Traditional Sopapilla Recipe: A Classic Mexican Dessert

October 5, 2023
Traditional Mexican food dessert sopapilla

Sopapillas, often described as “pillows” of fried dough, are a quintessential treat in Mexican cuisine and also popular in several other Latin American cultures and the American Southwest. Typically served sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with honey, they provide a delightful end to any meal. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, here’s how you can make this sweet treat at home.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening or lard
  • 3/4 cup warm water (you might need a little more or less, so add gradually)
  • Oil for frying (canola, vegetable, or your preferred frying oil)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Honey for drizzling


  • Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Incorporate Shortening: Add the shortening or lard to the flour mixture. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, blend the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add Water: Gradually add the warm water, mixing until the dough comes together to form a ball. You may not need all the water, so it’s best to add a bit at a time until the right consistency is achieved.
  • Knead & Rest: Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 3-4 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Roll & Cut: After the resting period, roll out the dough on a floured surface to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut the dough into squares or triangles, depending on your preference.
  • Fry the Sopapillas: Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or pot to 375°F (190°C). Carefully drop the sopapilla dough pieces into the hot oil, one or two at a time, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until they puff up and turn golden brown, which should take about 1-2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  • Serve: Once all sopapillas are fried and drained, sprinkle them generously with powdered sugar and drizzle with honey. Serve warm.

Sopapillas are a testament to the magic that simple ingredients can create when combined in the right way. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want a comforting dessert, these sweet pillows of joy are sure to be a hit. Enjoy your homemade sopapillas with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee for an extra treat!

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