This creamy coconut milk rice pudding recipe (arroz con leche) is flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, made with just 7 ingredients, super easy to prepare, and provides the same classic creamy comfort from your childhood – but 100% egg and dairy-free!
Get ready to make the best rice pudding you’ve ever tried. This Arroz con leche style creamy rice pudding is a fairly classic version of this nostalgic dessert. It’s lightly scented with cinnamon and vanilla, sweet (sugar-free versions included), and super creamy, thanks to canned coconut milk!
Even better, it’s made entirely of ingredients you likely already have in your pantry, is easily customizable with endless flavor variations, and requires just one pot and 35 minutes. Enjoy it warm for the perfect comfy, cozy treat on chilly evenings (enjoy with a mug of hot chocolate), or enjoy it chilled for a sweet, creamy, refreshing, horchata-like treat!
What Is Rice Pudding?
Unsurprisingly, rice pudding is a pudding made of rice. Uncooked or leftover rice is mixed with water or milk/ cream, a sweetener, sometimes a thickener (like starch or egg), and often flavored with cinnamon or other spices, vanilla, and raisins. The ingredients are cooked until tender, thick and creamy.
It’s also popular (with many variations) in almost every area around the world, including:
- Arroz con leche (Spanish, Mexican, Colombian, Dominican, etc.)
- Milchreis (German)
- Sütlaç (Turkish)
- Sholezard (Iranian saffron rice pudding)
- Riz au lait (French)
- Arroz doce (Portuguese)
- Kheer (Indian)
For this version, I’m making a fairly classic rice pudding also inspired by the Arroz con dulce here in the Dominican Republic. Unlike traditional versions, though, this recipe is 100% egg and dairy-free, using plant-based milk and coconut milk for a rich, creamy vegan rice pudding you’d never guess is dairy-free!
This delicious, creamy coconut milk rice pudding with raisins (optional) requires just 7 inexpensive pantry staples.
- Rice: I used long-grain white rice, though medium-grain and short-grain white rice also work.
- Dairy-free milk: Any. I.e., almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, etc. The higher the fat%, the better for this non-dairy rice pudding.
- Coconut milk: Use full-fat canned coconut milk for super creamy sweet coconut rice pudding.
- Cinnamon: Use a full cinnamon stick rather than cinnamon powder.
- Sugar: I used a combination of coconut sugar and Erythritol as I wanted the caramel flavor of the former without making the creamed rice too dark. However, any granulated sugar will work. I.e., white sugar, brown sugar, brown sugar substitute (to make sugar-free pudding), etc. Maple syrup also works.
- Salt: Just a tiny bit to enhance the various flavors in this coconut milk dessert.
- Vanilla extract: Use natural vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste).
- Raisins: (Optional) I love the added texture and sweetness from the regular or golden raisins (for extra flavor, you can soak them in rum or red wine first). Other dried fruits like chopped dates or dried cranberries would also work.
- When serving: (Optional) I like to dust it with cinnamon powder, sometimes drizzle over vegan condensed milk, and top it with fresh fruit (apple).
What Else Could I add To Rice Pudding?
Due to its popularity across the globe, there are dozens of variations and ways to flavor this easy, classic rice pudding recipe. Here are just a few of my favorite optional mix-ins.
- Other spices: There are several to choose from, like:
- Cloves (add a few to the pan or sprinkle some ground clove over the top)
- Nutmeg (in and/or over the pudding)
- Cardamom (pairs particularly well with rose water, too)
- Orange or lemon zest: Add the zest from one orange or lemon (or a combination of the two, for a subtle bright and citrusy flavor.
- Vegan butter: A small amount of unsalted butter adds richness. Stir it in at the end.
- Rose water or orange blossom: Just a little added at the end will add a subtle floral, delicious flavor.
- Cocoa powder: To make chocolate rice pudding, mix in 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (increase the amount of milk by the same) while the rice cooks.
- Shredded coconut: To enhance the coconut flavor. Sprinkle unsweetened shredded coconut (raw or toasted) into or over the pudding at the end.
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Rice Pudding (Arroz Con Leche)?
- First, combine the rice, dairy-free milk, coconut milk, cinnamon, sugar of choice, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir.
- Then, bring the mixture to a low boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.
- Reduce the heat to a steady simmer (medium-low) and cook without a lid until the rice is tender. This should take about 25 minutes.
- Add the raisins (if using them) and allow the rice pudding to simmer for a few more minutes. Then turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. The rice pudding will continue to thicken once it cools, so allow it to sit for some minutes if preferred.
Remove the cinnamon stick and give the pudding a taste, increasing the amount of sugar if preferred.
