This tasty traditional Arroz con Dulce recipe is made with creamy rice, warm spices, coconut milk, raisins, coconut, and sweet brown sugar! Puerto Rican rice pudding is an amazing way to switch up dessert, this creamy, rich rice is packed with so much flavor!
Caption: A tasty, sweet dessert with Puerto Rican flare!
Creamy, warmly spiced, and perfectly sweet – my Arroz con Dulce is an incredible treat!
Arroz con dulce (Spanish for ‘sweet rice’) is an amazing way to switch up regular rice pudding! This classic Puerto Rican dessert is made up of tender rice, studded with dried fruit then cooked in a spiced, creamy coconut milk mixture.
As with many traditional recipes, they can be molded to every household, so there are many ways to make this arroz con dulce recipe your own! I’m keeping it traditional with coconut milk, raisins, and lots of shredded coconut.
This rice pudding recipe is perfectly creamy and never mushy. Make sure you soak the rice before cooking it in the coconut milk mixture.
It ensures that the rice has that great, tender, creamy texture we want!
❤️ Why This Recipe Works!
The Ultimate Comfort Food! Creamy, homey arroz con dulce is an amazing comfort dessert all year round!
A Light but Satisfying Dessert! Using coconut milk, compared to the typical condensed milk, makes this dish super light yet delightfully satisfying!
Full of Coconut Flavor! Coconut lovers, this one is for you! This Puerto Rican rice pudding is packed with coconut flavor, using both amazing coconut milk and shredded coconut!
Medium grain rice is perfect for this recipe! You will want to use a shorter grain rice that will produce more starch and yield a creamier and richer arroz con dulce (*see note).
- 1 ½ cups uncooked Medium Grain White Rice – Soaked, medium-grain rice is the base for your arroz con dulce!
- 4 cups Water – You’ll need 4 cups for the rice pudding plus extra water to soak your rice. There should be about 2 inches of excess water over the rice when soaking.
- ½ tablespoon Ginger – This is about 1-inch of peeled, sliced fresh ginger root.
- 2 whole Cinnamon Sticks – Pick up whole cinnamon sticks from the baking section of your grocery store!
- 6 whole Cloves – Cloves add a unique sweet note to baked goods and more. I recommend using whole cloves for their more subtle flavor.
- 1 teaspoon Salt – Use table salt or sea salt here to help balance the flavors of the arroz con dulce!
- 13.5 ounces Coconut Milk – This is equal to one standard can of full-fat coconut milk. Using coconut milk also makes this dessert vegan and dairy free! (*see note)
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar – Brown sugar gives this dessert a delicious caramel sweetness. You can substitute honey, agave, or dark brown sugar if preferred.
- ½ cup Raisins – You can also use golden raisins (sultanas) or a combination of regular raisins and sultanas.
- ¼ cup shredded Sweetened Coconut – Extra coconut makes this dessert extra delicious! I recommend sweetened coconut for extra flavor.
- Ground Cinnamon – This is an optional but recommended garnish if you like extra spicy-sweet flavor!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
To get the rice to cool quickly, spread the arroz on dulce in a 9x13 baking pan. When cooling the rice pudding, some extra surface area will help thicken and chill it quickly, so it’s ready to serve in no time at all!
- Soak rice. Start by putting 1 ½ cups of medium grain white rice in a medium-sized mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Leave about 2 inches of excess water over the rice. Then, set the rice aside for an hour to soak.
- Steep spice mixture. To a saucepan, add 4 cups of water with ½ tablespoon fresh, sliced ginger, 2 whole cinnamon sticks, 6 whole cloves, and 1 teaspoon of salt then bring to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove from heat and allow the mixture to steep while your rice finishes soaking.
- Finish soaking rice. Next, once your rice is fully soaked, drain off water and rinse under cool tap water. Then, use a slotted spoon to remove the ginger and whole spices from the boiled water. To the water, add 13.5 ounces of coconut milk and bring back to a boil.
- Boil rice in spiced coconut milk. When the water reaches a boil, stir in the drained rice, ½ cup of light brown sugar, ½ cup of raisins, and ¼ cup of shredded coconut, then reduce heat to a simmer. Then, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to your pan.
