Arroz con Leche Classic Recipe

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In this article, we will share an easy recipe for Guatemalan arroz con leche. Arroz con leche is a beloved and traditional Guatemalan dessert that holds a special place in Guatemalan culture. This creamy rice pudding is a delightful combination of rice, milk, sugar, and aromatic spices, making it a comforting and indulgent treat. In this article I will also explore the importance of arroz con leche in Guatemalan culture, its origins, storage recommendations, and share some tips and tricks for preparing the best arroz con leche recipe.

classic arroz con leche Guatemala

Importance in Guatemalan Culture

Arroz con leche has deep cultural roots in Guatemala and is often served on special occasions and festive celebrations. It is a dessert that brings families and friends together, evoking a sense of nostalgia and unity. Whether enjoyed during birthdays, Christmas, or other significant events, arroz con leche holds a special place in the hearts and palates of Guatemalans. Its comforting and sweet flavors symbolize warmth, togetherness, and the richness of Guatemalan culinary traditions.

Origin of Arroz con Leche

Arroz con leche traces its origins back to the Arab influence in Spain during the Middle Ages. The recipe was brought to Guatemala by Spanish colonizers and gradually integrated into the local cuisine. Over time, it evolved to incorporate native Guatemalan ingredients and flavors, resulting in a unique version of rice pudding that showcases the country’s cultural fusion.

Storage and Freezing

Arroz con leche is best enjoyed fresh and warm, but if you have leftovers or wish to make it ahead of time, proper storage is key. Here are some recommendations:

Storage: Place the arroz con leche in an airtight container and refrigerate it. Consume within 2-3 days for the best flavor and texture. Keep in mind that the rice may absorb more liquid as it sits, so you can add a little milk when reheating to achieve the desired consistency.

Freezing: While arroz con leche can be frozen, the texture may change slightly upon thawing. If you decide to freeze it, transfer the cooled arroz con leche to a freezer-safe container or individual portions. Seal tightly and label with the date. Consume within 2-3 months for the best quality. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and gently reheat on the stovetop or microwave, adding a splash of milk if needed.

Receta arroz con leche Guatemala

Tips and Tricks for the Best Arroz con Leche Recipe

To create a delicious and authentic arroz con leche, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  1. Rice Selection: Choose short-grain rice, such as Arborio or Valencia, as they release more starch and contribute to a creamier texture.
  2. Pre-Soaking: Rinse the rice under cold water to remove excess starch, then soak it in water for 20-30 minutes before cooking. This step helps the rice cook evenly and ensures a smoother consistency.
  3. Slow Cooking: Cook the rice on low heat to allow it to absorb the flavors of the milk and spices gradually. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
  4. Milk and Sweetener: Use whole milk for a rich and creamy result. You can also add a small amount of condensed milk or evaporated milk to enhance the sweetness and creaminess. Adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste preferences.
  5. Aromatic Spices: Infuse the arroz con leche with warm and fragrant spices like cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, or grated nutmeg. These spices add depth and complexity to the dessert.
  6. Texture Adjustment: If you prefer a thicker consistency, simmer the arroz con leche a bit longer, allowing the rice to fully absorb the milk. For a thinner consistency, add a little more milk towards the end of cooking.
  7. Garnish and Serving: Arroz con leche can be served warm or chilled. Sprinkle ground cinnamon or nutmeg on top before serving for an extra touch of flavor and visual appeal. Consider adding a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of toasted almonds or raisins for additional texture and taste.

By following these tips and tricks, you can create a delightful bowl of arroz con leche that will impress your family and friends, and provide a taste of the rich Guatemalan culinary heritage.

How to Guatemalan Make Arroz Con Leche

Gather your ingredients, follow the steps, and savor the sweet indulgence of arroz con leche – a true Guatemalan culinary treasure. 


  • ½ pound of long grain rice
  • 1 ¼ cups of whole milk 
  • 1 ¼ cups evaporated milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

How to make Guatemalan arroz con leche


  • In a heavy saucepan put the water, rice, and cinnamon stick.
    Cook until it has a spongy consistency, then and add the milk, sugar and salt.
  • Cook on low heat until the liquids evaporate and it has the desired consistency.

Enjoy the Deliciousness of Arroz con Leche!

