Around the world, Mexican food is usually known best for its classic main courses like burritos, tacos, and enchiladas. A lot of people don’t know the desserts as well. However, Mexican food has a lot to offer in terms of desserts.
Mexico has created a huge number of desserts with different ones available for every occasion. There are a lot of really great choices and, luckily, a lot of them are quite easy to make. This article will tell you about all of the best Mexican desserts.
If you’re not familiar with Mexican desserts and you want to give them a try, then you should probably start out with the classic Mexican desserts. You’ll almost certainly find something that you like. If you’re familiar with Mexican desserts and you want to find something new, then there should be some fresh suggestions for you in the best unusual Mexican desserts section.
First up is the classic Mexican desserts. Further down the page, you will find the list of really great, but lesser-known Mexican desserts.
The Best Classic Mexican Desserts
Here are the classic Mexican desserts…
Churros, fried ice cream, dulce de leche and caramel flan are are probably the most popular. That doesn’t matter too much, though. All of the desserts on this list are tried and tested desserts that you’ll almost certainly love.
Churros are so good that they’ve spread to loads of other parts of the world as well. Spanish and Portuguese-speaking migrants have even exported churros to the Philippines. To make basic churros, choux pastry is shaped into ridged sticks, fried, and then coated in cinnamon sugar. Good churros are hot and crispy on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside.
These are an absolute classic and everyone should try them. That’s why there’s a recipe for you right here:
Here’s a simple basic recipe. Note that, to make them into their classic shape, you’ll need a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can make churro balls or rolls instead.
- 9 oz of water
- 3 oz of butter
- 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 4.5 oz of plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 large eggs
- Cinnamon sugar
- Add the water, butter, and sugar to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then take it off the heat. Add the flour and salt and then stir it until the mixture thickens. This should happen very quickly.
- Leave everything to cool for about 10-15 mins and then beat the eggs in until everything is completely mixed. Your choux pastry is now ready.
- Heat a half-filled pot of oil to 190 degrees Celsius.
- If you have a piping bag, then add your pastry mix to the bag and carefully pipe it into the oil in 6-inch sections. If you don’t have a piping bag then make rolls or balls of the pastry by hand and add them to the oil.
- You should fry your churros until they turn a nice, golden color. Usually, 4 or 5 minutes is long enough. Remember to turn them, so that they don’t catch and burn on the bottom.
- Take them out of the pan with a pair of tongs and immediately dip or roll them in the cinnamon sugar.
- Place them on a cooling rack before you serve them, but remember that they’re best when they’re still warm.
Churro chips, churro apple pies and churros with a chocolate dip
Churros are really good just by themselves. Nonetheless, there are some other things that you can try.
Churro chips are made from tortillas, rather than from choux pastry. Tortillas are cut into triangular sections, tossed in butter and cinnamon sugar, and then either fried or oven-baked and turned into chips. These are really good by themselves, but it’s usually a good idea to try and provide a dip to go with them. Chocolate, heavy cream, and whipped cream work great.
Churro apple pies
Churro apple pies can be made with either choux pastry or puff pastry. To make them, you cook miniature open churro pie bases in hot oil as you would cook normal churros. You then add a pre-made apple pie mix to the pie base and there you go. They’re normally served when they’re still warm, but you can store them and serve them cold as well.
One great tip is to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top of the pies before you serve them.
Churros with chocolate dip
Churros with chocolate dip are pretty simple. You just make normal churros and melt up a chocolate dip to go with them. This is a modern take on an absolute classic food recipe that a lot of people really like.
#2. Fried ice cream
Fried ice cream is pretty simple and it’s a popular Mexican classic. To make it, frozen ice cream is dipped in batter and then quickly deep-fried. The key to making fried ice cream is to be really quick when you fry it and to serve it straight away. About 10-15 seconds is usually enough time in the fryer.
Vanilla ice cream works perfectly in a fried ice cream recipe and it will go with almost any topping or sauce. Whipped cream, strawberry sauce, cherries, bananas, and honey all go really well with fried vanilla ice cream.
#3. Dulce de leche
In Spanish, ‘dulce de leche’ means ‘milk candy’ and that’s how it tastes. It’s like a sweetened, caramelized version of milk. Sweetened milk is slowly heated, cooked, and stirred until the color and consistency become more like butterscotch.
Dulce de leche is quite unique and you should give it a try. It works really well by itself or you can use it alongside other desserts or as an ingredient in other desserts. Some people like to use it when they’re making shortbread. It can also work as a cake topping or as a dip.
#4. Caramel or chocolate flan
Flan originated in Europe and spread around with the Spanish as they explored the world. Two great recipes for it are caramel flan and chocolate flan. A lot of people will know caramel flan or chocolate flan as caramel or chocolate custard. Flan is a simple custard dessert that has caramel or chocolate topping.
