Often served during the Christmas and New Years holidays, this Mexican Bunuelos recipe makes the perfect fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar!
Bunuelos are one of my favorite treats that my family makes during the Christmas and New Years holiday. What’s not to love about fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar, am I right?
For the holidays, we always have a big stack of bunuelos, tamales, empanadas, and posole, as well as a pot full of Mexican Christmas Ponche, Atole, or Mexican Hot Chocolate. We go all out for Christmas and New Years and it’s so so good!
As a little kid, I remember my mom standing at the stove top frying bunuelos and placing them on a large plate covered in paper towels to help catch any excess frying oil. She’d cover them with cinnamon sugar, move them to a serving platter and continue frying more. I would always sneak up behind her and grab a freshly fried bunuelo to snack on while she finished making them.
Okay, okay. Who am I kidding. I still do that! I’ve never been good at waiting until they’re all fried to have a taste. I can’t help it!
What are bunuelos?
Bunuelos are a dessert made from fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar. They’re usually flattened into disks and served around Christmas and New Years in many Mexican households.
My family always made them exactly as shown in this recipe, but there are tons of variations throughout Mexico and Latin America.
Ingredients you’ll need
- all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt
- warm water
- oil for frying
- granulated sugar, ground cinnamon
How to make bunuelos
- Make the dough by adding all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Mix together until combined. Add warm water and 4 tablespoons oil. Mix together with a fork until the dough comes together.
- Transfer the dough onto a clean working surface and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Roll the dough into a ball, place it in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough by dividing it into 8 separate pieces and rolling each piece into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out each ball into an 8 to 10-inch circle.
- Fry the dough by heating frying oil to 350°F. Fry each dough circle for about 60 seconds, turning once with metal tongs, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to prepared plate to drain any excess oil.
- Garnish the bunuelos with cinnamon sugar and eat!
Tips and tricks
- Bunuelos can fluff up a lot when frying, creating huge air pockets that look cool but aren’t very conducive to eating. To minimize the very large air pockets, I recommend using metal tongs to keep the dough fully submerged in the oil for the first 10-15 seconds of frying. This will fry both of the sides at the same time, reducing the amount.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on the bunuelos as soon as possible to ensure that it “sticks” to the fried dough.
For more Mexican Christmas recipes, take a look at 12 Mexican Christmas Food Recipes to Make This Year!
More Mexican desserts you’ll love
- Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars
- Marranitos (Mexican Gingerbread Pigs)
- Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)
- Easy Pumpkin Empanadas
- Mexican Wedding Cookies (Polvorones)
- Tres Leches Cake
For the bunuelos
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 4 tablespoons oil, plus 2 or more cups for frying
For the cinnamon sugar topping
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the bunuelos
- Add all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix together until combined.
- Add warm water and 4 tablespoons oil. Mix together with a spoon or your hands until the dough comes together.
- Transfer the dough onto a clean working surface and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Roll the dough into a ball, place it in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, cover a large plate with paper towels, fill a large saute pan with 1 to 2 inches of frying oil and make the cinnamon sugar topping. Set aside.
- Divide the dough into 8 separate pieces and roll each piece into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out each ball into an 8 to 10-inch circle. (I recommend laying the rolled out dough onto a large kitchen towel in one single layer. Don't stack the rolled out dough on top of each other or it may stick.)
- Heat the frying oil to 350°F. Fry each dough circle for about 60 seconds, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to prepared plate to drain any excess oil. Sprinkle heavily with cinnamon sugar topping.
For the cinnamon sugar topping
- Combine granulated sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.
- To store, I recommend stacking them on a plate and covering them with a simple paper towel or napkin on the counter for up to 3 days. If you cover them completely with a air tight cloche or place them in the fridge, they can lose some of their crunchy and crispy texture. They'll still taste good though!