Arroz con Leche Colombiano (Rice Pudding)

by Erica Dinho on February 9, 2009

This post is also available in Spanish

How to Make Arroz Con Leche.

Arroz con Leche is one of my favorite Colombian desserts. This Colombian-Style Rice Pudding version is sweet,  creamy and delicious. There are different variations of arroz con leche in Latin America, this is my family recipe and it is very easy to make.

The rice pudding will thicken more as it cools, so be careful not to overcook. I hope you enjoy making my simple and easy Arroz con Leche recipe!

Colombian-Style Rice Pudding

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  • (6 to 8 servings )
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, washed
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

How to make Creamy Arroz con Leche or Rice Pudding|


  1. In a small pot, add water and cinnamon sticks, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside and discard cinnamon sticks.
  2. Place the rice and the cinnamon water in a large saucepan, over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add salt, butter, vanilla extract, 2 cups of milk, and sugar. Stir well to mix and cook uncovered for approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low. Add the remaining milk and condensed milk. Stir with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the rice pudding thickens to desire consistency.
  5. Stir well and remove from heat, and let it cool at room temperature. The consistency should be very creamy. Refrigerate for a least 1 hour or overnight.
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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous February 14, 2009 at 12:39 PM

This is the best rice pudding I ever had…thanks.


2 Felisha July 1, 2009 at 2:29 AM

I made this tonight, but it didn’t turn out right :( I am thinking bc the rice was still crunchy that I may have cooked it too high. I even used the timer for each step—see I couldn’t figure out how one cup of rice that cooked for over an hour and a half still ended up crunchy lol. I want to try again, but try maybe cooking the rice a little longer. When it was down to the last 20 min of cooking it was already getting pretty thick…I use a gas range so I have to gauge what the temp really is (high/med/low..etc). The flavor was awesome! It was hard to have to pitch it out let me know if you have any suggestions


3 Anonymous July 22, 2014 at 9:19 PM

You have to put soak rice over night. Thats the secret :)


4 Erica July 1, 2009 at 8:23 AM

Hi Felisha,
I am sorry….I make this recipe at least once a month and the time is perfect…..I don’t use a gas range, but next time cook the rice over medium-low from step 2.

Thank you and good luck next time.



5 Hannah February 6, 2012 at 4:20 PM

I LOVE rice pudding…… no i adore it!!!! :) it tasts soooo good during the winter… i love to just get my bowl of hot rice pudding and curl up on my couch and eat it while i read a good book.


6 I love tastes August 1, 2009 at 7:45 AM

This rice pudding here looks very yummy! Do you usually have it plainly or have you tried adding other ingredients to enrich it?


7 Kimberly September 23, 2009 at 10:35 PM

Hello, I’m very happy I found this website. I’m American. My husband is COL. We live in Bogota; recently moved. I’ve tasted several arroz con leches here. This recipe has great flavor, but is very sweet for my taste. I have made rice pudding before and never use more than a cup of sugar. Anyway, thank you. Tomorrow, I’m going to try the sopa de lentejas.


8 Erica September 24, 2009 at 7:30 AM

Hi Kimberly,
Thank you for the comment!


9 Loucho October 26, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Great recipe erica, my family is from Barranquilla my mom makes it with regular milk, evaporated milk,condensed milk , and coconut milk. and the same ingredients as you.thanks fellow colombian!!! love this website


10 Erica October 26, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Thank you for your comment :)


11 Sydney November 18, 2009 at 10:19 PM

Hi, I am making this tomorrow afternoon for my Spanish class…we will see how it turns out, hopefully yummy!! I love the culture and the food so this is going to be a ton of fun for me!


12 Ximena December 17, 2009 at 10:53 PM

We are bringing this to a colombian party. It looks and tastes delicious.

I love my culture.


13 natalia December 23, 2009 at 5:31 PM

estoy haciendo esta receta para navidad!
ya habia intentado esta receta y el arroz me quedo duro :( pero esta vez esta perfecto! mi mama me recomendo remojar el arroz toda la noche y perfecto!!!

i recommend soaking the rice overnight in water… it helped me!


