This creamy and indulgent Dulce de Leche Rice Pudding is about to become your favorite dessert! Alternating layers of dulce de leche and slightly spiced rice pudding, this rich and sweet treat is always a hit. Served warm or cold, it can be enjoyed all year round!

(This post is sponsored by Carolina® Rice. All opinions are my own.)

If you like a classic arroz con leche, this recipe is a must-make! The dulce de leche really takes it up a notch and gives this dessert a South-American flair.

A glass of rice pudding swirled with dulce de Leche.

Rice Pudding with Dulce de Leche

Rice pudding, or arroz doce in Portuguese, is one of the desserts of my childhood.

My grandma would serve it warm, as an afternoon treat that would brighten even the gloomiest days!

Well, this is no such rice pudding. 

This is rice pudding on steroids! Rice pudding taken to the next level. A treat so indulgent that you might want to share with a few friends or reserve it for special occasions.

Alternating layers of creamy pudding and dulce de leche make this a dessert you won’t ever forget! Enjoy!

A photo of the ingredients.

Ingredients

To make this dulce de leche rice pudding recipe, you will need:

RICE – I’m using Carolina® Arborio Rice.

MILK – We will be cooking the rice in milk. Use whole milk for creamier results!

SPICES – One cinnamon stick and two cloves are all you’ll need. This rice pudding is only lightly spiced so the dulce de leche can shine!

EVAPORATED MILK – Helps thicken up and adds richness to the pudding.

SWEET CONDENSED MILK – If you know me, you know this is my favorite dessert ingredient! Adds creaminess and sweetness. There’s nothing else like it!

SALT – Salt enhances flavors and balances desserts that are sweet and rich. It also render spices more aromatic!

VANILLA EXTRACT – It enhances the flavors of the other ingredients and adds a subtle vanilla flavor.

DULCE DE LECHE – Make your own or buy a good quality one!

GROUND CINNAMON – For garnishing.

A bag of Carolina Arborio Rice.

What is the best kind of rice to use for rice pudding?

After making rice pudding a million times, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best kind of rice to use is Arborio rice. Here’s why:

  • Arborio rice (a medium-grain variety) grains are plump and stay firm and chewy when cooked. That means your pudding won’t turn into a mushy, textureless glop.
  • It’s high in amylopectin starch, so it makes the pudding extra creamy!
  • It absorbs the flavors it is cooked with very well.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know by now that I adore Carolina® rice. That means a lot coming from a Brazilian gal that used to sneak a bag or two of Brazilian rice in her suitcase!

So, obviously, I love and use Carolina® Arborio Medium-Grain Rice to make rice pudding. 100% nonna approved, it is crafted with just the right medium-grain structure to produce the tastiest, creamiest mouthfuls! 

I also like that you don’t have to buy a huge bag of rice that will be sitting open in your pantry for a long time. Containing just one pound, it will be good to make 2 dulce de leche rice pudding recipes!

That being said, if long-grain rice is all you have, go ahead and use that. It will be delicious regardless!

Can I use leftover (already cooked) rice?

While I prefer to start with uncooked rice – so I can cook it with milk and spices to infuse it with more flavor – you can absolutely make rice pudding with leftover cooked rice.

Just skip the step of cooking the rice and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

A pot of rice pudding.

How to make Dulce de Leche Rice Pudding

For creamy rice pudding, slow cooking is a must! Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat, as you risk burning and overcooking the pudding.

Also, this is not a set and forget recipe. Rice pudding needs some TLC or it gets angry and sticks to the bottom of the pot! 

Just like with risotto, you should stir often so the grains have a chance to rub against each other and release starch, which results in a silky and creamy pudding that will knock your socks off!

Recommended tools and equipment: Large Dutch Oven, serving glasses or shooters, baker’s dusting wand.

A collage of step by step photos.

Here’s how I make dulce de leche rice pudding. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!

Step 1: Cook the rice.

  • Combine uncooked rice, milk, cinnamon stick and cloves in a large pot. Simmer until tender. (Photos 1 and 2)
  • Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves. It is easier to remove the spices now than to keep trying to find them later, once the pudding has thickened.

Step 2: Cook until thickened.

  • Pour in the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and salt. Cook until the pudding has thickened to the desired consistency. (Photo 3)
  • Stir in the vanilla extract. Remove from heat and let the pudding cool slightly before assembling the glasses.

Step 3: Assemble the rice pudding glasses.

