Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)

There are many Rice Puddings, but Dominican Arroz con Leche, with its heavenly mix of spices, stands out from the crowd. Here's how to make it.Arroz con Leche se quiere casar / Con una viudita de la capital / Que sepa tejer, que sepa bordar / Que ponga la aguja en el mismo lugar.
– Children rhyme

Arroz con leche is one of the most popular and simple-to-make of Dominican desserts. To the naked eye it could look like same old rice pudding, but once you taste it you can’t fail to notice the touch of spices that makes our arroz con leche different, in a good way.

There are many Rice Puddings, but Dominican Arroz con Leche, with its heavenly mix of spices, stands out from the crowd. Here's how to make it.

Rice Pudding is truly an universal dish. It is made in many ways and with varying ingredients throughout the world. In Denmark, where I have tried it a couple of times, it’s called Risalamande, and it’s prepared with cream, instead of milk, and served as part of the traditional Christmas’ Eve dinner. You can see a very large list of Rice Pudding versions here.

There are many Rice Puddings, but Dominican Arroz con Leche, with its heavenly mix of spices, stands out from the crowd. Here's how to make it.

In many Dominican homes there’s also a sugarless version of this dish that is served as a simple dinner. Bear in mind that this is an acquired taste, one that I never acquired myself.

My mother used to make the sugarless version often. I have to admit I hated it then, and I still do. If you want to try it though, there are instructions in the notes for it. Proceed at your own risk.

Buen provecho!

Aunt Clara
Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
There are many Rice Puddings, but Dominican Arroz con Leche, with its heavenly mix of spices, stands out from the crowd. Here's how to make it.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 cup of long-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon of cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cups of water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of raisins
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ⅛ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • Cherries for decoration (optional)
  1. Soak the rice, cloves and cinnamon sticks in 2 cups of water and let sit for a couple of hours. This step is optional, and it's my own method for cooking the rice.
  2. When the 2 hours have passed, pour the remaining 4 cups of water into a medium (1 gal [4 lt]) iron o cast aluminum pot. Add in the rice (including the water in which it was soaking, cinnamon and cloves). Add the salt.
  3. Cook over medium temperature and stir regularly to avoid sticking. When the rice is tender (about 20 mins) add milk and sugar. When it breaks a boil again add the raisins. Cook over low heat until the mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency.
  4. Remove from the heat. Remove the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Add the butter and mix well. Cover and let it cool down to room temperature.
  5. Stir to incorporate the crust that forms during cooling.
  6. Serve in small bowls and sprinkle with the nutmeg. Decorate with the cherries.

Each person seems to have a favorite consistency for this dish. This is what I prefer (rice is very soft and the pudding very creamy). Later on when preparing this dish again you can adjust the liquids to obtain the texture you prefer.

If you want to make the sugarless version, do not add sugar, and instead of the teaspoon of salt listed in the recipe, you should add 1 tablespoon salt.
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{ 34 comments… add one }

  • Sandy January 3, 2015, 8:24 PM

    Aunt Clara
    Thank you for this amazing recipe. I have made so many rice pudding but by far this is the one that wins. This one reminder me of the one my Dominican grandmother made. My house smelled just like my grandmothers kitchen. The only difference is that used fresh cocanut which I can’t use due to allergies. The only thing I noticed was that my pudding ended up being dark in color. My rice did not burn so I’m wondering if it was the 4 cinnamon sticks??? Anyway it was Great.

    • Aunt Clara January 5, 2015, 7:56 PM

      Yes, the color will varied depending on what milk you used, and even the size of the cinnamon sticks. It’s all good.

  • Yadi January 5, 2014, 9:53 PM

    OMG just finished making this. It was easy to make and delicious to eat..

  • Carolina August 28, 2013, 12:32 AM

    Superrrr rico. Muchas gracias :)

  • Lillian Dublis July 12, 2013, 11:12 AM

    Rice pudding is known to be very sweet. I love the ingredients used in this recipe. As opposed to many that use sweet condensed milk and so on. I like that you mention the options on replacing sugar although it is an acquired taste. Thank- you for sharing your recipe.

  • may February 2, 2013, 6:44 PM

    Making it right now I added vanilla n yummy!

  • Cindy January 28, 2013, 2:05 PM

    Very yummy and easy to make. Thanks for the recipe. Your recipes bring back childhood memories of the Dominican Republic. Though I wasn’t born there, I would spend my summers out there and my aunt and grandmother would introduce me to many delicious foods.

  • gail February 29, 2012, 1:28 PM

    is one can of condense milk equivelent to a cup of sugar if so can i subsitute

  • gail February 24, 2012, 7:13 AM

    hi aunt clara…. i have whole cloves and whole nutmeg and powder cinnamin would that work or should i make a trip to the supermarket?

