Spanish rice pudding (Arroz con Leche) is a typical creamy dessert in Spain that is made by cooking rice slowly in milk with sugar. Learn more about it.
Spanish rice pudding (Arroz con Leche) is a typical creamy dessert in Spain that is made by cooking rice slowly in milk with sugar. Rice pudding can be served cold or hot and is usually accompanied by cinnamon, raisons, vanilla or lemon shavings for additional flavor.
It is commonly believed that Spanish rice pudding was introduced into Spain centuries ago during the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. This theory is derived from the fact that there are many traditional mixtures of cinnamon and rice in Arabic cultures. This original Spanish rice pudding recipe was exported to South America during the Spanish colonization and later spread around the whole world.
Spain is not the only country where rice pudding is popular, different varieties of this delicious dish can be found in nearly every part of the world. Rice pudding around the world varies depending on the preparation methods and the ingredients used. In fact, the recipes can even vary greatly within the same country. Some rice pudding recipes call for the pudding to be boiled and others to be baked. In some regions, a non-sweet version of rice pudding is a common dinner.
Today, rice pudding is a very popular and traditional dish in Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Spain, Portugal, Venezuela, Panama, Peru, Columbia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Mexico. However, many variations of sweet rice-based dishes known as sweet rice porridge are also common throughout Asia. In Nordic countries rice porridge is a common breakfast and sometimes dinner, in England rice pudding is a typical dessert, and nearly every eastern and western European country also has its own version.
Rice Pudding Variations in the Hispanic World
- Argentine Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, milk, cinnamon vanilla and sugar.
- Costa Rican Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): milk, condensed milk, butter, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla.
- Cuban Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, evaporated or normal milk, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, lemon zest and sometimes raisins, sweetened condensed milk or anise seeds may be added.
- Dominican Republic Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and star anise.
- Chilean Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, milk, lemon zest, cinnamon, sugar, egg yolks, cloves, vanilla, butter and raisins soaked in sherry, rum, pisco or whisky.
- Colombian Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, milk, cream, sugar, coffee, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and raisins soaked in rum, red wine or pisco.
- Ecuadorian Corn Pudding (Morocho con leche): Peruvian purple corn, milk, cinnamon and raisins.
- Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, milk, cinnamon, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, orange peel, raisins that have been soaked in sherry, rum or tequila, and sometimes chocolate, butter, nutmeg, lime zest or cayenne pepper is added.
- Peruvian Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, milk, sugar, orange peel, raisins, egg yolk, cloves, sweet condensed milk, cinnamon, vanilla and sometimes coconut or brazil nuts.
- Puerto Rican Sweet Rice (Arroz con dulce): rice, coconut milk and cream, butter, cloves, ginger, raisins soaked in rum, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, milk and sometimes coconut shavings, nutmeg or lemon zest.
- Spanish Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, milk, sugar and sometimes cinnamon, vanilla and lemon shavings.
- Uruguayan Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, milk, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
- Venezuelan Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche): rice, milk, heavy cream, condensed.
Traditional Spanish Rice Pudding Recipe (Arroz con Leche Recipe)
Ingredients for 4 people
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz) milk
- 1 cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon
- 3 lemon rinds and an orange rind
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup (4 oz) of white rice
- 3 beaten egg yolks
- 1/3 cup (3 oz) sugar
- ½ stick (2 oz) butter
In a small saucepan, add just enough cold water to cover the rice. Place on medium heat until it breaks a boil and cook until the water has been absorbed. Drain rice and rinse well with cold water. In another saucepan, add the rice, half of the boiling milk, the lemon and orange rinds, and the cinnamon stick. Cook slowly while stirring continually, careful to not let it burn on the bottom. As the mixture reduces, slowly add the rest of the hot milk. When it has reached a creamy consistency, mix in the sugar and butter.
Serve in individual dessert bowls and sprinkle cinnamon on top.