Lightly sweet and perfectly golden brown, this recipe for Homemade Authentic Mexican Buñuelos is a must during the holiday season. Simple tortilla-like fritters are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for a deliciously light and crispy dessert.

bunuelos sweet Mexican fritters piled high on a ceramic light teal plate.

This traditional Mexican dessert is a favorite at our house, especially around Christmas. Served with cafe de olla or champurrado, they’re a bundle full of warm, cozy feel-good-edness. Give this simple, 30-minute crispy fritter recipe a try – I’m sure you’ll love it!

What Are Buñuelos?

When it comes to desserts, there aren’t many that I don’t enjoy. But I do have to say that Mexican desserts are often my favorite! Made with simple ingredients and often flavored with cinnamon and sugar (such a good combo), classics like sopaipillas, churros, and these delighful homemade buñuelos always make the top of my sweet list.

Mexican buñuelos (pronounced boon-WELL-ohs) are a yummy type of dough based fritters. Unlike other Latin American versions of this dessert that are thick and puffy like donuts, buñuelos are light and crispy, sort of like sweet and crispy flour tostada shells.

My grandma used to make these crispy treats, but never called them “buñuelos.” Her recipe was basically the same as her flour tortilla recipe, which she then fried and drizzled with miel virgen (honey); I still remember licking my sticky fingers wanting more.

While in college I remember seeing buñuelos sold in a Mexican grocery store around the holidays and said, “Hey, my grandma made those!” I didn’t know there was a specific name for them. Technically speaking, these are buñuelos de rodilla, or “knee fritters.” The other type of Mexican buñuelos are buñuelos de viento, or “wind fritters.”

The rodilla version are much simpler, requiring just a rolling pin. Making the viento version requires a piece of equipment known as a buñalera, or rosette mold.

Grandma also made unforgettable sopaipillas, which she would cut in fourths, then fry until light and puffy. Contrary to popular opinion, these two delicious cinnamon-sugary treats are not one and the same.

What is the difference between Buñuelos and Sopaipillas?

Buñuelos are often mistaken for sopaipillas. Sopaipillas are more like a fry bread and puff up when fried like a pillow until golden brown on the outside and soft in the inside. Authentic Mexican buñuelos, on the other hand are rolled out thin and fried until crispy.

The dough for softer sopaipillas is also enriched with more eggs and fat, contributing to their softer consistency. Buñuelos also have less leavening added, which keeps them from puffing up too much.

About This Recipe

My mom came up with her very own recipe for the Muy Bueno cookbook — I think I gained about five pounds in the test kitchen while we did the hard work of sampling three different recipes. It was tough work, but someone had to do it. The recipe below was the clear winner!

Made with fewer than 10 ingredients – most of which you probably already have in the pantry – this recipe for homemade buñuelos de rodilla is not only manageable, it’s downright easy. The whole thing can be completed in just about a half of an hour.

You can also work ahead of time if you’re feeling stressed. Make the dough and refrigerate it for up to a week, or freeze it for up to a month. Fried buñuelos will also last for several days in a zip top bag at room temperature.

We invite you to make these tasty treats for your family and friends this Christmas season. Watch this video to see how simple these buñuelos are made.

How To Make Buñuelos Mexicanos

Mix dry ingredients: In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

mixing dry ingredients together in a white mixing bowl.

Heat dairy: In a saucepan heat milk, butter, and vanilla and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool.

melting butter, milk and vanilla together.

Mix wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, then add the beaten eggs to the room temperature milk mixture and whisk quickly.

Mix wet and dry: Add the liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.

making dough for buñuelos by adding milk mixture to dry ingredients.

Knead dough on lightly floured surface 2 to 3 minutes until smooth.

kneading buñuelo dough on a lightly floured work surface.

Roll: After you knead the dough, divide into 20 dough balls. With a rolling pin, roll out thin tortillas.

buñuelo dough rolled out into 20 small balls on a wooden cutting board.

Dry: Lay out all the thin tortilla flats on a tablecloth and let them dry. Turn them over once to ensure drying on both sides. This helps remove most of the moisture before frying.

laying a rolled buñuelo on a tea towel.

Fry: Heat one-inch of oil in a skillet wide enough for the tortillas to fry flat. Deep-fry tortillas until golden brown, turning once. Remove from pan; stand vertically in a bowl lined with paper towels and drain excess oil.

frying a buñuelo in oil in a cast iron skillet.

Season: While warm, sprinkle fried tortillas on both sides with sugar-cinnamon mixture.

fried buñuelo is topped with cinnamon sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to serve buñuelos?

They are excellent served as is, but I personally love drizzling them with sticky honey, a warm piloncillo syrup, or even some warmed maple syrup. Bonus points if you serve them with some cafe de olla. YUM!

How long are homemade buñuelos good for?

I recommend stacking them on a plate and covering them with a simple paper towel or light kitchen linen on kitchen counter for up to three days to keep their crunch and texture. 

Can I add extra seasoning to them?

Sure! Feel free to add a bit of cinnamon to the buñuelo dough, or try steeping the milk mixture with anise seeds or cinnamon sticks for an added burst of flavor. This is also a great idea if you don’t plan on rolling them in cinnamon sugar and would rather serve them with syrup instead.

Do you have any good shortcuts?

Absolutely! Try making them with flour tortillas like these Easy Buñuelos {Tree Ornaments} recipe or this Buñuelo Berry Muffin Cups recipe.

Aren’t buñuelos more elaborately shaped?

They definitely can be! Try these gorgeous buñuelos de viento.

authentic bunuelos (Mexican fritters) dusted with a cinnamon sugar piled high on a plate with a basket behind with even more buñulelos.

More Mexican Christmas Recipes 

Enjoy these other holiday favorites:

If you tried this delicious recipe for Homemade Authentic Mexican Buñuelos Recipe (Sweet Fritters), please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #muybuenocooking.

Homemade Authentic Mexican Buñuelos Recipe (Sweet Fritters)

4.19 (33 ratings)
Buñuelos de rodilla is fried dough coated in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. The dough is rolled out into a circular shape (much like a flour tortilla). These golden, crispy-sweet, tortilla-like fritters are sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or topped with syrup.

Ingredients

Sugar coating

Instructions 

  • In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • In a saucepan heat milk, butter, and vanilla and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, then add the beaten eggs to the room temperature milk mixture and whisk quickly.
  • Add the liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Knead dough on lightly floured surface 2 to 3 minutes until smooth.
  • After you knead the dough, divide into 20 dough balls. With a rolling pin, roll out thin tortillas.
  • Lay out all the thin tortilla flats on a tablecloth and let them dry. Turn them over once to ensure drying on both sides. This helps remove most of the moisture before frying.
  • Heat one-inch of oil in a skillet wide enough for the tortillas to fry flat. Deep-fry tortillas until golden brown, turning once. Remove from pan; stand vertically in a bowl lined with paper towels and drain excess oil.
  • While warm, sprinkle fried tortillas on both sides with sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Video

Notes

Buñuelos may be covered lightly up to three days. I recommend stacking them on a plate and covering them with a simple paper towel or light kitchen linen on kitchen counter to keep their crunch and texture. 
Calories: 171kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 147mg, Potassium: 58mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 109IU, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg

Originally published: December 2010. This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.