Let's make some Mexican buñuelos! A traditional staple in Mexican desserts, this delicious golden fried fritter is light and airy that still holds a crunch to it. It is often dusted with white sugar and if you are lucky- you might find a dash of cinnamon too. This Mexican buñuelos recipe is perfect for the holidays!
With Christmas around the corner, the streets next to the markets in México are starting to set up makeshift wooden stands to sell all kinds of Holiday crafts for home decorations, Christmas trees, and the Nativity set. A large area is dedicated to selling candies, small oranges or apples, and diverse types of treats to fill the piñata.
There are also food vendors that provide the regular hot atole and tamales to warm you up while you go on your day of festive shopping. But, there is always at least one food stand (my favorite actually) that is selling the traditional buñuelos.
These light, crispy, and sweet round discs of fried dough sprinkled with sugar or bathed in piloncillo syrup. It's very delicious!
History Behind Traditional Mexican Buñuelos
These buñuelos are different from the recipe that originally was brought to México by the Spaniards. In the southern states of México, like in Tabasco, cooks still make a very similar pastry version of the Spanish buñuelos, and you can see the recipe on my friend Flavio’s Blog.
The state of Veracruz has several types of buñuelos like sweet potato buñuelos and pumpkin buñuelos. Some are small balls or donuts that are fried in lard and then dusted with sugar.
Another type of buñuelo in Mexico is the almond buñuelos from Tlacotalpa, Veracruz where almond flour and orange juice are added to the dough. Also from Veracruz are the rice buñuelos which are made with finely ground cooked rice and mixed with eggs and anise seed tea for flavor.
Frequently Asked Question About Buñuelos
Before I share my buñuelos recipe, here are a few questions I've been asked about homemade buñuelos.
Is it like a sopapilla?
Yes and no. While they are both traditional desserts made with dough that are then fried to golden perfection, they are not quite the same when it comes to shape and texture.
What is the difference between a sopapilla and a buñuelo?
The difference between a buñuelo and a sopapilla is usually that buñuelos have more ingredients like eggs and they are round and lighter. Sopapillas, most of the time, are made with a dough similar to that of making flour tortillas which are thicker and shaped in a triangle or square.
Ingredients for Mexican Buñuelos Recipe
Here is the list of ingredients you will need...
- Piloncillo stick
- Cinnamon stick
- Anise seed
- Orange peel
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Butter (melted)
- Warm water
- Vanilla essence
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- Sugar (for coating)
Please note: For exact measurements of the ingredients listed above, scroll down to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post!
How To Make Mexican Buñuelos
To make things easier for you, I am going to breakdown the directions to this recipe into sections.
Make The Piloncillo Syrup
- Place the 1 cup of water and the piloncillo in a medium-size saucepan.
- Heat over medium-high heat until the piloncillo dissolves and it looks like liquid caramel.
- Carefully add the rest of the water, cinnamon stick, guavas, anise seed, and orange peel to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Cook for about 6 minutes, stir and boil for 4 more minutes.
- Set aside to use as a topping for the buñuelos.
Note: If you want a thicker consistency, simmer for a longer period of time until desired thickness.
Make The Dough
- In a large bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
- Form a hollow hole in the center and add the egg, melted butter, and vanilla.
- Mix everything together until the mixture resembles a coarse flour meal.
- Slowly add the water a tablespoon at a time, mixing and kneading until you have a soft and smooth dough. This will take less than 5 minutes.
- Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Prep The Area To Roll Out Dough
- While the dough is resting prepare your working area with a rolling pin, a large dish with the paper towel or open paper bags, extra flour for rolling the circles, and a large frying pan with the vegetable oil ready for the moment you start frying the buñuelos.
Shape The Buñuelos
- Divide the dough into 12 small balls and cover.
- Heat ¾ inches of oil in the large frying pan.
- Place one of the dough balls on your already floured working surface and stretch with your rolling pin.
- Roll out each ball to form a circle as thin as possible without breaking the dough.
- To give that extra stretching to the buñuelo, place the dough on an inverted bowl or clay pot covered with the pastry towel and pull the edges very gently. The buñuelo should be thin, almost transparent.
Fry The Buñuelos
- Fry the buñuelos in very hot oil until they are golden and crispy. This step will take a few seconds.
