What's one thing you've been missing in your life? An easy buñuelos recipe! These Mexican fritters are golden and crispy on the outside, but light and tender on the inside.
Add a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar for the perfect holiday-inspired treat no matter what time of year!
Using ingredients most likely already in your kitchen, you'll be able to make this mouthwatering (and addicting) Mexican dessert.
Traditionally served around the holidays, buñuelos Mexicanos are crispy, sweet, and guaranteed to be a fan favorite at any gathering.
But before we get into exactly what they are and how to make them, let's figure out where they came from!
Buñuelos have been traced back to ancient times. They first originated on the Iberian Peninsula, which is now considered to be Spain and Portugal.
During the Spanish conquest, Spaniards brought with them the tradition of buñuelos.
Of course, many cultures have adopted their own versions of buñuelos resulting in recipes like waffles, churros, donuts, and much more (thank God the word got out on this one).
Buñuelos Mexicanos look quite different than the fried dough that originated in Spain. Heck, even across Mexico, buñuelo recipes vary.
So, what are they?
We thought you'd never ask...
What are buñuelos?
A buñuelo is essentially the fritter of Spanish-speaking countries. You'll see a variety of shapes, sizes, flavors, and toppings ranging from savoury to sweet.
However, they all have one thing in common...
Buñuelos are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
If you come to Mexico to try this delicious treat, just be aware that each state makes them slightly different.
Some look like Spanish buñuelos, which are round and fritter-like. Others are made of sweet potatoes and shaped like donuts. There are even buñuelos recipes with almond flour and orange juice (drooling yet?).
In the state of Oaxaca, buñuelos Mexicanos are served in clay bowls. Once you've finished, you throw the bowl over your head and make a wish for good luck.
Cool tradition, right?
Are they vegan?
Although many recipes include eggs and butter, buñuelos Mexicanos are extremely easy to make vegan. And let us be the first to tell you, they do not disappoint!
Plus, fewer ingredients means less money, which equals more delicious buñuelos for you (that's just quick math).
Sprinkle your fritters with a cinnamon-sugar mixture to pair incredibly well with Mexican hot chocolate or coffee.
You can also serve them with piloncillo syrup or a drizzle of chocolate ganache dip for a more decadent flavor combination.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: mostly flavorless with a subtle wheat taste, we use all-purpose flour in this recipe for the best results. Buñuelos are traditionally made with wheat flour, so don't skimp out!
Health: although the bran and germ are removed during processing, most all-purpose flours are enriched. This means the vitamins and minerals that were lost in the processing are added back in!
Taste: we use refined coconut oil in our recipe because of its neutral flavor, but your fritters will taste just as good if you have regular coconut oil. You can also use vegetable shortening since it has similar properties to coconut oil.
Health: many claim coconut oil is a healthy food, while others still demonize its saturated fat content. We'll leave you with this — our bodies need saturated fat to regulate hormones, but over-consuming it can lead to cardiovascular disease. It's all about moderation!
Taste: you may not taste this ingredient, but it serves an important purpose in this recipe. We use baking powder to create light, fluffy, and drool-worthy buñuelos. Without it, you may be left with dense hockey puck fritters.
Fun fact: unlike baking soda, baking powder is a complete leavening agent. This means it contains both an acid and a base, so nothing else is needed for it to give rise to your recipe.
Cinnamon & Sugar
Taste: You can't have buñuelos Mexicanos without the best part: a cinnamon-sugar coating. This can be made by mixing cinnamon and sugar together to create one of the most delicious combos known to man.
Health: remember when we said "everything in moderation?" Sugar falls in that category. If you want to indulge in something tasty that may be seen as "unhealthy," go for it! Just try to have it less frequently or in smaller portions.
If you have questions about this buñuelos recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and whisk together. Then, add both the melted oil and water to the dry ingredients and stir together.
Step 2: remove the dough from your mixing bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Begin kneading the dough to form a ball that's sticky enough to stay together, but not coming off on your hands. Keep kneading for 10 minutes, or until the dough appears smooth and elastic.
Note: if the dough appears too crumbly, continue adding a tbsp of water at a time until you are able to form a texture similar to play dough. If it's too sticky, similarly add a tbsp of flour while continuing to knead.
Step 3: cut the ball of dough into about 8 smaller pieces (or more if you want smaller buñuelos). Roll each piece of dough, then flatten it slightly between your palms. Cover all the dough "discs" with a towel to rest for 30 minutes.
Step 4: in the meantime, line a tray or plate with some paper towel, mix the cinnamon and sugar together, and add 1-2 inches of oil to a large stockpot for frying the buñuelos.
Step 5: if you have a tortilla press, line it with 2 pieces of plastic. Lightly flour each side of one dough "disc" and place it in the center of the press. Close it down to form thin tortillas (they should be almost see-through). You can also achieve similar results with a rolling pin on a floured surface.
