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Arroz con Dulce

Arroz con Dulce – nothing says comfort food like a cozy bowl of Puerto Rican rice pudding! The best arroz con dulce recipe you can make this season!

Small bowl of arroz con dulce garnished with cinnamon

Tender grains of rice are cooked in a fragrant cinnamon and spice infusion.

Studded with raisins and oh-so-creamy with coconut milk.

Coconut milk is what sets Arroz con Dulce Boricua apart from regular rice pudding which uses dairy milk.

Coconut lovers should also checkout our Coquito recipe and Tembleque (my fave!).

Steeping coconut milk for arroz con dulce with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves

Arroz con Dulce

The secret to arroz con dulce is to soak the rice before cooking.

This ensures that each grain is plump and hydrated.

The end result will be creamy without turning to mush.

Everyone has their own tastes so I encourage you to use this as a basic recipe, adjust to your preferences or make some tweaks to get it just the way abuela made it!

For example, I don’t like raisins in my arroz con dulce. It’s a textural thing and just as easy to leave them out.

I will list the main ingredients, plus substitutions and changes you can make.

Caldero full of freshly cooked arroz con dulce boricua

Arroz con Dulce Ingredients

  • Rice – short grain or medium grain is best.
    • Long grain will result in drier, less creamy pudding.
  • Spices – cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, nutmeg and fresh ginger.
    • Try to use whole, fresh spice for maximum flavor, not the pre-ground versions.
    • You can also add 1 star anise if you like the slight licorice flavor.
  • Coconut milk – You can also increase the coconut flavor by substituting 1 can of cream of coconut (Coco Lopez). Reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup if doing so.
  • Sugar – white or brown can be used.
    • Brown will change the color and give it more depth of flavor.
    • You can also use a mix of both.
  • Raisins – if you don’t like them leave them out.
    • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut can also be added, if desired.

This recipe is naturally dairy-free (vegan) and gluten-free (double check ingredients).

I like to cook this in my caldero (same kind you use for Puerto Rican Rice), but any heavy bottomed pot will do.

Overhead shot of dish with arroz con dulce garnished with cinnamon stick

How to Make Arroz con Dulce

  1. Start by soaking the rice in water. Anywhere from 3 hours to overnight.
  2. Make a spice infused tea by boiling the spices in coconut milk.
  3. Cook the rice until tender.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking until rice is creamy.

Puerto Rican arroz con dulce is typically served cold.

I like it best while it’s fresh and warm!

It will firm up a little after it’s chilled and you can cut servings, similar to bread pudding.

The final texture all depends how creamy it was at the end of cooking.

You can always add extra milk if it’s looking dry.

Buen provecho!

Overhead shot of dish with arroz con dulce garnished with cinnamon stick

Arroz con Dulce

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Puerto Rican Arroz con Dulce (rice pudding) with coconut milk, raisins, cinnamon and spice. Ultra creamy and a Christmas classic!


  • 1 cup short or medium grain rice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 cans (13.5 oz) coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup white or brown sugar
  • ½ cup raisins
  • Ground cinnamon, for garnish


  1. Rinse the rice several times until the water runs clear. Soak
    the rice in 2 cups of water (enough to cover), at least 2 hours, preferably
    overnight. When ready to cook drain the rice and set aside.
  2. In a large caldero or pot, add 1 can of coconut milk, the cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon, cloves and ginger with a slotted spoon.
  3. To the pot with the infused coconut milk add 1 ½ cans of coconut milk (reserve the remaining ½ can for the end) and salt. Bring to boil, then add drained rice. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ½ can of coconut milk, sugar and raisins to the rice and gently stir. Continue cooking at a simmer, uncovered, until the rice is tender and creamy, about 15 minutes. Gently stir occasionally so rice doesn’t stick to bottom of pot. It should look runny, but not soupy.
  5. Pour the arroz con dulce into a dish and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon before serving.

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Did you make this recipe?

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Wednesday 18th of October 2023

Perfect. I was looking fir a recipe with measurements because I couldn't remember the measurements I used. This is exactly how I make mine as well, except that I add half a stick of butter at the end. It makes it creamier, balances out the flavors, adds a depth of richness to it and lends a beautiful sheen. Thanks again for the measurements!


Monday 20th of March 2023

Can I use ground cinnamon if I don’t have the sticks? Also, can I use ginger paste? Thank you! ☺️


Monday 20th of March 2023

Yes and yes :-)


Monday 2nd of January 2023

I’ve made rice pudding for many years. The spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise, fresh ginger. I boil them in water, once it boils simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the ingredients and por the tea into the milk. Rinse the cinnamon sticks and add them to the milk as well as the ginger. Don’t add the sugar til the end so rice will cook and it doesn’t stay hard.


Wednesday 4th of January 2023

Thanks for the tips.

Susan Gooden

Saturday 31st of December 2022

Can I use powdered nutmeg n ginger if I don’t have fresh?


Saturday 31st of December 2022



Thursday 15th of December 2022

Do u leave the soak rice in the fridge


Thursday 15th of December 2022

No, I don't put it in the fridge but you can if you want.

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