Skip to Content

Is Arroz con Leche a Spanish or Mexican dessert?

Is Arroz con Leche a Spanish or Mexican dessert?

A Food Fun Travel Guest Post

Arroz con Leche is a meal from the past; it is so old and well-known that even a nursery rhyme about it has been composed in Spanish: “Arroz con Leche me quiero casar”.

This Arroz con Leche dessert is one of those recipes that many people associate with childhood because it was traditionally the dessert that grandmothers cooked for their grandkids in many families. No wonder it has become one of the most famous homemade desserts.

Because it is such a common dish in many cuisines, particularly Hispanic cuisines, many countries claim to be the “creators” of this dish with such a special meaning.

That old Spanish heritage

Since Mexico is such a large country with so many cultural traditions, particularly in gastronomy, it is easy to believe that “Arroz con Leche” was created by them.

However, to many people’s surprise, this meal is not a national dish of Mexico. Arroz con leche, like other apparently Mexican dishes such as “churros”, is actually the product of Spanish cuisine. We owe it to Spain, that’s the truth.

The oldest known recipe so far dates back to 1607, published in the book “Libro del Arte de Cozina”, by Domingo Hernández de Maceras, cook of the Colegio Mayor de Oviedo at the University of Salamanca, Spain.

Although the exact origins of this dish are unknown, it is thought to be a colonial heritage.

Arroz con Leche around the world

Although in Mexico Arroz con Leche is usually prepared with white rice, milk, cinnamon, and sugar; this delight to the palate can be found in different regions of the world and in each one is made with ingredients which usually differ from those traditional.

In Latin America, you can find many variations according to the country you visit, but they all have the same name, or at least are quite similar.

In the same way, it can be found in more distant places such as Turkey or China, even in Iceland this sweet dish can be found.

Of course, the way of preparing Arroz con Leche has undergone some adaptations according to the traditions and practices of each country, since each one includes particular formulas, ingredients, tricks, techniques, and disciplines to obtain the best result.

Here are a couple of recipes for Arroz con Leche that you will surely love and want to share with your family and friends:

Chocolate Arroz con Leche

This is a recipe of the typical Arroz con Leche but it also adds a little bit of chocolate to completely please your cravings.


  • 1 1/2 cups of rice.
  • 2 1/2 cups of water.
  • 1 slice of cinnamon.
  • 2 bars of chocolate.
  • 8 5/8 oz (245 g) of evaporated milk.
  • 1 cup of milk.
  • Grated chocolate, for decoration.


  1. Cook rice for 20 minutes in water, then add cinnamon.
  2. Add the chocolate tablets and dissolve after a few minutes.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes over low heat with evaporated milk and milk.
  4. Let stand for 2 minutes.
  5. Serve with grated chocolate on top.

Homemade Arroz con Leche


  • 8 cups of fresh milk.
  • 13 3/8 oz (380 g) of Bomba rice.
  • The peel of a lemon.
  • 2 large cinnamon branches.
  • 8 3/4 oz (250 g) of white sugar.
  • 1 3/4 oz (50 g) of butter.
  • Cinnamon powder.
  • Wafers (optional).


  1. The first step is to peel the lemon, being cautious not to put the white portion in because it is bitter. Use a sharp knife or a peeler.
  2. The rice, on the other hand, must be thoroughly washed in cold water. The rice will initially come out turbid and whitish in the washing water; we must get it clean or almost clean.
  3. Bring the fresh milk to a boil in a saucepan with the cinnamon branches (good quality cinnamon makes a difference) and lemon peels over medium-high heat.
  4. Add sugar and mix very well.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the washed rice after it comes to a boil.
  6. Allow for 40-50 minutes of cooking time on medium-low heat. Because it might stick to the bottom, you must flip over from time to time and much more as the cooking time approaches the end.
  7. After the cinnamon and lemon peels have been removed, add the butter and stir to combine.
  8. Allow it to cool completely before serving in cups with cinnamon powder and wafers, if desired.