14 Patricia January 25, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Primera vez que lo preparo y quedo delicioso. Gracias por tan excelentes recetas


15 Erica January 25, 2010 at 7:01 PM

Patricia- Gracias por el comentario.


16 lulu January 27, 2010 at 12:30 AM

this is amazing.


17 Alanna January 30, 2010 at 3:31 PM

I love how there are sooo many ways to make rice pudding, one country, one home to the next!


18 Sandra Milena February 9, 2010 at 9:17 AM

I made this one week ago, It was perfect…..the flavor is fantastic… was a hit at my party.


19 Erica February 16, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Thank you all!


20 ana March 25, 2010 at 10:01 AM

I’m colombian but my husband is not. I love to get these recipes in english so I know exactly what to buy here in USA. sometimes thigs get lost in translation!!
This one looks great. I ususally put Rum..just to add a little XXX to it hahah

I love it!


21 christina April 21, 2010 at 5:31 PM

need ur help!!! just finished making the arroz con leche. followed every direction to the “T”. the rice is still kinda hard. what should i do? i dont want to throw it out cuz that will be a waste of money. the sauce has already thickened…is there any tips i can do to soften it up a bit?


22 Erica April 21, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Christina- add more milk, stir really good and simmer. Add more milk until the rice is cooked!


23 christina April 21, 2010 at 7:49 PM

ur awesome! thanks so much. i will do this tonight! by the way, i made the hogao tonight with our steak…the hubby went nuts! he loved it! thanks so much…


24 Anonymous May 20, 2010 at 7:37 PM

I made this rice pudding yesterday and I loved it, The flavor is amazing!


25 Misha May 27, 2010 at 8:55 PM

I found that putting a lid on the saucepan (step 2, rice and cinnamon water) helped to ensure the rice softened enough within 5 minutes. Yes, amazing flavor! Favorite variations include substituting cardamom pods for 1 or 2 of the cinnamon sticks (my Colombian boyfriend loves this), or substituting a can of coconut milk for the condensed milk which makes it less sweet but just as rich!
Gracias, Erica!


26 Erica May 27, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Misha- thank you so much for the feedback and the your comment!! :)


27 Anonymous June 5, 2010 at 2:27 PM

I made this rice pudding and it was fantastic.Delicious flavor.


28 Anonymous June 19, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Thank you for your recipe. It was fantastic….I soaked the rice for 30 minute, before I cooked it. Great flavor!


29 Danielle June 22, 2010 at 1:23 PM

hey erica,
so i made the arroz con leche yesterday and my husband really likes it however he says it is really sweet and i had to add more milk to his serving and heat it to make it not so sweet. and i remember my suegra making it the same way but not putting in any sugar just adding the sweetened condensed milk. could i follow your recipe and just leave the sugar out so it is not too sweet for him???
other than that it was so easy to make and looks exactly how my suegra made it. thanks


30 Erica June 22, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Danielle- You can omit the sugar!!! I like it sweet, like my grandmother’s recipe.


31 Danielle June 22, 2010 at 4:07 PM

thanks erica
that’s what i will do the next time i make it. it is a little too sweet for my husband. thanks so much for the speedy reply.


32 Beast October 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Hi, I have to make this recipe for class and it needs to be typed in spanish . Do you know where I can get this exact recipe but in spanish ?
Thank you


33 Robert April 4, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Just Google translate it (but maybe check it first, they’re sometimes wrong.


34 Adriana October 30, 2010 at 9:00 PM

I just made the arroz con leche and I’m tasting it now. It is way too sweet. I realized that most condensed milk comes in 14 oz can and the recipe calls for 12oz. If you only have the 14oz can you can omit some of the sugar.

Also, the temperature I thought was too high for low-med on my electric range. I found I needed to stir frequently otherwise the rice sticks at the bottom. So to remedy the sweetness I added some half n half, ran out of milk, and I reduce the temp setting to low. The rice doesn’t stick as much and it’s cooking thoroughly, less crunchy rice. I will make this again for sure.


