Leite Frito (Portugese Fried Milk)

Maggie May Schill


There is a yummy little sweet eaten in mainland Portugal and the Azores known as leite frito, better known as "fried milk"! It in fact is not fried milk, but rather, battered and oil fried custard. It is nice and crispy on the outside, and deliciously creamy on the inside. It is traditionally seasoned with either vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg. (Some Spanish versions even season with cocoa or chilli.)

My version uses pure vanilla, lemon peel and just a touch of cinnamon. It is best to serve these leite frito slightly cooled, fresh from the skillet. It is best warm.


★★★★★ 2 votes

5 Min
15 Min
Pan Fry


  • 1/2 c
    white sugar
  • 1/2 c
  • 2 tsp
    ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 1/2 c
    2% milk
  • 2 Tbsp
    heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp
    unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp
    finely grated lemon peel
  • 2
    egg yolks
  • 2
    eggs, well beaten (for egg wash)
  • 1 tsp
    pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c
    plain bread crumbs
  • ·
    vegetable oil for frying
  • ·
    chocolate sauce or powdered sugar for garnish

How to Make Leite Frito (Portugese Fried Milk)


  1. Mix sugar & corn starch in a 3-quart sauce pan.
    Gradually stir in milk, 1 tsp of cinnamon and vanilla.
  2. Boil over medium heat, stir continuously! Stir for one additional minute once milk hits boil.

    Side note: it is very important to keep stirring to keep milk from scorching the bottom of the pan.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and lemon peel. Stir until butter is melted.
  4. Beat into egg yolk until completely incorporated. The hot milk sugar mix will cook the egg yolk.
  5. Spread evenly into an ungreased square 8X8X2 (a 9X9 dish will work too if that's all you have.) baking dish. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 3 hours.
  6. Once custard has set cut with a wet spatula or knife into 2 inch squares.
  7. In a medium bowl mix bread crumbs with remaining 1 tsp of cinnamon.
  8. Dip custard squares into egg and then dip into bread crumb mixture.
    Side note: You can double bread it by putting it back into the egg and then back into the bread crumb again if you like a thick crust on your custard.
  9. Heat about 3/4 inch of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet to about 360'F.

    Fry squares, 2 or 3 at a time so you don't crowd the pan. Fry for about 2 minutes until golden brown.

    Side note: You don't need a fancy thermometer to gauge the temperature of your oil. A good trick that works is to place the handle of a wooden spoon in your oil. Once bubbles form around the oil and begin to float to the top your oil is at the appropriate frying temperature. More reliable of a trick than just throw water droplets in the oil, also safer. Oil and water don't mix and checking your oil with water causes back splatter and spitting, which could cause you to get burned.
  10. Drain on a paper towel.

    Let rest 3 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar or chocolate sauce and serve immediately.

Printable Recipe Card

About Leite Frito (Portugese Fried Milk)

Show 8 Comments & Reviews

21 Easy Grilling Recipes

21 Easy Grilling Recipes

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Are you looking to do something special for dad this year? Why not take over the grilling duty and prepare an outstanding meal. From the main course to dessert, any of these 21 easy grilling recipes will make a dynamite dinner for dad.

14 Summer Squash Recipes

14 Summer Squash Recipes

Summer produce is our favorite, especially summer squash! With so many delicious ways to prepare summer squash, it’s a healthy go-to ingredient during these warmer months. Yellow with a fat bottom that gets skinnier towards the neck, it’s very easy to differentiate summer squash from zucchini. No matter how you cut, cook or top it, […]

Summer Recipes That Spotlight Cucumbers

Summer Recipes That Spotlight Cucumbers

When thinking of summer vegetables, squash and zucchini are probably at the top of the list. But, cucumbers are abundant too and we think they deserve the same spotlight. While they are technically a fruit, for cooking many consider them and treat them like a veggie. From a classic cucumber, tomato, and onion salad to […]