Winter time calls for Arroz con Leche


Javier Hernandez

My cup of arroz con leche while I was studying.

The sun is starting to set early and the need for a warm drink has become evident.

When wintertime comes to Hispanic households, there are a multitude of hot drinks that are a staple to help keep people warm.

Drinks such as atole, maizena, hot chocolate, ponche and champurrado are some of the drinks that are made during this time of the year.

However, nothing beats a homemade pot of fresh arroz con leche.

Arroz con leche makes you feel warm and the aromas it gives off while it is cooking makes your household smell delightful. 

The simplicity and accessibility of the ingredients make this recipe a staple in Hispanic households all over the world.

One key component to making arroz con leche is patience.

Let’s begin by listing off some key ingredients to make a successful pot.

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Cook time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes


Large pot (boil safe)

Large spoon (for mixing)


2 cups of rice

4 cups of water

1 gallon of milk

3 cans of evaporated milk

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

A tablespoon of sugar

2 cinnamon sticks


Start by adding four cups of water to your pot. Bring the water to a boil on high heat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash your two cups of rice.

 My favorite way to wash rice is to put your rice through a strainer and rinse it out until the water is clear. It might take a couple of rinses to get to that clear water.

Washing rice removes any surface starch, preventing the rice from sticking to itself.

Add the rice and cinnamon sticks to the boiling water. Let this all simmer together for an additional 10 minutes.

After that, add your gallon of milk.

Simmer all those ingredients together for another 20 minutes, while stirring constantly to avoid any sticking from occurring.

Once your ingredients are all simmering, it is time to add your three cans of evaporated milk. Incorporate these ingredients into your pot, set the heat to low.

Adding sweetened condensed milk during the process. Photo by Javier Hernandez on 12/5/21

I stated earlier a key component to making arroz con leche is patience. It is now time to play the waiting game.

Do some homework or watch some Netflix, but stay close to your pot. 

I let my pot simmer for about an hour. Stir the pot about every 10 minutes to avoid any sticking. I like to check on the tenderness of the rice every time I stir the pot to ensure the rice isn’t over or under cooking.

Once your rice is tender, it is time to add your can of sweetened condensed milk. After stirring in the sweetened condensed milk, turn off the heat.

After it cools down, taste it for sweetness. Mine needed more sweetness, so I added a tablespoon of sugar — the sweeter you want it, the more you can add.

Depending on how much you desire to eat, grab a cup or bowl. it’s time to serve yourself some of this warm, delicious drink to help you with this cold weather!

My family likes to serve theirs with some bolillo, which is a Hispanic variation of a French baguette.

My cup with a piece of Mexican bread.
My cup with a piece of Mexican bread. Photo by Javier Hernandez on 12/5/21

We all deserve a little sweet treat here and there, no better way to satisfy that tentacion with a nice homemade pot of arroz con leche.

I hope you try out this recipe. Remember good things take time, so being patient is as important as anything else in this recipe.

Javier Hernandez can be contacted at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter.