8 Traditional Mexican Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Published on July 19, 2021

Mexican cuisine is known for its unique flavour combinations and the quality of its ingredients – and its desserts are no different. However, not many people are familiar with Mexican desserts, which is unfortunate, because they will truly satisfy and delight those with a sweet tooth. If the closest you have ever gotten to enjoying a Mexican dessert is eating churros – this post will open up a whole new world for you!

By the way, if you haven’t tried churros – make sure you add them to your order the next time you visit Quesada! These delicious pastries, served hot and rolled in cinnamon sugar, can be found on our menu

History has played a major part in the evolution of Mexican desserts

But before we dive into the sweetness, it’s worth mentioning the origins of Mexican desserts – or postres, as they are called in Spanish. Sweets have been around a long time in Mexico. For thousands of years, the indigenous people of Mexico were making desserts with the ingredients that were available to them: fruits, nuts, chocolate, honey, coconut and milk.

When the Spanish arrived in Mexico, they introduced new ingredients, like oil, as well as new cooking methods. The blending of native and Spanish influence led to the creation of a unique array of desserts with sophisticated flavour profiles, including combinations of sweet and savoury and sweet and spicy.

Get acquainted with the sweet side of Mexican cooking

Below you will find a list of 8 traditional Mexican desserts, including puddings, cakes, cookies, and even popsicles. 

  1. Flan

Flan is a silky custardy dessert topped with caramel. Originally a Spanish import, it is now popular all over Latin America. Traditionally, it’s made with eggs, sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, evaporated milk and condensed milk. Flan is very versatile and many versions of it have sprung up over the years, including coffee flan, orange flan, and dulce de leche flan.

  1. Pastel de Tres Leches

In Spanish, pastel de tres leches means “three milks cake”. And that’s an accurate description, because this dessert is essentially sponge cake soaked in three types of milk: sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream. As a result, the consistency of this tasty sweet treat is more like custard than cake.

  1. Capirotada

Many Mexican desserts are traditionally connected to certain holidays. The capirotada, which is similar to bread pudding, is one of these desserts – it is commonly served on Good Friday and eaten during Lent. Capirotada is made with toasted bolillo (a bread similar to baguette) that is soaked in whole cane sugar, cinnamon sticks, and clove. Ingredients that are also usually added in are dried and fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, and aged cheese.

  1. Arroz con Leche

Rice pudding is another Mexican favourite. This dish of Spanish origin is rich and creamy, and can served hot, cold, or in room temperature – whichever suits your tastes. Arroz con leche is made by boiling rice, water and cinnamon, cooking the rice until its tender and then adding in whole milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk. Common toppings are raisins, cinnamon, coconut, brown sugar, honey or nutmeg.

  1. Buñuelos

Another holiday-related dessert is the Mexican buñuelo. Buñuelos are fried dough fritters that are traditionally served during Christmas and New Year’s. Different versions of Buñuelos can be found across Latin America and some countries in Europe like Spain, Turkey and Greece. In the Mexican version, the dough is flattened into a disc shape and topped with sugar and cinnamon or piloncillo (pure cane sugar) syrup.

  1. Palanquetas

Palanquetas are Mexico’s version of nut brittle. These crunchy bars can be made from any combination of nuts, fruits and seeds, but are most commonly made with peanuts. The nuts are combined with piloncillo, which caramelizes in the cooking process. The mixture is then placed on a baking pan, flattened, and cut into the desired shapes. Palanquetas are pretty easy to make at home and make for a nutritious snack when you need some energy!

  1. Paletas

Sometimes all you crave on a hot summer day is a cool, fruity, refreshing treat – and that’s exactly what paletas are! Paletas are not your usual popsicle. They are usually less sweet and contain fresh fruit (lots of it!), which makes them a healthy, wholesome treat. Common flavours are pineapple, strawberry, watermelon, cantaloupe and mango, but occasionally Mexican paleterias go a little wild and opt for some unconventional flavours like rose petal, avocado and corn!

  1. Mexican Wedding Cookies

These popular cookies are known by many names: Mexican wedding cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, Mexican tea cakes, snowdrops, snowballs, sand cookies… The name isn’t really important in this case: all you should know is that these cookies are delicious. These buttery cookies are round in shape and their fluffy, crumbly texture resembles shortbread. They often contain a surprise in their center, like chopped nuts, maraschino cherries, candy or chocolate, and have a double coating of powdered sugar. These sweet, delicate cookies are perfect for any occasion!

Are you drooling yet? Make sure you try one or more of these Mexican desserts as soon as possible!