    Have you tried replacing white rice with sticky rice (or called glutinous rice)? I grew up in a place where 80% of traditional desserts include of rice or rice powder, and sticky rice plays a dominant role in those desserts.

    But sticky rice is harder to prepare in general. Instead of soaking it in water for 1h, you may want to do at least 12 and preferably 24.

  33. Sara

    While I like other versions of rice pudding, I’d put Dominican up against all of them. Sweet Dominican rice pudding is arroz con dulce. Arroz con leche is a savory, anise-flavored rice pudding. Now arroz con dulce— well nothing beats it. It’s coconut milk and cloves as the flavorings. There’s a little cinnamon, but cloves are king. I enjoy cinnamon-flavored ones, but find them lacking the depth that cloves give. It’s less sweet almost. And coconut milk just can’t be beaten. I do like bay-leaf scented rice pudding a lot though.

  34. I have been SO into rice pudding lately that I’ve been eating it for breakfast. I was inspired last year by your recipe as well as a local spot that has a great rice pudding. I’m going to need to try this one, too. Luckily, I just bought some regular milk to make another batch of my usual. Now, I’ll use it for your arroz con leche. I wonder how this one would taste with some coconut milk added? And, I only have jasmine rice at home. Thanks for your always lovely photos and recipes.

  35. shev

    Okay. That Jacob On The Bed sequence? His best yet.
    And that’s saying something, since we all drew a shocked breath at his exquisite beauty the very day of his birth.

    (Oh, and the recipe looks alright too)

  36. I love rice pudding as a middle of winter comfort dessert, though I think I will make this with arborio rice. I seem to have acquired a glut of it and cannot make risotto fast enough (for 2 people a single batch of risotto is a week’s worth of food).

  37. In Portugal, rice pudding is a common desert! Usually I add butter … I tried it many ways … The most recent was with grated carrots! So the kids eat more vegetables and don´t even know it!
    Love your blog!

  38. Hi Deb!

    I completly agree with you when you says that there are so many kinds of “arroz con leche” as grandmas (and mums!) are in Spain!!

    Actually, at my home “arroz con leche” is not a pudding but a soup, very sweet and with cinnamon on the top, prepared with whole milk, sugar, rice, cinnamon and orange. I invite you to come and visit Madrid and taste it!!

    Meanwhile, you can see a really easy to make apple tart at my blog, and I promise to send you a recipe of a fabulous rice pudding tart!!

  39. There’s a German version of this made only with milk (usually) and served with cinnamon sugar and/or hot cherries and/or apple sauce. We call it Milchreis (milk rice).

  40. …and reading the comment of Nohemi above, I feel like I should chime in with my own story of childhood rice and milk. When my grandmother was a girl in rural South Carolina, she said she and her siblings often ate cold rice with hot milk, cinnamon and sugar. Throughout my childhood she fed the same dish to me–it was always one of my favorite morning treats! So maybe it’s not just Spanish grandmother’s, but Southern ones too!

  41. Kristin

    Oooh! I love the rice pudding at my favorite Indian restaurant, so I will be making this with cardamom. Yum yum…it’s so good after a spicy meal.

  42. Nat

    Just wanted to tell you how much I love reading your recipes – your writing is delightful and your recipes are approachable without being “easy.” And your son just makes me swoon. :)

  43. Rhonda

    I was on a rice pudding binge last month, so I would love to go on a road trip…it’s been so cold and Texas has reached the maximum allowed snowfall for the next century! Family tradition is of the baked variety where there is this thin layer of custard at the top where the cinnamon rests.

    Yep, have to watch the belly laughter, it brings out the kid gak.

  44. Kira

    Sounds delicious…. The oven-baked version of rice pudding that I have made before takes ages, so I am definitely up for a quicker recipe, especially as rice pudding is my DD’s favourite at the moment. Its interesting that you use long-grain rice as I had understood that short-grain (or pudding rice here in UK) is what’s used.

  45. Michele

    I love, love, LOVE rice pudding and my all-time, hands-down, never-fail recipe came from the cook book “All Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed Baking Book” by Judy Rosenberg. The book is fabulous and everything I have ever made from it was wonderful, so although I thought it was odd that a rice pudding recipe was mixed in with all of the cookies and brownies, I trusted her. Wow. Just Wow!! It has become my go-to comfort food gift. My friends agree that one should not be left alone with it because it just calls to you from the refrigerator.
    All that being said, I have also never had anything but triumph from your recipes so now I might have to cheat on Judy and try this one.

  46. I gave this pudding one shot, from this cafe in Melbourne which my sister claimed has the best. It tastes so much like rice I couldn’t stomach it. I felt like the flavours hadn’t seeped into the grains, so it tasted like sweet, milky rice. Not good. Now this version sounds more like my cuppa tea (pudding). The orange and spices, definitely adds dimension!

  47. b

    I loved that last picture — on the right, bottom photo of Jacob Henry. Hey he’s enjoying NYC’s winter. Now about the rice pudding — sorry to hear that your baked version did not turn out. Sometime ago I enjoyed the best rice pudding ever that was baked — restaurant unfortunately now of out business. I will try your version. Your passion for cooking and baking always comes through.

  48. Soph

    Yummy! I will have to try this today! I love your standard rice pudding – except that I always seem to have the milk boil over!! So is Jacob eating solids yet? I am soooooo looking forward to you possibly posting puree and baby food recipes. My 7 month old is too!

  49. Travels4Food

    Deb – if you were to make this with coconut milk, how much sugar do you think you’d use to compensate? I’m home most days writing a dissertation (in theory), but all my breaks on these rainy days seem to be taken up by savoring your blog and then cooking what you’ve written about (I’m still snacking on the granola bars from Tuesday). I think I’m going to try this recipe today, but I adore coconut milk in rice pudding and have a can in the pantry. Thoughts?

  50. Wow. Clearly I am not the only one obsessed with good rice pudding. I love this site and now I love it even more. Me, my unborn baby and my tummy thank you!!

  51. Oh yay! I’ve had a constant hankering for sweets ever since I quit smoking a month and a half ago. Rice pudding has been a constant source of desire! My first go at making some came out ok, but I’m eager to improve on that with your recipe!

  52. Janet

    Oh, man, those photos! Of Jacob. It doesn’t seem possible that he just keeps getting cuter and cuter, and yet he does. awwww!

    And, speaking of photos, love the one of the rice pouring into the saucepan.

    (recipe? oh, this is a recipe site?)

  53. jeannie

    My mom was born in a small village in Cantabria, Spain. Her mother’s version used short-grain rice, but no raisins [God forbid] and no sal, nor vanilla, just cinnamon sticks and a piece of lemon rind or two. It was slow, slow, low heat cooking. It’s been 5 years now, but I still don’t have the strength to make it. thanks

  54. Harleydude

    Rice pudding around the world? I’m in. My Filipino heritage calls for most recipes that include rice to be cooked in a flavorful liquid so the rice absorbs the flavor, so kudos to you. But why water? My family recipe calls for the rice to be slow cooked in milk, mango puree (a more delicate citrus-type flavor), sugar and spice. Personally, I’ve used a Nesco slow cooker for better temperature control and egg(s) may be added at the end to tighted it up if necessary or if being served warm for a decedant breakfast with fresh fruit (stawberries for us). New Jersey here… more snow! Gotta love it.

  55. Kristen E

    I’m a huge fan of rice pudding. One of my favorites is made with jasmine rice, coconut milk and a strip of lime peel – Thai rice pudding! So yummy. :)

    I think this is my first comment here, but I wanted to say that I LOVE your site. I’ve cooked several of your recipes and they all have turned out great! In fact, I’m doing your most recent granola bars today, along with the lemon curd-filled layer cake! (We’re having weekend guests.) Thanks for all your hard work! :)

  56. Janelle

    Okay, so the recipe says to pull out the zest and the cinnamon stick before serving…I’m assuming that if we were using the strips of citrus peel we’d have to pull it out, but the zest? Can you clarify?

    1. deb

      Janelle — You’re using large strips (not finely grated) of zest, thus you wouldn’t want to eat them.

      Travels4Food — If you’re using the coconut milk to swap with regular milk, just use unsweetened.

  57. Mary

    I love your original rice pudding, and will surely try this one, too. And those yummy baby pictures – the “yawn” photo makes me picture him, 70 or 80 years from now, yelling “you kids get off my lawn!” Such an expressive face, one can tell he’s going to be great at something.

  58. jeannie

    Hi Janelle
    My Mom only used peel, not zest, and she never took the sticks out, we liked the stronger taste anyway, and since we are used to not biting down thanks to king cakes in NOLA, we just pulled it out. No egg either, the starch from the rice usually makes it thicken a lot, especially if you use short-grain. 2 hr cooking time, rind added to end of cooking time: cook @ 1/2 gallon milk with cinnamon sticks till heated through, add 1 c sugar, add rice when milk comes to boil, add additional sugar to taste, poco a poco. [dust tops of dishes with additional ground cinnamon] In old New Orleans Creole cookbooks there is a tradition of something called a congee, rice starch breaking down to thicken a dish, usually a dessert.

  59. Meg McG

    This isn’t healthy, is it? I want to eat healthier starting March 1st so I guess I have some rice to make ASAP!
    I bet if I did half rice/half quiona I could somehow justify it…

  60. My older daughter and I LOVE rice pudding and will definitely make this. When it comes to RP, though, our all-time favorite is the one served at a local Indian restaurant. We’ve tried Indian rice pudding recipes but the results were nothing short of travesty. Thick and hard to swallow, rather than creamy and comforting and mildly perfumed with pistachios. Any hints? Or better yet recipes?

  61. Here in Costa Rica, we have loads of arroz con leche. I have to say though, that a couple of weeks ago I met a new spin–and in my opinion not one for the better. Someone had made their rice pudding and added chunks of pineapple. It was not my favorite, but definitely true to the fact that everyone has their own different recipe.

  62. Kate

    I love the recipe, and by all means I need those adorable serving glasses. Just wanted to add… don’t forget the Greeks when it comes to great rice pudding recipes! However, not having had much luck with the family recipe, I will now be trying yours! ;-)

  63. Harleydude

    Dear Meg…. Rice, milk, and eggs not healthy? The definition of healthy has been sadly twisted by marketers and advertisers. Depriving yourself is not healthy. Eating rice pudding by the gallon is not healthy. Portion control is the key, ask Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or, well… me. Deprivation causes desire which creates envy. Everyone knows what happens when you can’t have what you want… you “justify” (your terminolgy)! Eat smart, not “healthy”.

  64. Back in Brazil we call it “arroz doce”, which means “sweet rice”

    I grew up refusing to eat it, because I am a rice addict and could not stand the idea of adding sugar to my favorite dish! First time I had it, it was love at first bite

    I was a difficult child ;-)

  65. I’m so happy you posted this recipe! I really don’t know how popular is it in the other latinamerican countries you mentioned, but i would say that the Arroz con leche (or Arroz de leche) is very Nicaraguan, and that’s why it’s sooo great for me to see it!
    I live in Nicaragua, and love your blog, as a matter of fact, we do it a bit different from your recipe, we don’t use cloves or eggs at all… but i might try your version to see how much different it would taste! i’m a huge fan of Arroz con Leche!
    Thank you!!

  66. Lori T.

    The Dominican woman who ran the Italian restaurant I worked at (don’t ask!) made the best rice pudding and she did the coconut milk thing -hers was in huge industrial sized amounts so thank you so much for this normal portion recipe to recreate that flavor!

  67. Alice

    Do I like Cozy Shack? – Yeeeeees! I’ve been known to eat most of a tub of it in one sitting. I also hide it in the fridge from my husband’s grubby grasp.

