Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz Con Leche) is a delicious, creamy gluten free dessert recipe made easily with milk, rice and aromatic spices. It can be enjoyed warm or chilled.
What is Star Anise?
Mom recently bought a little jar of star anise. I had never seen it before and it’s so pretty. It looks like a flower or maybe it looks like a dead spider? Okay, that’s awful. Maybe not a spider. A flower. That’s it.
Star anise is an aromatic spice that has the scent of licorice or fennel. It’s native to China and Vietnam. It’s actually a dried fruit from an Asian evergreen tree. I learned all about its uses and health benefits at Masterclass.
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It probably sounds crazy but this recipe came together solely because I wanted to try out the star anise. I started looking for a recipe just as soon as I saw the jar!
Traditional Mexican Rice Pudding
This recipe for Mexican Rice Pudding, or Arroz con Leche in Spanish, is my adaption of the Mexican traditional dessert.
Like so many other Mexican and Latin recipes, the way to make Mexican Rice Pudding varies by country, region and even by family.
Rice puddings usually contain rice, milk and sugar. The rest of the ingredients vary widely.
Some recipes may contain egg for more of a custard. Some contain spices of all types and some are more savory than others.
For my own recipe, I wanted to give some subtle spice flavor by cooking the rice in them after toasting. Toasting will bring out their flavor. Be careful not to burn the spices and you only want to toast them about three minutes or so.
Is Mexican Rice Pudding Gluten Free?
Yes! All the ingredients in my rice pudding are gluten free. I didn’t use any flour to thicken the pudding. It’s thickened naturally by simmering to evaporate some excess water from the milk.
Homemade Pudding Needs a Little Patience
Since this is a homemade pudding, you will need to have some patience. During the simmering phase, you’ll need to stir constantly to keep the milk from scalding at the bottom of the pan. Just 20 minutes of simmering. Mom and I shared the responsibility of that part, which made it easier. It is so worth the extra effort.
How To Store Your Rice Pudding
You can eat this Mexican Rice Pudding while it’s still warm. Let it cool a little or you’re going to burn your mouth. But, once it cools, you can eat it right out of the pan. Wait. Did I say that outloud?
You can also chill the pudding overnight. Serve with whipped cream and raspberries. Oh, yeah, that was incredibly delicious! Please let me know if you try it in comments.
When You’re Looking for More Mexican Recipes
I’m working on many of my mom’s recipes and we have a lot in recipe development right now. Be sure to try some of these when your next craving sets in.
- Easy Chicken Tacos with Chocolate Molé Sauce
- Homemade Tamales with Chorizo and Ground Beef
- Mango Avocado and Jicama Salad
This recipe was featured in this roundup of 8 Favorite Recipes for Cinco de Mayo.
Mexican Rice Pudding Gluten Free
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 2 Whole Cloves
- 2 Star Anise
- 1 cup Basmati Rice not Instant Rice
- 8 cups Water
- 1 cup 2% Milk
- 12 ounces Evaporated Milk
- 14 ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- In a large pot, saute cinnamon, cloves and anise over mediuam heat. Saute directly in the dry pan. This toasts the spices, making them aromatic. Toast spices for 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
- Add water and rice to the pan. Turn on medium heat. Set timer for 30 minutes. Cook, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat. Remove all spices and drain the water. Return to pan with milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk.
- Bring to boil then lower to a simmer. Stirring constantly so it doesn't scald the bottom, simmer on low for about 20 minutes, until desired consistency.
- Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract. Serve warm or chill overnight. Makes eight 1/2 cup servings.
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