Arroz con leche is not only a delightful dessert but also a cultural symbol that brings people together. By preparing this classic Guatemalan recipe, you can experience the comforting flavors and create lasting memories with your loved ones.  Buen provecho!

classic arroz con leche Guatemala

Arroz con Leche Classic Recipe

Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour


  • ½ pound of long grain rice
  • 1 ¼ cups of whole milk 
  • 1 ¼ cups evaporated milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt


    1. In a heavy saucepan put the water, rice, and cinnamon stick.
      Cook until it has a spongy consistency, then and add the milk, sugar and salt.
    2. Cook on low heat until the liquids evaporate and it has the desired consistency.
    3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, cinnamon powder and star anis.


You can also add raisins to the recipe if you want.

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Delicious Arroz Con Leche Recipes: Amazing Rice Pudding Recipe Variations

This basic rice pudding recipe is also a great starting point for creating fun variations of arroz con leche. You and add all sorts of flavors and ingredients to this easy dessert. Let’s check out some fun twists on the classic arroz con leche:

  • Spiced cherry arroz con leche: This spiced cherry arroz con leche is a festive twist on the classic arroz con leche making it a perfect dessert for Christmas or Three Kings Day. This delicious rice pudding incorporates home made spiced cherries giving it a delicious taste as well as a beautiful presentation perfect for the holiday season.
  • Caramel apple arroz con leche: This caramel apple arroz con leche recipe is so easy to make that even your kids will be able to prepare it. It makes for a delicious and easy fall dessert that everyone will love. This variation from the classic arroz con leche recipe incorporates baked apples, whipped cream and delicious dulce de leche.  is now one of my favorite desserts.

Caramel Apple Arroz Con Leche


  • Healthy arroz con leche: This healthy arroz con leche is a delicious and easy recipe, that is better for you without sacrificing flavor!  Made in minutes and with simple ingredients, this no-fuss healthy dessert is an easy-to-make recipe, the perfect blend of creamy and sweet. This healthy rice pudding guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth! The best part is that this recipe is healthier than the traditional arroz con leche so you can enjoy it this holiday season, or anytime, without feeling guilty.   
  • Sweet potato arroz con leche: This sweet potato and orange rice pudding is a comforting fall dessert. It’s filled with autumn flavors and is so comforting it’s perfect for enjoying with a hot cup of coffee in front of the fire.
  • Mango and coconut arroz con leche (vegan): If you like arroz con leche you’re sure to love this vegan mango and coconut arroz con leche! This tropical version of arroz con leche made with coconut milk combined with sweet and fresh mango and topped with fresh raspberries is the perfect summer dessert. This could even work as a delicious breakfast.

coconut and mango arroz con leche in a mason jar


  • Pumpkin arroz con leche: Pumpkin Arroz con Leche is a delightful and easy dessert that adds a seasonal twist to the classic arroz con leche. Made with long grain rice, cinnamon stick, water, egg, milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice, this dessert is a comforting pumpkin dessert perfect for fall. 
  • Eggnog arroz con leche: This rice pudding recipe replaces the milk for eggnog giving the arroz con leche a holiday makeover. It is topped with tart cranberry sauce that balances the sweetness and makes this arroz con leche parfait the perfect option for entertaining this holiday season.  
  • eggnog rice pudding arroz con leche cranberry


  • Hazelnut coffee arroz con leche: This delicious recipe for hazelnut coffee rice pudding combines the creaminess of the arroz con leche with the aromatic flavor of the hazelnut coffee for a dessert that tastes like a decadent hazelnut latte. 
  • Arroz emperatriz with cranberries: Arroz Emperatriz With Cranberry Sauce is a festive dessert that puts a twist on the classic arroz con leche. This creamy and comforting dessert features cooked rice, cinnamon sticks, milk, and sweetened condensed milk. The addition of lime zest, orange zest, and cranberry sauce adds a refreshing and fruity element. With its beautiful presentation, this dessert is an excellent choice for holiday celebrations. Follow the simple instructions to create this delightful Guatemalan delicacy and enjoy a special treat during the festive season.

Arroz Emperatriz With Cranberry Sauce, a delicious arroz con leche beautifully presented in the form of a flan

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

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