    Do I love the rice pudding from New Jersey diners? – Resounding YES! Especially when it sits up in the bowl, cold, and soooo creamy.

    Past experiences with making it at home? – Like you, I tried baked and stove top…from Joy of Cooking and Fanny Farmer. Both versions were gag-tastic. MY husband wouldn’t touch ’em with a ten foot pole and he will eat ANYTHING.

    Thanks, Deb! I pretty much gave up on making homemade rice pudding, because Cozy Shack is so inexpensive, good, and easy and I thought my efforts would continue to prove futile. (I don’t get my NJ diner fix living in TX now. Boo!). But….NOW (!) I will make a huge vat of this recipe and maybe I’ll even share (a little).

  68. cristina

    I happen to *love* chocolate rice pudding. I grew up with a filipino version of chocolate rice pudding called ‘champorado’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champorado). I’ve also made Barefoot Contessa’s rice pudding and added cocoa powder. Really, it’s yummy. Try it.
    And yes, I put cocoa powder in steel cut oatmeal as well. It cuts down on the sweetness and besides, chocolate does have nutritional value!

  69. m

    I LOVE pudding–I’m all about making pudding from scratch, but I have yet to make rice pudding. I really want to try to make this, but I don’t really like condensed milk…will it make a huge difference if I subsitute it with something else? Do you have suggestions? Thanks!!

  70. I’ve been clearing 2 feet of snow, and there is more weather coming so I will be house-bound for a few days. Cold, wet and really hungry are my first, middle and last names right now. I just came in to check weather, report/get news, and I saw THIS in my reader. Ummm. Wonderful… I have all the ingredients ! How lucky is that. OK. Time to park the tractor. I am making this NOW :) Thanks Deb.
    xo

  71. Bev

    My husband spent a semester in Spain and his senora prepared arroz con leche only to have him consume it in a single sitting. She was so pleased she prepared him another batch. I’ve made him rice pudding before but I think this recipe is really going to take him back. I even bought cinnamon sticks recently for no reason at all.

  72. so funny to read this today after making rice pudding (risgrynsgröt) last night. i make it swedish style, 1 part rice, 2 parts water, 4 parts milk with a cinnamon stick, dash of salt and sugar to taste. they eat it with milk or jam on top for breakfast, a snack or dessert. i don’t mess with the recipe much, varying the flavor by the jams, but i like the idea of the zest. will definitely have to try this spanish variant!

  73. m

    as soon as I saw your suggestion for coconut milk, had to add this one: coconut milk & black rice – there’s a nuttier quality to the “pudding” and it’s good for those ppl who complain of the rice’s softness.

  74. BG

    Deb,
    I once saw an Alton Brown episode where he mentioned that the cinnamon we get here in the US is actually not real cinnamon but a close cousin. I get my cinnamon from my MIL, (when she visits from India) and it is similar to the one you described from Mexico. BTW, Jacob is starting to look a lot more like you!

  75. jeanne

    Rice pudding. Now I know you’re married to a nice man and have a new baby and live in New York. I am married to a nice man and live in Texas. But after posting this rice pudding recipe, I have to ask you to marry me and make me rice pudding all the time. Thank you. And bring the baby! :-)

    What? I got a ridic-love for rice pudding is all.

  76. Alicia from South Texas

    WOW – okay, I was just browsing today and saw this…and am in the process of making it. I did, however, GOOF and actually used grated lime zest…ummm, and maybe a little much. I am going to see if I can salvage it somehow. THANK YOU for this recipe!

  77. Lori

    Just popping up to say Thank You!! for making me look good! I’ve never commented but have been cooking from your blog for over a year, and just made the amazing Thick & Chewy Granola bars (you’re right! best granola bar ever!) and a big batch of the Baked Chicken Meatballs (I use ground turkey and my toddler adores them) for friends who just had a baby. The same friends who ate your Spinach and Cheese Strata with oooohs of delight at their baby shower. You get the picture :) I’m completely addicted to your site and many of your recipes have become favorites at our house. Thanks.

  78. Heidi

    That baby of yours just gets cuter by the minute.
    You are one lucky mom.
    Thanks for the delicious recipes and yummy baby pictures.
    Don’t know which I look forward to more.

  79. I Lurrrve me some rice pudding, and my boyfriend who is cuban/peruvian, grew up eating it at home. This past christmas we used our leftover rice from the big dinner to make a version of arroz con leche, which is now my absolute favorite thing to do with leftover takeout rice (the recipe is on my site if anyone’s interested). I highly recommend it. Next time I have some leftover, I’m trying your recipe. Sounds delicious.

  80. Dawn

    My husband and I have been on a rice pudding kick. It’s the ultimate comfort food. I use basmatti rice, salt, 5 cups half and half, 1/2 cup sugar and an egg. I also add good Mexican vanilla and orange zest at the end, then serve with blood orange segments on the top – so pretty.
    There are so many good ideas here to modify my recipe. Coconut milk sounds very interesting.

  81. Shawna

    I love ingrid hoffman’s version of arroz con leche. my grandma is mexican and i grew up eating her version. this is the closest i can get to hers.

