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International Recipe: Arroz con Leche


Served warm with canela (cinnamon), arroz con leche is a traditional dessert beverage in Bolivia and many parts of Central and South America.

As lay missioner Jeff Sved finished his first Lent in Bolivia, he learned that arroz con leche is usually one of dishes enjoyed on Good Friday.

It is customary to fast in the morning and early afternoon on Good Friday, and break the fast as a family after church. Having a large celebration following the mid-afternoon santa viernes misa is a tradition.

Jeff shares with us an arroz con leche recipe based on one given to him by one of his Spanish professors. 

Jeff making arroz con leche in Bolivia

½ cup of rice
Fresh cinnamon, 2 or 3 large sticks
¼ cup of sugar
2 liters of milk
2 cloves (clavos de olor)


  • Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes
  • Add the sugar and cinnamon to 1 liter of boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Drain the rice, and add to the sugar and cinnamon. Bring to boil for 3-5 minutes
  • Add the milk one liter at a time, bringing to boil again after each one. Also, add the cloves
  • Boil for 30 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Serve warm with a bit of ground cinnamon sprinkled on top

 Do you have any traditional recipes from overseas? We’d love to hear them!

Jeff Sved served in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from 2013-2016. His main ministry was working with inmates in seven prisons throughout Cochabamba.

Prior to joining FMS he served in Wilmington, Del., with Franciscan Volunteer Ministry teaching math in a prison and teaching English to members of the Latino community. Originally from Pittsburgh, Penn., and a graduate of Villanova University.