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Easy Peruvian Arroz Con Leche (Traditional Recipe)

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This simple Peruvian arroz con leche recipe was my favorite food to make when I had an internship in a chocolate factory. When I was there, I loved to make rice with spice, but now that I’ms stateside I usually make a dairy-free arroz con leche, gluten-free and equally as tasty.

Though the winner of favorite Peruvian food goes to aji de gallina, a creamy onion chicken dish, my favorite dessert here is definitely arroz con leche. So when my co-workers were making some at work the other day, I tried to put their memorized recipe into measurable terms and document it for future use.

arroz con leche, served in a mug with the whole spices

About this recipe

Approximate Measurements: all of these numbers are rather approximated, as they’re estimates from seasoned Peruvian mothers. So use what looks right to you, though the indicated amount of spices leads to delicious results. It’s a pretty straight-forward recipe, and can be customized with different whole spices.

Uses Up Extra Milk: whether it’s dairy milk, nut milk, or oat milk, a traditional arroz con leche recipe is the best way to use some of it up.

Ingredients

My original rendering of the recipe.
my original rendering of the recipe

White Rice: be careful to use regular white rice for this dish, and nothing enriched. Be careful not to use sticky rice, also known as sweet white rice or glutinous rice.

Full-Fat Milk: whatever your chosen milk, make sure it’s got a bit of fat in it. I’d recommend coconut milk, if you tolerate it.

Whole Cloves: this warm spice adds a bit of holiday spirit to the dish, but a little bit goes a long way. You can pick it out at the end.

Whole Cinnamon Bark: it’s important to use whole bark to make this arroz con leche, otherwise you’ll end up with a grainy texture from the ground stuff or an overwhelming cinnamon flavor from using too much.

Sweetened Condensed Milk: this is the sweetener for this dish, and while you can certainly use less than is called for, you should add some, because it also affects the texture of the dish. Sweetened condensed coconut milk is a good alternative.

How to make arroz con leche: step-by-step instructions

Step 1. Set the water to boil, uncovered, while rinsing the rice several times.

Step 2. Add the rice and spices to the boiling water and turn down the heat to very low. Simmer the rice ‘n’ spice until it’s cooked most of the way, about 10-12 minutes.

Step 3. Once nearly cooked, add the milk to the rice. Make sure not to let it stick to the bottom of the pot, so stir occasionally.

Step 4. After 20 or so minutes of simmering with the milk, turn off the heat and add the can of sweetened condensed milk, stirring it in and then letting the rice thicken further as steam leaves the pot while it cools. Enjoy!

Recipe notes & tips

Make it Vegan: there are several great brands of both sweetened condensed coconut milk and sweetened condensed oat milk, either of which would make for a great dairy-free swap in regular ‘mylk’ form, as well.

Swapping Spices: you can use any mix of whole spices that you’d like, but the traditional version calls for clove & cinnamon. Nice additions of alternatives would be allspice, nutmeg, ginger, or cardamom, just don’t forget to pick them out at the end!

Peruvian Arroz Con Leche Recipe Card

As always, if you like the recipe, I really appreciate a review or comment!

Yield: 6 servings

Traditional Peruvian Arroz Con Leche

Traditional Peruvian Arroz Con Leche

Simple cinnamon- and clove-scented arroz con leche, which is a spiced rice pudding, Peruvian style.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. (450g) white rice
  • 1000ml water
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 10-15 whole cloves
  • 3" whole cinnamon bark
  • 2 - 400g cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • salt (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Set the water to boil, uncovered, while rinsing the rice 5-7 times.
  2. Add the rice and spices to the boiling water and turn down the heat to very low. Simmer the rice 'n' spice until it's cooked most of the way, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Once nearly cooked, add the milk to the rice. Make sure not to let it stick to the bottom of the pot, so stir occasionally.
  4. After 20 or so minutes of simmering with the milk, turn off the heat and add the can of sweetened condensed milk, stirring it in and then letting the rice thicken further as steam leaves the pot while it cools. Enjoy! 🙂

Notes

Make it Vegan: there are several great brands of both sweetened condensed coconut milk and sweetened condensed oat milk, either of which would make for a great dairy-free swap in regular 'mylk' form, as well.

Swapping Spices
: you can use any mix of whole spices that you'd like, but the traditional version calls for clove & cinnamon. Nice additions of alternatives would be allspice, nutmeg, ginger, or cardamom, just don't forget to pick them out at the end!

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