This Portuguese Ride Pudding recipe is a delicious balance of creamy and sweet! Locally known as arroz doce, it’s a traditional dessert from Portugal that’s excellent served hot or straight from the fridge. Yum!
Now, on to dessert.
They sometimes call this Portuguese Sweet Rice because it is (indeed) rice cooked in milk, with added sugar.
But it goes beyond that.
There’s also a hint of vanilla and lemon in arroz doce — not too much to overpower the dish, just enough to round it all up.
It’s so good that locals prepare it the whole year-round, even during the holidays!
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- Lemon – you would only use the rind (peel) for this arroz doce recipe.
- Sugar – regular white sugar is all you need for making Portuguese rice pudding.
- Cinnamon powder – just use your favorite brand.
- Vanilla – you need to open (split) it in the middle before adding to the rest of the arroz doce ingredients.
- Salt – use whatever you have on hand.
- Eggs – medium-sized eggs (about 63 to 73 grams each).
- Milk – full cream milk, if possible.
- Rice – locals use their native carolino rice for making this traditional Portuguese rice dish. But since it’s not widely available, other short-grain varieties, like arborio or carnaroli, will be great.
These are the same variety that you use for making risotto. They still maintain a firm center, even if their outsides are almost falling apart.
So, you still get a good bite in the midst of all the creaminess — perfect for arroz doce cremoso.
Start making your Portuguese rice pudding by mixing three and a half cups of water with salt on a medium or large-sized saucepan.
Add rice and lemon rind; and cook it as normal.
Once it’s cooked, pour three and a half cups of hot milk.
Add the vanilla bean and mix.
Continue simmering (for about 30 minutes) or until the liquid has reduced and the rice turns soft and creamy.
Add sugar and mix.
Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
Prepare the eggs by combining and beating the yolks with the remaining milk.
Remove your Portuguese rice pudding from the heat and remove the vanilla bean and lemon rind.
Slowly add the tempered yolks while constantly stirring.
Cover with a lid, bring the pan back into the heat, and bring to a boil.
Transfer arroz doce to serving plates and decorate with cinnamon powder on top.
- When you add the milk, make sure it’s hot, boiling, if possible. I normally just keep it simmering once it boils while waiting for the rice to cook.
- Do not forget to temper the yolks with cold (or room temperature) milk before adding to the sweet rice.
It ensures that you will not cook the yolks when you add them to the simmering pudding.
- While its traditional for a lattice design of the cinnamon powder on top of arroz doce; you can design it in whatever way you want.
What is the best type of rice to use for arroz doce?
While carolino is generally used, other famous short-grain rice will work great.
The same ones for making risotto, like arborio or carnaroli, are excellent because they release more starch, hence the creaminess, while maintaining a firm center.
How to reheat rice pudding?
I know some do not like using a microwave, but some friends use it for quick reheating.
Otherwise, you can transfer your Portuguese rice pudding to a pan and place it on low heat — gently stirring until it reaches your preferred temperature.
- Cinnamon stick. Some people prefer to use a cinnamon stick instead of powder. They take it at the same time as the vanilla bean.
- Vanilla extract. If you’re having a hard time looking for vanilla bean, a teaspoon of vanilla extract is an excellent alternative for making this Portuguese rice pudding recipe.
Can I leave arroz doce at room temperature?
It’s better not to do that since it’s got eggs and milk.
It’s safer to place it in the refrigerator when it cools down — about two hours after taking it off the heat.
How should I store it?
Once it’s cold, place arroz doce in an airtight container, then keep it in the refrigerator — it’s suitable for 3 to 4 days.
Can I freeze it?
Yes, but store it in a tight, freezer-proof container first, then place it in the freezer for more extended storage.
Your Portuguese rice pudding should be good for about three months.
Looks absolutely delicious right? So, give arroz doce a try, and let me know what you think in the comment section below!
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Arroz Doce Recipe (Portuguese Rice Pudding)
- Using a medium to a large-sized saucepan, combine 3 1/2 cups of water with salt and mix.
- Add the rice and lemon rind, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
- Simmer until rice is cooked. This generally takes 20 minutes.
- Add the 3 & 1/2 cups of hot milk and the vanilla pod.
- Mix to combine, then cover and continue simmering until the liquid has reduced and the rice turns soft and creamy (about 20 to 30 minutes). Stir regularly the entire time.
- Add sugar and mix. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
- Temper egg yolks with the remaining milk (not hot!) and beat with a fork.
- Remove the sweet rice from the heat and take the rind and the vanilla bean out.
- Add the tempered yolks slowly while stirring constantly.
- Bring the saucepan back on the heat, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil.
- Taste your Portuguese rice pudding and adjust the sugar, as desired.
- Remove from the heat and transfer to serving bowls.
- Decorate the top of arroz doce with cinnamon powder.
- Cook’s Tip #1: Starchy, short-grain rice like arborio and carnaroli are excellent for making arroz doce.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Ensure the milk is hot when you add it to the cooked rice.
- Cook’s Tip #3: Do not forget to temper the yolks with cold (or room temperature) milk before adding to the sweet rice. It ensures that you will not cook the yolks when you add them to the simmering pudding.
- Cook’s Tip #4: Lattice top is the traditional design for the cinnamon powder on top of arroz doce, but feel free to decorate it in whatever style you prefer.
- Variation #1: If you want to add a cinnamon stick, you should add it together with the vanilla bean.
- Variation #2: You can use a teaspoon of vanilla extract as a substitute for a vanilla bean in this Portuguese rice pudding recipe.