Like many dishes from Latin America, Colombian desserts are sweet, fresh, and pretty easy to make.
Some will look familiar to you, like spiced rice pudding. On the other hand, some will be unique and brand new.
I’m guessing you’ve never had chocolate and cheese before, right?
But they’re all super flavorful and wildly popular across the country.
You’ll find a lot of them from street vendors as traditional snacks, and some will be on the table at family gatherings.
If you like trying new things and usually spend your vacations eating, then I’m sure you’ll find a new favorite on this list of 16 traditional Colombian desserts.
1. Refajo Colombiano (Colombian Refajo)
You might have had a shandy before, or maybe a spiked mango michelada, but this beer cocktail is something else.
I love a good light beer. It’s refreshing and tasty, and just what I need on a hot day. But I also love mixing it up with something fun.
And what’s more fun than a fruity cream soda?
The fruity notes perfectly complement the beer, and the light, creamy taste makes the whole thing go down even easier.
2. Natilla Colombiana (Colombian Christmas Custard)
This dessert is a beautiful cross between a flan and spiced custard.
Although it can be served as a creamy pudding, it’s usually seen in a sliceable cake filled with nuts and raisins.
The ingredients are what you might expect from a pudding recipe – milk, sugar, spices, vanilla, butter, and cornstarch.
The difference is the amount of cornstarch. This is what thickens it up enough to slice it.
Served alone, this rich custard is a lovely, warm dessert. Or you can load it up with nuts and fruit for something more special.
3. Colombian Pound Cake
For this pound cake, you’ll notice that there’s no rising agent. Don’t worry; it’s not a typo!
This cake gets its lovely light crumb by folding through lots of whipped egg whites. Once baked, the buttery cake is tall and airy.
Not overly sweet, the brandy flavor is a nice touch and just enough. The cake is so moist, you won’t need a frosting, but a touch of glaze wouldn’t hurt.
4. Polvorosas (Colombian Butter and Sugar Cookies)
When it comes to sugar cookies, I prefer mine to be more shortbread-like than anything else.
This means lots of butter and an underworked dough that will turn out crumbly and delicious.
This recipe delivers on all accounts. With just five ingredients, you can have the dough ready to go in a matter of minutes.
And since it doesn’t get rolled and cut, the dough stays nice and soft and bakes to perfection.
5. Obleas (Colombian Wafers)
This popular street food can be covered in anything from caramel and jam to shredded cheese. Typically, they are sandwiched together for a great little snack.
The basic recipe uses just three ingredients – wheat flour, sugar, and milk, and they need to be cooked like ultra-thin waffles.
Traditionally they are made using an obleas maker, but you can use a waffle iron (the kind used to make waffle cones).
6. Colombian Merengón (Pavlova)
Although originally from Australia, this sweet dessert is popular in Colombia and will be found at most celebrations and restaurants.
Unlike the Aussie pavlova, the meringue here is piped.
First, create a disc on the parchment in the desired size before building up the sides and covering the top, leaving an air pocket in the middle.
After an hour-and-a-half in a low oven, the meringue will be crisp and ready to fill with cream and fresh fruit.
7. Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)
Rice pudding is such a comforting dish. It can be served hot or cold, made with milk or a vegan-friendly alternative, and is excellent with both warm spices and fruity toppings.
But if I had to pick a favorite, it would be this warm, lightly-spiced, just sweet enough dish with raisins.
I love the hint of cinnamon and the extra creaminess from the condensed milk.
And since the texture is a little one-note, the chewy raisins are the perfect addition.
8. Cocadas Blancas (Colombian-Style Coconut Candy)
Although there are variations of this candy throughout the country, one thing never changes – the coconut!
Sticky and sweet, if you’re a coconut fan, these are a must-try.
With just four main ingredients and one-pot, these can be cooling on the tray in just 30 minutes.
They’re super simple and such a fresh little treat that everyone will love.
9. Arequipe (Dulce de Leche)
Dulce de leche a big deal all over Latin America, and Colombia is no different.
It’s a wonderfully rich, creamy caramel that is super thick and perfect for fillings. Made from condensed milk, it’s velvety and delicious.
You can make it on the stovetop or even in the slow cooker. Just be sure to keep the can covered in water the whole cooking time for an even distribution of heat.
10. Colombian Salpicón (Fruit Drink)
If you’re looking for a fruity drink for your next get-together, this is it.
It’s alcohol-free (though you could always add some rum) and is loaded with all kinds of tropical fruit.
I would suggest using a wide variety of fruits so that the juices can mix together to make something really unique.
Serve cold and with some spoons so you can scoop out the fruit.
11. Guava Cream Cheese Mini-Hand Pie
I’m a massive fan of hand pies. They’re adorable, packed with flavor, and perfect to serve as a snack or on a platter at a BBQ.
As much as I love some spicy pork or melted cheese, these creamy guava pies are to die for.
Feel free to use store-bought pie dough, and you can find guava paste in most supermarkets these days. Or if you’re a fan, why not try making your own?
Be careful not to over-fill the pies, and cut steam holes in the top so that they don’t burst open and make a mess.
12. Torta Negra Colombiana (Colombian Black Cake)
Though it might look like a chocolate cake, this is a dark spiced cake full of prunes, dark rum, and port wine.
It might not be the kid’s new favorite, but it will be a hit with grown-ups who like their cakes tender, flavorful, and not overly sweet.
Once baked, it needs to be brushed with the remaining alcohol and will have a flavor similar to that of a Christmas cake.
13. Torta De Tres Leches (3 Milks Cake)
What better way to make sure your cake is super moist than by soaking it in sweet milk?
I often find frosting to be too much, but I do see the need for it, even with an ultra-tender cake.
With this recipe, you’ll get a lovely light layer of whipped cream, and plenty of sweetened milk that soak into the cake.
This makes the bottom dense and full of creamy flavor, much like a good poke cake.
By whipping both the egg yolks and whites separately, the cake will be voluminous and airy.
14. Colombian Hot Chocolate with Cheese
Don’t worry; you read that right. And yes, I was also pretty skeptical with this one!
But what can I say? It just works. The mozzarella doesn’t have an overpowering cheesy flavor, but rather adds a touch of salt that works just like salted caramel.
It gives the drink a creaminess that you can’t find anywhere else.
Just be sure to follow the recipe and use good dark chocolate as opposed to a hot chocolate powder.
15. Solteritas (Colombian Rosettes)
This recipe has quite a few steps, and you’ll need to set aside some time to get it all done.
For starters, the batter for the fried cookies needs to be made and left to rest in the fridge overnight.
The sweet cream filling is a unique mixture made with flour, vanilla and a hot sugar syrup.
The flour needs to be hydrated to a thick batter consistency before being slowly incorporated with the sugar syrup.
The cookie batter requires a rosette iron, which can be found in a variety of fun shapes.
Dip the iron in got oil before dipping in the batter and deep-frying each cookie, one by one.
When cooked and cooled, fill with the sweet cream filling and serve.
16. Roscón de Bocadillo o Guayaba (Guava Paste Stuffed Bread)
We’ve all had plenty of garlic bread and cinnamon loaves in our day. They’re delicious and will always be welcome at my table.
But sometimes I like to try something new, and this guava-stuffed bread went fast!
Guava has a flavor somewhere between a strawberry and a pear, and I haven’t found anyone that hasn’t fallen in love at first bite.
I would highly recommend making your own, but as I said above, guava paste can be found in most supermarts these days.
It will quickly become your new favorite ingredient!
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