Skip to Content

Spanish Fried Milk Recipe (Leche Frita)

Sharing is caring!

This website may contain affiliate links and advertising so that we can provide recipes and guides at no additional cost to you. Learn more

Looking for a soft, creamy, and sweet treat the whole family can enjoy? This Spanish fried milk (leche frita) recipe is made from simple ingredients, can be stacked high, and sprinkled with plenty of delicious toppings.

Leche Frita Recipe

What is Leche Frita?

Hailing from the north of Spain, leche frita is a classic example of the humble resourcefulness of Spanish cooking. Put simply, leche frita is a sweet made from a mixture of cornstarch, milk, and sugar, and additional ingredients like lemon zest.

The mixture is thickened, poured into a tray or container, and refrigerated. Once it has set, it is portioned, then fried in hot oil until a golden-brown crust forms. It is finished with a generous sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon.

Each slice has a somewhat egg custard-like texture and a delicately sweet, vanilla, and zest-infused taste. It can be served warm with ice cream on top or as a chilled treat. So, if you have guests in the late afternoon or have a large gathering to feed, I would recommend giving this dish a try. It’s simple, filling, and sweet without being overbearingly so.

Recipe Ingredients

To make my Spanish fried milk, or leche frita, recipe, you’ll first need to get the following ingredients:

For the Milk Squares:

  • Milk (whole) – 4 cups whole milk
  • Sugar – 1/2 cup sugar
  • Cornstarch – 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • Lemon Peel – lemon peel from 2 lemons (no white pith) (you could also use orange or a combination of both)
  • Vanilla – 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1 cinnamon stick
  • Salt – pinch of salt

For Frying:

  • Egg – 2 eggs
  • Flour – 1/3 cup all-purpose/plain flour
  • Oil – 1/2 cup neutral-tasting oil (sunflower, vegetable, or light olive oil)

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:

  • Cinnamon Powder – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – 1/4 cup

Variations

Coating – While cinnamon and sugar are traditionally used to coat it, you could try cocoa powder and sugar.

Spices – Don’t have cinnamon, or want to try something else? You can also make your leche frita coating with cloves or nutmeg.

Shape – In my recipe, I’ve opted for simple square slices. However, once the mixture has set, you can cut them into diamond shapes, rectangular shapes, or even rounds.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Peel the lemons, trying to get just the yellow part of the skin and none of the white pith.

You can remove any white bits with a butter knife or a spoon. The white part is what can make the infused milk bitter, so that’s why we want to remove as much of it as we can.

Step 2 – To a pot, add 3 cups of milk (leaving 1 cup of milk for the later steps), lemon peel, and cinnamon stick. Set it over medium heat until it just about starts to boil (for me, it took about 10 minutes).

Step 3 – Turn the heat off and remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick.

Step 4 – To a bowl or mixing cup, add the cornstarch and 1 cup of milk, and stir well.

Step 5 – Add the cornstarch-milk mixture, pinch of salt, vanilla, and sugar to the infused milk and set on medium-low heat, and cook until the mixture is thickened (about 15 minutes).

Once it’s thickened, you want to have a ribbon-like consistency to the milk mixture.

Step 6 – Grease a rectangular dish/container (with a touch of the frying oil) and/or add baking (non-stick) paper. Pour the milk into it. You should have at least a 1-inch thickness. I used a roughly 9×6-inch baking dish, but you can use anything you have on hand that’s approximately those dimensions or a bit smaller.

Step 7 – Cool down in the fridge, preferably overnight or for at least about 4 hours.

Step 8 – Cut it into 12 squares.

Step 9 – Beat the eggs in a bowl.

Step 10 – Coat the squares first in flour and then in egg.

Step 11 – To a pan, over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil is ready, fry the squares in oil for about 2 minutes on each side and then remove them to a plate covered with paper towels.

Step 12 – To a bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon and mix. Then, coat the fried milk pieces in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

What to Serve with Leche Frita

Pair – Serve about 2 pieces per person.

Toppings – While that lovely sugar and cinnamon coating is enough, you can definitely get creative with serving options and sides. You could serve it with:

  • Caramel
  • Ice cream
  • Condensed milk
  • Raspberry coulis

There really is so much fun you can have with this Spanish staple.

Each soft, creamy, and mildly sweet bite is something to savor. Leche frita is simple, wholesome, and a great way to feed a lot of mouths a sweet treat. Give it a try, and let me know in the comments what you think.

Recipe Card

Spanish Fried Milk (Leche Frita)

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 12 pieces

Ingredients

For the Milk Squares:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • lemon peel from 2 lemons no white pith (you could also use orange or a combination of both)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch of salt

For Frying:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1/2 cup neutral-tasting oil sunflower, vegetable, or light olive oil

For the Coating:

  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  • Peel the lemons, trying to get just the yellow part of the skin and none of the white pith. You can remove any white bits with a butter knife or a spoon. The white part is what can make the infused milk bitter, so that’s why we
    want to remove as much of it as we can.
  • To a pot, add 3 cups of milk, lemon peel, and cinnamon stick. Set it over medium heat until it just about starts to boil (for me, about 10 minutes).
  • Turn the heat off and remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick.
  • To a bowl, add the cornstarch and the remaining 1 cup of milk, and stir.
  • Add the cornstarch-milk mixture to the hot milk with a pinch of salt, vanilla, and sugar to the infused milk and set on medium-low heat, and cook until the mixture is thickened (about 15 minutes). You want to have a thick ribbon-like consistency to the milk mixture.
  • Grease a rectangular dish/container (with a touch of the frying oil) and/or add baking (non-stick) paper. Pour the milk into it. You should have at least a 1-inch thickness. I used a roughly 9×6-inch baking dish, but you can use anything you have on hand that’s approximately those dimensions or a bit smaller.
  • Cool down in the fridge, preferably overnight or for at least about 4 hours.
  • Cut it into 12 squares.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl.
  • Coat the squares first in flour and then in egg.
  • To a pan, over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil is ready, fry the squares in oil for about 2 minutes on each side and then remove them to a plate covered with paper towels.
  • To a bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon and mix. Then, coat the fried milk pieces in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

You Might Also Like to Read

Save and Pin for Later

Keep my sweet and wholesome leche frita recipe for safekeeping by saving it to one of your dessert idea boards.

Authors

  • Doina Johnson is a recipe developer and writer. Doina has been cooking for most of her life, and her style draws from many different influences. She cooked with her mother and grandma growing up in Eastern Europe, before adding modern, western influences to her style when living in the United States for about a decade. Then, she traveled full-time for several years, trying food in Europe, Asia, and South America, and bringing those influences into her own cooking. She strives to introduce passionate homecooks to world cuisine, generally by trying the food herself abroad and then recreating it at home and, at times, enlisting the help of local foodies and chefs.

    View all posts
  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

    View all posts

Sharing is caring!

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating