I love to entertain and enjoy the company of family and friends.  But I have to admit, many times budget is one of the things that can hold me back from entertaining a large crowd.  Sometimes it’s really nice to have  a budget friendly recipe that goes a long way but also looks  and tastes delicious.  I love Portuguese Recipes for that reason, most are very easy on the budget.

My mom always made Arroz Doce, Portuguese Rice Pudding, when we had any reason to gather family and friends around the family table.  If Vo-Vo was entertaining, you knew there was going to be a big bowl or tray of Arroz Doce, Portuguese Rice Pudding at the end of the meal.

Every time I make this dessert, I am asked the million dollar question –  how do you decorate those pretty circles?  Most people think it’s some fancy schmancy device or a stencil… right?  Well, believe it or not, all it requires is a plastic top to any bottle you have in your pantry.  You dip the top lightly in water, dip it into a plate of cinnamon and then place it on top of the Portuguese Rice Pudding.  Repeat the process to create the design of your choice. This is so fun to do with the kids!

Arroz Doce Portuguese Rice Pudding

When Lane from Supper for a Steal and Pam from Blueberries and Blessings suggested this week’s #SundaySupper theme, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to share this special recipe with all of you.

Portuguese Rice Pudding | Arroz Doce

Portuguese Rice Pudding | Arroz Doce


  • 4 cups water
  • 3 lemon peel strips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • Cinnamon to decorate the top of the rice pudding


  1. In a large saucepan, bring water, lemon peel, butter and salt to a boil.
  2. Add the rice and reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes or until almost all the water has been absorbed.
  4. Add the hot milk.
  5. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add sugar and stir until absorbed.
  7. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and add a few tablespoons of the rice mixture to temper the eggs.
  8. Add the egg mixture quickly into the saucepan.
  9. Let the rice continue to simmer for about 10 minutes until thick.
  10. Remove lemon peel and transfer to one large serving dish or small bowls
  11. Decorate with cinnamon.
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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindys Recipes and Writings April 7, 2013 at 8:52 am

I love rice pudding. This version sounds delicious, Isabel!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers April 7, 2013 at 8:58 am

Yum! I have yet to make rice pudding and yours sounds fabulous!!


Renee April 7, 2013 at 9:08 am

Okay now, that is just the coolest way to decorate pudding. Thank you so much for sharing that tip and for the wonderful recipe. It’s been years since I had rice pudding (my dad loved it) and it brought back some great memories.


Jen @JuanitasCocina April 7, 2013 at 9:32 am

I heart rice pudding! <3 And I love the designs on top of that pudding!


Lane @ Supper for a Steal April 7, 2013 at 9:37 am

This does sound like a great dessert. I really need to try rice pudding soon. Love the cinnamon design.


Heather @girlichef April 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

Okay…no lie…whenever my husband can’t find anything to eat, he makes rice pudding (Mexican version, but still)! This sounds so good, and yes, those pretty cinnamon circles are so beautiful. I’m going to have to surprise the hubs with your Portuguese version as it is making my tummy rumble! And I’m SO making those designs every time I serve arroz con leche up to others now ;)


Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) April 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

I learned to love rice pudding from my Hispanic inlaws…my MIL adds raisins to hers, but this is really similar to what she makes. It’s so comforting…I prefer it warm, but they eat what’s left cold from the fridge.


Bea April 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm

How did you know that this is my question? Yes, how do you put those pretty circles on the rice pudding :) Thank you so much for sharing the secret.

I love this recipe and think it is easily adaptable for our dietary needs. It soon will make an appearance on our table in Portland :)

Thank you so much, Isabel!


Liz April 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I need to make this for my in-laws…they adore rice pudding! It looks like the perfect recipe!


Stacy April 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I love the decorative circles, Isabel, and never would have guessed they were just cinnamon! I didn’t grow up with rice pudding but it’s a common dessert in Brazil and Asia so my girls do enjoy it. I need to make yours for them the next time we are together! Lovely!


Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious April 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Wish I lived next door to you so I could stop over and raid your fridge!


Diana @GourmetDrizzles April 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I LOVE this recipe… and wow did it bring back memories. My Grandmother made rice pudding at almost every special occasion in our home too (a Swedish version ;-) But, yours looks and sounds so beautiful… the lemon peel, and the cinnamon on top- wow. Thanks for sharing your family memories with us! Can’t wait to try this ;-)


Lyn @LovelyPantry April 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I like that little trick with the cinnamon, its creative. I wouldn’t have guessed lol!


Shannon @VillageGirlBlog April 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Looks super tasty and I love the tip on how to decorate the pudding. Thanks for sharing!


The Ninja Baker April 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Rice pudding – a comfort food in America and Portugal! So grateful to learn the fun food facts about other countries and cultures.

Appreciate, too, the tip about creating cinnamon circles…I’m tempted to try it on cake as well as your lovely rice pudding.

Last and not least, thank you Isabel for the rice pudding recipe and #SundaySupper!


SprungAtLast April 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm

This looks spectacular. I’ve pinned it to try. I used to adore rice pudding as a child but have never managed to make a good one!


FamilyFoodie April 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Thank you! I hope you enjoy it! Let me know how it turns out for you.


Laura | Small Wallet, Big Appetite April 8, 2013 at 7:27 am

Oh this version of rice pudding sounds amazing. Chris loves rice pudding but other then congee, a Chinese version, I have never cared for it. But this lemony version sounds amazing.


Courtney @ Neighborfood April 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

Missed the Sunday Supper crew this week! Everything looks amazing! Rice pudding is one of my favorite desserts/breakfasts. :) I like to eat it warm drizzled with honey or maple syrup (I’m kinda weird like that).


Nancy @ gottagetbaked April 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Isabel, I love that this is a dish your Vovo always made – there’s something so special about carrying on family traditions. It looks lovely with those rings of cinnamon on top.


Sarah Reid, RHNC (@jo_jo_ba) April 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Rice pudding in ANY style is a hit with me! Love the lemon too


Conni @FoodieArmyWife April 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I LOVE rice pudding!!! It is such a comforting and delicious dessert. And by the way, I LOVE that bowl you have it in!


FamilyFoodie April 14, 2013 at 9:25 am

Conni, that bowl is one of my favorites… it was a #thriftysaturday find and I think it was only a quarter. hahaha


Patrick April 9, 2013 at 7:55 am

Interesting recipe and a clever way to add a decorative touch!


FamilyFoodie April 14, 2013 at 9:24 am

Thanks so much Patrick! Hope you try making it.


Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) April 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Ok, so gotta say that I love your Portugal kitchen towel!! And I love how artsy your rice pudding is with those circles. Looks & sounds fabulous!


FamilyFoodie April 14, 2013 at 9:21 am

Brandie… that towel is my absolute favorite!


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