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Costa Rican Recipes: Arroz con Leche

Updated on June 28, 2012
Arroz con leche can have raisins and cinnamon sticks in it.
Arroz con leche can have raisins and cinnamon sticks in it. | Source

A Common Dessert in Costa Rica

Rice is an ingredient that is present for almost every meal in Costa Rica. One of the most common desserts in Costa Rica is arroz con leche, or rice with milk. It is served in almost every restaurant and when relatives get together for various family events, you can almost bet that it will be served. It is a delicious, sweet and creamy finish for a meal that everybody likes.

Ingredients for Arroz con Leche

1 cup of rice, regular or risotto
4 1/2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
1 can of evaporated milk
2 cans of condensed milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon of grated orange skin
1 pinch of salt
Powdered cinnamon

Preparation and Serving of Arroz con Leche

Add the grated orange peel, water, cinnamon sticks and cloves to a pot. Bring it to a boil and then add the rice. When the rice has absorbed all of the water, add the evaporated milk. Bring to a boil again and then add the condensed milk, the raisins, salt and vanilla. Boil for another 10-15 minutes. Add the yolk and mix it in well.

Allow the arroz con leche to cool and then put it in the refrigerator. You can put it into individual serving cups before putting it into the refrigerator.

Sprinkle the powdered cinnamon over the top of each of the servings.

If you wish, you can soak the raisins in a sweet dessert wine like port overnight before you start the recipe. This adds a special touch to a delicious dessert.

Garnishes and Additions

In order to increase the nutritional value of this dessert, you can incorporate a teaspoon of ground flax seed for each serving. I like to add this also because it contributes a nutty flavor.

Cinnamon sticks are commonly inserted into each of the pudding servings as a garnish. You can also add colorful fruit slices, like mandarin oranges or peaches.


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    • Randy M. profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy McLaughlin 

      8 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      Thanks for your comment, Derdriu. I would think that benedictine and some other liqueurs would also be good substitutes for the cook to experiment with.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Randy M.: What a delicious recipe! Your suggestion about soaking the raisins the day before in port is hunger-inducing and tempting. This was one of my favorites in Brazil.

      Thank you, etc.,



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