13 Best Mexican Pastries (+Easy Recipes)


France might be known for desserts, but doesn’t have anything on these Mexican pastries.

These sweet treats are as varied and beautiful as Mexican culture. And they taste scrumptious!

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In my experience, Mexican desserts tend to be very light. Sorry, they’re not light in calories. But they ARE light in flavor and texture.

Sweet Palmier Cookies or Orejas with Powdered Sugar

Many of these have notes of cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, or all of the above.

You’ll also notice that some of these are not ridiculously sweet (some are, don’t worry).

Regardless, every one of these Mexican pastries is absolutely divine. Below are 13 of my favorites!

In Spanish, oreja means ear, and I think that’s a pretty fitting description for these.

You may recognize this curly treat by the name palmiers. But I think “ears” is much more fun!

Every bite of these delicious treats will make your mouth water. They’re crispy at first bite but then they melt in your mouth.

And honestly, they’re super addicting.

The best part, however, is that they are super easy to make!

They only need five ingredients, and you don’t have to make your own puff pastry.

And you can make a bunch in under 30 minutes.

If you’ve ever studied basic Spanish, then you probably know the secret ingredient is cheese!

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Well, cream cheese. And yes, these are as good as they sound.

Quesitos look like the love child of a Danish and a cannoli. And they taste like sweet, tangy, cheesy heaven.

That’s why they’re so popular throughout Central/Latin America.

This recipe is for the basic quesito, which is just the sweetened cream cheese version.

However, you can add your favorite jams or jellies for a fruity twist!

These delicious cookies have a lot of history.

They’re a beautiful, wholly Mexican tradition that has become popular on a global scale. And for good reason!

They’re surprisingly simple to make and they are incredibly delicious.

The only difficult part might be finding the piloncillo sugar in your area.

If you don’t have a Hispanic store near your location, it’s available on Amazon.

The traditional cookie features a soft, biscuit-like texture and a sweet piloncillo filling.

They’re rich and flavorful, yet light. You’ll love them!

Try them with Nutella filling for a fun deviation from tradition.

Start your morning properly with mantecadas, a Mexican muffin that will knock your socks off.

But you can totally enjoy them any time of day!

These babies are light, fluffy, and Goldilocks-level sweet. You won’t need to see a dentist right after but it’s not exactly bread either.

However, the best part is that every bite is orange-scented.

You won’t be overwhelmed by the orange flavor. Rather, you just get a delicate floral, citrus hint.

Buñuelos can be found in different cultures throughout South and Central America.

While there are differences, they all have one thing in common: they’re carb-loaded and delicious!

Typically, buñuelos are made from fried dough. They’re sort of like a mix of donuts and funnel cakes.

But this easy recipe cuts your time and difficulty in half.

Simply take tortillas and fry them until golden brown. Then, sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. It’s that easy!

This delicious version ends up really puffy, crispy, and totally tasty!

With crunchy outsides, chewy insides, and plenty of sugar and cinnamon, churros are one of the best treats around.

With the addition of Mexican vanilla, these Mexican churros are superb.

Did you know that cream puffs and churros start with the same dough? It’s choux pastry dough.

The difference is that churros are deep-fried and dosed with sugar.

And while I love both, there’s something so delicious about deep-fried dough fingers.

Dip them in melted chocolate and prepare to be delighted.

Is it Jell-O, is it a souffle, or is it cheesecake? It’s flan! And if you’ve never experienced this creamy dessert, have you even lived?

Flan is a custard-based cream dessert. It features a vanilla custard “cake” with a runny caramel sauce.

It’s cooked in a bain-marie, so the texture is silky smooth.

Flan is a dessert that feels fancy and indulgent because it is. However, it’s totally simple to make.

So, you can impress your family and friends, with only a little effort.

I bake a lot, particularly cakes. I have to say that tres leches is in my top five favorite cakes.

It’s incredibly moist, super light, and not too sweet.

Tres leches is made with simple and airy vanilla sponge cake.

It’s soaked in a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream.

And if that’s not enough, it’s covered in homemade whipped cream. It’s a dream for dairy lovers.

I love sprinkling cinnamon on top and serving it with strawberries.

If you’ve ever been to Taco John’s, then you’ve probably heard about sopapillas.

You may have even gotten to experience their awesomeness.

If you haven’t, I think they’re akin to a French fritter. Basically, sopapillas are Mexican donuts. And you will love them!

They’re warm and soft and pillowy. The texture is a *chef’s kiss.*

When they’re fresh out of the fryer, they’re covered in powdered sugar, cinnamon, and honey.

Conchas are probably one of the most recognizable Mexican pastries.

They’re little balls of sweet bread, with a colorful streusel topping.

They have patterns carved into the topping that usually reminds me of little turtles.

They’ve also been compared to sea shells. And that’s where this treat gets its name!

The bread is enriched, so it is super soft and similar to a brioche.

It’s not dessert-sweet, but it definitely has a rich, slightly saccharine quality. But the topping is sweet and crispy.

This makes for a fantastic juxtaposition that your tastebuds will love.

Like a lot of my jokes, this cake is super corny! See what I mean?

But bad jokes aside, pastel de elote is, in fact, made with corn.

Actually, corn is the star of this delicious cake.

If you love the southern-style cornbread that is served with honey, you’ll enjoy this. Like cornbread, this cake isn’t terribly sweet.

However, it is not made with cornmeal like cornbread. Instead, it uses white flour and a whole bunch of corn kernels.

It’s buttery, light, and absolutely perfect.

I’m calling all caramel lovers because you need to try these empanadas.

Empanadas are a type of hand pie. They can be savory like a samosa or sweet like a Little Debbie.

They’re found throughout South and Central America in many varieties.

And I love them all! However, there is a special place for this dulce de leche empanada in my heart.

It’s sweet, it’s gooey, it’s flaky, and it’s fabulously rich.

It might be the heaviest dessert on this list and the sweetest, too.

Have you noticed that the best treats center around holidays, or is that just me?

Maybe it’s because all cultures collectively want to save the best for special days.

And Rosca de Reyes, or Three Kings Bread, is one such delicious pastry.

In theory, it’s sort of like a large, ringed concha had a baby with fruitcake.

Rosca de Reyes is made with a slightly sweet, enriched dough, like conchas.

It also has a sugar paste streusel-like topping over parts of the bread. And it features dried fruit.

It’s seriously yummy!

Mexican Pastries

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