Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)
Capirotada is a Mexican bread pudding made with cinnamon, piloncillo, cloves, raisins, bread, and cheese. I can smell and taste the sweet warm melted cheese as I type this. Yes, you read it right…cheese. The combination of these ingredients is sure to awaken your taste buds!
What is Ash Wednesday?
Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is the 40-day (excluding Sundays) season that precedes Easter. On Ash Wednesday and all Fridays throughout Lent, most people fast and abstain from eating meat.
What is Capirotada?
The most popular food we eat during Lent is capirotada. Capirotada is a Mexican bread pudding made with cinnamon, piloncillo, cloves, raisins, bread, and cheese. I can smell and taste the sweet warm melted cheese as I type this. Yes, you read it right…cheese.
Why I Love This Recipe
While working in our family’s neighborhood grocery store (Soza’s Grocery) friends and neighbors would share their capirotada dish. I remember some were quite interesting with the addition of peanuts, coconut, bananas, and sprinkles.
So I politely tried their recipe as they stood there waiting for my reaction. I couldn’t possibly tell them I didn’t like it, besides that, my mother would have killed me if I uttered an unkind word to one of our neighbors or customers. Instead I just stood there and thanked them.
We are such creatures of habit, and any capirotada that didn’t taste like our recipe just didn’t cut it for me.
Both my mom and grandma used the most basic of ingredients to make this old world and traditional dish.
Religious Symbolism in Capirotada
Many Mexican and Mexican-American families view this dish as a reminder of the suffering of Christ on the cross. The ingredients in this recipe carry a rich and symbolic representation.
The bread is for the Body of Christ, the syrup is his blood, the cloves are the nails on the cross, the cinnamon sticks symbolize the wooden cross, and the melted cheese stands for the Holy Shroud.
Pick your favorite cheese
I like the contrast of flavors of salty Longhorn cheddar or Colby with the sweetness of the capirotada. Have you ever tasted apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese? It’s all about the contrast of sweet and salty. If you like a mild cheese, use Queso Oaxaca. It comes down to personal preference and what you love, and what you are used to.
Watch the video below for our heavenly capirotada family recipe. Try very hard not to eat the entire dish of capirotada at one sitting. Sabroso!
What you will need
For more capirotada inspired dishes, try these:
- Capirotada (Bread Pudding) Muffins
- Mexican Style Baked French Toast Casserole
- Bourbon Bread Pudding with Harvest Berry Sauce
If you have tried this capirotada recipe, please leave me with a star rating and comment below! I’d also love to hear your special family memories too!
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Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)
- 4 bolillo rolls or French rolls
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 12 ounces piloncillo or 1½ cups packed dark brown sugar
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 3 cups shredded cheese, Longhorn Cheddar, Colby, or cheese of your choice
- 1 cup raisins
- 4 tablespoons butter or spay butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut rolls in ½ inch slices and butter both sides, layer on a baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes on each side, until lightly toasted and dry. Remove and cool.
- Combine water, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, creating a syrup. Simmer syrup uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep, covered for 2 hours. Pour through a strainer and discard cinnamon sticks and cloves. Set syrup aside.
- Spray 8 x 10 ½” baking dish with non-stick spray, layer ingredients in the following order: a third of the toasted bread, third of the raisins, third of the cheese, and 1 1/2 cups syrup evenly over cheese. Wait 15 minutes and layer another third of the bread, raisins, cheese, and 1 1/2 cups syrup evenly over cheese. Let soak for another 15 minutes, and again top with the remaining bread, raisins, cheese, and syrup evenly over bread. Before baking let set for another 15 minutes.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake 40 minutes, uncover and bake until cheese is golden brown about 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve warm.
- Don't over bake your bread pudding or the bread will be dry.
- Let the pudding cool slightly before serving.
- Capirotada can be served warm or cold.
Originally published: March 2011. This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.
Photography by Jeanine Thurston
306 Comments on “Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)”
This is just the way I remember my mom making this. I’m glad to have a recipe instead of just doing it as I remember. And thanks for telling us how are you knew of this recipe. I like to hear where people get their Mexican recipes from. Are they really Mexican or American Mexican? I enjoy the story so thank you. I can’t wait to make this.
not going to lie it’s good but we really don’t need your life story and sorry if i sound a bit rude its just the truth and we just want to make the recipe.
This is my favorite recipe I also grew up with this recipe as a young child my grandparents would make it every season during lent and there is no other capirotada that I love more than this one, they would add raisins to the batch. I thought for some reason I was the only one nowadays that knew of this recipe. I’m 61 years of age, this recipe circle still through my family. Thank you for sharing.
This how I remember my Grandma and Aunt making it. The simple way and very delicious. Thank you for sharing. I love it!!
How long with the Capirotada last in the refrigerator?
Very delicious. Loved it!
My grandmother would add sliced red delicious apples into the water with the raisins and boil the mixture together with star anise, cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns and 3 chopped green onions into a cheese cloth bag and drop it into the mixture ! Her recipe was toasted white bread into a 9X 13 pan , cheese, the cooked apples & raisins topped with sliced bananas and mild cheddar cheese. Spiced liquid evenly poured over the layer then repeat 3 times. Top with mild cheese and break up the mixture slightly and bake at 350 until golden and cheese has melted! Now this is Capirotada via South Texas. John Anthony Garza
One of the Best recipes. My grandmother always made it and I use to watch her make it when I was very young. So whenever I made it later in life. I winged it per my memory. This recipe completed the step I missed. Thank you . Marie Perez
OMG…. Your recipe is the one I remember my Grandmother & Mother making every Lent
This is the first year Iv made it using your recipe and Wow! took me back to my childhood days
Where is the banana?
I also at Anis… but it has to be the star type Anis,clove, cinnamon sticks, Half a stick of butter, Piloncio,I also add some dark brown sugar. very little coconut small amount of peanuts small amount of crushed pineapple,Raisins, HEB Mexican cheese it’s got three different types of cheese.mmm
Loved it!! ❤️
I tweaked it a bit, but the I followed the amount of all the ingredients. Thank You!!
My Favorite Thank you