  • Spoon some dulce de leche in the bottom of a glass or individual dessert bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of rice pudding. Continue alternating, finishing with rice pudding. (Photos 4 and 5)
  • Top with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. (Photo 6)
Olivia’s Tip: Keep in mind that the rice pudding will continue thickening as it cools. If you plan on serving it cold, don’t let it thicken too much or it will lose creaminess while it chills in the fridge.
A close up shot of a glass of dulce de Leche rice pudding.
A spoonful of dulce de Leche rice pudding.

How to serve Dulce de Leche Rice Pudding

You can serve dulce de leche rice pudding in individual glasses, dessert bowls or even in shooters (which are fun if you are serving it for a crowd at a party). 

If you prefer, you could also assemble in a big trifle bowl and let your guests serve themselves!

A sprinkle of cinnamon and/or a drizzle of dulce de leche are the finishing touches for a food porn effect with this exquisite dessert. 

Is Dulce de Leche Rice Pudding best hot or cold?

Rice pudding can be served warm, at room temperature or cold. 

I think there’s a place and time for all of the above! Cold in the summer and warm or at room temperature in the cooler months. 

As I mentioned earlier, if you plan on serving cold, make sure you don’t let it thicken too much on the stove, or it will get hard after being chilled.

I’d also cook the rice a little past the al dente stage. Due to rice’s high starch content, it gets hard when chilled, as the colder temperatures speed up the starch retrogradation (a process which crystallizes the starches and pushes out its water content).

That all being said, cold rice pudding will never be as creamy as warm or room temperature. But it is equally delicious! 

A serving of dulce de Leche rice pudding.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to store rice pudding?

If not serving right away, rice pudding should be refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.

Can I reheat it?

Yes. To reheat leftover dulce de leche rice pudding, transfer it to a heavy bottom pot and reheat gently, adding a few tablespoons of milk to bring it back to a creamy consistency.

Can rice pudding be frozen?

Rice pudding freezes surprisingly well, despite the fact that it contains lots of dairy. Make sure it is stored in a freezer-safe, airtight container to avoid freezer burn. It will keep for up to 3 months.

Can I make this recipe without dairy?

I have not tested this recipe without dairy. I know there are recipes for dairy-free sweet condensed milk and dairy-free dulce de leche out there, so you could certainly try it!

Watch how to make it!

Did you make this recipe? I love hearing from you! Please comment and leave a 5-star rating below. You can also take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #oliviascuisine.

Dulce de Leche Rice Pudding

Dulce de Leche Rice Pudding

Yield: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This creamy and indulgent Dulce de Leche Rice Pudding is about to become your favorite dessert! Alternating layers of dulce de leche and slightly spiced rice pudding, this rich and sweet treat is always a hit. Served warm or cold, it can be enjoyed all year round!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Carolina Arborio Rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 (14oz) can sweet condensed milk
  • 1 (14oz) can Evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dulce de leche, plus more for drizzling
  • Ground cinnamon, for topping

Instructions

    1. In a large Dutch oven, combine the rice, cinnamon stick, cloves and milk. Cook, over medium heat, until it starts to boil. Then, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes
    2. Stir in the sweet condensed milk, evaporated milk and salt. Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring often, until thickened, about 20 minutes. As the mixture starts thickening, it’s important to stir constantly, to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
    3. When the rice pudding has thickened, add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
    4. To assemble the individual portions, spoon some dulce de leche in the bottom of glasses, individual dessert bowls or shooters. Add a few spoonfuls of rice pudding. Continue alternating the layers, finishing with a generous layer of rice pudding.
    5. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and, if desired, drizzle some dulce de leche on top of the glasses.
    6. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Notes

Rice Variety

While this recipe works best with Arborio rice, you can use long-grain rice if that's all you have.

If serving cold


If serving cold, I recommend cooking the rice a little longer, past the al dente stage, as it will harden when chilled. Also, don't thicken too much cause it will continue thickening as it cools and will lose its creaminess when chilled.

If you find that even following these steps your pudding thickened up too much while chilling, you can add a splash of milk (or even heavy cream) to thin it out and get it back to the desired texture.

Storing leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days.

Reheating

If you wish to reheat, place it back in a Dutch oven (or heavy bottomed pot) and reheat over gentle heat, adding a few tablespoons of milk to bring it back to a creamy consistency.

Can I freeze it?

Yes. You can freeze dulce de leche rice pudding for up to 3 months.

Recommended Products

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