The best traditional Mexican desserts are tasty, sweet, and easy to make. Is your tummy rumbling for a taste of Mexican confections and treats? If so, try any—or all—of the dishes listed below!
- 1. Conchas (Pan Dulce)
- 2. Mexican Wedding Cookies
- 3. Fresas Con Crema
- 4. Arroz Con Leche
- 5. Tres Leches Cake
- 6. Sopaipillas
- 7. Churros
- 8. Plátano Fritos
- 9. Pastel de Elote
- 10. Buñuelos
- 11. Cajeta
- 12. Alegría
- 13. Cocadas
- 14. Marranitos
- 15. Bionicos
- 16. Horchata
- 17. Flan
- 18. Marquesitas
- 19. Paletas
- 20. Hojarascas
- 21. Carlota de Limón
- Final Thoughts
- 📖 Recipe
This treat is also called Pan Dulce or Mexican Sweet Bread and is instantly recognizable thanks to the seashell-like ridges along the top, which is where this treat gets its name (concha meaning "shell").
Though the bread is almost always golden brown, conchas come in various colors. That's because they're covered in an icing-like mix of sugar and spices, which can be white, red, or brown, depending on the added ingredients.
Still, these sweet rolls are often buttery, chocolatey, and undeniably delicious. You can make them in an hour or less!
Mexican Wedding Cookies are a great example of a sweet that takes hardly any time to whip up (only about half an hour in terms of prep and cooking), and they're some of the most iconic traditional treats throughout Central America.
These sugar-covered cookies (which resemble tiny powdered balls) will make your tastebuds tingle thanks to their nutty vanilla flavor.
One of the best aspects of Fresas con Crema is that it requires virtually no preparation. This traditional dessert is essentially just berries and cream in a cup!
To make this Mexican treat, you'll want to mix sour cream, vanilla extract, and condensed milk and add sliced strawberries (or any berry you enjoy). Combine, then dollop into a cup or bowl for a wonderfully creamy and naturally sugary dessert that won't leave you feeling heavy.
If you're a fan of tapioca pudding, there's a good chance you'll fall in love with Arroz con Leche.
This dessert is mostly milk, cinnamon, and white rice, so putting it together requires hardly any time. In fact, the most challenging part of creating this sweet dish is boiling the rice!
Though Arroz con Leche (literally "rice with milk") is traditionally topped with raisins, you can opt to go without for a creamier tasting experience.
Many Mexican cakes have crisp, almost wafer-like layers that are different from the fluffy, super-moist cakes popular throughout the United States. But Tres Leches is an exception, likely due to the three types of milk (hence the name) required to make it.
This fluffy treat does take a little longer to prepare and bake than other traditional Mexican desserts, but it's also one of the most well-known and beloved treats.
Sopaipillas are squares or circles of fried dough, and they're a popular dessert throughout Central and South America. But if you'd like to enjoy a distinctly Mexican version, you'll want to shape your Sopaipillas into triangles and rectangles.
Though you'll need to make your own dough to create authentic Sopaipillas, frying these puffy doughnut-like desserts only takes a few minutes. The sugar-and-cinnamon flavor of these tiny bites of deliciousness is often compared to the taste of a fresh-fried churro.
Now, chances are that you've already tried churros. After all, these stick-like pieces of fried dough are common menu items at Mexican restaurants.
Making them at home takes less than an hour, and you'll only need a handful of ingredients. So, next Taco Tuesday, why not serve up some fresh-fried churros?
Plátano Fritos are an easy-to-make dessert. It’s essentially just fried plantain slices (fried in peanut or sunflower oil), and you can smother them in condensed milk, chocolate, or any sweet sauce to make them even more delectable.
Of course, if you decide to snack on them just as they are, you've got yourself a tasty vegan treat!
Have you ever wished that your cornbread had more corn in it? Pastel de Elote (Mexican cornbread) is the answer to your wishes.
This cake-like bread has whole corn kernels spread throughout, resulting in a unique mix of sweet and savory that pairs perfectly with virtually any Mexican entree. But because it contains a little vanilla and condensed milk, it's best saved for dessert.
You can enjoy dessert for breakfast by frying up some homemade buñuelos!
These pancake-shaped discs of fried dough are light, slightly buttery, and often topped with a dash of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
You only need a handful of kitchen staples (baking powder, all-purpose flour, sugar, eggs) to make buñuelos, so you probably won't need to make an emergency grocery store run to try them yourself.