35 Arlex y Sofia November 14, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Love this site, we are both colombian and regretfully we were not thought any of the great dishes we love from colombia. Thank you so much for brining the colombian flavor back into our taste buds :)


36 Joamary November 19, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Hello Erica I been looking for a Colombian recipe for awhile now that was very similar to my mom’s and I found yours. I wanted to know if am making a lot of Arroz con leche (bag of 3 LB pack) what’s the amount of the ingredients that I should put in the Rice Pudding for it to be Perfectly Delicious please answer back :)


37 Olga December 11, 2010 at 7:15 PM

This rice pudding was so creamy and delicious everyone..You have to make this recipe…it is the best rice pudding!


38 pautricia December 28, 2010 at 8:33 PM

i have a quick question y do people use evaporated milk is that just substituting the milk for the evaporated


39 Susan February 6, 2011 at 12:47 AM

Thank you so much for the recipe~ Muy Deliciosa!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just returned from Colombia 2 weeks in Bogota and 2 weeks in Manizales; I found your website and am so very happy for you Gracias por todos recetes y la comida buena :) I did add raisins and cloves as my sister did in Manizales…..very perfect recipe thank you! ~Susan


40 Charlotte February 25, 2011 at 9:16 PM

I just finished up making the arroz con leche. This is a wonderful recipe and it has amazing flavor. I’m a culinary student and enjoy learning about cuisine across different cultures. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe!


41 Sandy March 10, 2011 at 7:42 PM

I made this for a party in Spanish class for our foreign exchange student from Columbia. Can’t wait to see if he likes it. It is a little sweet for my taste but delicious!


42 Sara March 12, 2011 at 9:18 PM

I also had trouble with the rice being too hard, so I added about another cup of milk and simmered on medium for the last 30 minutes. I also added about a 1/4 cup of raisins during the last 20 minutes. Delicious!


43 Daniel April 20, 2011 at 9:29 PM

I am trying to make this recipe but for more people. Do you have any suggestions for me because it looks like the rice won’t soak up all the liquid. I would appreciate any help that you could give me.


44 Anonymous April 28, 2011 at 1:06 PM

this looks soooooo guud


45 Maria Carolina July 4, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Hi Erica!
I’m from Bucaramanga now living in Canada and can’t wait to make my family your arroz con leche! However…I’m very health-conscious and was wondering if I could reduce the sugar down to about 1/4 cup? since some people mentioned it was too sweet.Thanks!


46 Erica July 5, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Maria Carolina- You can use less sugar. I like mine sweet.


47 kendrys August 1, 2011 at 1:11 PM

hi im working on making this delicious desert but my fiance does not like butter on anything do i have to put butter?


48 Erica August 1, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Kendrys- You don’t have to add butter, but the butter makes the rice pudding rich and delicious :)


49 esmeralda August 5, 2011 at 8:35 PM

deliciosa ,, muchchsismas graciasss, yo le pongo un poco menos de azucar y queda perfecta graciassss


50 Nana August 24, 2011 at 2:33 AM

Hi, I just finished making this for the first time, and it’s amazing! I wanted to try making it because the one I had at the Colombian restaurant was fantastic and wanted to see if I could make it myself. This recipe is great, easy to follow and easy to make! (Although I didn’t use the sugar at all and just used the sweetened condensed milk.) Also, I didn’t have any long grain rice so I decided to use Japanese sweet rice (mochi rice) and turned out awesome! Thanks for the delicious recipe :)


51 Ana September 18, 2011 at 6:44 PM

It tastes amazing thank you so much!


52 Elisa October 8, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Hi Erica

Thank you for your recipe, I just finished making the arroz con leche and it is delicious.


53 Yvonne May 11, 2012 at 8:57 PM

How many people will this feed? i need to make this for my spanish class of about 35


54 Erica May 12, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Yvonne- 6-8 regular servings


55 Carolina August 6, 2012 at 4:04 PM

I’m not sure if this has been asked already, but do you use whole milk? We drink fat free and I was wondering if I would have the same results with it.


56 Erica August 6, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Carolina, I used whole milk, but you can try it with fat-free milk.

The whole milk makes a creamy rice pudding.