  82. RainyCityGirl

    Like the other 100 odd reviewers, I love Rice Pudding:) The Indian version is more watery(no egg), and has lesser spices- we use cardamom and a few pistachio nuts for garnish. This is my absolute favorite dish to eat when I go back home. I like the real simple version, just milk a touch of cardamom and rice simmered in whole milk till thickened. My mom uses a pressure cooker that makes short work of this, but given my clumsiness I don’t dare. I am weird in that I actually like the skin of rice pudding. Well now, I have to call up my mom and ask her to fedex some over to me :)

  83. Sally

    WOW – I can’t believe that someone else is obsessed with the rice pudding from Judy Rosenberg’s “All Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed Baking Book” – when I was finishing my dissertation, I did massive testings of rice pudding recipes, and hers was best by far… I met her last year, and told her how much I loved it. It’s the BEST rice pudding recipe…

  84. Erika

    Thanks for the excuse to talk about one of my favorite foods! I made your first recipe (with bay leaf) two weeks ago but then tossed in some toasted whole fennel seeds at the end–maybe 2 tsp? It added a nice bite that I thought complimented the bay leaf really nicely, and it was almost nutty. I left them whole, because I don’t mind a big burst of fennel, but I bet you could use ground if it bothered you. I never would have thought to try more “savory” spices in rice pudding, but they were great! Thanks for the inspiration to play :)

  85. Amy Thomas

    This looks delicious! I am not sure if you heard of firni- it is a classic rice pudding from the princely city of Hyderabad(India).It is made with basmati rice ,milk,cardamom ,sugar and is a creamy delicacy.I am sure you will like it,should you try it.

  86. Linda May

    This has been my favorite site for quite a while…!!!! And I have just suddenly been having everything with rice….so how perfect of you to post this yummy…thanks…cannot wait!

  87. Kim Boynton

    Rice pudding is one of my absolute favorite desserts, but no recipe I’ve seen or tried quite got me where I wanted to be. I am half Latvian and my Oma always made it with whipping cream and rice then served it with cranberry sauce. Delicious, but not quite what my pallet was dreaming of. I live in a community with a large Swedish contingent and they have their own version–very custard like. Baked and jiggly and nutmegy. Again, good, but not hitting the pallet. Then I caught the picture of this recipe and thought…this might be it. I’ve just finished it and I absolutely could NOT resist a warm cupful. It is extraordinary! Like no rice pudding I’ve every tasted and it hit my pallet dead center!

    Re the cooking time after adding the milk, etc. to the rice…mine took 19-20 minutes (I have a ceramic cooktop that is sort of hard to control so it was probably hotter than ideal). After it cools I am a little concerned it will be able to stand on it’s own, but right now, it is delicious!!!!

  88. I needed an excuse to get off my “no baking, no sweets, no desserts” fixation. ‘Cause I need this pudding. I need the nutrition of the rice – does that work? Oh heck – need the pudding.

  89. I am from Mexico, we don’t use the citrus, cook the rice in the milk and besides the condensed milk, we add 1 can evaporated milk….. don’t mind about the ounces in the can…… it still will turn out delicious!
    thanks

  90. I never thought much of rice pudding until I tasted my friend Livia’s recipe, which she learned to make growing up in Peru. So creamy, so comforting, so delicious. Her secret is 3 milks- fresh milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk (no water). Who knew rice and milk could turn into such a lovely dessert?

  91. Ahhh!!! The ultimate comfort food. Mom’s cooked for hours in a double boiler but worth the wait. Can’t wait to try a new version minus the cloves and easy on the raisins.

  92. Gaurav

    Hey, Deb. Longtime reader, first-time commenter. I can’t wait to try out this recipe! I’m of Indian descent and something tells me this recipe (with some golden raisins and sliced almonds to boot) could live up to my fond memories of my mother’s kheer.

  93. Nadia

    Unlike Gaurav, I’m not of Indian descent, but this immediately made me think of kheer, too, something I’ve always wanted to try, as described to me by Indian pals. This looks very close in spirit and just simply gorgeous.

  94. Breanna

    I made this last night, using kumquat peels for the citrus (YUM!) and currants instead of raisins, and substituted half a Tbsp of almond extract for some of the vanilla. It was SO good! Thanks for the recipe-I’d never had rice pudding and I loved it! Can’t wait to try some of the other suggestions in the comments.

  95. Sunshine

    I am always shocked at people who get their rice pudding to cook in under a few hours. Man alive, I stand at the stove for hours, stirring and stirring and stirring and, well, you get the idea. I get rave reviews, of course, but I’m always like, “Dude, you better enjoy it, because I’m not doing it for another year!” I might need to try some of your tricks.

  96. Snowsville

    My reading comprehension skills are obviously suffering due to hunger after reading this recipe, but I can’t figure out when to add the raisins in. Do they go in at the very end before cooling? Can’t wait to make this. I once made the Vanilla-Almond Rice Pudding 3 times in one week (and no, I didn’t share it with anyone), and can’t wait to try this one out as well.

  97. Penny

    I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten rice pudding (for no specific reason, really), but I laughed hard at your chocolate rice pudding anecdote. I looked at your photos here, and imagined it brown, and yeah, that would look totally nasty. But thanks for the laugh!

  98. Cheryl

    Would it be possible to use Soy milk to replace real milk. I am still nursing and my son does not do well with dairy. I totally love rice pudding.

  99. Britni

    Deb,
    Theoretically, if you were out of vanilla extract, but had a pound of vanilla beans in your pantry, how would you go about adding their scent to the pot? Would you steep the whole bean, or scrape out the seeds? I am torn :/

  100. Tracy

    Awesome! Can’t wait to try this out. Rice pudding has always been a fave and so far, I’ve not been able to make it right (always came out..bizarre), but your directions sound simple enough. So thanks!

  101. I may have missed this in the recipe but when do the raisins go in? Is it with the water or the cream or do they get stirred in at the end. Since I have a batch on the stove right now, I’m going to assume they go in with the milk.

    1. deb

      Casey — I’ve had in it person since I live near the bakery but (I know, blasphemy) found it too sweet and mine at least was underbaked. Conceptually, however, it is adorable.

      Britni — I’d scrape half a bean in with the milk. Save the pod when you’re done to make vanilla sugar.

  102. santadad

    Mom made this from your recipe. It was really good. I was wondering if there is anyway to make the rice softer. It seemed as if it could have been cooked longer.

