19 Authentic Mexican Desserts (+Recipes)

Have you ever had Taco Tuesdays with your family? Oh, only every week?

Take a Look ↓↓↓

Well, here is a question. What do you have for desserts on those evenings?

The fact is, most people love Mexican or Tex-Mex food, but the traditional desserts seem intimidating.

If this sounds familiar, then you’re in for a surprise. You can actually enjoy an authentic Mexican dessert without having to spend hours in the kitchen.

From familiar caramel flan to frozen paletas, we’ve got you covered with lots of easy Mexican desserts.

Let’s dive in and explore some of the best Mexican dessert recipes.

Source: onceuponachef.com

1. Caramel Flan

Perhaps one of the most well-known Mexican desserts, Mexican flan is the stuff of dreams. It looks like cheesecake, but it’s so very different.

Flan is a custard-like dessert that is served with creamy caramel sauce. Although it looks like it would be intimidating to prepare at home, it’s actually quite a simple recipe.

One thing to remember when baking flan is to bake it in a water bath. This ensures that the flan bakes evenly and keeps the eggs and egg whites from curdling.

The best thing about flan is that it has just a few simple ingredients that most of us already have in our pantry.

We love this specific recipe because it has just a touch of bourbon.

Source: everydaysouthwest.com

2. Pastel de Elote (Mexican Sweet Corn Cake)

We have another recipe for Mexican sweet corn cake (pastel de elote) below, but this sweet Mexican dessert is slightly different because it’s baked in a bundt pan.

Sweet Mexican corn cake is traditionally made during the holiday season, but there’s no reason you can’t create this delicious cake any day of the year.

In Mexican culture, corn is an important crop, and this cake doesn’t leave corn out of the equation. In fact, there are three different types of corn products in the recipe: cornmeal, whole kernel corn (frozen or canned), and cornflour.

The bundt pan allows you to get beautiful ridges that the cajeta or caramel will be able to ooze from.

These cakes are full of delicious corn flavors, and that’s important because corn is one of Mexico’s most important crops.

You can top your pastel de elote with whipped cream, cajeta, caramel, dulce de leche, powdered sugar, or even vanilla ice cream. Decadent!

Source: thechunkychef.com

3. Mexican Hot Chocolate

Everyone loves hot chocolate, but hot chocolate is the same everywhere around the world…right? Wrong!

When it comes to a hot drink that is soul-satisfying and heartwarming, no one does hot chocolate better than Mexican cooks (or those of us who are aspiring to be Mexican cooks).

Mexican hot chocolate is made with 100% unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, milk, and a dash of cayenne pepper for a comforting beverage that is like nothing anywhere in the world.

To send this Mexican hot cocoa over the moon, top it with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

You can also make this with Mexican chocolate.

Source: isabeleats.com

4. Mexican Sweet Bread (Conchas)

If you’ve ever had the amazing opportunity to visit a Mexican grocery store, you have no doubt seen the giant wall of colorful shell-shaped or round bread that line at least one wall of the store.

In Mexico, conchas are everywhere, much like cupcakes are everywhere in the U.S.

They are usually frosted with colorful sugar frosting and sometimes even have sprinkles.

A pan dulce (sweet bread), conchas are one of Mexico’s most popular breads. The bread isn’t overly sweet, but it’s sublimely fluffy and airy.

It’s the topping that is so satisfying, though. It’s sweet and crunchy.

Here’s a fun way to try conchas: make them in a traditional Mexican bread pudding.

Source: mexicoinmykitchen.com

5. Mexican Buñuelos

Reminiscent of churros, buñuelos are sort of like a Mexican donut hole (except they don’t come out of donuts).

The texture of buñuelos will remind you of a sugared donut, and these tasty little nuggets are just as sweet.

What makes buñuelos so perfect is that they’re deep-fried. Also, they get their sweetness from piloncillo syrup, which is very fruity.

You can make them in two different shapes: round with hollowed centers or flattened.

In some Latin countries, round buñuelos are the most popular, but in Mexico, you will most often find the crispy flattened type.

Source: barefeetinthekitchen.com

6. Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican wedding cookies are also called snowballs, polvorons, and butterballs.

The best part is that you don’t have to go to a wedding to gobble up these tasty little treats. You can easily make them at home.

They are dainty little cookies that are tender, sweet, nutty, with a hint of butter, all at the same time. When you bite into these little gems, you will experience the purest kind of ecstasy.

Like many traditional Mexican desserts, Mexican wedding cookies seem much more complex than they are. However, they only have a few pantry staples for ingredients.