To make caramel flan, sugar syrup is cooked until it caramelizes and then poured into a cooking base. Custard is then added on top of the caramel in the base. The whole thing is then either cooked on a stove, in the oven, or in a water bath. After it’s cooked, it’s flipped upside down and then served. There should always be a nice thick layer of caramel on top of a nicely cooked custard base.
Chocolate flan is very similar, except that you add chocolate to the cooking base, instead of caramelized sugar syrup. If you haven’t got the patience to caramelize sugar, then the chocolate option is probably better.
#5. Tres leches cake
Tres leches cake is a sponge or butter cake that is soaked in three kinds of milk; evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. If you like cake with a nice, moist consistency then this is the one for you.
Making tres leches cake is quite simple if you already know how to bake a cake. If you can bake a cake, then you just leave it to cool in the pan after it has finished and then free the edges and poke holes into it all over the top. Following that you pour on your different types of milk and leave them to soak in. It should take about 5 minutes to soak in. When that’s done you can serve it straight away.
#6. Mexican sweet corn cake
Mexican sweet corn cake is a sweet cake made with sweetcorn and condensed milk. Making it is quite simple, you just add the sweetcorn and condensed milk to a cake recipe and cook as usual. The sweetcorn and condensed milk both add an extra sweetness that works really well.
Sopapillas are a lot of people’s favorite Mexican dessert. Also known as cachanga, these are a kind of fried, shortbread style, pastry dish. Leavened wheat dough is shortened with butter, rolled into a sheet, cut into round, square or triangular sections, and then deep-fried. The heat should cause them to puff up and to be hollow and airy in the middle.
A lot of people like to give sopapillas a light dusting of sugar before they serve them. They are really good by themselves and they also go well with fruit. If you have any fruit available, it’s a good idea to cut it up into sections and serve them with your sopapillas. Fruits that go well with sopapillas are pineapple, mango, bananas, and apples.
Biscochos are also known as Mexican wedding cookies and if you’ve been to a Mexican wedding you will probably have tried them.
These are made by coating bread (that has already been baked) in butter and plain sugar or cinnamon sugar, and then baking it again until it turns hard crunchy, and sweet. Cooking biscochos is pretty simple and they’re a great thing to make if you have some stale or leftover bread.
Biscochos are a simple and basic Mexican classic. A lot of people don’t go for them because they sound too plain, but you should give them a try. They are really good.
Bunuelos are quite close to donuts. They are types of dough fritters, which are often flavored with aniseed and then fried and finished off with a sweet topping, like sugar. Sometimes they are also cooked with a sweet filling.
To make simple bunuelos, you make the dough, shape it into sections and then quickly fry it in oil. Usually, about 30 seconds is long enough in the fryer. They should be a golden color when they’re properly cooked. After they’re cooked, quickly drain the oil off and sprinkle them in sugar and then serve them.
As with a lot of other Mexican recipes, people often like to use cinnamon sugar to coat their bunuelos.
#10. Arroz con leche
Arroz con leche is another one of the classic Mexican dessert recipes and is, luckily, quite easy to make. Known as rice pudding in the rest of the world, arroz con leche means ‘rice with milk’.
Mexican arroz con leche gives normal rice pudding a Mexican spin. This is usually achieved by adding cinnamon, rum-soaked raisins or vanilla. Like most rice puddings, sugar is used to give it a nice dessert-style sweetness. Other Mexican sweeteners and flavor additives are coconut milk, evaporated milk, star anise, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and lemon peel.
Arroz con leche isn’t always a favorite with children. If you are cooking for children and they’re fussy, then try adding some butterscotch or cherry sauce.
#11. Sweet/fruit Empanadas
Sweet empanadas are a really good classic Mexican dessert. They are parcels of sugary dough with a sweet, usually fruit, filling which are baked to become crispy and warm.
To make sweet empanadas, you make the dough into small, round sections and then fill them with a sweet filling and bake them for around 20 minutes. After they are cooked you quickly roll them in sugar and there you go. One of the best fruit fillings for sweet empanadas is pineapple, although classic recipes usually use apples.
These are a little treat and they’re delicious when they’re served warm, not long after you take them out of the oven.
Shaped and striped like a conch, conchas are a type of sweet bread roll. To make them, sweetened bread is given a crunchy topping made from sugar, butter, and flour.
Getting the dough right is crucial with conchas. You want your sweet bread to come out of the oven as a really nice, soft, and spongy sweetened loaf. Putting a topping on is usually easy. As a Mexican dessert, conchas are traditionally given a white, icing sugar style topping. That said, people often use chocolate, strawberry (pink) or yellow (lemon) toppings on conchas. To make a different topping, you can often just add other flavorings to the icing sugar.
These are a great dessert by themselves, although a lot of people love to eat them as breakfast food with coffee.
Champorado is a bit like hot chocolate with rice pudding and is also known as Mexican hot chocolate. To make it, sticky rice is boiled with the ground and roasted cocoa beans. After it is cooked, milk and sugar are usually added to give it extra taste.
