Easy leche merengada (cinnamon-lemon ice milk)

How to make a refreshing cinnamon and lemon flavored milk drink

Homemade leche merengada

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.
You’ll also love how the aroma of cinnamon and lemon will fill your kitchen as you make this drink recipe!

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.

FAQ’s about leche merengada

Frozen leche merengada
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.

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!

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!

Secret tip
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.

How to make (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, so the pictures in this post are with aquafaba meringue.

Time needed: 1 hour.

How to make homemade leche merengada – frozen method

  1. Prepare the spices

    Wash and dry a lemon: peel the yellow part of the zest. Break a cinnamon stick.Lemon zest and cinnamon for leche merengada

  2. 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.Cinnamon and lemon zest in milk

  3. Strain and let cool

    Strain the lemon peel and cinnamon from the milk and let cool.Straining lemon peel and cinnamon from leche merengada

  4. Freeze

    When the cinnamon infused milk has cooled down, put it on the freezer for about half an hour.Freezing milk for leche merengada

  5. 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.Frozen aquafaba meringue

  6. 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.Semi frozen leche merengada

Many people though make leche merengada without the meringue step: it’s much less time consuming and it also tastes heavenly.
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):

Homemade leche merengada
5 from 3 votes

Easy leche merengada recipe

How to make this creamy yet light, 100% natural cinnamon-lemony milk drink
Print Recipe
Cook Time:10 mins
Resting time:2 hrs
Total Time:2 hrs 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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).
    Lemon zest and cinnamon for leche merengada
  • 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.
    Simmering lemon peel and cinnamon
  • Take away from the heat before the mixture boils. Let cool and strain the solids.
    Straining lemon peel and cinnamon from leche merengada
  • 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!
    Homemade leche merengada

Notes

For the lemon rind, you can use the leftovers lemons from making lemon juice or lemonade with a citrus juicer. Just wash the fruit before and try using only the yellow part, since the white pit is bitter.

Nutrition

Calories: 240kcal
Course: Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: caffeine free, cold drink, lemon, spices, vegan, with milk
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 240kcal

Summary

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.

I hope you enjoy this all natural cinnamon and lemon infused milk drink. It’s very easy to make it 100% vegan or keto-friendly, so no matter what version of the recipe you choose just give them a try: you’ll fall in love with it!

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I tried the version without egg whites and it’s delicious! This lemon and cinnamon fragranced milk is the best!
    I’m too lazy to prepare whipped meringue, but I still found the idea with aquafaba great.
    Thank you very much for such a delicious new way (for me) to drink milk.

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