Bocoles, Corn Masa Cakes

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Bocoles, corn masa cakes recipe
These little circular dough treats are called “Bocoles” in the Huasteca region of Mexico. As I’ve mentioned before, the Huasteca region is formed by several states, including Veracruz, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Hidalgo, and some areas of Queretaro and Puebla.

These delicious corn dough patties can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be served plain, with cheese, or stuffed like a gordita. Some of the fillings are pork cracklings in salsa, eggs, picadillo, refried beans, and cheese. In some towns, this recipe is made using suet or lard, but since those types of fats are not available everywhere (and some people don’t like their taste), we will be using butter. This is one of the humblest meals you can find in our gastronomy, and it has been made for generations. Especially in more rural areas, people will have these patties for breakfast or dinner with coffee. I love that you can make a batch of them and just reheat a couple to have along with your afternoon cup of coffee.

There are other versions of these patties where the dough is mixed with black beans.


  • 1 cup of corn flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter or lard
  • 1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco*
  • 3 Tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, or mint
  • ¾ cup warm water

Bocoles, corn masa cakes recipe

  • In case you don’t find the Mexican cheese, you can use other cheeses like feta or parmesan (these two are a little salty, so omit the salt mentioned in the ingredients list if using them). You can also use some shredded cheese, like Monterrey, if none of the others are available.
  • The instructions for this recipe call for a tortilla maker, but you can also form the patties by hand, if you are up to it.
  • While forming the patties, have a small bowl with warm water close by, that way you can moisten your fingertips in order to smooth the edges of the patties. I recommend this because corn dough tends to dry up quickly, making it difficult to shape.


Bocoles, corn masa cakes recipe
1.     Place the corn flour, salt, butter, and cheese in a bowl, and stir to mix well. Once these ingredients are completely mixed, add the chopped cilantro.
2.     Slowly add the warm water and knead to form a soft dough, it will feel a little sticky. The total kneading time will be about 4-5 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 small balls.
3.     Heat the griddle to a medium heat, and, using a paper napkin, dab the surface with a little oil. These little patties sometimes tend to stick to the griddle.
4.     To form the patties/bocoles, place each ball of dough between to pieces of plastic, place on your tortilla maker, and gently press down to form a circle of 2-½ inches in diameter and about 1/3-in thick.

Bocoles, corn masa cakes recipe
5.     Place each formed patty on the hot griddle and cook for 2-½ minutes, then turn and cook for 3-½ to 4 minutes and then turn again to cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the griddle and cover with a kitchen napkin to keep them warm while you cook the rest of the dough.

Bocoles, corn masa cakes recipe

Serve topped with salsa, with a cup of coffee for breakfast or dinner. You can also serve them with a bowl of black bean soup, or some delicious creamy guacamole. Enjoy!

Check the recipe for the creamy guacamole bellow.

Creamy guacamole recipe

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  1. Ooooh. These look delicious! I'm going to try this recipe.

  2. By "corn flour" do you mean what in the US is called "Corn Starch"? Or "Corn meal"? These look so good I don't want to use the wrong ingredient

    1. Hello Andrew Mendelsohn,
      Is the one sold as Instant Corn Masa Mix to prepare tortillas, tamales and atoles. Check this link: to see a picture of the package.
      I'm sure you can find it at your local grocery store in the Hispanic or Latin section. Enjoy and happy cooking!

    2. John Cochrane (Ottawa, ON)September 6, 2016 at 11:21 AM

      Hi Andrew, we use Masa Harina (Brand name,) It is easily found in most specialty store. Hope this helps. :)

  3. Hi Mely, In the photo you show tiny little peppers. My dad used to eat these. What are they called? Where did you find them?

    1. Hello,

      These little peppers had many different name in Mexico, depending of the region, since they are a little differente from place to place, some are round, while others have a pointy end. I found them at the latin store, this is the time of the year when you can find them. Here in the States people call them "bird peppers' . You can read more about them here: and here:


  4. John Cochrane (Ottawa, ON)September 6, 2016 at 11:25 AM

    Buenos Dias Mely;

    We made these yesterday for our Labour Day BBQ instead of our normal corn tortillas. . . they were INCREDIBLE!!! Light, flaky, beautiful corn taste, perfect with pico de gallo, guacamole, refried beans, just about anything!!!

    They are so easy to make.

    We couldn't find queso fresco so we used ricotta.

    Thank you for this recipe. . . it will definitely be used regularly!!!

    1. Hello John,

      It's so nice to know you tried the recipe and like it. You just put a smile on my face! ;)

  5. Buenos dias Mely,

    Mil gracias por todas tus recetas me encanta tu pagina. Recientemente hice el pastel de las tres leches para la escuela de mi hija y me quedo excelente así como lo recuerdo de cuando vivía en Mexico.

    Esta manana estoy experimentando con la receta de los bocoles. Te comento que yo nací y crecí en Veracruz y la verdad me dio mucha nostalgia ver esta receta por que extraño mucho mi país y su comida. Hable por teléfono con mi tía (que es una experta en cocina mexicana) y me dio algunos tips extra que quizás quieran probar. Puedes utilizar frijoles refritos o requesón y revolverlos con la masa como variación a la receta original. También para los que no quieran utilizar mantequilla pueden substituir las cucharadas de mantequilla por aceite de oliva como 2 de mantequilla y 2 de aceite, pueden experimentar para ver como prefieren. Los bocoles tipicamente en Veracruz los cortan a la mitad por en medio y los rellenas con lo que gustes como queso panela o fresco, aguacate, salsa etc. Esta mañana desayunamos bocoles y nos quedaron deliciosos. Mil gracias por tu tiempo y dedicación y por compartir tus recetas y cultura de Mexico. Mi hija y yo estamos aprendiendo mucho de nuestro hermoso Mexico a travez de tu pagina.

    Eternamente agradecidas,

    Liz & Elizabeth

    1. Hola Liz & ELizabeth,

      Muchas gracias por visitar el blog y tu comentario. Y si tienes razón, como lo menciono en el segundo párrafo de arriba, los bocoles también se rellenan, de hecho, así los venden en Tampico, y se utiliza también manteca de res como otra opción de grasa, se hacen según el cocinero y lo que tenga a la mano enla cocina. Muy buena tu aportación de que se puede utilizar aceite de oliva. Muchísimas gracias por tu amable visita. Happy cooking!


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