  • jessica November 3, 2011, 1:35 AM

    mi arroz con Leche me quedo muy oscuro (marron oscuro) no blanco como el tuyo. Que hice mal? El sabor esta rico pero no se ve bonito

    • Aunt Clara November 14, 2011, 4:13 AM

      Probablemente se pegó al fondo y se quemó.

  • Teresa September 21, 2011, 11:12 AM

    Can I use regular milk instead of of evaporated milk? I have all the other above ingredients just not the evaporated milk.

    • Aunt Clara September 22, 2011, 5:46 PM

      Absolutely, but it will taste different. Or you could double the milk and boil down to the required amount and presto! homemade evaporated milk.

  • Rhina July 28, 2011, 11:56 AM

    Thanks,Aunt Clara, I have taste this harroz con leche, and I love it!

  • sara July 27, 2011, 12:00 PM

    Hi =)

    What are the measurements if I was to make it with 1 cup of rice or 2. Please help, thanks

    • Aunt Clara August 2, 2011, 9:43 AM

      @Sara: This yields about 5 to 6 cups, adjust quantities accordingly.

  • Izzy June 5, 2011, 3:11 PM

    I am Dominican, however I myself have never made arroz con leche. I did a search and found this recipe and figured it didn't sound to hard so let me try it out. Thanks Aunt Clara, this was absolutely delicious!! Reminded me of my childhood:) I did add one can of condensed milk and it came out super creamy!!

  • Glenny April 18, 2011, 2:29 PM

    I just finished making this dish, and followed it to a T; it was delicous! At first, like many other reviewers, I was worried that the water and milk-to-rice ratio was off, but it isn't a mistake. If you add too little liquid, the rice will come out too grainy; this dish tastes best when the rice is mushier. Thanks Aunt Clara, this is just how my mother makes it! I think, next time I might add coconut shavings. My mother sometimes adds coconut shavings and it tastes even more delicious and tropical.

    • Aunt Clara April 19, 2011, 7:22 PM

      That's right. Dominican rice pudding is softer than the rice pudding I have tried elsewhere. Perhaps that's where the confusion lies. I am glad you liked the results.

  • Monica April 13, 2011, 12:04 PM

    I would like to make this recipe for 20 people, should i multiply all the ingredients by 5? Will this change the taste or texture?

    • Aunt Clara April 14, 2011, 12:54 AM

      I have never cooked for that many people, so I would be just guessing here. I am pretty sure that you can go that way. Just be aware that it will be a little harder to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn, a problem that is common with this dish. Good luck.

  • Aunt Clara April 8, 2011, 9:44 AM

    I invite you to try it then. I've tried many rice puddings in my life and ours is decidedly not bland.

  • Millie April 8, 2011, 9:27 AM

    I'm puerto Rican and I'm surprise that this recepie is totally diferrent than ours. What happen to adding cocunut milk. That's what makes our rice pudding so sweet and yummy. Without it I think this would taste very Bland.

  • Aunt Clara March 13, 2011, 3:00 PM

    Did you pre-soak the rice in the water? Long grain rice is very starchy, and absorbs a lot of water. You can try turning up the heat to accelerate evaporation. And remember to not let it stick to the bottom or it will burn.

  • Keith March 13, 2011, 2:32 PM

    This recipe ca't be right. We followed the measurements exactly and there seems to be WAY too much liquid. It's going to take all night long for this much liquid to boil off and have it become a pudding like texture. Is eight cups of liquid (4 water and 4 milk) correct for 1/2 cup of rice? My daughter is making this for a school project that is duetomorrow. Somehow I see a late night shopping trip in my future to get more ingredients for a 2nd batch.

  • Jasmine March 13, 2011, 10:50 AM

    Am making it right now. I love Rice pudding I will let you know how it comes out =]

  • shron March 9, 2011, 2:48 PM

    do you drain the rice which has been soaking before adding it to the cooking water? thanks!

  • Erika March 2, 2011, 2:05 PM

    im dominican im im telling u to really try this because it good hmmmmmm it soo delicus believe me it is

  • jenny February 3, 2011, 9:44 PM

    Hi Tia Clara…. I have tasted this dish a million times….and it was great. However, the version I ate was more saltier than sweet. Is there another recipe out there for this dish without the cinnamon sticks and sugar?

    Thank you very much for this!!!!

    • Aunt Clara February 7, 2011, 4:39 PM

      I remember that, gosh I hated it!

      Sorry, flashbacks. Anyway, if you like the savory variety then skip the sugar and add salt to taste. You can also leave the cinnamon out if you wish.

  • wanda zayas January 13, 2011, 12:28 PM

    Muchas gracias por siempre traernos las recetas simple de hacer y deliciosas. Soy puertorriquena y mi esposo es dominicano y siempre me complenta en lo delisioso que me sabe la comida dice que es mejor que su mama jajaja. no le creo pero me conformo.