- Place the buñuelos on a plate covered with paper towels to drain the excess oil.
- Serve warm or at room temperature and sprinkle with sugar.
What To Serve With Mexican Buñuelos
All I want to have with my buñuelos are some delicious Mexican hot chocolate!
- Anise tea is very often used instead of plain water and vanilla lending a sweet aroma to the buñuelos. To make anise tea, place 1 and ½ cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, add the anise seeds, and set aside to cool. Strain and use the amount needed to make a dough.
- You can also use orange liqueur or essence instead of vanilla.
- The piloncillo syrup keeps well refrigerated for up to 1 week. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- How to preserve for a longer period: If you do not sprinkle the sugar right away, store them in an airtight container, it can still be nice and crispy for another day. Just add the sugar when you serve them.
- If you prefer to serve them warm, place them in your oven on a low setting for 5 minutes.
- Some cooks use the same dough used for making flour tortillas to make buñuelos. Although the flavor is not the same, they make a good vegan version.
How To Make Buñuelos Ahead Of Time And Store Them
You can prepare the dough for buñuelos a day in advance and refrigerate it. I have even frozen it for a couple of days and then bring it back to room temperature before forming the buñuelos.
After you have sugared them, store them in an airtight container so they do not go stale.
More Authentic Mexican Recipes To Enjoy
If you enjoyed this recipe for buñuelos which is one of the many Mexican Christmas food desserts, take a look at some of these other authentic Mexican recipes:
- Buñuelos De Yuca (Cassava Fritters)
- Mexican Sevillanos-Style Polvorones
- Churros Mexicanos
- Cream Cheese Pound Cake
- Mexican Bread Pudding
I hope you make this recipe for Mexican buñuelos! If this recipe was of any help to you, come back to let me know your experience. Please leave us a comment done below and tell us all about it!
Piloncillo Syrup for buñuelos:
- 3 ½ cups of water
- 1 large piloncillo stick (about 12 oz.)
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 6 guayabas chopped or cut in quarters(guavas)
- ⅓ teaspoon anise seed
- ¼ of an orange peel
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of butter melted and already cool
- About ¾ cup of warm water *
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence **
- About 2 cups of vegetable oil to fry the Buñuelos
- Sugar to sprinkle
Piloncillo Syrup for buñuelos
- Place the 1 cup of water and the piloncillo in a medium-size saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the piloncillo dissolves and it looks like liquid caramel.
- Carefully add the rest of the water, cinnamon stick, guavas, aniseed and orange peel and bring to a boil. Cook for about 6 minutes, stir and boil for 4 more minutes. Set aside to use as a topping for the buñuelos.
- If you want a thicker consistency, simmer for a longer period of time until desired thickness. The syrup keeps well refrigerated for up to 1 week.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, 1 Tablespoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Form a well in the center and add the egg, melted butter and vanilla. Mix until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Slowly add the water a tablespoon at a time, mixing and kneading until you have a soft and smooth dough. This will take less than 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting prepare your working area with a rolling pin, a large dish with paper towel or open paper bags, extra flour for rolling the circles, a large frying pan with the vegetable oil ready for the moment you start frying the Buñuelos.
- Divide the dough in 12 small balls and cover. Heat ¾ inch of oil the large frying pan.
- Place one of the dough balls in your already floured working surface and stretch with your rolling pin. Roll out each ball to forma a circle as thin as possible without breaking the dough.
- To give that extra stretching to the Buñuelo, place on the inverted bowl or clay pot covered with the pastry towel and pull the edges very gentle. The Buñuelo should be thin almost transparent. Before cooking, some people like to place all the already former buñuelos over a clean tablecloth, in a large table, making sure they don’t touch each other. This step will dry the dough, the buñuelos will be even crispier, and absorb less oil while cooking.
- Fry the buñuelos in very hot oil until they are golden and crispy. This step will take a few seconds. Place the buñuelos on a plate covered with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve warm or at room temperature and sprinkle with sugar. If you do not sprinkle the sugar right away they can still be nice and crispy for another day and just add the sugar at serving time. If you prefer to serve them warm, place them in your oven in a low setting for 5 minutes. Now, we need some hot chocolate to go along with the buñuelos.