This Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche) is the reason God invented rice. This rice pudding is ultra creamy and infused with vanilla and hints of cinnamon. Enjoy this simple dessert hot or cold. Whichever way you choose to eat it, I can guarantee you’ll love it! 

For more delicious Mexican desserts, try my traditional Mexican Tres Leches Cake and my twist on the traditional, Chocolate Tres Leches Cake!

A glass cup filled with white Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche) topped with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Arroz Con Leche 

In celebration of the fast approaching Cinco de Mayo I’m sharing this delicious Arroz con Leche recipe (for those of you who don’t know or understand Spanish, this translates to “rice pudding”). Turns out I learned something from my 7th grade Spanish class!

We have to have all of the Mexican cuisines foods this time of year, like the BEST guacamole recipe, slow cooker refried beans, and Mexican lasagna.

Every Cinco de Mayo party has dessert and if you’re not making a tres leches cake, you HAVE to make this Mexican rice pudding recipe. People will go nuts over it!


Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche) ingredients portioned into glass bowls on a white and gray marbled background.

This rice pudding recipe doesn’t use sweetened condensed milk. There are plenty of recipes out there that use it, but I really didn’t want it in mine. I want full control of the sweetness level.

  • Long grain white rice – long grain is preferred, but you can use medium grain white rice as well.
  • Cinnamon stick – I used 1 cinnamon stick for a subtle cinnamon flavor. I sprinkled ground cinnamon overtop of my Mexican rice pudding, so ultimately I could have added an additional 1-2 cinnamon sticks if I was going for a more apparent cinnamon presence.
  • Pinch of salt – flavor.
  • Water – this is what the rice will soak up in the beginning.
  • Milk – I used 2%, but whole milk would be great as well. Don’t use 1% or skim milk, it’s good to have some fat in the milk for this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract – a little goes a long way. 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla was the perfect amount!
  • Granulated sugar – this is the sweetener that will turn plain ole rice into something sweet rather than savory. 1 cup of sugar is perfect!

How to make Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)

In a medium sized saucepan, add the long grain white rice, cinnamon stick, pinch of salt, and water.

Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, making sure to stir occasionally.

Once boiling, cover with a side, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Most of the water should be absorbed after the 10-15 minutes. The picture below illustrates what the rice looks like after the 10-15 minutes. You can see, the water has been fully absorbed at this point.

Next, stir in the milk, cover, and cook on low/medium-low for 10 minutes.

Remove the lid and stir in the vanilla extract and granulated sugar.

Continue cooking the Mexican rice pudding uncovered (can raise heat to medium-low) until the rice pudding has reached a thick consistency, about 20-25 minutes.

Once the rice pudding is thick, remove from heat. Serve warm or cold! Either way is delicious!

Four images showing how to make Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche) in a black pot

Tips & FAQ

What kind of rice should you use to make Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)? I used long grain white rice but medium grain white rice or arborio rice will work beautifully too!

 Can you freeze Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)? Yes! Place the rice pudding in a freezer safe airtight container and place in the freezer. Mexican rice pudding will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months, but the sooner you eat it, the better it will taste. When ready to eat the frozen rice pudding, remove it from the freezer and place the container in the fridge to thaw overnight.

Mexican rice pudding will last up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

What toppings can you add to rice pudding? I love ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, or raisins! If you want a slight crunch try adding some chopped nuts.

A glass cup filled with Mexican rice pudding that's sprinkled with ground cinnamon.

If you love this Mexican Rice Pudding recipe try these:

A spoon scooping out Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche) from a glass cup on a gray background.
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5 from 16 votes

Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)

A delicious and creamy recipe for Mexican Rice Pudding.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 1 cup long grain white rice - raw, uncooked
  • 1 cinnamon stick - can use 1-2 additional cinnamon sticks
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 1/4 cups milk - 2% or whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ground cinnamon for serving


  • In a medium sized pot or saucepan add the rice, cinnamon stick, salt, and water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. 
  • Once boiling cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-12 minutes. At this point most of the water should be absorbed.
  • Stir in the milk, turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and continue cooking for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the lid and stir in the vanilla extract and sugar. 
  • Continue cooking (can raise heat to medium) until the rice pudding has reached a thick consistency, about 20 minutes or so. 
  • Once thick, remove from heat. Serve warm or cold topped with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or raisins. 


Recipe adapted from Isabel Eats
If you don’t have cinnamon sticks you can substitute ground cinnamon. 1/4-1/2 tsp will do the trick!


Calories: 261kcal (13%)Carbohydrates: 50g (17%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 4g (6%)Saturated Fat: 2g (10%)Cholesterol: 12mg (4%)Sodium: 60mg (3%)Potassium: 197mg (6%)Sugar: 31g (34%)Vitamin A: 210IU (4%)Calcium: 159mg (16%)Iron: 0.3mg (2%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review on the blog post letting me know how you liked this recipe! Take a picture and tag @saltandbaker on Tik Tok, Instagram, and Facebook so I can see what you’re making!