26 Mexican Desserts to Make at Home

Updated: Jun. 05, 2024

Celebrate every day with these Mexican desserts, including Mexican wedding cookies, fried ice cream and tres leches cake.

If you’re having a night of authentic Mexican food, don’t just stop at a Mexican dinner! End the meal with one of these Mexican desserts, like homemade churros, conchas or paletas. These sweets are easy to make at home and guaranteed to satiate your sweet tooth after a night of savory eats (and Mexican drinks). Unlike heavier Mexican dishes, you’ll find that the desserts are surprisingly light.

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Creamy Caramel Flan

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Main Ingredients: Cream cheese, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk
Level: Intermediate

The vanilla custard comes together in a flash, and it’s baked in a water bath on top of a quick-and-easy caramel sauce. In fact, the hardest part about making this flan is waiting for it to be ready to eat.

A small slice of this impressively rich, creamy, caramel flan dessert goes a long way. What a delightful finish for a special meal or holiday celebration. —Recipe contributor Pat Forete, Miami, Florida

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Classic Tres Leches Cake

Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Main Ingredients: Cake flour, heavy whipping cream, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk
Level: Intermediate

For an extra-special adult spin, add a splash of dark rum or sweet liqueur to the milk mix before pouring it over the cake.

Tres leches means “three milks.” This cake gets its name because it uses three kinds of milk—evaporated, condensed and cream. This tres leches cake’s light and airy texture has made it a classic in Mexican kitchens for generations. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Total Time: 40 minutes
Main Ingredients: All-purpose flour, baking powder, shortening
Level: Intermediate

Sopaipillas are crispy pillows of fried dough. They’re a sweet way to round out a spicy Mexican meal. To sweeten your sopaipillas, dust them with powdered sugar or drizzle with honey when they’re hot out of the fryer. You can also sprinkle on your favorite dessert spices, like cinnamon, ginger or homemade pumpkin pie spice.

Light, crispy pastry puffs, sopaipillas are a sweet way to round out a spicy meal. We love to serve them warm and top them off with honey or sugar. —Recipe contributor Mary Anne McWhirter, Pearland, Texas

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Fresas con Crema

Total Time: 10 minutes
Main Ingredients: Media crema table cream, strawberries, sweetened condensed milk
Level: Beginner

Look for media crema, a rich and unsweetened cream, in the baking aisle or international food section of the grocery store. It’s similar to creme fraiche and sour cream, although sour cream is a bit tangier.

This refreshing fresas con crema recipe is wonderful when berries are in season. —Taste of HomeTest Kitchen

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Total Time: 1 hour
Main Ingredients: Active dry yeast, sugar, cinnamon, all-purpose flour
Level: Intermediate

This recipe offers two different toppings—a plain brown sugar streusel, and a chocolate-tinged streusel—and we think you’ll find it impossible to choose a favorite!

Concha (Mexican sweet bread) is a breakfast or snack pastry found all over Mexico. It has a fluffy brioche-like dough with a crispy streusel topping, scored to resemble a shell. The pastry can come in a variety of colors and other shapes, but I prefer the plain and chocolate streusel. —Recipe contributor Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona

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Mexican Cinnamon Cookies

Total Time: 35 minutes
Main Ingredients: Lard, cinnamon, sugar
Level: Intermediate

Most of the cookie recipes you’re used to probably start with butter or shortening. These traditional cinnamon cookies, known in Mexico as reganadas, are made with lard, which gives them a crumbly texture. You can use butter if you have trouble finding lard in your local market, but for the most authentic Mexican desserts, using lard really does make all the difference.

My extended family shares a meal every Sunday. The aunts and uncles take turns bringing everything from main dishes to desserts like this traditional Mexican cinnamon cookie called reganadas. —Recipe contributor Adan Franco, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Homemade Churros

Total Time: 35 minutes
Main Ingredients: All-purpose flour, canola oil, lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon
Level: Intermediate

These fried cinnamon-sugar goodies are best when fresh and hot. Pair them with a cup of coffee or a mug of hot chocolate. If (by some miracle) you have leftover churros, freeze them on a sheet pan like doughnuts, then pack in airtight freezer bags once solid. To reheat, pop them in the toaster oven or air fryer for a few minutes until hot and crispy.

