My husband and I cook Arroz Con Queso or cheese rice quite often. Our kids love it and it is always a hit dish when we host BBQs. We have cooked arroz con queso in so many different ways because we do tend to improvise a lot. However, below I will describe the most traditional way we can cook it with ingredients commonly found in US markets.
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What Cheese to Use?
In Bolivia, arroz con queso is cooked with a special local cheese that we cannot find here in Miami.
We have tried through the years to use mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, swiss cheese, a combination of these cheeses etc.
Finally one day, we cooked arroz con queso with Mexican queso fresco and it is the closest we have gotten to the actual taste and texture of the actual dish.
I recommend you use a short grain rice, pearl or arborio rice for this rice dish.
The reason is that the rice will first boil with water and then you’ll add a cup of boiling milk. At that point you’ll stir the rice, which is unlike most other rice dishes where you don’t mix or stir until they are cooked completely.
Use this cheese rice as a side dish with your favorite meal. It is best served fresh, it does become a bit sticky if you have refrigerated it. However, the taste is still delicious the next day so we always love having some leftovers too!
If you would like to use a simpler rice for your meal, please check out my garlic jasmine rice recipe.
Recipe Notes & Tips
I included lots of process pictures in this recipe as well as a short video to make it easier to follow instructions.
- You can replace red onion or other types of onions, however keep in mind that flavor will change. Red onions tends to give a strong flavor to this side dish.
- You can top your serving of cheese rice with green onions or chopped parsley.
- Milk needs to be very hot before you add it in, so try to coordinate warming up the milk and have it ready for step #4 in the recipe instructions below.
See below a picture of all ingredients used to cook this recipe:
Arroz con Queso – Bolivian Cheese Rice
- 2 cups short grain rice or pearl rice
- 1 cup milk boiling
- 0.5 red onion medium
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- 10 oz queso fresco
- 0.5 tbsp salt
- 5 cups hot water
- 2 green onions (optional) chopped for decorations
- 2 tbsps chopped fresh parsley (optional) for decorative use
- Saute finely chopped onion and minced garlic in olive oil. Keep heat in medium setting.
- Add rice when onions look translucent. Saute all together, be careful not to burn the onions.
- Add 5 cups of hot water and salt. Stir well and let the rice cook.
- Once water is running out, but rice is not fully cooked yet, then add a cup of hot milk and shredded cheese.
- Lower heat to low. Cook until cheese is melted and you see no more water/milk. Let it cool and serve as a side dish.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please pin the below image to Pinterest. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or tag me in social media if you made my recipe:). Thank you so much!!
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Other Bolivian Recipes
Bolivian Peanut Soup – Sopa de Mani
UPDATE: This recipe was first published on October 2nd, 2018 and updated on March 2nd, 2020. I replaced earlier cell phone pictures with better ones taken with my camera. However, if you are a returning reader of this recipe or found the recipe in Pinterest from an older picture, I’m leaving one of my earlier pictures below as reference.
Oh my gosh! I didn’t know this dish was Bolivian lol we make cheese rice all the time. I love your recipe and I think I will try and make it in the instant pot. I will be sure to refer your link for the stove top directions. 🙂 This is amazing thank you
Thank you so much Felicia:)). Maybe other countries cook this too, I wouldn’t know. But I learned this recipe from my husband who is Bolivian. Can’t wait to see your instant pot version, yayy!! This made me so happy!!
Me encanta este arroz con queso boliviano!! Se ve suculento!!!
Muchas gracias Pilar, asi es:)
What meat would go well with this dish? Going to make this meal on Friday.
Hi Stephanie, thank you for reading my post!! My husband is from Bolivia so I learned this rice recipe from him. He says that’s it’s typical to be served on ‘parrilladas’ BBQs. He usually cooks churrascos and we make big salads and add arroz con queso as a side dish.
But I suppose it should taste great with roasted or grilled chicken too!! I sent the question to some family members in Bolivia, if they give me any other ideas other than grilled meats I’ll come back to let you know.
Thank you! Instead of red onion can I use white onion? Decided to make a shredded chicken in the crockpot to go with it!
Yes you definitely can!!! My husband says that he likes this rice with green onion too so you can definitely use different types.
Oh that chicken sounds delicious!!! Are you planning any salads or steamed veggies too? Might be too much food but a fresh side might balance out this rice, it’s a bit heavier than regular rice dishes.
Enriqueta E Lemoine
This looks so good that I sent it to my Hispanic Heritage, Risotto and Side Dishes boards on Pinterest. I love that it looks like an Italian risotto but with our Latin flavors. I think Valencia rice will do the job too.
Yes:))) it definitely works with Valencia rice!! Yumm. Gracias Enri
Nunca he probado el arroz con queso boliviano y de ve delicioso!!! Adoro el queso, y además seguro que está muy jugoso. Gracias por compartir!
Maria Jose Cayuela
Que delicioso y que sencillo, nunca se me habría ocurrido hacerlo. Una buena idea y rápida. Probaré de cocina este arroz con queso boliviano. Gracias
I didn’t know this rice cheese rice! Love it! Will save the recipe to try it soon! Thank for all the details and for finding the right cheese to make it in Miami.
That’s the hardest part about trying to get Bolivian & Albanian dishes right here in Miami. While there’s an abundance of food, I have to fine tune by trying different flavors until I can get it right!!
Gracias Sonila me ha encantado esta variedad de arroz que además actualizaste y se ve delicioso el arroz con queso boliviano.
Muchas gracias Yasmari:))
Looks great and yummy…worth a try
Ntensibe Edgar Michael
Hhhhhhmmmmm….will try it out as soon as possible!
Yummy , I want to test it . It looks delicious .
Gina Shirley's Everything
Yes!!! I will definitely be trying this soon. Looks so delicious and I can’t wait
Sounds delicious! I’m definitely going to try it. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much Lorraine!!
You had me at Queso. Mixing rice and cheese together is a wonderful. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Delicious. Sometimes, we run out of ideas of what to cook per time. With this yummy recipe, our food table has been made robust, we have an added item; Arroz Con Quesse. Thank you for the recipe, sure it will taste great with milk.