This comforting classic, Mexican Rice Pudding or Arroz con leche, comes together quick and easy on the stovetop using ingredients you most likely have in your own pantry! Creamy and loaded with cinnamon and vanilla, this rice pudding is a show stopper! An easy to make dessert recipe that the whole family will love!
All about this rice pudding…
This rice pudding comes out creamy and decadent and is sure to be a treat your entire family will enjoy.
- Boiling the mixture with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves gives a wonderful warm spiced flavoring throughout.
- Add raisins to yours or leave them out, although I would like to tell you that they are a juicy and tender surprise when cooked in the pudding.
- Warm and comforting with a blend of vanilla and spices this is a dessert that will pair nicely with any Tex Mex meal, and is perfect for the winter months.
Notes on some ingredients:
- Rice: use a long grain white rice. I usually use the same kind of rice as when I make Mexican Rice. You could also use a short grain white rice, which would create a smoother finished pudding. Other options include: Jasmine or Basmati rice.
- Cinnamon Sticks: Use the whole stick to boil in the pudding while it cooks. This gives great warmth and flavor.
- Cloves:Same as the cinnamon sticks, I use whole cloves while the pudding cooks. You can substitute for a ground clove spice if needed.
- Whole Milk:using whole milk is going to create a thicker, creamier pudding.
- Brown Sugar:I love the flavoring that comes from using brown sugar, you can use dark brown sugar for more intensity. Or you can use regular white sugar if that’s what you have on hand.
How to make (step-by-step)
- Step 1 & 2: Cook the rice with water for 15 minutes.
- Step 3: Add in the milk, cream, spices. And cook again for another 15 minutes while covered.
- Step 4: Add brown sugar, and continue to cook with the lid off. The rice pudding will get nice and thick while it cooks thanks to the starches in the rice.
- Step 5: Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and let cool for about 10 minutes, the pudding will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Milk: using whole milk creates a thicker, creamier pudding. You can substitute for a different milk of your choice if needed. You can even use a splash of heavy cream in place of some of the milk to make it extra creamy. For a dairy free option use canned coconut milk.
- Cook Time: This is important, since this is what will thicken your pudding. As the rice cooks the starches break down, creating that wonderful thick creamy texture. The cooling time is also just as important to allow further thickening to occur.
- Raisins: I love adding raisins in with the vanilla, this way the raisins get to soak in all the warmth and soften up. They become incredibly tender and juicy.
This dessert is best served warm or cooled the day that it’s been made. But it can be made 1 day in advance. Serve chilled or warmed. Reheat on the stovetop and add milk as needed to loosen since chilling the pudding does make it thicker.
If your pudding seems too thin you can easily thicken it with a slurry made with cornstarch and a tablespoon of milk from the pudding mixture. Whisk together until smooth, then add to the pudding and stir together. Let cook until thickened.
Yes! If you have leftover rice that is unseasoned, you can simply use that rice instead of boiling rice as the first step in this recipe.
More Tex Mex Dessert Recipes:
If you tried this recipe please leave a comment and a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below! Thank you so much!
Classic Rice Pudding
- 1 cup long grain white rice*
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cloves
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Ground cinnamon
- Add rice and water in a medium size saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid, stir the rice. Pour in the milk and add the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Stir together.
- Increase heat to medium, stir while bringing mixture to a simmer.
- Cover, turn to low and cook 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir in the sugar. Continue to cook an additional 15 minutes while stirring occasionally. Pudding will start to thicken.
- Remove the pudding from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and let sit for about 10 minutes to cool. Pudding will continue to thicken during this time.
- Serve warm. Can also be stored in the refrigerator and served cold.
- Top with additional sprinkles of cinnamon.
- Use a long grain white rice, or a short grain rice if you are wanting a smoother pudding. Other options would be a jasmine or basmati rice.
- You can substitute ground cinnamon and cloves for cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Use 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Can add more to taste if needed.
- If you are wanting to add raisins, add them when you stir in the vanilla extract. Or just add some as a topping if you don’t want to make the entire batch with raisins.
- Storage: store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- Freezing: let pudding come to room temperature. Pour into a freezer safe container. Can freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer the pudding to the refrigerator overnight. To reheat add to a saucepan and heat over low heat.
- Dairy Free Option: use canned coconut milk in place of milk.
- Recipe is naturally Gluten Free.
Recipe first published December 24, 2019. Updated December 3, 2021 with new images and information. Recipe is unchanged.
Photography by the talented @KJandCompany.co