These fried cinnamon-sugar homemade churros are best when fresh and hot. Try them with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Don’t be surprised if people start dunking…and then go back for more. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Total Time: 25 minutes
Main Ingredients: Cinnamon sugar, butter, vanilla, flour, baking powder
Level: Intermediate

Traditionally enjoyed in Mexico around Christmas and New Year’s, we still love eating buñuelos all year long. Discs of fried dough are tossed in cinnamon sugar or sweet syrup and made with piloncillo sugar. They’re eaten throughout Latin America, and you’ll find different toppings, doughs and even shapes from region to region.

Bunuelos are a delicious and tasty fried Mexican treat. They are popular during the holidays but are good to eat any time of the year. —Taste of HomeTest Kitchen

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No-Fry Fried Ice Cream

Total Time: 20 minutes
Main Ingredients: Vanilla ice cream, cornflakes, cinnamon, brown sugar
Level: Beginner

Love the fried ice cream at your favorite Mexican restaurant but hate deep-frying at home? By using spiced, toasted corn flakes, this recipe replicates the flavor and texture of fried ice cream almost perfectly, without the need for hot oil.

This ice cream has a crispy cinnamon coating just like the fried ice cream served at Mexican restaurants, but minus the oily mess. Make ahead of time and freeze until serving. —Recipe contributor Tim White, Windsor, Ontario

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Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)

Total Time: 35 minutes
Main Ingredients: Long grain rice, raisins, sweetened condensed milk
Level: Intermediate

Arroz con leche is a Spanish version of rice pudding. The milk and rice are sweetened, cooked and flavored, creating a thick dish. This simple five-ingredient Mexican dessert calls for raisins to be added to the mix, but if you’re not a fan, substitute another dried fruit or toasted nuts instead. You could also leave them out entirely.

Sweet and simple, this arroz con leche recipe is real comfort food in any language. You’ll love the warm raisin and cinnamon flavors. It’s great served cold, too. —Recipe contributor Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California

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Strawberry, Basil and Honey Paletas

Total Time: 15 minutes
Main Ingredients: Strawberries, basil, lime juice, honey
Level: Beginner

South of the border, people beat the heat with cool, refreshing paletas. Think of them as Mexico’s answer to popsicle recipes, but made with fresh fruit instead of juice or flavored water.

This recipe for strawberry paletas is one of my favorites. It’s fruity, fragrant, sweet and refreshing—perfect for a warm summer day outdoors. —Recipe contributor Ericka Sanchez, La Habra, California

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

Total Time: 45 minutes
Main Ingredients: Butter, confectioners’ sugar, pecans
Level: Intermediate

These “cakes” are actually cookies! If you bake regularly, there’s an excellent chance you already have the five ingredients for this recipe in your pantry. If you don’t keep pecans on hand, replace them with other finely chopped nuts, like walnuts or almonds.

As part of a Mexican tradition, I tucked these sugar-dusted Mexican wedding cookies into small gift boxes for the guests at my sister’s wedding. Most folks said the cookies never made it home! We bake them around the holidays too. —Recipe contributor Sarita Johnston, San Antonio, Texas

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Mexican Hot Chocolate

Total Time: 10 minutes
Main Ingredients: Baking cocoa, brown sugar, cinnamon, whole milk
Level: Beginner

Real Mexican hot chocolate is beaten with a molinillo (wooden whisk) until it’s light and frothy; to replicate that authentic experience, hit your hot chocolate with a handheld milk frother for 15 to 30 seconds.