- Cool down rice pudding. Next, transfer the cooked rice to your 9x13 baking pan and spread in an even layer for quick cooking. Once it’s cooled to room temperature, finish chilling in your refrigerator. Serve the arroz con dulce cold, topped with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Ultra-creamy, decadent arroz con dulce is traditionally served cold or room temperature for dessert, just with a spoon!
If desired, garnish with ground cinnamon then top the rice pudding with a dollop of whipped cream, fresh berries, or chopped nuts! Enjoy!
💭 Tips & Notes
- Using a medium-grain rice is necessary for this recipe! In the US you can usually find Calrose (a California rice that’s great for sushi), Nikishi, Goy, River, Cajun Country, and even the Arborio rice we love for risotto!
- You can use any dried fruit for this rice pudding. Other dried fruits to work in place of the raisins include dried cranberries, currants, cherries, chopped pitted dates, and chopped dried apricots.
- Is your rice absorbing the liquid too quickly? If you find your rice is absorbing the liquid too quickly but isn’t yet tender, add ¼ cup of hot water at a time and heat for an additional few minutes.
- Toast the coconut for the best flavor! Toss your sweetened coconut flakes in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until lightly golden and fragrant. The toasted coconut adds a depth of flavor that makes this dessert extra special!
- Allergic to coconuts? You can substitute whole milk, half & half, or your favorite plant milk substitute for the coconut milk. You may also exclude the shredded coconut.
- Use whole spices for the best flavor. Using whole spices will also keep the rice pudding that light, creamy color we want. You can use ground spices if that’s all you can find, however!
- This recipe makes about 8 smaller servings. It can also make 4 larger servings, or even 16 mini servings when served amongst a spread of other desserts!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Leftover arroz con dulce will keep your refrigerator for up to 5 to 7 days when it is properly stored in an airtight container.
If you want to extend the shelf life of this rice pudding, you can store it in your freezer for up to 3 months. However, note that the arroz con dulce may change in texture somewhat after freezing and defrosting.
🥮 MORE DESSERT RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
- Mandarin Orange Cake
- Cherry Blueberry Dump Cake
- Baked Cinnamon Apples
- Almond Flour Peanut Butter Cookies
- No-Bake Haystack Cookies
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📖 Recipe Card
Arroz con Dulce (Puerto Rican Rice Pudding)
- 1 ½ cups medium grain white rice (see notes)
- 4 cups water (+ more to soak the rice)
- ½ tablespoon ginger (about 1-inch peeled, sliced fresh ginger)
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 13.5 oz coconut milk
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup raisins (or golden raisins, or a combination of both regular and sultanas)
- ¼ cup shredded sweetened coconut
- ground cinnamon (optional garnish)
- Place the rice in a medium-sized mixing bowl and cover with cool water, leaving about 2 inches of excess water over the rice. Set aside for an hour to soak.
- Add the 4 cups water to a saucepan with ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and salt then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes then remove from heat and allow to steep while your rice finishes soaking.
- Once your rice is fully soaked, drain off water and rinse under cool tap water.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the ginger and whole spices from the boiled water. Add coconut milk and heat to a boil.
- When the water reaches a boil, stir in the drained rice, light brown sugar, raisins, and coconut then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until rice is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to your pan.
- Transfer the cooked rice into your 9x13 baking pan and spread in an even layer for quick cooling. Once cooled to room temperature, finish chilling in the refrigerator.
- Serve cold, topped with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
- Medium grain rice available in the US are Calrose (a California rice that is great as sushi rice), Nishiki, Goya, River, Cajun Country, and yes even the Arborio rice we love for risotto can work too!
- Other dried fruits can also work in place of the raisins, like cranberries, currants, dried cherries, pitted dates (chopped), and dried apricots (chopped).
- If the rice has absorbed all of the liquid but is not yet tender, add ¼ cup of hot water at a time and heat for a few additional minutes.
- Your arroz con dulce can also be topped with fresh berries, crushed nuts, and whipped cream.
- Toast your coconut flakes in a dry skillet or medium-low heat until fragrant then remove them to a cool plate. The toasted coconut adds depth of flavor that really makes this dessert extra special!
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!