Spanish Arroz con Leche Recipe - My Mother-in-Law's Family Recipe

Spanish Arroz con Leche Recipe

A creamy Spanish rice pudding recipe from my mother-in-law Antonia. Her arroz con leche recipe is the perfect blend of cinnamon, sugar, and silky Spanish rice. You’ll try it once and be a fan for life!

Spanish rice pudding. Spanish arroz con leche recipe.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a lucky girl. My in-laws are fantastic. Don’t get me wrong– we don’t always see eye to eye on everything, but they are the most caring and loving people I’ve ever met.

My mother-in-law, Antonia, also happens to be a wonderful Spanish cook and has taught me the majority of what I know about Spanish home cooking.

Her salmorejo recipe is one of my all-time favorites and every time we’re together we try to cook something new.

The only downside to her cooking abilities has been the few times I’ve dared to “diet” in her presence.

It wasn’t even really a diet, just eating fewer carbs before my wedding! Every now and then I like to cut most carbs and sugar out of my diet (the month of December is not one of those times) as a way to cleanse my body.

Anyway, I’ve learned not to tell her this. At the mere mention of this locura she seems to make every possible thing I “can’t” eat and then shake her head when I say “no, gracias.

The last time I was eating healthy she bought me two enormous bars of chocolate and made her famous arroz con leche.

I nearly got angry with her because it feels like she’s not respecting or supporting my preferences… but then I realize that feeding people is just how she shows her love.

And I do love her rice pudding…

The Secrets to Antonia’s Arroz con Leche

After watching her make this many times, I think there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Always use whole milk
  • Use a cinnamon stick (not cinnamon powder) — except for a dash on the top when finished
  • Don’t skip the pinch of salt (sea salt is best)
  • Add the sugar slowly and taste — if it’s too sweet you can’t go back!
  • Make it slowly – don’t be in a rush. Add the milk little by little and stir, stir, stir! This will make it super creamy.

Watch how to make Spanish arroz con leche (1 minute video!)

Traditional Spanish Arroz con Leche Recipe

Spanish rice pudding

Spanish Arroz con Leche Recipe

Lauren Aloise
This creamy Spanish arroz con leche recipe is my mother-in-law's favorite. It's Spanish rice pudding done right!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4 servings
Calories 329.48 kcal


  • 1 cup of short grain rice Arroz Bomba is what I use in Spain
  • 1-2 wide slices of lemon rind
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 liter of whole milk you can substitute non-dairy milks if desired
  • Sugar to taste


  • Rinse the rice under cold water and then put it in a saucepan over a medium heat, just barely covered with water.
  • Add the cinnamon stick and lemon rind. Stir continually until all of the water is absorbed.
  • Add milk about ½ cup at a time, stirring each time until all is absorbed. Continue adding up to the whole liter of milk, stirring continuously.
  • When is seems creamy enough, taste to make sure the texture of the rice is correct. Some prefer it al dente and others like it very cooked (almost mushy).
  • When it is to your liking, turn off the heat and add a pinch of salt and dash of cinnamon. Then, add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time until it is sweet enough for you. Enjoy warm or let cool.
  • Sprinkle a bit more cinnamon on top to decorate!


Calories: 329.48kcalCarbohydrates: 51.38gProtein: 11.25gFat: 8.45gSaturated Fat: 4.75gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 119.74mgPotassium: 383.19mgFiber: 1.49gSugar: 13.82gVitamin A: 405IUVitamin C: 1.94mgCalcium: 309.23mgIron: 0.52mg
Keyword Arroz con Leche, rice pudding recipe, spanish rice pudding
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Voila! Spanish arroz con leche a la Antonia! I promise that if you prepare this you will taste the love. Try it– and tell me how it turns out!

Look here for more tempting Spanish dessert recipes!

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There's a lot to love about Spanish food, but Spain's traditional desserts—like this easy, one pot arroz con leche recipe— take the cake (pun intended?). That's right—Spanish rice recipes aren't just limited to paella! This rice pudding is delicious, authentic, and the perfect way to end a tapas dinner. #Spain #desserts

Photo Credit: katiebordner


  1. Well, the person in my life that doesn´t let me diet … is me. And I adore arroz con leche, something the asturianos make very well. However, I don´t have it often since I´m allergic to cinnamon. I´ve had it a couple of times in a great Asturian restaurant in Madrid – Casa Parrondo – (also my husband´s name but no relation) where they bring in their own special fresh milk to get it just right. Your recipe is spot on, and for the record, I like it a little mushy!

