Leche Frita


Milk gets fried and sweetened in this traditional Spanish dessert



In my recent series, “5 Holiday Desserts from Around the World,” the first recipe I tried was a unique Spanish dessert called leche frita. This food is essentially a fried milk rolled in a cinnamon and sugar mix, and though I didn’t know how this cooking process would go, I’d say it turned out surprisingly well. 

This recipe comes from Santi, who is originally from France and now resides in Brussels, Belgium. With so much experience with various cuisines, it is telling that Santi chose to share this Spanish leche frita recipe from his mother’s side of the family, who are from the region of Galicia in Spain. Leche frita is a typical dessert eaten throughout regions across northern Spain, such as Galicia, Asturias, and Castile and León. Interestingly, it is usually homemade and cannot be bought at the supermarket, so it makes sense that there are many individual recipes and variations. 

While Santi tells us that leche frita is considered a holiday food more so by his family than many other families, I see how it could be associated with the holidays. The creamy, gooey sweetness of this dessert is undeniable, and it feels reminiscent of the winter season. Once you solidify the milk cream in the fridge, you fry it with a batter consisting of flour and egg before rolling it in the cinnamon and sugar mix. This process is probably very fun to do with family and loved ones! However, I must admit that the milk cream itself was difficult to make; it was hard to know when to stop stirring and take the mixture off the heat, and it seems more intuitive than exact since every stovetop is different.  

Once your fresh leche frita is ready to be eaten, you’ll notice a crispy outside that leads into a soft and sweet milk cream on the inside. The lemon and cinnamon come through beautifully, and the texture has a little more integrity than a marshmallow due to the surrounding fried batter, which is satisfying.  

You can really taste the work in this dish. Leche frita would definitely be a unique festive addition to any party! 

Watch the Video


  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
  • 7 Tbsp flour
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • lemon peel
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • sugar and cinnamon to garnish


  • Whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and half of the flour. 
  • Add 1 cup of milk and combine. Set aside. 
  • Heat the remaining milk over medium-low heat in a large saucepan until it starts to bubble. 
  • Remove from heat and add the cinnamon stick, lemon peel, and vanilla. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes. 
  • Gradually strain the milk from the saucepan into the mixture from the first step, and stir until combined. 
  • Return to saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens considerably (at least 15 minutes). 
  • Oil a large baking dish and pour the mixture into it. It should be about 3/4 inch (2 cm) deep. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper so that it's resting on the surface of the mixture, and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours (overnight if possible) until it has solidified. 
  • Turn the cooled mixture out of the pan and cut into small squares. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, at a depth of about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) 
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Put the remaining flour in another bowl. 
  • Dip each piece in the beaten eggs and then the flour, to form a light coating. 
  • Fry in the oil for about one minute on each side, until the coating turns golden. 
  • Let cool on a paper towel, then roll in sugar and cinnamon. 
  • Serve fresh or at room temperature, ideally with ice cream! 
Course: Dessert
Region: Europe
Keyword: Holiday Inspired, Party Food


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