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Puerto Rican Arroz con Dulce (Rice Pudding)

Translated, arroz con dulce means “sweet rice,” which is a fairly accurate description. The best way to explain this dish is that it’s a sweet rice pudding with coconut, raisins, and spices that we normally associate with the holidays – cinnamon, ginger, cloves, etc. Arroz con dulce is a traditional Christmas dessert in Puerto Rico and several other islands, but you really can make it any time of year.

For best results use whole spices. But, if they aren’t available to you, you can use ground spices. Also, use medium or short grain rice, not long grain.


  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dark Caribbean rum
  • 4 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 cups medium-grain white rice, soaked in water overnight, drained.
  • 1 vanilla bean, slip lengthwise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 15-ounce cans coconut cream
  • 2  cups whole milk
  • 2 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon, for serving


  1. Combine raisins and rum in a small bowl and microwave 1 minute. Set aside and let soak while you prepare the pudding.
  2. In a sauce pan, combine 5 cups of water with the cinnamon sticks, ginger, and cloves. Bring to a boil and cook for about 8 minutes. Pass through a colander and set the strained liquid aside.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, combine the flavored liquid with the evaporated milk, the whole milk and the raisins. Bring to a full boil. Add the rice and return to a full boil. Cook until the liquid thickens and start evaporate, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat and cook until the liquid evaporates further and surface of the rice starts to become visible, another 5 minutes.
  4. Stir the coconut cream and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice grains are fully cooked, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a deep dish. Smooth out the surface and set aside to cool. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Serve cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon as a garnish.

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