Home Desserts 13 Best Mexican Pastries (+ Easy Recipes)

13 Best Mexican Pastries (+ Easy Recipes)

France might be known for desserts, but doesn’t have anything on these Mexican pastries.

These sweet treats are as varied and beautiful as Mexican culture. And they taste scrumptious!

Sweet Palmier Cookies or Orejas with Powdered Sugar
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In my experience, Mexican desserts tend to be very light. Sorry, they’re not light in calories. But they ARE light in flavor and texture.

Many of these have notes of cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, or all of the above.

You’ll also notice that some of these are not ridiculously sweet (some are, don’t worry). 

Regardless, every one of these Mexican pastries is absolutely divine. Below are 13 of my favorites!  

1. Orejas

In Spanish, oreja means ear, and I think that’s a pretty fitting description for these.

You may recognize this curly treat by the name palmiers. But I think “ears” is much more fun!

Every bite of these delicious treats will make your mouth water. They’re crispy at first bite but then they melt in your mouth. 

And honestly, they’re super addicting. 

The best part, however, is that they are super easy to make!

They only need five ingredients, and you don’t have to make your own puff pastry

And you can make a bunch in under 30 minutes. 

2. Quesitos

If you’ve ever studied basic Spanish, then you probably know the secret ingredient is cheese!

Well, cream cheese. And yes, these are as good as they sound.

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Quesitos look like the love child of a Danish and a cannoli. And they taste like sweet, tangy, cheesy heaven.

That’s why they’re so popular throughout Central/Latin America. 

This recipe is for the basic quesito, which is just the sweetened cream cheese version.

However, you can add your favorite jams or jellies for a fruity twist!

3. Coyotas

These delicious cookies have a lot of history.

They’re a beautiful, wholly Mexican tradition that has become popular on a global scale. And for good reason! 

They’re surprisingly simple to make and they are incredibly delicious.

The only difficult part might be finding the piloncillo sugar in your area. 

If you don’t have a Hispanic store near your location, it’s available on Amazon. 

The traditional cookie features a soft, biscuit-like texture and a sweet piloncillo filling.

They’re rich and flavorful, yet light. You’ll love them! 

Try them with Nutella filling for a fun deviation from tradition.  

4. Mantecadas

Start your morning properly with mantecadas, a Mexican muffin that will knock your socks off.

But you can totally enjoy them any time of day! 

These babies are light, fluffy, and Goldilocks-level sweet. You won’t need to see a dentist right after but it’s not exactly bread either. 

However, the best part is that every bite is orange-scented.

You won’t be overwhelmed by the orange flavor. Rather, you just get a delicate floral, citrus hint. 

5. Buñuelos

Buñuelos can be found in different cultures throughout South and Central America.

While there are differences, they all have one thing in common: they’re carb-loaded and delicious! 

Typically, buñuelos are made from fried dough. They’re sort of like a mix of doughnuts and funnel cakes.

But this easy recipe cuts your time and difficulty in half. 

Simply take tortillas and fry them until golden brown. Then, sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. It’s that easy! 

This delicious version ends up really puffy, crispy, and totally tasty!

6. Mexican Churros

With crunchy outsides, chewy insides, and plenty of sugar and cinnamon, churros are one of the best treats around.

With the addition of Mexican vanilla, these Mexican churros are superb.

Did you know that cream puffs and churros start with the same dough? It’s choux pastry dough.

The difference is that churros are deep-fried and doused with sugar. 

And while I love both, there’s something so delicious about deep-fried dough fingers.

Dip them in melted chocolate and prepare to be delighted. 

7. Mexican Flan

Is it Jell-O, is it a souffle, or is it cheesecake? It’s flan! And if you’ve never experienced this creamy dessert, have you even lived? 

Flan is a custard-based cream dessert. It features a vanilla custard “cake” with a runny caramel sauce.

It’s cooked in a bain-marie, so the texture is silky smooth. 

Flan is a dessert that feels fancy and indulgent because it is. However, it’s totally simple to make.

So, you can impress your family and friends, with only a little effort. 

