Arroz con Dulce | It’s time to start getting excited! Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming! It sounds crazy to even say that but, growing up I spent most of the holidays in the states. But, even though we may have been far from home Mami always made sure that we enjoyed all the Puerto Rican holiday traditions and foods.
My favorite thing she would make for dessert was arroz con dulce. Which translates to rice candy. It’s a sticky sweet coconut rice treat with cinnamon and raisins. It’s delicious, its sweet, it’s sticky and for me it is love.
I remember fondly how the smell of coconut and cinnamon would fill the air when Mami would steep the coconut milk with all the spices. She would take her time with it, stirring the pot to make sure it wouldn’t stick to the bottom.
Finally, it would be done and ready to pour out onto a platter. She would always warn my sister and me to keep our fingers out of the arroz con dulce. But we would eventually sneak in and steal a bite when she wasn’t looking. It was relatively easy to hide the stolen bite by spreading the arroz over the hole.
What is Arroz con Dulce
Arroz con dulce literally translates as rice with sweet or sweet rice. It’s a dessert that is commonly served in Puerto Rico during the holidays. The rice is soaked overnight in water, drained and then cooked in a sweetened mixture of coconut milk and evaporated milk. It does take some time to prepare but it can be made ahead of time and is typically served room temperature.
There are so many things to love about this beautiful dessert. It’s creamy, sweet, a little sticky and full of coconut flavor.
But, there is a debate about one thing…raisins. I am very pro raisin some are very against raisins. But let me tell you I LOVE the raisins because they get all plump and infused with the sweet coconut milk flavor and I even love to suck on the cinnamon sticks. I know it sounds odd but try it and then tell me if I am weird.
Arroz con Dulce Recipe Ingredients
2 cups medium or short grain rice
5 14 oz cans coconut milk
1 5 oz can evaporated milk
4 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup raisins
There is something very magical when it comes to the foods of childhood memories. The smell and taste can immediately transport you back to that time of innocence. When I take a bite of this dessert, I can almost year mami yelling at me to leave it alone and wait for Christmas Eve dinner. But, I just couldn’t wait till Christmas Eve dinner.
I love Christmas Eve it was always happy times filled with music, children laughing, adults chatting, and boisterous laughs followed by the slamming of dominos.
Tips for Arroz con Dulce
- It is important that medium or short grain rice is used when making arroz con dulce. Long grain rice requires more liquid to cook and is not as starchy. A starchy rice gives a creamier texture.
- I the technique I use for my arroz con dulce is similar to the technique when making risotto. I do this because I find that the end result is creamier then if the rice is simply cooked in sweetened milk. Also, this helps prevent the rice and milk from scalding or burning.
- A heavy bottom pot is best to evenly distribute the heat. This way you don’t get a hot spot where the rice can burn.
- Arroz con dulce can be made several days ahead of time. Great when you are planning a large holiday party. Keep it refrigerated and covered until ready to serve.
If you are wanting to make the ultimate Puerto Rican holiday spread you need to make a pavochon (Puerto Rican Thanksgiving turkey) or pernil asado (Puerto Rican roast pork) and some arroz con gandules (Puerto Rican rice and pigeon peas) and pasteles.
Need more Puerto Rican recipes? Check out my full collection of Puerto Rican recipes!
One More Thing!
The holiday season is officially here! Get my new ebook with a collection of 14 traditional Puerto Rican Christmas recipes to help you get your holiday party season going. I got all the essentials! From pernil to tembleque and the ultimate Christmas drink coquito!
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- 2 cups medium or short grain rice
- 5 14 oz cans coconut milk
- 1 5 oz can evaporated milk
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 12 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- Pour rice into a bowl and add water until covering the rice by two-inches. Let soak overnight.
- In a large pot combine four cans of coconut milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon sticks, cloves, salt, and ginger. Bring to a boil and set to low to simmer. Let steep for 15 minutes.
- Drain rice and add to a large heavy bottom pot. I find that a large dutch oven works best. Heat pot over medium-low heat. Leave the coconut milk over low heat. Add four ladles of coconut milk, about two cups, to rice. Stir coconut milk in with the rice. Continue to stir until rice has absorbed most of the coconut milk. Continue this process one ladle at a time until you have used almost half of the coconut milk.
- Add remaining coconut milk, stir until well combined and cover. Cook covered over low heat for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Add sugar and raisins, stir until well combined. Bring to a slow boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until rice is tender, stirring frequently to keep from sticking to the bottom. (If the rice begins to dry out before tender add 1 - 2 ladles at a time until tender.)
- Add remaining can of coconut milk to rice pudding. Stir until well combined. Continue to cook uncovered until creamy like a soft pudding. It’s ok if it a little runny because the rice will continue to absorb the coconut milk as it cools.
- Pour pudding out on a serving platter and let cool at room temperature before serving. Garnish with cinnamon.
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