  103. Vidya

    For some reason, I always think of rice pudding as a summer thing. Probably because in the city where I live, there is a large population of South East Asians who eat a lot of rice based desserts in summer. To make this a summer dish, I’m replacing the sweetened condensed milk with fresh, thick coconut milk I get from a Malay vendor, mixed with palm sugar, and I’ll probably leave out the egg. I’m also omitting the cinnamon and cloves, and instead using a vanilla bean and a knob of fresh, bruised ginger, and serving it with fresh mangoes and raspberry coulis…yum.

  104. I´m from Spain and I follow your blog a few months ago, I love it and your recipes. I suppose that are many variations of the recipe but here in Spain, we made it a bit less thick, in addition traditionally it is aromatized only by peel of orange, of lemon and stick cinnamon and before serving we add one or several yolks, we presents cold and with a bit of cinnamon ground above..Sorry for my english and congratulations for your blog!!

  105. monica

    hey deb, long time lurker, first time commenter here! my grandma always made us this, she’s paraguayan with spanish parents. she kept it pretty simple, with cinnamon and lime zest, and us grandkids added a dollop of dulce de leche on top for extra decadence. it goes together really well :-)

  106. Jane

    Made this last night and all I can say is yum! My greek boyfriend says it is just like his mother’s (as required he did say hers is a little better). We made it with skim milk and it is still creamy and delicious. Can’t wait to try it with coconut milk. And I can’t go without saying how perfectly adorable your son is…I love that crazy mop of hair :)

  107. Jenny

    I just tried it with long grain brown rice and it turned out delicious! It definitely takes longer to cook the rice, but everything seemed to work fine. I haven’t tried it with white rice, but this version seems to have a little more texture and maybe a little bit of a nutty flavor. I’ll have to try it with white to compare. Thanks for the recipe. I’m new to your site and can’t wait to try more!

  108. Arroz con leche is such a comfort food for me. I have recently branched out into Kheer which uses a few different spices but still gives the same warm fuzzies of a hug in a bowl. Yum.

  109. Elaina G

    I made your “old favorite” rice pudding recipe yesterday instead of this one-because of the lack of ingredients. Deb, it was the best rice pudding I have ever eaten. Thanks…I always enjoy everyone of the recipes you have provided thus far.

  110. Amy J

    I’m just about to start this- unless I missed something I don’t think it’s clear on when you add the salt? I’m guessing with the egg mixture? Thanks!

  111. Mmmm, just made this last night with coconut milk for about 2 cups of the milk – SO good! Otherwise I followed your recipe to a T, although I did leave it on a lot longer because I wanted it thick. Thankfully we’re going to visit friends tonight who like rice pudding – hubby doesn’t like it and I just know that the kids and I would eat the entire batch in the next two days if we didn’t share..it’s just that good. And boy, did it make my house smell lovely! I think when I want a nice smell in my house in the future, I’ll try the big peels of orange zest, cloves and cinnamon sticks in some water on the stove. Yummy!

  112. I like rice pudding made in almost any way, so this is on the stove right now (minus the lemon peel, because the only citrus in the fridge was definitely past its prime). I think I was probably in junior high before I realized rice wasn’t always sweet – we frequently had it, room temperature or a little warm, with milk, sugar, and cinnamon for dessert.

  113. Kate

    I usually just make rice pudding by cooking rice in more milk than I would water (white or brown rice works) then adding spices and sugar when almost all of the milk is gone. Super easy, super delish. Does the egg, condensed milk, etc. improve the quality enough to make it worthwhile? And the hourlong soak?

  114. Joanna

    I’m in the process of making this (with canela I picked up from a local market) and I can figure it out but the recipe doesn’t actually say when to add the salt listed (unless I missed it somehow).

  115. callas

    Roadtrip to some warmer countries? Count me in! The rice pudding sounds delicious, but you’ve conjured up pictures of Carribbean beaches, summery weather, fascinating markets full of fresh produce and smiling faces and now I have to console myself with some grilled fish, mango chutney and lots of rum. I’ll be sure to return to rice pudding after out trip! ;)

  116. Mmmmm. I spent four months in India a long time ago and have very vivid memories of a cardamom scented rice pudding. This was ubiquitous and something that we were offered at almost every house we visited. I wasn’t a big fan at the time but I’m willing to give it a shot again.

    Love the lolling on the bed photos. What hair!

  117. Jody

    Thanks Deb! Loved this recipe. Made it last night for dessert, had a bit with breakfast, and it’s still singing to me from the refrigerator this afternoon… Love the citrus undertones. Perfect comfort food for a snowy/slushy end of Feb.!

  118. Just read that your husband requested chocolate rice pudding and I have kept a Nigella’s recipe from a magazine cutout since 2006 to try it out but haven’t got around to making it. It’s made with cocoa powder, milk, vanilla, arborio rice and a bit of sugar. The photo attached to the recipe looks fab, I’ve tried to locate it on the web the authentic recipe to link it for you but can’t locate it….I just know what it’s like when you fancy something….you just got to have it!

    1. deb

      azelia — So funny! I have seen it. I clipped it. I researched it obsessively to see if anyone else liked it and must tell you, from what I gathered, many found it to be a dud. I only want to spare someone wasted ingredients and time if it indeed is. That said, I still might give it a whirl one day to see if I can make it work.

  119. Katie

    Oh. My. Word. Made this today with skim milk (because that’s what we had in the house) and am having to restrain myself from eating the whole entire thing at once. It’s that good.

  120. i LOVE arroz con leche… i’m from spain and at home my mum makes it once a month… it’s one of those things that i really miss now that i live in the US… in spain it’s such a huge deal that you can even find ‘arroz con leche ice cream’… and believe me, it’s to die for…
    your recipe looks amazing, i feel like i’ll be making it really soon!

  121. OK It is truly delicious! I made mine with Fat Free Milk and it turned out fabulous! My only complaint was it made so much!… We had to share this a lot or we’d be eating it for days, happily our friends & family are not disappointed!

