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January 16, 2011

Arroz con leche y vainilla (Vanilla Milk Rice)

Christmas is over. It was a nice time for everyone. We met all our friends and family members. However, it's time to start looking forward to the next Christmas and coming back to our everyday life. Every year as soon as the holidays are over, I go back to school and here a huge amount of tests is waiting for me and my classmates. To be honest I'm pretty exhausted from learning stuff for all those tests and I like to relax in the afternoon. I just lay down on my bed and enjoy a few minutes of idleness. And what is better than enjoy it with some utterly delicious comfort food?

In every country you can find tons of recipes for milk rice. Arroz con leche (translation: milk rice) is a very typical dish in Spain where it's made from rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon and lemon peel. The result is a rich thick creamy pudding (or custard).

The selection of rice is very important because it creates the texture of the final dish. So what king of rice should you use? And the answer is white short-grain rice. Short-grain rice is almost round, with moist grains that stick together when cooked and the meal has a smoother texture and holds better its shape. I personally don't like long-grain rice that much. For me it's too dry and quite tough. Maybe it's because my mom has never made any other rice than the short-grain one as a side dish. I love when the creamy rice is combined with any type of sauce and it creates a new wonderful flavour combination. This just can't be experienced with long-grain rice, but it's my personal opinion and you may love the long-grain and the short-grain one :)

I've tried the traditional arroz con leche with lemon peel and cinnamon and it truly is extremely good. Nevertheless, this time I'd like to show you a bit different flavoured one which is, at least for me, even better. In Spanish it's Arroz con leche y vainilla (means Vanilla Milk Rice in English). If you don't know what to cook for lunch or you just want something warm and sweet this the right choice for you.

1 liter full fat milk
200g white short-grain rice
125g caster sugar
25g butter
2 vanilla pods

In a medium saucepan combine milk, caster sugar. Slice vanilla pods lengthways in half and scrape the caviar out of the pods and add the caviar and the pods to the milk-sugar mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Immediately add rice and reduce heat to very low and simmer, stirring constantly with wooden spoon and scraping bottom and sides, for about 50-60 minutes. The liquid must reduce and thicken a bit and rice must become soft and soaked. Be careful, because the rice tends to stick to the bottom and burn in the final minutes. I recommend you tasting the rice after 50 minutes and if it's soft it means it's done. Remove from heat and remove the pods from the rice. Stir in the butter. Then pour into prepared bowl or plates. Eat either warm or chilled.

  • If you hate rice puddings I would still recommend you giving a chance to this one, because I just can't believe how someone could turn this one down :)
  • This amount serves four people if you want it to be a dessert, or two people if it's supposed to be lunch or any other main dish. 
  • When I don't care about calories I use 500ml whipping cream and 500ml full fat milk instead of 1 liter full fat milk. The pudding is even creamier and simply the best.
  • It is quite usual to rinse rice before cooking it, but not in this dish! You would remove the rice starch and the final result would not be so creamy and good.

I know it takes a lot of time to prepare it, but it's worth every second! The rice is in its best form here and you can hardly find anything better. Sweet vanilla and soft creamy rice are very good friends :) I like it warm and fresh plus even if I wanted to wait for it to be chilled I just couldn't! The smell and aromas and when you lick the wooden can't resist. Be careful, it's addictive!


  1. I like the photo where you see the hole left by the spoon. This looks very nice. Being Italian, the photos make me think about a sweet risotto with my beloved vanilla: lovely.

  2. Simona: Thank you :) I've never had sweet risotto before, but according to the photos and recipes on your blog (especially the raspberry one) it must be truly exquisite :)

  3. It's such a simple dessert, but your pictures make it look so decadent and stylish. I'm holding a new linky party on my blog this week Saturday called "Sweets for a Saturday." If you get a chance, I'd like to invite you to come by then and link this up.

  4. Lisa: Thank you very much :) I'll definitely add a link, thank you for letting me know :)

  5. Looks pretty and delicious.

    I'm having the very first GIVEAWAY on my blog. Please stop by and submit an entry. Good Luck.

  6. Thanks for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday. I truly appreciate your support and hope that you'll be able to join in again next Saturday. By then I'll have a cute button that you can grab.

  7. Lisa: You're welcome :) I should say thank you for inviting me to your Sweets for a Saturday. I'm looking forward to the next Saturday and my link will be there for sure :)

  8. Catalina: Would Aborio rice be as creamy as the short grain?


  9. Charlie: Arborio rice is a type of short grain rice (I think it's one of the best), so yes, it's the best you can use for the arroz con leche :)


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