arroz doce

I love almost all of the desserts that I had in Portugal. They are very different. Most are much less sweet than typical “American” desserts, but they are still so delicious. One traditional and very typical dessert is arroz doce (literally sweet rice), that is basically a rice pudding. I ate so much of this, especially around Christmas time. I had never tried making it on my own, but was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was and how this recipe tasted so authentic to me. Italian Arborio rice works great, as it is a medium-grain, sticky rice that leads to a creamy end product. I found mine at my local grocery store in the rice isle.

Arroz Doce 1

Arroz Doce (Portuguese Rice Pudding)


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white arborio rice
  • 2 cups hot milk (whole works best)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 fresh lemon rind


  1. Bring water to a boil. Add in your rice, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Microwave your milk for about 2 minutes just to take off the chill.
  3. Add your milk, sugar, and lemon rind into the rice. A trick to removing the lemon rind easily: use a vegetable peeler.
  4. Turn up your heat to medium and stir constantly and allow mixture to thicken until it resembles oatmeal, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Pour into an 8"x8" pan, remove the lemon rind, and allow to cool. I placed mine on an cooling rack.
  6. Once cool, you can either dust the entire top with cinnamon, or go the traditional route. Pour out some cinnamon into a plate, pinch it between your fingers, and make a criss-cross pattern on the top.
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