Torrejas is a Mexican dish made from bolillo bread that’s coated in a whipped egg mixture, then lightly fried, and topped with sweet piloncillo syrup! It’s commonly served during Lent, Easter, and Christmas, and is great for feeding a crowd.
If you’ve never had torrejas, buckle up because you are in for a treat!
This traditional Mexican dish can easily replace your typical French toast breakfast, or can be served as a sweet dessert with a cup of café de olla.
What are Torrejas?
Torrejas is a Mexican dish that features bolillo bread dipped in a light and airy egg mixture, that is then lightly fried and drizzled with piloncillo syrup.
Frying the bread dipped in whipped egg mixture gives the torrejas a wonderful texture – a lightly crispy exterior and a soft and pillowy inside.
Torrejas are often served during Lent, Easter, and Christmas in many Mexican households.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Bolillo bread: Bolillo bread is great for this dessert because it’s more dense. If you can’t find bolillo, you can also use a French baguette.
- Eggs, milk, vanilla extract: The light egg mixture is whipped with a handheld mixer. Milk and vanilla are used as a light soak for the bolillo bread, giving it a hint of sweetness.
- Vegetable oil: A neutral oil that’s great for frying like vegetable, canola, or avocado oil works here.
- Piloncillo: Piloncillo has a sweet, rich, and nutty flavor, making it a great syrup. If you can’t find piloncillo, you can also use dark brown sugar.
- Cinnamon stick and cloves: These add extra layers of flavor to the piloncillo syrup.
How to Make Torrejas
1. Make the piloncillo syrup: Add the piloncillo, cinnamon stick, cloves, and water into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the piloncillo fully melts and forms into a syrup.
Once it reaches the desired consistency, discard the cinnamon stick and set it aside. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.
2. Prepare the egg mixture: Separate 4 egg yolks and egg whites in 2 bowls. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form, then mix in the egg yolks one at a time until fully combined.
3. Prepare the milk mixture: In a separate bowl, combine some milk and vanilla extract.
4. Assemble the torrejas: Lightly dip sliced bolillo bread into the milk and vanilla mixture. Then lightly dip it into the whipped egg mixture.
5. Fry: Fry until golden brown on both sides. The egg batter is very light and soft, so I find using a spatula to flip them is much easier than using tongs.
6. Remove excess oil: Set the torrejas aside on a baking sheet or large plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Continue working until all of the slices of bread are fried.
7. Serve: Serve the torrejas on a plate and drizzle with piloncillo syrup. Alternatively, you can also dip each of the torrejas into the syrup and serve already coated in syrup.
- Can’t find bolillo bread near you? You can use French bread or baguette instead.
- Use a wide spatula to flip the torrejas while frying to help keep their shape intact.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan while frying. The egg batter lightly expands when frying, so I usually only fry 2-3 at a time depending on the size of the pan.
- You can also dust with powdered sugar or use agave or cajeta to drizzle.
storing and reheating
- To store, allow the torrejas to cool completely and then store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Place the piloncillo syrup in a separate airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
- To reheat, place torrejas in a shallow pan over medium heat and heat until warmed. Reheat piloncillo syrup in microwave in 10-15 second intervals.
more Sweet Treats
For the piloncillo syrup
- 16 ounces piloncillo
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1 cup water
- Make the piloncillo syrup: Add the piloncillo, cinnamon stick, cloves, and water into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the piloncillo fully melts and forms into a syrup. Remove from heat, carefully discard the cinnamon stick and cloves, and set aside until ready to serve.
- Prepare the oil: Heat the frying oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside. While oil is heating up, prepare the batter.
- Make the batter: Separate the egg whites from the yolks into two separate bowls – the whites into a large mixing bowl and the yolks into a small bowl.
- Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- While continuing to beat the egg whites on low, add in the egg yolks one at a time until all of them are fully mixed in. The batter should be light, fluffy, and smooth.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla extract.
- Coat the bread: Using tongs or your hands, dip a slice of bolillo bread into the milk mixture for 1-2 seconds, then gently tap it to remove any excess milk. Then dip it in the egg batter so that the bread is fully coated and gently place it in the frying oil.
- Fry: Fry the torrejas for 30-45 seconds minutes per side, until the batter is golden brown and crispy. Try not to overcrowd the torrejas in the pan – I usually fry 3 at a time depending on the pan I'm using.
- Serve: Serve the torrejas on a plate and drizzle with piloncillo syrup. Alternatively, you can also dip each of the torrejas into the syrup and serve coated in syrup.
- Piloncillo: Can’t find piloncillo near you? You can use 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar instead.
- Bolillos: Can’t find bolillos near you? Consider making your own using this recipe or use French baguette instead.