Dulce de Leche is one of the most popular toppings used to make Mexican desserts. But this caramel-like sauce can also transform into a thicker, sweeter version called cajeta.
To make this sauce, you'll need plenty of goat's milk, baking soda, and sugar. You'll also need a decent amount of time to transform these ingredients into the viscous brown delicacy that is cajeta.
Alegría, also called Amaranth Candy, is one of the healthiest traditional Mexican desserts you can make at home.
Because this treat is made of amaranth (a grain similar in size and shape to quinoa), molasses, and pumpkin seeds, it's crunchy, stretchy, sweet, and satisfying. What a wholesome way to enjoy a sugary snack!
Cocadas are primarily made of shredded bits of coconut (or coconut flakes). They're naturally sweet thanks to the coconut, but the thick condensed milk used to keep the flakes together adds an extra sweetness that isn't too overpowering.
You can create these airy coconut-based treats in just half an hour, making them a great last-minute dessert.
Marranitos (little pigs) is a classic holiday dessert in Mexico, and it's essentially Central America's answer to gingerbread men.
If you've ever made gingerbread from scratch, you'll be familiar with this dessert's ingredients, which include molasses, brown sugar, ground ginger, and cinnamon. But if you don't own a pig-shaped cookie cutter, you'll want to pick one up before making marranitos dough.
Doing so will save you time, as shaping these treats using a knife can be tricky.
Fresh fruit is one of the healthiest dessert choices, but plain fruit isn't the most exciting option. Fortunately, dishes like bionicos (Mexican fruit bowls) help spice things up.
Essentially, bionicos is your choice of sliced-and-diced fruit covered in condensed milk, sour cream, and yogurt. If you'd like, sprinkle raisins, nuts, or shredded coconut on top. Every bite is bound to be cool, creamy, and jaw-droppingly delicious!
Horchata is a rice-based drink often served during the holidays when the weather is cold. Though it’s popular throughout North America, and you can likely find it at your local Mexican restaurant, coffee shop, or even a grocery store, it’s also very easy to make at home.
The main ingredients are long-grain white rice and cinnamon sticks that are blended together and left to soak in water for a minimum of eight hours. Along with various other ingredients that add to the flavor, the resulting liquid delivers a unique taste.
Although flan originated in Ancient Rome and was initially popular in Spain, it's a widespread snack and dessert throughout Mexico. Its popularity is such that you can easily find boxed flan mixes throughout grocery stores in North America!
This custard-like cake only takes a few minutes to prepare, though you will need to chill it before serving to ensure it keeps its iconic shape. For the ultimate experience, why not top your flan with a dollop of cajeta?
Marquesitas can be considered Mexico's answer to the infamous Italian cannoli.
Originating from the Yucatán region, these tasty dough-based treats are often filled with chocolatey hazelnut spread (or cajeta), fruit jam or jelly, and cheese. Of course, you can nix the cheese for a purely sweet dessert or make them with only cheese for a more savory snack.
Many traditional Mexican desserts are ideal for cooler weather, but paletas are better suited to summertime. These treats are Mexican popsicles made from fresh fruit, and they're often dusted with a spicy powder like chile piquín or tajín.
You'll need a food processor or blender and some popsicle molds to create this dessert. Just blend your chosen fruit (mango, orange, or strawberries are great choices) into a liquid consistency, pour the juice into a mold, then freeze until solid.
Scottish shortbread is a common wintertime treat throughout North America and the United Kingdom. But why not change things this holiday season by making hojarascas (Mexican shortbread)?
The ingredients are straightforward and include sugar, cinnamon, flour, and butter (or shortening). Simply mix these components, fridge the dough for half an hour, then bake. How easy is that?
21. Carlota de Limón
This icebox cake is easy to make and perfectly moist, sweet, and slightly sour. Besides, you'll only need five core ingredients to make this dessert, so it's just as easy on your budget as your time (it only takes 20 minutes to put together).
Still, because you'll want to let this cake sit overnight in the freezer to solidify, it might not be the best last-minute traditional treat.
Whether you're short on time or looking for a simple dessert dish to satisfy your sweet tooth, these traditional Mexican dishes are bound to satisfy your palate.
So, which of these desserts will become your new go-to post-dinner snack? There's only one way to find out—try them all!
- Review the listed recipes
- Pick your favorites
- Make your desired traditional Mexican Dessert recipes