To Make Slow Cooker Rice Pudding
Slow-cooker rice pudding will be slightly mushier but still tastes delicious.
- Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and stir well.
- Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours (about 2 ½ hours) or LOW for 4-5 hours.
Add more dairy-free milk at any point, if needed, if the coconut rice pudding is too thick.
Serve the rice pudding warm, at room temperature, or chilled in small bowls. I love to garnish it with cinnamon powder, vegan condensed milk, and fresh fruit (berries, banana, apple, pear, pineapple, mango, orange, etc.). However, you may also like it topped with:
- Chopped nuts (walnuts, pistachios, cashews, or almonds)
- Seeds (hemp, chia, pepitas, etc.)
- Shredded coconut (raw or toasted)
- Jam (like this chia jam)
- Vegan caramel sauce
- Vegan Nutella
- Nut or seed butter
- Chocolate chips
Make ahead: If you’d prefer it chilled, feel free to make it a day in advance and leave it to chill in the fridge until ready to eat.
Store: Allow the leftover rice pudding to cool, and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Reheat: You can use a microwave or heat it gently over low heat on the stovetop. The pudding can thicken as it sits, so you may need to add an extra splash of dairy-free milk when reheating it.
What is the best rice for rice pudding?
While rice pudding can be made with different types of rice, I recommend using white rice. For an even creamier rice pudding, use medium grain rice or short grain rice (which are generally starchier to thicken the pudding) like sushi rice, sticky rice, or arborio rice.
Can you freeze rice pudding?
This pudding freezes well, though the texture may change slightly. To do so, I recommend transferring it to freezer-safe Ziplock bags in individual portions. Spread it in the bag to flatten it, squeezing out excess air. Then seal and freeze for 3-4 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight when needed.
Can I use leftover cooked rice?
I haven’t tried this recipe with cooked rice before. However, it should technically work. You’ll need to reduce the milk added to the pan by at least a cup and cook the mixture for about 15-20 minutes, adding the cooked rice after the first 10 minutes.
Recipe Notes and Top Tips
- Tweak the sweetness: Sweeten it to taste.
- For extra cinnamon flavor: Toast the cinnamon stick in the pan until fragrant before adding the remaining ingredients.
- The texture: when ready, the mixture should be yogurt-like in consistency. It thickens up further as it cools. To thin it further when cooled, add more dairy-free milk.
- Stir occasionally: To avoid the milk scorching/ burning to the bottom of the pan. It’s best to use a heavy-bottomed pan, if possible, for more even cooking.
More Creamy Vegan Desserts
- Banana Pudding (Southern Style)
- Creamy Vanilla Pudding
- The Best Vegan Chocolate Pudding
- Chocolate Keto Chia Pudding
- Light Strawberry Mousse
- Peanut Butter Mousse
If you try this easy coconut rice pudding recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan—I love seeing them.
Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)
- 1/2 cup (100 g) white rice (dry) (rinsed)
- 2 cups (480 ml) dairy-free milk of choice (e.g. almond)
- 1 cup (240 ml) canned coconut milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup (50 g) coconut sugar (see notes)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup (60 g) raisins (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (added before serving)
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.In a medium saucepan or pot, combine the rinsed rice, dairy-free milk, canned coconut milk, cinnamon stick, sugar of choice, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a steady simmer and cook the rice without a lid until it's tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the raisins (if using) and let simmer for a few more minutes. Then, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. The rice pudding will continue to thicken once it cools. If it's too thick, add a little more milk, if it's too thin, let it simmer longer.
- Serve the rice pudding in bowls, garnish with cinnamon powder and/or fresh fruit and enjoy warm or let it cool before serving.
- Sugar: I wanted the caramel flavor of coconut sugar but didn't want the pudding to end up too brown, therefore, I used a combination of coconut sugar and Erythritol. Any granulated sugar will work, though.
- You can add a few whole cloves along with the cinnamon stick, or garnish the rice pudding with a pinch of ground cloves (and/or nutmeg).
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
Would instant rice work in this recipe?
Please check the FAQ section about “CAN I USE LEFTOVER COOKED RICE?”. Instant rice might work similarly.
Hi Ela, I can’t wait to try this recipe! Is it possible to make this recipe in an instant pot/pressure cooker?
Hi Nik, that’s a good question. I haven’t tried making it in my Instant pot, but I am pretty sure it works fine. I would add all ingredients (except the vanilla) to the Instant pot, pressure-cook on high for 10 minutes, then allow it to sit for 10 minutes before manually releasing the pressure. However, you will most likely need less dairy-free milk, I would guess 1/2-1 cup less. Please report back if you give it a try. 🙂