How to make this refreshing cinnamon and lemon flavored milk drink
This cinnamon infused cold milk drink will make your tongue happy with its simple yet yummy taste. Learn how to make leche merengada: it’s actually quite easy and surprisingly good.
What is LECHE MERENGADA?
Leche merengada [leh-cheh meh-rehang-gah-dah] translates to “meringue-like milk” and is a traditional Spanish dessert.
The classical version is made heating milk with cinnamon, lemon zest and sugar, then adding beaten egg whites and freezing into a texture between milkshake and ice cream but much lighter, since it uses no cream.
It’s like a cold fluffy cloud.
While leche merengada was originally meant as a freeze treat, the flavor of cinnamon infused, slightly lemony cold drink has become so beloved that it’s very common to find;leche merengada ice cream in many Spanish ice cream parlors.
What does leche merengada taste like?
It’s quite easy to guess how delicious this recipe is by the sound of it.
You’re getting a sweet and creamy taste with from evaporated milk that has been infused with real cinnamon as well as lemon zest for freshness.
But still, if you haven’t tried meringue milk yet, you’ll be surprised at how great this combination is.
Can you drink warm leche merengada?
There is nothing better than drinking this creamy, sweet yet light cold milk drink when it’s hot outside.
But I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s also delicious served warm!
In fact, sometimes my son drinks all of his while waiting for me to put it in the fridge…
Also, he warmer you drink it, the sweeter it tastes, which means you’ll need less sweetener if you want your leche merengada warm.
How to make homemade (vegan) leche merengada
The traditional leche merengada recipe uses beaten egg whites to get a milkshake-like texture; to get a vegan version, you can substitute egg whites for aquafaba.
The viscous liquid that remains after boiling chickpeas works great in this recipe and I personally prefer not having to separate egg whites and yolks.
How to make homemade leche merengada
- Prepare the spices
Wash and dry a lemon: peel the yellow part of the zest. Break a cinnamon stick.
- Simmer ingredients in milk
Put the zest of a lemon, a cinnamon stick, 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar or substitute or choice (I use 1 tablespoon xylitol or eritriol) and milk in a pot an heat while removing.
- Strain and let cool
Strain the lemon peel and cinnamon from the milk and let cool.
When the cinnamon infused milk has cooled down, put it on the freezer for about half an hour.
- Make meringue
Place 3 egg whites or 6 tablespoons aquafaba with 1 tablespoon sugar or substitute and whip until foamy. Place of the freezer for about half an hour.
- Mix and serve
Carefully put together the semi-frozen meringue with the semi-frozen milk and mix carefully until is homogeneous. Serve with ground cinnamon.
Many people though make leche merengada without the meringue step: it’s much less time consuming and it also tastes heavenly.
You can see how to make a simple leche merengada drink below.
Tips for making leche merengada
There’s not much to keep in mind when making this recipe, but if you make sure to follow these few key points it will taste like a million bucks:
- You can use more or less spices depending on your taste: I usually use one lemon peel and a cinnamon stick for every 2 cups of milk.
But some people use up to the double amount of milk.
- I use the lemon leftovers from making lemonade with a citrus squeezer. But the white side of the lemon peel is bitter, so it’s better to only use the yellow part.
Have you ever peel the yellow part of a lemon? Oh my, oh my, it leaves your fingers with such a wonderful smell! (plus, it’s easier than grating the peel).
- Use your milk of choice: I find cow milk and almond milk work best for this sweet drink, but it’s difficult to say which one is better.
Cow milk gets creamier; almond milk provides a nice nutty taste in this recipe.
Washing dishes is easier with plant based alternatives since they don’t curdle quite so much when heating.
- For a more intense cinnamon and lemon fragrance as well as natural sweetness, try heating the ingredients for 10 minutes.
It sounds like a lot, but it’s worth it.
The best way to do this is by beginning with medium heat and then switching to low so that you can enjoy full flavors without any burning or bitterness.
- Our recipe is on the less sweet side because we want you to enjoy your drink, not be overwhelmed by added sweeteners.
However most people add more sugar in their leche merengadas – do what’s best for yourself!
Upgrade your teatime by adding some of this milk drink (without the egg whites) to black or rooibos tea.
This will turn even the most basic tea into an absolutely amazing experience!
Swaps to make this recipe
You can easily adapt homemade merengada to suit your dietary preferences:
- Looking for a vegan leche merengada? Use plant-based milk instead of cow milk. If you want it with meringue, substitute the egg whites for aquafaba.
- If you want a keto leche merengada, use almond milk (or other keto friendly milk) and a keto friendly sweetener like eritriol or xylitol.
- Feel free to switch out the usual lemon peel of leche merengada for any other citric fruits like oranges or mandarins.
- Other spices that go well in here are cardamom pods, clove or ginger.
Easy leche merengada recipe
To make an easy meringue milk drink without beating egg whites, just heat up some milk with lemon rind, cinnamon and some sugar (or some alternative).
The aroma of cinnamon and lemon will fill your kitchen as you make this drink recipe!
- 4 Cups milk
- 1-2 zest unwaxed lemons
- 1-2 sticks Ceylon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons sugar (or alternative like eritriol or xylitol)
- ground cinnamon for decoration
- Wash the lemon and take the yellow part of the peel. Break the cinnamon sticks so they the emit more fragrance. Gather all ingredients together in a pot (cinnamon, milk and sugar – or your sweetener of choice).
- Gather all ingredients in a pot and heat up (medium heat) until the liquid is hot. Put down on low heat as soon as it begins to boil, so you can simmer for around 5-10 minutes. Stir regularly.
- Take away from the heat before the mixture boils. Let cool and strain the solids.
- When it’s not warm anymore, cool in the fridge. It’s traditionally served chilled, but warm is actually also delicious. Enjoy with some extra ground cinnamon as decoration!
Leche merengada is a popular Spanish dessert that you can easily recreate at home.
This cinnamon and citrus flavored treat is worth a try because its creaminess while being low fat, and it’s sweet and rich and at the same time deliciously light.