  122. oooh you’re good! You’ve almost got my mom’s recipe nailed albeit with a couple of differences (I’m posting it soon). We’re dominican and I always wondered why people wanted to make arroz con leche using precooked rice (thus cheating themselves of the wonderful rice starch thickening up the dish). You definitely got that right. My mom’s recipe by the way? Uses evap milk, condensed milk and whole milk, cloves only, 5 cups of milk instead of 4 and a stick of butter. We must be the dominican equivalent of Paul Deen LOL.

  123. I’m a big fan of rice pudding but I buy it most of the time. We have a restaurant here in Montreal who does that and only that.Yum !
    But I will definitely try your recipe. Looks incredible !

  124. Terry B

    I made this last night and just tried it now, very,very good. My only deviation from your recipe was I omitted the cloves (I just never like the taste in anything) and I added some grated orange zest at the end because I forgot it earlier. My only complaint is it made a ton! At least 6 cups it could have served 10! Good thing my to teenagers liked it.

  125. Tracy P

    I substituted coconut milk for the sweetened condensed milk. I then added about 3/4 c. sugar. It came out yummy, but I could not taste the coconut. The raisins made the clove impossible to find at the end. Thanks for the inspiration

  126. Christina

    I made this recipe but substituted the dulce de leche for the condensed milk as suggested, since that is what I had already, and it turned out great! Highly recommended.

  127. Chrissy

    I made this, and split it into two batches…one with coconut milk substituted for half of the whole milk, and one with the full amount of whole milk..as a sort of accelerated way to try it both ways. I LOVED the coconut version! come to think of it, I loved the plain one too :- I often have a difficult finding unsweetened shredded coconut for recipes, so this was a nice “pure” coconut taste. Thanks for the recipe

  128. Vanessa

    I have been searching for the perfect rice pudding recipe for ages, and this turned out exactly as I had imagined it would. I went a little heavier on the lemon peel, and I thought it added what had been missing in my previous recipes– it was wonderful! Unfortunately, I am the only one who eats rice pudding around here… Oh well–more for me!
    Thanks Deb!

  129. I agree that 15 or 20 minutes would have been best. It didn’t seem quite thick enough at 15 or 20 minutes, so I cooked it for 25. By the time it was chilled, it was completely solid… more like rice custard that pudding. It didn’t matter though, because the flavor was AMAZING!!! I added a few cardamom pods along with the other spices, and it was wonderful. Can’t wait to try it again and cook it for a shorter period of time… just so I can eat more.

  130. Prin

    Deb, I have made tons of your recipes over the years (I’m from way back in your Ivillage days!)…tonight I made the raspberry breakfast bars (I have the BAKED book, but saw them on your site first) and I’m also making the rice pudding (ish) instead of whole milk, I’m using coconut milk, some coconut cream and the evaporated milk…..hopefully my coconut + rice pudding loving friends will adore this recipe. Thank you! Congrats on the baby, he’s too sweet for words

  131. Shan

    Hi Deb –

    I made this last night and loved the consistency after it had cooled down for a few hours. This morning, most of the liquid had been soaked up, and while it still tastes great, it’s sort of a sticky rice pudding. I’m trying to figure out what happened so I can fix it for next time – my two guesses are

    1. I cooked it too long… I went about 30 minutes, and thought that it had roughly 10% of the liquid left, but maybe I should have pulled it around 25 min? I prefer less thin rice pudding, so I thought I was heading in the right direction.
    2. My co-op was out of long grain white rice (yeah, really) and so I bought basmati instead. Any chance this soaks up more liquid than plain white rice?

    Thanks!

    1. deb

      Shan — If basmati is thicker (though, hm, I don’t think mine is) that could be the case. More likely, it was the extra cooking time. You might be able to leave more than 10% liquid and still end up with something quite creamy… definitely worth trying next time.

  132. clb72

    I made it for dessert last night. Had to take a few shortcuts, nothing dramatic. Reddiwhip on top is essential. It was fabulous. My 3 year-old loved it. Took me back to my kiddie days when why dad took me to this greasy spoon diner, the only place I ever ate rice pudding until I was an adult. Is it the condensed milk that makes it taste like that? This one is a keeper. I can’t wait to make it again when I have some fresh raspberries around…. Thanks!

  133. I made this recipe but substituted the dulce de leche for the condensed milk as suggested, since that is what I had already, and it turned out great! Highly recommended.

  134. The rice pudding sounds delicious, but you’ve conjured up pictures of Carribbean beaches, summery weather, fascinating markets full of fresh produce and smiling faces and now I have to console myself with some grilled fish, mango chutney and lots of rum.

  135. Hew

    This was very tasty. I love the sweetness of the sweetened condensed milk and wouldnt have it any other way! I used whole milk instead of evaporated , used lime juice instead of the peel . To make a creamier pudding: at the end, remove about 2 cups of the pudding to a diffrent container and stir with 2 beaten eggs. Once mixed, add back to the pot along with nutmeg to taste, vanilla , 1 T of butter,and 1/3 cup of sugar. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes

  136. Laura

    I tried this Friday, and it was so delicious. My family, my boyfriend, and I finished it all up by today! I made a bit of changes, which I was really nervous about it, but all ended well. I used almond milk instead of the regular milk, and coconut milk as a sub for the condensed milk. Since the coconut milk wasn’t sweetened I decided to add 1/2 cup sugar. I also used Ener-G replacer instead of the egg. Oh, and I accidently omitted the cloves. Thanks so much for posting this Deb! I love your blog!

  137. Rachel

    Just wanted to say that I made this yesterday and it was fabulous. Used half and half instead of whole milk, as I had quite a bit left over from another recipe. Even better than the rice pudding from the diner I ate at growing up, and also great if you can’t eat gluten, like my husband. I never commented on your blog before, but I’ve been lurking for a while. Finally got around to trying one of the recipes and it was surely worth it. Thanks for the great recipe!

  138. I second the coconut milk vote. I guess then its not the same dish — but I can’t go back to regular milk now… I make mine with coconut milk, dried apricot and australian candied ginger and maybe some peeled almonds and then I eat it straight out of the pot…

  139. I made this version of Arroz Con Leche a couple of times in one week! It is my new favorite recipe. Inspired by Ina’s rum raisin tiramisu, I soaked my raisins in rum while the rice was soaking. So fantastic! After reading the comments, I’m going to try the coconut milk idea one day. That could be amazing as well. :)

  140. elise

    oh my god deb. i made this 2 weeks ago, and the hubby and i finished it off in 1 day flat. now i have a craving for this stuff that’s the size of south america. thank you :)

  141. Rebecca

    I love this recipe- used orange peel–so yummy! I didn’t share it with my family as much as I should have… I’m about to make it again :)!

  142. I just love rice pudding! Here in Germany we even have a special variety of rice just for making rice pudding. It is a short-grain rice similar to arborio rice which absorbs the liquid and the flavour much better. Oh, I’d like some rice pudding right now! ;)

  143. I love rice pudding but I prefer a much simpler way a woman in Honduras taught me. whole milk- as in cream and all (you can find it at some Co-ops), Sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, rice, and a pinch of raw cane sugar for the color. No water nothing, simple sweet more campesino. Love your blog.

  144. 11PMdelights

    Even the weather in the South is in full fall swing now, but my stomach and mind have gone straight to winter comfort foods! It was fabulous with all coconut milk, lemon peel and golden raisins! Don’t fear it tasting strongly of coconut. It doesn’t. My coconut hating bf loved it. I even tried a can of (ssshhhh!) fat free condensed milk, and it was still smooth and yummy! Thanks, girl!

  145. Nicole

    Thank you for posting this!! I grew up in Mexico and really crave arroz con leche from time to time, but the recipes I’ve found until now are too complex or time consuming, and they never quite taste right. Well, I’m literally making this one right now, and I just tasted a bit off the spoon – it literally brought tears to my eyes! I had a moment like Anton Ego in Ratatouille, when he first tastes the ratatouille and flashes back to his childhood. I can’t believe I’m standing in my kitchen, cryng over a pot of rice pudding! Lol!

  146. Kath

    I LOVE this recipe. I’ve made serveral times and started playing around with it. I recently used dried cherries soaked in rum instead of raisins and also used rum in place of the vanilla. It smells wonderful as it is cooking, too.

  147. Rebecca

    I love rice pudding. But for me arroz con leche is a soup my grandmother used to make for me when I was sick (we’re puerto rican). Our rice pudding, or arroz con dulce, is made with brown sugar and ginger and is so thick you cut it like a pie. It’s sooo good!!

  148. Felicia

    Oh my this looks delicious.
    But, I happen to be lactose intolerant.
    What are some other options?
    Also… I have been “attempting” to make horchata since last summer, and each time has been an epic failure. You should make a recipe/tutorial on horchata! (since it is lactose friendly)

  149. em

    I made this literally minutes ago and have refilled my ‘sample’ bowl (one must make sure that one’s desserts are acceptable before serving them to others, after all…) THREE times. It’s not good. It’s INSANELY GOOD! Thank you for a wonderful recipe and a fabulous website!

  150. Roy

    I just have to say this is the best rice pudding I have ever had. I picked up legitimate leche condensada azucarada, canela entera and clavo entero from the mexican food aisle and that might have really been the key to getting the flavor down. By the way I had to cook mine around 40min to get the right constancy, unless these people are cooking it on high I don’t see how it could take half the time.

  151. Krista

    I love this recipe. I’ve made it 5-6 times (doubled it once- holy cow that was a lot of pudding) and EVERY TIME I overcook it. This really does thicken up quite a bit as it cools. At the 25 minute mark it looks just way too thin to me so I usually keep going ’til 35 and always regret it. For me, cooking for 35 minutes results in a really thick “Kozy Shack pudding consistency”. Next time I’m going to remember.

  152. Laura

    Deb, I’ve been an enormous fan of yours for years now (I once saw you with Jacob on 1st Ave and I immediately starting squealing and freaked out more than with any celebrity sighting, ever – I was even more excited than the time when Ted Danson asked me for antacids). Not to get too sappy or hysterical, but I do think that your blog has changed my life a little: I was brought here by a friend’s recommendation for guinness chocolate cake – my first-ever attempt at a from-scratch cake. A couple of years later, I’ve grown to have a totally different appreciation for and approach to food, and I’m at least 100% better at cooking -which has honestly affected my life in more ways than just being more competent in the kitchen. I feel like any project, no matter how daunting it seems at first, is possible, ya know? I do think that your blog has helped me feel like everything is more possible. So thank you for the well-written blurbs, the pictures of your adorable son, and of course, the perfect recipes. I made this rice pudding tonight and I couldn’t stop cursing under my breath. Thanks Deb – you’re doing an amazing thing here.

  153. Roxy

    I can say that this recipe is delicious. I made it and in a matter of minutes it was gone. Thank goodness I at least tried it while I was making it.
    Made me close another chapter in my heart. My old babysitter use to make it like this, since she passed away, I didn’t want to try any one else, until now.
    Thank you, Roxy

  154. Maddy

    Deb, what have you done? I am obsessed with rice pudding. As soon as one batch is finished I start thinking about the next. I went to Mexico for a month, searched and searched but nothing came close to this.

  155. I really dislike egg in puddings… not sure why. I love custard, so it shouldn’t matter, but it does! Could I omit it without doing too much damage? Adore your site, truly, and cannot wait for the cookbook. Eek!

    1. deb

      Egg is the thickener/binder here, so it’s best not to omit it. Most puddings are either cornstarch or egg thickened and this is of course the latter.

  156. I tried making it with dulce de leche but it wasn’t nearly as sweet as I thought. How much should I have added? I think about 12 oz. of a 1-pound jar wound up in the pot. The pudding is moist and very comfort-foodish but kind of needs some extras. I tried a dollop of lemon curd, which did take it over the top.

