Its popularity is impressive, too; it’s a dish that’s celebrated across the world, from Spain to the Philippines, to Mexico and all across Latin America. Each country adds their own special ingredient, which makes this dessert so customizable that you’ll never tire of it.
For those of you that may not know, Arroz con Leche is a rich and creamy rice pudding that is usually served hot, though it can be enjoyed cold, too.
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When I went vegan, one of the first things I thought about was this dish. It saddened me to know that I’d never have it again because of its milk content; my grandma’s recipe includes both evaporated cow’s milk, and sweetened condensed milk.
When I started to learn about dairy substitutes, such as coconut milk, I became hopeful. I was determined to learn how to make my favorite desserts without using dairy or eggs, and without sacrificing on taste or texture.
Discovering Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk was like winning the lottery; it meant I could still enjoy Arroz con Leche without feeling like I was compromising. I’m also a big lover of coconut, and this milk adds a delicious subtle coconut flavor. It’s a win-win for me!
While I loved my grandmother’s Arroz con Leche recipe, I’ve come to appreciate a few subtle additions to it, such as orange or lemon zest, nutmeg, sweetened coconut flakes, and cloves.
To add a little flair to the finished product, I like to add coconut flakes and ground cinnamon on top after serving; it makes a beautiful presentation and the added hint of cinnamon is divine, and the coconut flakes add a touch of crunch.
How To Make Vegan Arroz con Leche
Without further ado’ here’s the recipe!
- 1 cup of long grain white rice
- 1 can of Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk
- 1 can of Coconut Evaporated Milk
- 2 large cinnamon sticks
- Sweetened Shredded Coconut (optional: for topping)
- Ground Cinnamon (optional: for topping)
- Rinse and strain the rice. TIP: Don’t neglect this step, it’s important to make sure that no residue is left on your rice, otherwise it might taste a little funny.
- Fill a large pot with 8 cups of water. TIP: You want to ensure that there’s enough water for all of the rice to boil in. (I love using my Dutch Oven for this recipe because it’s big enough to accommodate the water and it’s pretty)
- Pour 1 cup of rice and 2 large cinnamon sticks into your dutch oven or large pot
- Bring to a boil (About 20 minutes)
- Drain the rice and take out the cinnamon sticks
- Return rice to the pot
- Pour in 1 can of coconut evaporated milk and 1 can of coconut condensed milk; mix thoroughly
- Pour the Arroz con Leche into ramekins for a lovely presentation. Sprinkle some ground cinnamon and shredded coconut flakes on top. If you’re not crazy about coconut, you can replace with raisins or nuts!
- This tip is worth repeating: rinse the rice before you cook it! It can add a strange flavor to the dish if you don’t rinse off its residue.
- Make sure you allow the rice to soften in the water before you move on to the next steps. I’ve made the mistake of not adding enough water in the pot for the rice to sit in, and the rice didn’t cook through – the rice came out hard and NOT edible! I’ve even seen recipes that only call for two cups of water, and I find that that just isn’t enough, so I add about 5 more cups to my dutch oven, and then drain what isn’t soaked up by the rice before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Make sure to stir consistently, to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the pot.
- Don’t be afraid to add different toppings to your rice, experiment each time you make it
I hope you enjoy this recipe and soon find ways to add your own touches to it. Good luck, and let me know how it goes! The more you make it, the better it’ll be and you’ll soon feel comfortable with it. I don’t doubt that it’ll become part of your Fall and Winter desserts repertoire!