Source: sweetlifebake.com

7. Pineapple Empanadas

Typically, most people have had an empanada that is savory, whether as a quick and tasty snack or a main dish.

Most empanadas have savory meat and potatoes, along with spicy sauces. However, when they’re sweet, they’re something super special.

Think of something like the American fried apple pies that people used to make with apple pie filling and rolled out biscuit dough and you will understand that lure of sweet pineapple empanadas.

You can take this recipe and customize it however you like. For example, the recipe lists pineapple preserves, but you can use other kinds of preserves or jams that you already have on hand.

Another idea: make your pineapple empanadas with the pineapple flavored cream cheese from the grocery store.

Source: chef-in-training.com

8. Sweet Mexican Corn Cake

A traditional Mexican Christmas Eve dessert, sweet Mexican corn cake is a holiday classic. This recipe is more traditional than the one we share further down in our list.

This cake is incredibly sweet and moist and it uses three different corn products: cornmeal, cornflour, and actual whole kernel corn.

Corn is an important food in Mexican culture, and some of the country’s most popular and authentic dishes have corn as their main base or other ingredients.

Once you make your corn cakes, you can choose from a variety of different toppings.

Keep it simple with ice cream, or go all out by serving your corn cakes with caramel or cajeta. Another quick and easy topping is sprinkled powdered sugar.

Source: cookingclassy.com

9. Horchata

A list of traditional Mexican dessert recipes wouldn’t be complete without horchata. This traditional Mexican drink is made with milk and rice.

Most people have only enjoyed this classic Mexican beverage at high-end Mexican restaurants, but this drink is super easy to make at home.

Even better, when you make it at home, it’s fresh and you can make it just as you like.

Like many traditional Mexican recipes, horchata calls for ingredients that most people already have in their pantries, so it doesn’t get any easier than that.

If you have a can of sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, real vanilla extract, and rice, you’ve got everything you need to make your own homemade horchata.

Drink it as it is, or for some adult tastiness, spike your horchata with a shot of rum. Yum!

Source: cookingclassy.com

10. Churros

Fancy some deep-fried cookie dough that’s coated in zesty cinnamon sugar, then dipped in caramel or Mexican chocolate sauce? Absolutely!

A churro is crunchy on the outside, yet it is moist and fluffy on the inside.

In other words, a churro is simple perfection at its finest. Even better? They’re super easy to make.

Like most fried foods, churros are best when eaten fresh and hot, so making them at home is ideal.

The secret to the perfect churro is using real ingredients. By that, we mean real unsalted butter and real vanilla (not the imitation stuff).

These delicious little nuggets of wonder that are homemade churros are melt-in-your-mouth yummy.

Source: preppykitchen.com

11. Dulce de Leche

When you think of Mexican dessert recipes, you probably have dreams of sopapillas, churros, and Mexican wedding cookies.

However, one of the sweetest delicacies to emerge out of the Mexican kitchen is dulce de leche.

Dulce de leche is Spanish for “sweetened milk” and that’s exactly what it is.

Picture sweetened condensed milk but even sweeter and taken to a whole different level of decadence.

To make dulce de leche, you can actually use a can of condensed milk and spread it into a pan.

After it bakes for a couple of hours, you are left with a creamy sauce that is over-the-top sublime.

Use your dulce de leche on ice cream or frozen yogurt, in cakes, and even on cookies.

Want to try your dulce de leche with a vegetable? Drizzle it over a sweet potato.

Source: gimmesomeoven.com

12. Sopapillas

The first Mexican dessert most people north of the border encounter is a fluffy and light sopapilla, which has to be dripping with honey. Sometimes a sopapilla is made from a tortilla, but this isn’t the traditional way to make them.

When you go to a Mexican restaurant, at the end of the meal, it’s very common for the staff to put a bowl of piping hot sopapillas on the table, along with a squeeze container of honey and some pats of real butter.

Sopapillas are made with basic ingredients from the pantry and they’re a favorite of people of all ages.

Most recipes for sopapillas use shortening, but this recipe that we found calls for coconut oil, which is a little more heart-healthy. Another option is to use butter.

Traditionally, sopapillas are drizzled with warm honey, but you can also sprinkle them with powdered sugar for a delightful after-dinner treat.

Want a little more of a Mexican kick? Mix your powdered sugar with cinnamon, one of the most popular spices used in Mexican recipes.

Source: tasteofhome.com

13. Strawberry, Basil, and Honey Mexican Paletas

Almost nothing refreshes quite like a popsicle.

But what is even better than a popsicle? Popsicles that are made with fresh fruit and spices.