8. Tres Leches Cake

I bake a lot, particularly cakes. I have to say that tres leches is in my top five favorite cakes.

It’s incredibly moist, super light, and not too sweet. 

Tres leches is made with simple and airy vanilla sponge cake.

It’s soaked in a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream. 

And if that’s not enough, it’s covered in homemade whipped cream. It’s a dream for dairy lovers.

I love sprinkling cinnamon on top and serving it with strawberries. 

9. Sopapillas

If you’ve ever been to Taco John’s, then you’ve probably heard about sopapillas.

You may have even gotten to experience their awesomeness. 

If you haven’t, I think they’re akin to a French beignet. Basically, sopapillas are Mexican doughnuts. And you will love them! 

They’re warm and soft and pillowy. The texture is a *chef’s kiss.*

When they’re fresh out of the fryer, they’re covered in powdered sugar, cinnamon, and honey. 

10. Conchas 

Conchas are probably one of the most recognizable Mexican pastries.

They’re little balls of sweet bread, with a colorful streusel topping. 

They have patterns carved into the topping that usually reminds me of little turtles.

They’ve also been compared to sea shells. And that is where this treat gets its name! 

The bread is enriched, so it is super soft and similar to a brioche.

It’s not dessert-sweet, but it definitely has a rich, slightly saccharine quality. But the topping is sweet and crispy. 

This makes for a fantastic juxtaposition that your tastebuds will love. 

11. Pastel de Elote

Like a lot of my jokes, this cake is super corny! See what I mean?

But bad jokes aside, pastel de elote is, in fact, made with corn. 

Actually, corn is the star of this delicious cake.

If you love the southern-style cornbread that is served with honey, you’ll enjoy this. Like cornbread, this cake isn’t terribly sweet. 

However, it is not made with cornmeal like cornbread. Instead, it uses white flour and a whole bunch of corn kernels.

It’s buttery, light, and absolutely perfect. 

12. Cajeta Empanadas

I’m calling all caramel lovers because you need to try these empanadas. 

Empanadas are a type of hand pie. They can be savory like a samosa or sweet like a Little Debbie.

They’re found throughout South and Central America in many varieties. 

And I love them all! However, there is a special place for this dulce de leche empanada in my heart. 

It’s sweet, it’s gooey, it’s flaky, and it’s fabulously rich.

It might be the heaviest dessert on this list and the sweetest, too.  

13. Rosca de Reyes

Have you noticed that the best treats center around holidays, or is that just me?

Maybe it’s because all cultures collectively want to save the best for special days. 

And Rosca de Reyes, or Three Kings Bread, is one such delicious pastry.

In theory, it’s sort of like a large, ringed concha had a baby with fruitcake. 

Rosca de Reyes is made with a slightly sweet, enriched dough, like conchas.

It also has a sugar paste streusel-like topping over parts of the bread. And it features dried fruit. 

It’s seriously yummy!

13 Best Mexican Pastries

Try these Mexican pastries for authentic treats you’ll love! Enjoy making traditional desserts like orejas, buneulos, churros, and more!


  • Orejas

  • Quesitos

  • Coyotas

  • Mantecadas

  • Buñuelos

  • Mexican Churros

  • Mexican Flan

  • Tres Leches Cake

  • Sopapillas

  • Conchas

  • Pastel de Elote

  • Cajeta Empanadas

  • Rosca de Reyes


  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a Mexican pastry in 30 minutes or less!
Mexican Pastries

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author avatar
Haley van der Ploeg
Haley van der Ploeg is a food writer and content creator for Insanely Good Recipes, where she authors blog posts, creates recipes, and crafts tantalizing photos.

Haley is passionate about food and its ability to gather people across cultures, languages, and generations. She believes everyone can learn to cook.

Most days, you can find Haley reading, baking elaborate cakes, and hosting get-togethers for friends and family. If Haley isn't home, she’s probably on a plane jetting off to exciting adventures and new cuisines.

She lives with her husband in the Netherlands and has taught him that vegetables *can* taste good.

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