Step 6: heat the oil over medium to 350-375°F, or until a piece of dough sizzles and floats to the top. Add one buñuelo at a time and fry for 30-45 seconds per side, or until golden. Make sure to push down on the buñuelo with a spoon or spatula to keep the bubbles from growing too big!
Step 7: transfer each buñuelo to the paper towel-lined plate or tray to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle each side with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat until all the buñuelos are cooked, then serve immediately!
If you're lucky enough to have leftovers, it's necessary to keep them as fresh as possible. Here's our foolproof way to keep your buñuelos Mexicanos crispy and delicious:
We like to keep ours at room temperature covered with a tea towel or paper towel for up to 3-4 days. This is our preferred way to preserve their crispy texture the longest.
If you want to store yours in the fridge, do so in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. Just remember, your fritters will lose some of their crunchiness (although, they're definitely still delicious!).
You can make the dough a day or so ahead of time. Simply prepare the dough, cover it with saran wrap, and keep it in an airtight container or bag in the fridge.
When you're ready to make this buñuelos recipe, let the dough warm up to room temperature and start where you left off!
Note: we haven't personally tried freezing the dough. However, some people say it works.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this buñuelos recipe for you:
- Dust with flour. To ensure the dough doesn't stick to the rolling pin or tortilla press, make sure to lightly flour your working surface.
- Don't wait to sprinkle. If you want your cinnamon sugar to stick, don't wait too long to sprinkle each fritter after removing them from the oil.
- Switch up the flavor. Take things up a notch by adding vanilla or orange extract to your dough.
- Push down the air bubbles. When you start frying the buñuelos, they will puff up with air. Make sure you apply pressure while they cook or else you'll be left with one big buñuelo bubble!
- Use an oil thermometer. To avoid burning your buñuelos, we recommend using a thermometer to keep the oil temperature consistent.
🍴 Tasting notes
Whether it's the holidays or not, we love making this buñuelos recipe for a delicious treat. These fritters are:
- Crispy on the outside
- Tender on the inside
If you try this vegan buñuelos recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
- Mixing bowls
- Tortilla press or rolling pin
- Large pot
- 2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.15)
- ½ tsp baking powder ($0.01)
- ½ tsp salt ($0.01)
- 3 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted ($0.42)
- ⅔ cup warm water ($0.01)
- 1-2 cups neutral oil
- 6 tbsp cane sugar ($0.02)
- ½ tbsp cinnamon ($0.04)
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and whisk together. Add both the melted oil and water to the dry ingredients and stir together.
- Next, remove the dough from your mixing bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Begin kneading the dough to form a ball that's sticky enough to stay together, but not coming off on your hands. Keep kneading for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Note: if the dough appears too crumbly, continue adding a tbsp of water at a time until you are able to form a texture similar to play dough. If it's too sticky, similarly add a tbsp of flour while continuing to knead.
- Cut the ball of dough into ~8 smaller pieces. Roll each piece of dough in between your palms until smooth and then flatten slightly. Once they are rolled and flattened, cover with a towel to rest for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, line a tray or plate with some paper towel, mix the cinnamon and sugar together, and add 1-2 inches of oil to a large stockpot for frying the buñuelos.
- If you have a tortilla press, line it with 2 pieces of plastic. Lightly flour each side of one dough "disc" and place it in the center of the press. Press down to form thin tortillas (they should be almost see-through). Alternatively, you can achieve the same results with a rolling pin on a floured surface.
- Heat the oil to 350-375°F, or until a piece of dough sizzles and floats to the top. Add one buñuelo at a time and fry for 30-45 seconds per side, or until golden. Make sure to push down on the buñuelo with a spoon or spatula to keep the bubbles from growing too big!
- Once cooked, transfer to the paper towel-lined plate or tray to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle each side with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat until all the buñuelos are cooked, then serve immediately. Happy eating!
- Oils like vegetable, canola, peanut, or corn are all good options for frying the buñuelos.
- A thermometer will help you keep a more consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- Since we reuse our frying oil, it is not calculated in the price of this recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty dessert ideas, check out our:
- Mexican churros for a classic treat made 100% vegan. Oh, did we mention they're served with chocolate sauce?
- Fresas con crema for a Mexican version of strawberries and cream that's full of juicy red berries and rich, decadent crema. It's a match made in heaven!
- Mexican mazapan for a melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter treat that is unbelievably delicious!
They're very similar, especially when comparing vegan buñuelos to sopapillas. The biggest difference is that buñuelos have a crispy, flakey texture with a cinnamon-sugar coating. Sopapillas are softer, puffed up into a pillow shape, and drizzled with sweet syrup. Although different, there are no real 'rules' when it comes to these two desserts.
If your dough is too dry, add in warm water 1 tbsp at a time until it stays together while kneading.
If your dough is too sticky, add more flour in 1 tbsp at a time until it reaches a play dough consistency.
Make sure you let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes. This helps relax the gluten bonds that you've formed with kneading. It will make rolling easier and result in better buñuelos!
You can easily substitute your favorite vegetable oil in this recipe. Just make sure it's a neutral oil so there are no unwanted flavors.