Mexican paletas are legendary. Most of us have seen “paleteros” (ice cream men) pushing around little carts full of these frozen treats in parks, walking locations, and residential areas.

Paletas are one of the easiest Mexican desserts you can make at home.

This simple recipe calls for strawberries and lime juice, with a lot of fresh basil to spice things up.

For sweetener, you use honey, which is traditionally used to sweeten many Mexican desserts.

Here’s the great thing about this recipe: you can make it with a variety of different fruits. Once you have the basic technique down, you’re ready to roll!

Source: piesandtacos.com

14. Dulce de Leche Donuts

If you’ve been to Krispy Kreme lately, you may have enjoyed the extremely guilty (but wonderful) pleasure of their delicious dulce de leche donuts.

Well, there’s no need to get into the car and rush to your nearest Krispy Kreme because you can actually make this decadent treat at home.

Dulce de leche is super easy to make, and whipping up these cute little donuts is nearly as simple.

The donuts are fluffy and soft, and they have dulce de leche as the most perfect filling you ever dreamed of.

Once they’re cooked, you can sprinkle them with powdered sugar to make them even more perfect, as if that is even possible.

When you bite into these, you will swear you’ve taken a short trip to heaven.

Source: yogaofcooking.co

15. Chocoflan Impossible Cake

Although it has the word “impossible” in the title, chocolflan impossible cake is totally possible and it’s not that difficult to make.

Chocoflan impossible cake is made with a layer of vanilla flan and rich chocolate cake. Then, it’s topped off with a decadent cajeta.

This cake is called impossible in part because it’s so impossibly delicious. Seriously, how can anything be this heavenly?

But that’s not all. The other “impossible” part is that you drizzle your cajeta into a pan, then pour in the cake batter, and last, pour in your flan mixture.

That’s when the magic happens. The layers actually reverse and the flan comes out on top, with the cake at the bottom. What?

This cake is one of the richest desserts you will ever eat, guaranteed.

Source: tastesbetterfromscratch.com

16. Tres Leches Cake

One of the most famous Mexican desserts is the gorgeous tres leches cake that is found at nearly every celebration of Mexican families.

Tres leches translates to “three milks” in Spanish and the three kinds of milk used to make this beautiful cake are evaporated milk, heavy cream, and sweetened condensed milk.

How can anything with those three types of milk be anything but incredible?

Also, this cake is surprisingly easy to make. If you’ve ever made a spo0nge cake, then making a tres leches cake is a piece of cake (ha).

Even better, this is a cake that can be made ahead and frozen for future use.

Interestingly, this cake recipe doesn’t call for butter or oil. What’s not to love?

Source: saltandbaker.com

17. Rice Pudding

Rice is one of the most commonly eaten foods in the world, and this traditional grain is a staple of Mexican cooking.

Like most cultures, the Mexican culture uses rice to make a delicious sweet pudding. Arroz con Leche translates to “rice with milk,” and it’s just as creamy as you would imagine.

You can make the rice ahead for this easy Mexican dessert recipe, or use leftover rice, which is what most Mexican cooks have always done.

The recipe uses simply milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and milk, with just a pinch of salt.

But how about adding a little grown-up kick to this homey dessert with a smidgen of rum?

You can serve Mexican rice pudding warm or cold.

Source: life-in-the-lofthouse.com

18. Fried Ice Cream

Do you remember the first time you ever heard of fried ice cream?

If you’re like most of us, your brain did a few flip-flops and came out on the other side asking, “What???”

It sounds like an oxymoron, but the fact is, fried ice cream (sometimes called ice cream ball) is absolutely wondrous and a classic Mexican dessert.

To make this recipe for fried ice cream, you’re just going to do a quick and easy pan-fry to create a dreamy crust.

The magic comes from crushed corn fakes, something most folks have in their pantry at any given time.

Like many Mexican recipes, this one makes excellent use of cinnamon and caramel.

Source: spanishsabores.com

19. Buñuelos

We are going to end our list of wonderful sweet Mexican desserts with buñuelos, but this time we’re sharing a recipe for the round buñuelos, which is a type of fried dough.

The recipe we shared earlier was for the traditional flat Mexican buñuelos, but in some Latin countries, you will more often find the round buñuelos that will make you think of what we call donut holes in the U.S.

Also popular in Mexico, these buñuelos are little round wonder balls that are super easy to pull together.

The balls of dough are fried and they’re made from an easy dough recipe.

These are delicious topped with powdered sugar, dulce de leche, or chocolate sauce.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community.
She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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