Mueganos are a Mexican dessert you won't be able to get enough of. Crispy squares of dough are stuck together with an ooey-gooey caramel sauce made from piloncillo.
This treat will put a smile on your face!
Who doesn't like fried dough bites covered in syrup? Mueganos are easy to make, fun for all ages, and best of all, perfect for snacking on as you cook them.
What are mueganos?
Mueganos are a delicious sweet found all across Mexico, but they stem from a few places in particular — Puebla, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, and México City.
There are recipe variations depending on the state you're in. The end result is quite different, ranging from wafers full of nougat, candy bars, or puffed pastries stuck together.
This recipe is a recreation of mueganos from the state of Hidalgo, which also go by the name of "muéganos de Huasca."
Prepare a wheat flour dough first, then a piloncillo syrup. Stick it all together in mounds and let them cool for a crispy, crunchy, and sweet treat.
When it comes to mueganos, most historians agree that Huamantla, Tlaxcala is the birthplace. However, the mueganos from this region look more like small cookies covered on the top and bottom with wafers.
Some claim they were made in 1905, while others believe they originated in 1938. One thing is for sure — food history in Mexico is all but clear, especially with the influence of Spanish and other cultures.
The word "mueganos" seems to come from the word "nuégados" (meaning nougat), which was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards.
Fast forward to today, and there are now many different preparations of mueganos that have stemmed from the original form.
Are mueganos vegan?
Most mueganos recipes fall into the vegetarian category because they include butter, lard, and sometimes eggs.
To make this recipe vegan-friendly, we use vegetable oil or vegan butter and omit the eggs. You won't even be able to tell the difference!
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: forming the structure of this mueganos recipe is the hearty and slightly sweet flavor of all-purpose flour. Flour provides a light and airy texture, creating pillowy soft squares of dough.
Health: fortunately, the vitamins and minerals lost during processing are added back in, making all-purpose flour an excellent source of iron and B vitamins.
Taste: this tasteless ingredient is essential to help mueganos rise and form a fluffy texture. Make sure you don't forget it because this recipe doesn't include a quick-rising yeast.
Fun fact: baking powder is a dry leavening agent. In other words, it releases gas (carbon dioxide) in batters and dough to expand the mixture (like in this mueganos recipe).
Taste: use vegetable shortening in the place of butter to create a rich taste and texture. Although we included vegetable shortening, vegan butter works as an excellent alternative too.
Fun fact: technically speaking, shortening refers to any fat that's solid at room temperature (margarine, butter, or lard). This happens through a process called hydrogenation. Unsaturated fats become saturated by adding hydrogen molecules to the oil until it becomes firm (or saturated with hydrogen).
What it is: piloncillo is made from boiling pure cane juice and adding it to a mold where it hardens. This extremely popular Mexican sweetener undergoes very minimal processing and has no preservatives added!
Taste: piloncillo tastes similar to molasses with a slight smokiness and notes of caramel and butter. It is somewhat similar to brown sugar, but with a more complex flavor profile.
Where to buy: piloncillo also goes by the name panela and is usually available at large grocery stores or Mexican markets (if you're lucky enough to live near one). If you know you'll need it ahead of time, you can also order piloncillo online.
If you have questions about this mueganos recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together, and beat the vegetable shortening and cane sugar together in a separate bowl.
Step 2: add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then pour in 1 cup of warm water and knead together into a uniform ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15-30 minutes.
Step 3: in the meantime, add the piloncillo, water, and lemon juice to a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low until it reaches a syrup consistency.
Step 4: roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until ~⅛-inch thick, then cut it into ½-inch squares. Fry the squares until puffy and golden-brown, then transfer them to a large strainer over a bowl or plate to drain excess oil.
Step 5: mix the fried dough and syrup together in a large bowl, then use your hands to form balls of squares, pushing them together so they stick.
Step 6: transfer each one to a tray, and allow them to dry before serving. Happy eating!
Mueganos are great to snack on throughout the day (if we do say so ourselves). Just follow these instructions to keep them crispy, crunchy, and fresh.
Store your mueganos in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5-6 days. If you're feeling a little extra, keep them in glass containers.
If you prefer your mueganos chilled, store them in the fridge for around 5-6 days as well.
💭 Pro tips
We'd like to share some tips and tricks we learned while experimenting with this mueganos recipe :
- Use an oil thermometer. To avoid burning your precious mueganos, make sure you use an oil thermometer (set to 350 degrees F) or use a deep fryer.
- Make sure the syrup is thick. If your syrup is too watery, the mueganos will be challenging to stick together. If this is the case, cook it down longer.
- Use cupcake liners. If you want to make less of a mess, build your mueganos in cupcake or muffin liners.
- Add extra flavors. Try adding cinnamon or anise in the syrup to infuse different flavors into your mueganos.
- Oil your hands. When rolling the mueganos, coat your hands with a little oil to make life easier.
🍴 Tasting notes
This recipe is one of our favorite treats to make and eat. It's:
If you try this mueganos 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
- Small saucepan
- Large stockpot
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour ($0.11)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder ($0.01)
- ½ teaspoon salt ($0.01)
- 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable shortening or vegan butter ($0.01)
- ½ tablespoon cane sugar ($0.01)
- ½ cup warm water ($0.01)
- 1 cone piloncillo ($0.35)
- ¾ cup water ($0.01)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice optional
- 1-2 cups neutral vegetable oil ($0.32)
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate bowl, beat the vegetable shortening and cane sugar together.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then pour in warm water and knead together until a uniform ball is formed, about 8-10 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15-30 minutes.
- In the meantime, add the piloncillo, water, and lemon juice to a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low until it reaches a syrup consistency, about 10-12 minutes.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until ~⅛-inch thick, then cut it into ½-inch squares.
- Heat the oil in a large stockpot until it reaches 350°F. Fry the squares of dough in small batches until puffy and golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes per batch. Transfer them to a large strainer over a bowl or plate to drain excess oil while you cook the rest.
- Mix the fried dough and syrup together in a large bowl, then use your hands to shape the pieces into balls, pushing them together so they stick. Transfer each one to a tray, and allow them to dry before serving. Happy eating!
- Try lime juice or cinnamon in place of the lemon juice for the piloncillo syrup.
- 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.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty treats and sweets, check out our:
- Sweet gorditas for fried masa cakes drizzled with a sticky piloncillo syrup.
- Buñuelos to try crispy Mexican fritters that are cooked until golden-brown and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
- Churros for plant-based churros served with a rich and creamy chocolate ganache sauce.
- Plátanos fritos for a sweet take on plantains smothered in crema and strawberry jam.
Although the consistency will vary, you can replace the all-purpose flour with your favorite gluten-free brand.
You don't have to rest the dough, but it will make the mueganos more tender and easier to roll out.
If your mueganos are not sticking together, reduce the syrup longer. But, you can also just eat them one at a time and they still taste delicious!