    1. I often don’t let myself diet either… (I think I ate at least 10 cookies yesterday alone) but the wedding was an exception! Being allergic to cinnamon is sad! But I’ll bet if you made it at home you could sub spices like cloves or cardamon for a yummy change. I like it mushy too– but not too overcooked.

  2. I’ve had this same struggle with my MIL too. It wasn’t because I was trying to diet, it was because I simply could not fit any more food in my stomach (you know, one of those typical 5 course Spanish meals!) but she serves them every time we eat together. She wouldn’t just shake her head, but also loudly complain that I don’t eat anything (which is SO not true) and in front of everyone at the table. Frustrating eating with her, but I have just learned to eat what I can and politely decline whatever is going to stuff me full.

    1. I know what you mean– they expect us to keep eating and eating! Luckily I was used to this from my Italian grandmother and aunt, but it is still annoying! But when my Ale’s brother’s girlfriend is there too she eats even less– so I’m the good one those nights! I’ve also learned to eat what I want and stick firm to my NO GRACIAS!!!

  3. I might very well be the only foreigner married to a Spaniard who’s mother-in-law is a terrible cook. She hates cooking, and it shows. And just to make you all jealous, I can diet anytime I want around her. Especially since the very first thing she said to me was, “Oh, you’re much fatter than your pictures.” Jajaja! But I just love her and she loves me, too.

    Anyway, I’m going to try this recipe out and see if I can impress my Asturiano husband.

  4. oh my gosh! you know, one thing I like about your blog is that when you’re done reading one post, you are given choices of other posts that may interest you. and, wow! a recipe for one of my favorite Spanish desserts, whee!! I will have to bookmark and try this some time. I used to love when our señoras would make it. yum, yum, yum!!

  5. Thank you so much for your kind recipe, I first came on this site,not knowing how to make arroz con leche,to becoming a pro. My 6 year old loves your recipe! He says it comes from Mom’s heart and he loves it!!

    Thanks again

  6. wow! thanks for sharing this recipe!,. since i had no one too teach me on how to cook, i only knew a basic one that it taste like it needed something else , but now tasting your version i,, wow! I just made it and turn out great,Thank you!, and just for the info I cant do a diet since i choose to study for a career of baking and pastry, i have to try everything to be able to put desserts together 🙁 , but cant complaint 🙂 because I love sweets:).

  7. I am so glad to have found this recipe, as it seems very close to how my abuela made her Arroz con Leche , that we enjoyed so often. She of course had no written recipe, but would know just by looking at the contents in the pot what needed to be done. Not one of the family members has come close to her level of quality in attempting to make Arroz con Leche on our own. I believe for the most part this is a result of over cooking the dish which results in a gooey, rather than creamy texture. I look forward to trying this recipe!

  8. Did try ur arroz con Leche it reminds me of my mom’s recipe and if I close my eyes I would say I’m am eating hers. Ole
    I’m. glad I found your blog to help me out on different recipes. My family and I have a Spanish dinner every Sunday just like when we did when growing up.
    Gracias. TRL

  9. I wonder if it’s the type of rice? This is usually made with a short grain Spanish rice– that said I have made it with basmati and while not as creamy, it still worked! The starches need to break down, keep stirring! Good luck!

  10. Hola!

    I’ve been looking for the perfect arrow con leche recipe for the fall/winter season and this one seems great with great reviews! I just had a question…I had a Dominican friend who used to make this however I used to see she would also put star anise in along with the cinnamon stick and lemon rind, what is your take on that? Do you think that should be done would the recipe still come out as good? I just used to notice it but I havent found a recipe where someone has used star anise yet.

  11. 5 stars
    This was much faster and far much easier to make. I change recipe a little, starting with first cup with water and other 3 …with milk. I also added cloves and all spices and came out amazing! Thank you for the recipe!

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