Arroz Doce – Portuguese Rice Pudding

It’s sweet. It’s creamy. It’s perfect. For as long as I can remember I have been eating Arroz Doce. My grandmother faithfully prepares this dessert for us almost on a weekly basis, and while living at home you begin to take it for granted. Now living on my own I often wish I could have a bite, nice and warm straight from the pot.

About a month ago I felt myself having a real craving for it; and with my grandmother being in Portugal I took it upon myself to make it. It all began with a telephone call to Portugal to my Avo; needless to say she was elated to learn I wanted to make this! What I realized at that point is that she didn’t have a recipe. Not exactly what you want to find out when you want something that tastes exactly like hers. She gave me a rough idea of how to make it and roughly the ingredient amounts. So off I went to recreate it.

So I made it one morning before visiting my family. The consensus was that it wasn’t quite right. Too sweet, not enough salt…but it was nice and creamy. Each person makes it differently but below is my version and I believe it tastes just like my grandmas.

Arroz Doce- Portuguese Rice Pudding
Makes 8-10 servings

4 cups water
1 lemon peel
2 Tbsp Butter (salted or unsalted- I prefer salted)
1/2 Tsp salt
1 cup short grain rice (I like  italian style, but not arborio)
2 cups very hot milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 egg yolks
Cinnamon for garnish

In a saucepan, bring water, lemon peel, butter and salt to a boil. When it is boiling add the rice and reduce heat to a simmer for about 25 minutes or until almost all the water has been absorbed then add the hot milk. Continue to let simmer for about 5 minutes then add the sugar.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks together and add a few tablespoons of the rice mixture to temper the eggs. Add the egg mixture quickly into the saucepan. Let the rice continue to simmer for about 10 minutes to allow rice to thicken. The rice should not completely absorb the liquid is should form a nice creamy consistency. Remove lemon peel and transfer to one large serving dish or ramekins and garnish with cinnamon.



  • Christine Marques

    Awesome !!! Very happy. Totally brought me back to my summers in Portugal visiting my grandmother……

  • Elizabeth Goulart

    Just made this recipe for Easter dinner and it came out soooo good. Thanks for posting it

  • Ana

    Portuguese born and raised, living in the US since 2008, I sure miss the Portuguese food and pastries… Specially at Christmas time! I love arroz doce and will try your recipe for sure :)

  • Nicole

    I just tried this right now. Sweetness and creaminess was accomplished. Maybe it was the kind of rice that I used but it still came out al dente (the rice). I prefer the rice a little softer and I cooked it for the time that was explained. I just scooped out some out of the dish, there seems to be almost water like consistency at the bottom. Doesn’t take like water though.

  • Patricia

    I am Portuguese too, and Arroz Doce was one of the first recipes my grandma taught me. For the designs with cinnamon, my grandma taught me to wait until the pudding was cool, and with the tip of a knife cut the outline of the design first, then use the cinnamon and sprinkle on top. I always liked to make Xmas trees! :)

  • Cate

    you should use portuguese rice for arroz doce! Like carolino… I too am addicted to my grandmother’s recipe and am now trying to perfect my own version to be just like hers.

  • Jessica

    Take some cinnamon and pinch it between your thumb and forefinger and lightly sprinkle and design you like.

  • Anonymous

    WOW, that looks GREAT! how do you get the fanct little design on the top of the pudding?