Without milk and sugar, Mexican hot chocolate can be eaten as a breakfast food and is even eaten with fish in some parts of the world.
You can’t drink champorado, like normal hot chocolate and it’s quite filling as a dessert by itself.
If you don’t like the sound of having it by itself, you can make Mexican hot chocolate pie. Mexican hot chocolate pie is a great modern Mexican dessert recipe. To make it, you create a crispy, cheesecake-style pie base and then add champorado mixed with marshmallow to it. Refrigerate it for a couple of hours and you should have a really delicious take one cheesecake.
Horchata goes right back to the 13th century and started out in Valencia, in Spain. Horchata is a name for a collection of smooth, creamy, rich, and slightly sweet drinks made from plant milk. The plant milk used can come from lots of sources including nuts, seeds, and grains. In Mexican recipes, the milk is usually taken from rice.
As it’s a drink, Horchata probably won’t work by itself as a dessert. It’s a great treat to have with a dessert, though, and can also be used as an ingredient in desserts or in other drinks.
To make traditional Mexican horchata, rice milk is usually sweetened with sugar and flavored with almonds, cinnamon, and vanilla. Nowadays, a lot of people add milk or cream to make it extra creamy. You can try substituting caramel sauce for the sugar in the recipe to get a different flavor and you can also add a little whipped cream to the top to make it even more delicious.
#15. Impossible cake
Impossible cake, or chocoflan as it’s otherwise known, is probably the most interesting of all the Mexican dessert recipes. The impossible cake is well known for its amazing taste as well as the fact that it seems impossible to make.
Made from flan and chocolate cake, this dessert gets its name from the fact that it is prepared, before cooking, with the cake on the top and the flan on the bottom. However, when it’s taken out of the oven the flan appears on the top and the cake on the bottom. See, it’s impossible.
The Best Unusual Mexican Desserts
If you’re after something a bit different then why not give one of these unusual Mexican dessert recipes a try.
#1. Sweet tamales
Sweet tamales are a delicious Mexican dessert made from sweet masa corn dough, which is filled with nuts, fruit, or another sweet filling. Pineapples are a popular filling and they also taste great with dulce de leche as a filling.
Masa corn dough is maize dough made from maize that has been soaked in an alkaline agent. This gives it a different taste to dough made from cornmeal or cornflour. It has a more nutty and mineral-style flavor than cornflour dough, which contrasts well with a sweet filling.
Jericalla falls somewhere between flan and creme brulee and is one of the great lesser-known Mexican dessert recipes. The main ingredients are eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla.
The milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar are cooked and mixed in a cooking pot over medium heat and then allowed to cool for a short while. After that, the eggs are beaten and then added to the mixture. The mixture is then placed in small pots in a tray of water and baked in an oven for around 30 minutes. The water does not come into contact with the mixture, but creates steam and evens the heat out through the pots as they cook.
Also known as Mexican bread pudding, capirotada is a traditional Mexican dessert recipe and is another great way to use up stale or leftover bread.
Traditionally, toasted bread is soaked in a mixture of cane sugar, cloves, and cinnamon sticks to provide the basic ingredients for capirotada. These are then sprinkled with cheese and baked in an oven. Additional ingredients include nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Heavy cream or ice cream both work really well with capirotada.
#4. Chongos zamoranos
Chongos zamoranos is made, primarily, from curdled milk. Sugar and cinnamon are added and the dish is cooked to produce a dessert with a soft consistency, which is often likened to cheese and is accompanied by a sweet milky syrup.
Atole is a warm drink made with masa flour (corn treated with an alkaline agent and turned into flour) as the base ingredient.
To make it, masa flour is toasted and added to water that has been boiled with cinnamon sticks and reduced to the desired consistency. The mixture is boiled even more and as it reduces further, cane sugar, cinnamon and vanilla are usually added to give it extra flavor. Some people like to add chocolate as well.
Atole can be made to either a runny or thicker consistency. At a thin consistency, it works great as an accompaniment to any of the other Mexican dessert recipes and at a thicker consistency, it can be served by itself.
#6. Torta de cielo
Torta de cielo is one of the lesser-known Mexican dessert recipes that is definitely worth a try. From Yucatan, in Mexico, and traditionally a Mexican wedding dish, it is made with an almond topping and comes out of the oven surprisingly light tasting and satisfying.
The cake mixture is made with a very small amount of flour and baking powder and eggs act as the main raising agent. To make torta de cielo, you need almonds, flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, icing sugar, and brandy. The mixture is baked just like a normal cake and then sliced almonds and icing sugar are added as a topping. Heavy cream works really well as a side to this dessert.
There it is for the roundup of the best Mexican desserts. Hopefully, you are now more familiar with Mexican desserts if they’re a new thing for you. If you already know them well, then hopefully you have found a new recipe to try.