This delicious, not-too-sweet Mexican hot chocolate is richly flavored with cocoa and delicately seasoned with spices. The whole-stick cinnamon stirrers come in handy, as the old-fashioned chocolate mixture settles if not stirred before drinking. The blend of cinnamon and chocolate flavors is wonderful! —Recipe contributor Kathy Young, Weatherford, Texas

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Mayan Chocolate Biscotti

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Main Ingredients: Semisweet chocolate chips, cacao dark baking chocolate, coffee liqueur, ancho chile pepper
Level: Intermediate

These biscotti use ground cinnamon, cacao dark baking chocolate and ground ancho chile pepper for a sweet and spicy flavor. They’re the perfect size to dunk into your morning coffee or hot chocolate.

Those who enjoy Mexican hot chocolate will love every bite of subtle sweetness and heat in these perked-up biscotti. —Recipe contributor Chris Michalowski, Dallas, Texas

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Margarita Tres Leches Cake

Total Time: 40 minutes
Main Ingredients: Tequila, Key lime juice, cream of tartar, sweetened condensed milk, 2% milk, evaporated milk
Level: Intermediate

This drink is inspired by one of our favorite Mexican drinks—margaritas. It’s sure to be the talk of the party at your next summer cookout.

The first time I ever had tres leches cake I felt as if I were in heaven. I have made it at home using several techniques and flavors, and this margarita twist on the classic is my favorite. —Recipe contributor Laurie Lufkin, Essex, Massachusetts

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Mole New Mexican Wedding Cookies

Total Time: 45 minutes
Main Ingredients: Butter, pecans, chili powder, cloves, miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Level: Intermediate

These traditional Mexican cookies get a flavor upgrade thanks to chili powder and chocolate chips. You’ll love the heat and sweet flavor combination and tender crumb.

Heat and sweet is such an amazing combination. I added chili powder and chocolate chips to give a new twist to traditional Mexican cookies. They melt in your mouth, and then the spice hits you. I just love them. —Recipe contributor Marla Clark, Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Empanadas

Total Time: 40 minutes
Main Ingredients: Cream cheese, pumpkin pie mix, pie crust
Level: Intermediate

Empanadas are a breaded turnover that are typically filled with meat or fish. This Mexican dessert version uses pumpkin pie mix, cream cheese and pecans for a sweet filling, turning the typically savory dish into a delicious treat.

These cute pumpkin cheesecake empanadas make the perfect treat—and we love that they are baked and not fried! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Easy Mexican Brownies

Total Time: 30 minutes
Main Ingredients: Fudge brownie mix, cinnamon, ancho chile pepper
Level: Intermediate

Ancho chile pepper is a mild spice with smoky flavor. Transform normal brownies into a Mexican-inspired dessert by adding ground ancho chile pepper into a box of brownie mix. We love the surprise hint of heat!

I was hosting a fun Mexican-themed cocktail party and needed a quick dessert. Dressing up an ordinary boxed brownie mix made life easy and delicious! —Recipe contributor Susan Stetzel, Gainesville, New York

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Cherry Biscochitos

Total Time: 55 minutes
Main Ingredients: Sugar, maraschino cherry juice, anise extract, maraschino cherries
Level: Intermediate

This fruit version of biscochitos is perfect to make during the warmer days. Adapt the recipe as fruits come in season.

I discovered the wonderful anise flavor of biscochitos, which are traditional cookies of New Mexico. I created my own version with maraschino cherries and fresh cranberries. —Recipe contributor Mary Shivers, Ada, Oklahoma

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Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cakes

Total Time: 35 minutes
Main Ingredients: Confectioners’ sugar, baking cocoa, pecans
Level: Intermediate

Take a yummy twist on the authentic Mexican dessert by adding a pinch of spice. This version adds baking cocoa for that added sweetness and ground cinnamon for a little warmth. Add mini chocolate chips to the dough for added texture and sweetness.

These spiced balls are a yummy twist on a traditional favorite. Sometimes I add mini chocolate chips to the dough and, after baking, dip the cooled cookies in melted almond bark. —Recipe contributor Joanne Valkema, Freeport, Illinois

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Mexican Tea Cookies

Total Time: 45 minutes
Main Ingredients: Pecans, heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar, dulce de leche
Level: Intermediate

Mexican tea cookies are crispy, buttery rounds accented with a touch of cinnamon and finely chopped pecans. This recipe takes things up a notch, topping them with a simple buttercream frosting made with dulce de leche.

