Authentic Mexican Buñuelos (Buñuelos Mexicanos)
Lightly sweetened and perfectly golden brown, this homemade authentic Mexican Buñuelos recipe is a must during the holiday season, but is lovely all year round. Each of these buñuelos mexicanos is essentially a crispy fried tortilla with cinnamon and sugar, perfect for drizzling with a touch of honey.
This traditional Mexican treat is a favorite at our house, especially around Christmas. Served with cafe de olla or champurrado, they’re a bundle full of warm, cozy feel-good-edness. Give this simple, 30-minute crispy fritter recipe a try – I’m sure you’ll love it!
What Are Buñuelos?
Buñuelos Mexicanos (pronounced “boon-WELL-ohs meh-HE-KHAN-ohs”) are a yummy type of dough-based Mexican fritters. Unlike other Latin American versions of this dessert that are thick and puffy like donuts, buñuelos are light and crispy.
My grandma used to make them, but never called them “buñuelos.” Her recipe was essentially the same as her flour tortilla recipe, which she then fried to golden, crispy perfection and drizzled with miel virgen (honey). I still remember licking my sticky fingers wanting more.
This is my mom’s recipe and is so special that it is also published in the first, Muy Bueno cookbook, In my latest cookbook, Muy Bueno Fiestas, there is also a variation of these buñuelos drizzled with a gingerbread piloncillo syrup.
Technically speaking, these are buñuelos de rodilla, or “knee fritters.” The other type of Mexican buñuelos are buñuelos de viento, or “wind fritters.” This rodilla version is much simpler, requiring just a rolling pin. Making the viento version requires a piece of equipment known as a buñalera, or rosette-shaped buñuelo mold.
Ingredients & Substitutions
You only need a handful of pantry ingredients and a few kitchen staples to make this simple recipe for buñuelos Mexicanos.
- All-Purpose Flour: Plain flour is all you need.
- Baking Powder: Not to be confused with baking soda, this leavening agent is what helps the tortillas rise slightly without poofing up like a donut.
- Salt: A little bit of salt helps to balance the sweetness.
- Ground Cinnamon: This warming spice is central to a lot of Mexican desserts. Feel free to experiment with other warming spices like star anise, cardamom, nutmeg, or even pumpkin pie spice. While they won’t be traditional, they’ll be delicious!
- Milk: I prefer using whole milk for a little extra richness, but you can swap in the dairy or plant-based milk of your choice.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter here, but feel free to use salted and slightly decrease the amount of added salt by a pinch or two if needed.
- Vanilla Extract: For aromatic warmth. You can also use an equal amount of vanilla paste or vanilla powder, or half as much ground vanilla bean.
- Eggs: I generally use large eggs, so if you’re swapping in liquid eggs from a carton, use a scant ½ cup.
- Neutral Oil: For frying the fritters. I typically reach for canola oil, but vegetable, avocado, or grapeseed oil will also work.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is the best for making cinnamon sugar that will stick. Don’t use brown sugar as the added moisture could make your buñuelos a little soft.
How to Make Buñuelos Mexicanos
Only about 30 minutes stand between you and a pile of this easy buñuelos recipe. Make sure to check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and quantities and watch this video to see how simple it is to make these authentic Mexican buñuelos!
Mix dry ingredients: In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Heat dairy: In a saucepan heat milk, butter, and vanilla and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool.
Mix wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, then add the beaten eggs to the room temperature milk mixture and whisk quickly.
Mix wet & dry: Add the liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
Knead dough on lightly floured surface 2 to 3 minutes until smooth.
Shape: After you knead the dough, divide into 20 dough balls. With a rolling pin, roll out thin tortillas and place them on a clean, dry tablecloth.
Dry: Lay out all the thin tortilla flats on a tablecloth and let them dry. Turn them over once to ensure they are dry on both sides. This helps remove most of the moisture before frying, which helps to prevent the oil from popping out at you.
Fry: Heat one-inch of oil in a skillet wide enough for the tortillas to fry flat. Deep-fry tortillas in the hot oil until golden brown, turning once. Remove from pan; stand vertically in a bowl lined with paper towels and drain excess oil.
Garnish: While still warm, sprinkle fried tortillas on both sides with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Enjoy!
As much as I love this fried tortilla dessert just the way it’s written, I want to make sure you can get in on the fun no matter what your dietary preferences are. Here are a few ideas to make this recipe your own:
- Gluten-Free: While I haven’t tested it, I think this recipe would work well with a cup-for-cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. Just make sure to cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes after kneading to allow the flour to properly rehydrate, or they may end up a little grainy.
