Tembleque – A Typical Christmas Dessert


Holiday season around the world is synonymous with special local traditions and foods. This is true in Puerto Rico also, where traditional food and drink flows freely.

Lechon (spit-roasted pork), morcillas (blood sausage), pasteles (meat filling wrapped in mashed plantains) are typical holiday-party fare. For dessert you’ll find Coquito, arroz con dulce (a thick rice pudding), flan and tembleque.

You will be able to find these dishes here and there on restaurant menus all year round, but they are always a staple on Christmas party tables.


Tembleque is a coconut dessert that is like a cross between Jello and pudding (tembleque translates to trembling or jiggly). It is fast and easy to make, and it is a sweet (but not too sweet) and delicious way to end a meal.

So try making it to bring some Puerto Rican tradition to your next holiday party.

Isabelita’s Tembleque

Here is our friend’s tembleque recipe …


  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ground cinnamon, or cinnamon sticks, for garnish
  • (makes 8 to 10 servings)

How make it …

  1. Heat 3 cups of the coconut milk on medium heat until hot, but not yet simmering
  2. Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch, sugar and the remainder of the coconut milk together until dissolved and there are no lumps
  3. Add the cornstarch mixture to the hot coconut milk, stirring constantly until it is thick and smooth with no lumps
  4. Take pan off of the heat. Pour the mixture into serving dishes or into a baking dish (to be cut up later)
  5. Garnish with cinnamon, and put into the refrigerator to cool and thicken (at least 2 hours)

Once you try it, you can start tweaking the recipe to suit your liking. I like more of a coconut flavor, so I cheated and added ½ teaspoon coconut extract.

Disfruta y Felicidades!

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Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

There are 2 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

The deserts look great I like reading and getting the ingredients to do it also.

Comment by Jordan Hamidi on 15 Sep 2020

This is truly an easy dessert to make, From personal experience, American kids tend to not like it. My son had a presentation for either 1st or 2nd grade, and he needed an accompanying dessert. We decided on tembleque, assuming it would be a hit. It ended up flopping, cause the kids hated it. And trust me, it was great. I think it had something to do with the texture.

Comment by Josh on 24 Dec 2013

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