All recipes

Dessert • Sweet

Jorge’s Colombian Natilla

Jorge Echeverry, Habanero Consulting Inc.
Jorge Echeverry

Product Designer

Alongside buñuelos, this type of pudding is the traditional Christmas dessert in Colombia. You are expected to eat this every single night during the traditional novenas. When I was a kid, we would visit my grandparent’s place every Christmas, build a bonfire and cook enough natilla in a giant pan for the whole family. We, the kids, would be in charge of keeping the fire alive, stirring the natilla and licking the wooden spoons after it was done.

Colombian Natilla


  • 5 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar. For more authenticity, use grated panela, unrefined whole cane sugar popular in Latin America.
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 ¼ cup cornstarch (aka Maizena)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Ground cinnamon


Step 1

Pour 4 of the 5 cups of milk into a pot. Add all the sugar (or the Panela if you have it) and cinnamon sticks. Stir all ingredients, ideally with a wooden spoon. Bring it to boil over medium heat.

Step 2

Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with the remaining cup of milk until dissolved. Stir very well to avoid lumps!

Step 3

When the pot of milk comes to a boil, remove it from the stove and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Step 4

Remove the cinnamon sticks and put the pot back on the stove over medium-low heat.

Step 5

Pour the dissolved cornstarch into the hot milk and add butter. Some people like to add desiccated coconut or raisins, but I consider that a monstrosity.

Step 6

Never stop stirring with your wooden spoon! You do not want any lumps or for the mix to burn. Around minute 8, you will notice that the mixture is thick enough to scrape the bottom of the pot and see its surface. This means it is ready.

Step 7

Pour immediately into a large dish or different containers. It will take about an hour to cool down.

Step 8

While you wait, you can join the tradition of eating what is left in the spoon and pot because that is half the fun.

Step 9

Sprinkle with ground cinnamon before serving.

More recipes like this to enjoy

View all recipes
Habanero Consulting Inc. logo
We’re people, culture and technology experts with a passion for purpose. We help organizations thrive by designing employee experiences that empower everyone to bring their best selves to work.
Connect with us on our website or LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
Photos are for inspiration only and do not represent the talents of the Habanero test kitchen. Some snap-happy Habs have shared personal photos of their creations below their recipe.