Mexican tea cookies are a holiday favorite in our family. I updated the recipe by frosting them with a buttercream made with dulce de leche. They are tender, crumbly cookies that everyone enjoys. —Recipe contributor David Ross, Spokane Valley, Washington

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Shortcut Tres Leches Cake

Total Time: 55 minutes
Main Ingredients: 2% milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, yellow cake mix
Level: Intermediate

Can’t wait to dig into a craveable tres leches cake? We’ve all been there! Try this recipe, which uses yellow cake mix to bring this creamy cake to the table much faster. For something a little different, make tres leches cake with different flavors of cake mix, like chocolate, lemon or even Funfetti.

My mom’s favorite cake is tres leches, a butter cake soaked in three kinds of milk. I developed a no-fuss version that’s rich and tender. —Recipe contributor Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California

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Sopaipilla Stars

Total Time: 30 minutes
Main Ingredients: All-purpose flour, shortening, baking powder, confectioners’ sugar, honey
Level: Intermediate

Make classic sopaipillas more special by cutting the dough into star shapes before frying them. Because they’re bite-sized, these sopaipillas are wonderful served with an array of sweet dessert sauces for dipping. Set them out with small bowls of salted caramel, hot fudge or lemon curd.

These deep-fried breads were a hit when I made them for our daughter’s birthday party. They’re a fun way to round out a Mexican-themed meal. —Recipe contributor Glenda Jarboe, Oroville, California

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Pastelitos De Boda

Total Time: 35 minutes
Main Ingredients: Walnuts, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar
Level: Intermediate

In Mexico, these rich cookies are called “Little Wedding Cakes” and usually are served with hot chocolate. Make sure you let the dough rest overnight so the flavors have time to marry.

Since moving close to Mexico from the Midwest, I’ve enjoyed trying authentic recipes—they’re a sharp departure from the Iowa favorites I grew up with! I love introducing these to relatives and friends. —Recipe contributor Terri Lins, San Diego, California

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Total Time: 15 minutes
Main Ingredients: Long grain rice, almonds, cinnamon stick, sugar
Level: Beginner

Horchata is a cool, refreshing Mexican drink that tastes like rice pudding in a glass.

In this Horchata recipe, the mixture of ground rice and almonds is accented with a hint of lime. Depending on your preference, you can use more or less water for a thinner or creamier beverage. —Recipe contributor James Schend, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

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Caramel Custard

Total Time: 55 minutes
Main Ingredients: Sugar, eggs, whole milk, vanilla extract
Level: Intermediate

It only takes four simple ingredients to make this rich and creamy Mexican dessert. In fact, there’s a good chance you might have milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in your house right now!

My husband and I have enjoyed this simple custard recipe many times, especially after a Tex-Mex meal. In fact, I’ve made it so often I don’t even look at the recipe. See if it doesn’t become a regular favorite at your house. —Recipe contributor Linda McBride, Austin, Texas

Mexican Dessert FAQ

Is flan a Mexican dessert?

Though flan is often enjoyed in Mexican cuisine, it’s a dessert with a rich European history that goes back thousands of years. It’s made with caramelized sugar, eggs and milk and sometimes flavored with vanilla. This classic recipe has been cherished for countless generations and is beloved in many Latin American countries.

What is the most popular dessert in Mexico?

It’s hard to definitively name the most popular dessert in Mexico, but tres leches cake is a serious contender. It’s a sponge cake soaked in a mix of three milks—sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream. Topped with whipped cream or meringue and often decorated with fresh fruit, it’s known for its moist texture and rich flavor. You’ll find it at celebrations and gatherings across Mexico, including birthdays and weddings.

What are some easy Mexican desserts?

Many of the recipes listed above are incredibly easy to make, like the four-ingredient caramel custard and the supremely simple fresas con crema. For an easy Mexican dessert that makes it look like you pulled out all the stops, try the no-fry fried ice cream.