57 Felisha August 9, 2012 at 9:40 PM


I made this again, 3 years from when I first tried it.. and this time it turned out great! I did not use the extra sugar.. for us the condensed milk was enough :) Used 1% milk and fat free condensed milks…still turned out thick. Tried to cut some calories somewhere! Cooking the rice with the lid def. helped in steps 2 and 3, but on low heat. Very yummy.. my daughter’s favorite :)


58 Dusty August 26, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Probably would be great if rice cooked.:(


59 Sindy August 27, 2012 at 10:56 AM

This is probably the best arroz con leche recepie I have come across. I did have a few grains of rice that were a little crunchy but still a yummy recepie.


60 Louise December 23, 2012 at 5:30 AM

Hi Erica,
I’m British and live in London with my British-born Colombian boyfriend. As he hasn’t been back there since he was a little boy he says he doesn’t really feel much of a connection but you should see the look on his face whenever I cook something using your recipes. Always a big smile followed by a story of his memories. This is his favourite and I will be making it for dessert on Christmas day :)


61 Merete February 12, 2013 at 4:12 PM

You saved my day!
I miss Colombia a lot, but now after founding this lovely page with all kinds of precipices, I’m bit more happy! Just had the wonderful rice desert, my favorite!


62 Maria December 24, 2013 at 9:31 AM


I live in London and spend my life trying to recreate my childhood home from Cali with music, photos and food. I have just made this for Christmas dinner dessert, I made it exactly as you said, only difference was right at the end I only had to leave it for 40 mins instead of an hour and 15. The rice was already soft and the milk was starting to stick. So I turned it off and have let it set over night. WOW! this tastes better than my aunts. I am so proud to have been able to make this, it is the perfect sweetness. Mum requested raisins so I added those at the end. AMAZING RECIPE! Thank you so much ! and so easy! I feel like a total professional! ps. I used one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder instead of sticks (totally sold out everywhere because of Christmas) and it still worked perfectly! Thanks again M.x


63 Catalina January 21, 2014 at 9:46 PM

This was my first time ever making arroz con leche on my own, and a lot of people enjoyed it! Although I found it to be way too sweet for my liking.


64 Kelly Ospina January 25, 2014 at 9:08 PM

Very good recipe. The consistency and texture are perfect, nice and thick and creamy, and it was very easy to make. I did find it to be sweeter than I like, so next time I make it I will cut the sugar in half, at least.


65 Adriana March 21, 2014 at 2:46 PM

We made this recipe yesterday and it was very good. Sweet and delicious.Thanks.


66 Jenn April 20, 2014 at 9:27 AM

You have the best Colombian recipes. I made this rice pudding, Bunuelos and Arepas. Thanks.


67 Sara May 1, 2014 at 10:19 AM

This is a simple Arroz Con Leche Recipe, is so easy, yet so satisfying.


68 Miriam May 7, 2014 at 3:44 PM

This is an easy recipe for homemade arroz con leche, I love this Latin dessert. It was very good.


69 Dean June 25, 2014 at 11:55 AM

This is my theory on why some people commented on uncooked rice.

Interrupting the cooking of rice will make it hard or impossible to finish cooking.

Try this experiment. Cook some rice half way then let it cool, then start cooking it again; you will never be able to cook the rice completely.

My suggestion would be to either heat your milk before adding it, or add it very slowly so the rice doesn’t get chilled while it’s cooking.


70 Jenn July 2, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I made this arroz con leche recipe and it was delicious. It’s sweet and creamy.Very good recipe. I am going to make it again soon!


71 Karen September 9, 2014 at 1:12 PM

This recipe is delicious and I make it a lot.

However, it is way too sweet. I completely omit adding any sugar and just use the sweetened condensed milk and it suits my tastes better. So, if you don’t like it super sweet that’s a good way to make it.

Also if you own a rice steamer (like I do), you can boil the cinnamon sticks and use that water in the rice steamer to steam the rice, then add it back to the pot and do the milk thing.


72 Susan September 12, 2014 at 11:35 AM

I made this arroz con leche recipe for a party and it was a hit. Sweet and delicious.


73 Edward October 7, 2014 at 3:03 PM

If you’re a rice pudding fan, this Arroz Con Leche recipe is one to try. It was delicious!


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