Coconut Rice Pudding

(Arroz con Dulce)


Our Coconut Rice Pudding is traditionally served during the Christmas Holidays in Puerto Rico.  We refer to this dish as Arroz con Dulce or Arroz con Coco.  The Coconut Rice Pudding is prepared differently in every household due to personal taste.   The three main ingredients that are consistent in making this dish are milk, rice and sugar.  However, I prepare this dessert with whole cloves, fresh ginger, raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and coconut milk for a more flavorful rice pudding with a sweet and creamy texture.

A Little Bit of History!

The history of rice pudding is really unknown due to many countries claiming its origin.  However, Puerto Rico was a Spanish Colony for 405 years.  As a result, Spain introduced this sweet rice pudding that originated in Andalusia, Spain to Puerto Rico.  In Spain, the rice pudding is referred to as “Arroz con Leche.”  The Spaniards prepared this dish with regular milk that was sweetened with sugar which was then infused with many other spices.

In Puerto Rico, we prepare many dishes with coconuts.  Therefore, we add coconut milk to our rice pudding.   Don’t forget that the palm tree without coconut is native to Puerto Rico known as the Royal Palm (La Palma Real).   Conversely, the palm tree with coconuts were brought to the island from West Africa.  We also use the short or medium grain rice for this recipe to achieve a creamy sticky rice texture.  Since the short or medium grain rice is softer and moister, the rice tends to stick together when cooked.

Soak the Rice!

Soak 1½ cups of short grain rice for 2 hours or overnight.

Let’s Start Preparing the Coconut Rice Pudding!

In a 3-quart saucepan, add 4 cups coconut milk, 1 teaspoon salt (low sodium), ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, 3 cinnamon sticks, 10 whole cloves,  and 1½ ounces fresh ginger (cut into ¼-inch slices).  Stir well.

Bring coconut mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover saucepan with lid.  Simmer for 15 minutes.

It’s Time to Strain the Coconut Mixture!

Place sieve over small bowl.

Strain coconut mixture through the sieve.

After a few minutes, lift sieve and place in sink.

Here you have coconut milk infused with many different flavors!

We Are Ready to Prepare Our Coconut Rice Pudding!

Pour the flavored coconut mixture back into the 3-quart saucepan.  

Bring to a boil before we can add the rice.

Drain the rice and add to the boiling coconut mixture.

Stir rice well into liquid.  Reduce heat to low.

Cover saucepan with lid and simmer for 20 minutes.

Three More Ingredients to Add to Our Rice Pudding!

After simmering for 20 minutes, let’s add 1½ cups sugar (you can use brown sugar) and ¾ cups seedless raisins.

If you use brown sugar, the coconut rice pudding will have a darker color.

Pour 1 cup of regular coconut milk over raisins and sugar. 

Let’s Turn the Rice!

Gently turn the rice by inserting a spoon at the bottom inside edge of saucepan. 

Bring the bottom rice to the top. 

 Continue this process until all the bottom rice is on top. 

After turning the rice, gently stir the coconut mixture to cover rice. 

Cover saucepan with lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

After 15 minutes of simmering, check rice for tenderness.  Make sure rice has absorbed most of the coconut mixture and a creamy texture is formed.  Stir rice and serve at room temperature.

Several Method of Serving!

You can serve this dessert in individual dishes or in a large plate (top photo).   Sprinkle cinnamon on top if you so desire.

Click on the bottom below to watch my YouTube video on How to Prepare Coconut Rice Pudding (Arroz con Dulce/Arroz con Coco)!

Recipe and Nutritional Facts!

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.  Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.


Coconut Rice Pudding (Arroz con Dulce)

  • Author: Aida's Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 Minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Bowls 1x


A sweet and creamy coconut rice pudding that is traditionally prepared during the Christmas Holidays in Puerto Rico.



  • 1½ cups short grain white rice
  • 5 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt (low sodium)
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1½ ounces fresh ginger, peel and cut into ¼-inch slices or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar or brown sugar
  • ¾ cups seedless raisins


  1. Soak rice for 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Reserve 1 cup of coconut milk.
  3. Add 4 cups coconut milk, salt, nutmeg, whole cloves, ginger and cinnamon sticks into a 3-quart saucepan.  Stir well and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Cover with lid.
  5. Strain coconut mixture using a sieve into a bowl.
  6. Pour coconut mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  7. Drain rice and add to coconut mixture.  Stir rice well into liquid.  Simmer for 20 minutes and cover with lid.
  8. Add sugar, raisins and reserved coconut milk on top of coconut rice mixture.
  9. Gently turn rice, bringing bottom rice to the top.
  10. Cover with lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  11. Serve on a large plate or individual bowls.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon if you so desire.


If you use brown sugar, your coconut rice pudding will have a darker color.

Prep Time includes two hours of soaking the rice in water.

  • Category: Desserts
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican

Keywords: Coconut Rice Pudding

Nutritional Facts Disclaimer



Category: Dessert, Recipes

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Norma Guzmán Ortiz
    January 29, 2021 5:15 am

    Your Arroz con Dulce looks delicious. I add my spices to 4 cups of water. Let it boil for 15 minutes then I drain it into a big pot. I then add coconut milk, evaporated milk, Coco Lopez, sugar and raisins and let it boil, covered for an additional 20 minutes. My question is; why don’t you add evaporated milk or Coco Lopez to your recipe?

    • Hi Norma, The traditional recipe for coconut rice pudding is made just with coconut milk. However, we tend to alter the original recipe and prepare it to our liking. Therefore, I prefer to just add the coconut milk but you can add different milk flavors to your recipe. Many individuals also prepare this dish with brown sugar but I prefer the granulated sugar (traditional ingredient). Make your dish based on your taste preference and enjoy every bite.


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