- Dairy-Free – Swap in vegan butter and use the plant-based milk of your choice.
Expert Tips & Tricks
- Roll thin: The dough should be rolled very thin, almost transparent, to achieve the classic crispy texture. If the dough is too thick, the buñuelos may turn out doughy.
- Dry: When all the rounds are on the tablecloth, let them dry, turning them over once, for about 30 minutes. This helps remove most of the moisture before frying, resulting in a crispier buñuelo that absorbs less oil while cooking. Prick each round once with fork times to prevent bubbles from forming during frying.
- Temperature: Maintaining the right medium-high temperature of the oil is crucial. It should be hot enough to puff up the dough instantly but not so hot that the buñuelos burn. Before you put your first buñuelo in the oil, make sure it hits a temperature of about 325-350 degrees F. No thermometer? Stick the handle end of a wooden spoon in the oil — if it bubbles relatively aggressively, it’s ready to go. If your buñuelo sinks to the bottom without bubbling much, the oil needs to be hotter.
- Fry: To cook the buñuelos evenly, gently press down with a spatula or spoon while frying. This ensures that all parts of the buñuelo are submerged in oil and get an even golden color.
- Drain: After frying, place the buñuelos on a paper towel or a rack to drain excess oil and avoid greasiness.
- Coat while warm: Generously dust the buñuelos with cinnamon sugar while warm to guarantee it adheres to the crispy fried dough.
Frequently Asked Questions
Buñuelos are often mistaken for sopaipillas. Sopaipillas are closer to fry bread and puff up like a pillow when they hit the oil. They turn golden brown on the outside, but are soft and bready in the inside. Authentic Mexican buñuelos, on the other hand, are rolled out thin and fried until crispy.
The dough for softer sopaipillas is also enriched with more eggs and fat, contributing to their softer consistency. Buñuelos also have less leavening added, which keeps them from puffing up too much.
Both are tempting cinnamon sugar-dusted Mexican desserts, but they’re quite different. As we’ve discussed above, buñuelos are rolled out super thin, fried until they’re golden and crispy, and sprinkled with a generous dose of cinnamon and sugar. They’re like the delicately crunchy leaves of autumn — light, airy, and full of flavor.
Now, on to churros, which are kind of like Mexican donuts. They’re made from sweet dough that is piped into long, ridged sticks or round swirls, and then fried to perfection before rolling in cinnamon sugar. When you bite into a churro, there’s a delightful crunch followed by a soft, slightly chewy inside. And let me tell you, dunking them in Mexican hot chocolate? That’s a match made in heaven!
To me, they taste like my abuela’s kitchen — warm, cozy, and totally comforting. The predominant flavor is cinnamon sugar, and the texture is light and crisp.
They are excellent served as is, but I personally love drizzling them with sticky honey, a warm piloncillo syrup, or even some warmed maple syrup. Bonus points if you serve them with some cafe de olla. YUM! I also imagine they’d be darn good crushed on top of vanilla ice cream.
They definitely can be! Try these gorgeous buñuelos de viento.
I recommend stacking them on a plate and covering them with a simple paper towel or light kitchen towel on the kitchen counter for up to three days to keep their crunch and texture.
More Cinnamon-Flavored Mexican Desserts
- Churros with Mexican Chocolate Dipping Sauce
- Cinnamon Churro Sandwiches with Lemon Cream Filling
- Authentic Sopaipillas
- Sopaipilla Cheesecake
- Cinnamon Horchata Rice Pudding
- Mexican Chocolate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cookies
If you tried this delicious recipe for homemade Authentic Mexican Buñuelos (Buñuelos Mexicanos), please let me know! Leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #muybuenocooking.
Mexican Buñuelos Recipe (Buñuelos Mexicanos)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a saucepan heat milk, butter, and vanilla and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool.
- In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, then add the beaten eggs to the room temperature milk mixture and whisk quickly.
- Add the liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
- Knead dough on lightly floured surface 2 to 3 minutes until smooth.
- After you knead the dough, divide into 20 dough balls. With a rolling pin, roll out thin tortillas.
- Lay out all the thin tortilla flats on a tablecloth and let them dry. Turn them over once to ensure drying on both sides. This helps remove most of the moisture before frying.
- Heat one-inch of oil in a skillet wide enough for the tortillas to fry flat. Deep-fry tortillas until golden brown, turning once. Remove from pan; stand vertically in a bowl lined with paper towels and drain excess oil.
- While warm, sprinkle fried tortillas on both sides with sugar-cinnamon mixture.
Originally published: December 2010. This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.