  157. David Cabgello

    This recipe does not produce very good rice pudding — I followed the recipe and was very disappointed. The cloves are an odd ingredient and contributed to the rather odd taste of pudding.

  158. Irene

    In Spain we use peels because we usually remove then before eating. Raisins, cloves and vanilla are not used in our version. Only milk, rice, orange and lemon peels, sugar and cinnamon sticks. And we just simply boild all the ingredients in a low fire for a long time, constantly moving then so the rice starch and sugar can thicken the mixture. Then you put it into bowls and let it get cold.

  159. Aurora

    I’ve made this twice this month. First time, I had a 14 oz condensed milk tin and used all of it and thought it was just too sweet. Today I had approx 8 oz left over from a different recipe and just used that and it’s still very sweet so I’m very happy to know that it can be made with less condensed milk. I’ll keep using 6-7 oz and this is just the perfect recipe. I love the whole spices and just keep them in cause they don’t bother me( I also use a little more of them, like 3-4 orange peels). Rice Pudding is one of my favorite foods ever and I have tried a billion recipes with no luck but this will be my go to from now on. Thank you:)

  160. Dani

    I’m one of those regular readers who never posts — so first, thank you, Deb, for all the tastiness you’ve contributed to my life — and to kitchens all over!

    And, loved this recipe — as a few other posters mentioned, I made my batch with some ginger — just that, instead of cinnamon or cloves, based on the bare, bare kitchen where I’m staying. Perfect food for don’t-leave-the-house-all-grey-Sunday-long!

  161. Hi! I’m hoping you can make a recommendation. I accidentally purchased a bag of “broken rice” from the asian chain grocery instead of my usual, enormous bag of jasmine. In case you haven’t had it, “broken” rice is comprised of fractured grains, and is mega-cheap because it has a reputation as being a bit of a poor man’s food. They also cook up starchier and nuttier than regular rice and taste a bit risotto-y. Do you think this would work for this recipe, or would I be better off using another variety?

    P.S. Just got my copy of your cookbook and am very much enjoying it. Your description of trying to get a specific recipe out of your mother-in-law precisely, hilariously mirrors the interaction I have with mine while doing the same thing.

  162. Nevermind – I couldn’t wait. Broken rice is officially THE way I’m going to go! It’s nudging it a bit closer to tapioca territory, but I don’t mind that one bit. Thanks again – this is a stellar recipe :)

  163. Ele

    LOOOOVE this recipe!! Housemates loved it too. I recommend making two batches if you want leftovers..Working on a vegan version atm…

  164. Andrea

    Deb, So excited to see you point out the different versions across latin american countries. I personally love the Colombian version of my childhood the best and am always amazed by the small changes that make each recipe unique! Thanks for giving me the push to make some tonight!

  165. Wendy

    I have made many, MANY of Deb’s recipes over the years and this one might just be the most delicious. And I don’t even like rice pudding. It’s PERFECT.

  166. Katrina

    Made this fabulous rice pudding a couple of weeks ago for my daughter (she’s 18) and it totally reminds me of the pudding my mother made me as a little girl in England…..I confess that I shared it between six large ramekins and stashed them in the fridge…..I ate four of them…..I’d tell myself I’d just eat half but moments later, the bowl was inexplicably empty!

  167. Li-hsia

    I just made the tres leches rice pudding from your cookbook recipe–I think it’s DELICIOUS except it’s tooth-hurting sweet–some cooks might like to start with 1/2 a can of condensed milk…

  168. Fernanda

    Hi Deb, I made this once with a tin of condensed milk that I had in the pantry for WAY too long-it was almost caramel! It worked and had a delicious taste!
    Today I am making it with coconut condensed milk. Looking forward to dessert time :)

  169. Emily

    I’ve made rice pudding (though not this exact recipe) with vanilla soy milk before and it is fantastic! I’m a dairy person usually, but saw a recommendation to use soy for the extra flavor, and I loved it with the additional vanilla in there from the soy milk.

  170. Jen

    yum! going to try as i’ve had a definite craving for this lately! I love the cooking commentaries in these recipes as these are always the things i stress over!

  171. Beth

    This looks amazing! I’m completely obsessed with rice pudding and will definitely try it! I really love indian kheer because of the cardamom so I’m going to try this recipe and sub the cloves for the cardamom. Thank you!

  172. April

    This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it!

    One of my closest friends, who loves rice pudding has had to go entirely dairy-free (her newborn reacts badly). Is there any way I could make a creamy, dreamy rice pudding for her? She misses it so much!

    Thankyou. I love your site and your cookbook. They are solely responsible for my reputation as a good cook.

  173. Dita

    Mmmm I LOVE arroz con leche. Actually, I prefer arroz con coco, which I prepare much like the recipe above, except I cook it in water for a shorter time (rice should be harder than ‘al dente’) and then add coconut milk instead of milk. I’ve never had it with egg! Sounds interesting!

  174. Diana

    FYI: The great Claudia Roden has a recipe for arroz con leche in her Book of Jewish Food. Uses arborio rice, cardamom, honey and sultanas. Not so rich as yours but really delicious for those of us who have to make slimmer versions of our fave dishes.

  175. Anne

    Hi,
    Followed the recipe exactly but it stuck very badly on the bottom of the pan. Had to throw most of it out. Managed to salvage a little from the top
    , but it still tasted slightly burned. I used Italian rice as that’s what lots of recipes call for and it was all I had…..the kind used for risotto. Could this be the problem? Even before adding the rice, the milk was sticking on the bottom of the pot. It is quite heavy bottomed but maybe not heavy enough?

  176. deb

    Anne — I find that all milk and rice dishes, and other milk puddings, like to stick to the pot. I have to stir the whole time, making sure the spoon is making firm contact with the bottom of the pot.