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The Best Mexican Desserts and How to Make Them

Jul 18, 2023 | BLOG, Authentic Mexican Food, Mexican Desserts

Mexican Desserts

Delighting the palate with sweet indulgence, Mexican desserts embody the vibrant and diverse culture of Mexico. This article aims to transport you on a gastronomic journey through the world of Mexican desserts, highlighting their cultural significance, common ingredients, traditional preparation methods, and the artistry they represent.

The Cultural Significance of Mexican Desserts

Playing an indispensable role in celebrations, festivities and daily life, Mexican desserts go beyond just satisfying the sweet tooth. They are indeed an integral part of the Mexican culture, symbolizing the fusion of pre-Hispanic and Spanish colonial influences. Each dessert tells a story, carrying the richness of Mexican history and traditions in every bite.

The Diversity of Ingredients in Mexican Desserts

The world of Mexican desserts is a testament to the country’s abundant natural resources. Ingredients native to Mexico like cacao, vanilla, maize, and tropical fruits like guava, pineapple, and mango are commonly used. Spanish influences introduced the use of dairy products, almonds, and other ingredients that have become a staple in Mexican confections. The use of spices such as cinnamon and anise adds a unique twist, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

Familiar Favorites: Chocolate and Vanilla

No discussion of Mexican desserts would be complete without mentioning the beloved duo: chocolate and vanilla. Both native to Mexico, they have shaped the global confectionery scene. From the spicy Aztec xocoatl to today’s creamy chocolate flans, chocolate has been Mexico’s sweet gift to the world. Equally, the aromatic Mexican vanilla has been an integral part of desserts like cakes and ice creams.

Traditional Preparation Methods

The culinary art of creating Mexican desserts involves a plethora of preparation methods, each adding its unique touch. Baking, frying, boiling, and freezing are some techniques employed, with many recipes passed down through generations. The process of creating these desserts, from the careful selection of ingredients to the intricacies of preparation, reflects the Mexican love for food and festivity.

Embracing the Traditional Methods

For instance, the churros, a popular Mexican dessert, are carefully piped and fried to golden perfection before being coated in sugar. Meanwhile, the flan, a creamy custard dessert, is traditionally baked in a water bath to ensure a perfectly smooth and rich texture. From the sizzling pans of churro makers to the patient baking of flans and tres leches cakes, the dessert-making process is a captivating spectacle of Mexican culinary tradition.

Key Takeaways

  • Mexican desserts are deeply rooted in the country’s rich cultural and culinary heritage, representing a blend of native and Spanish influences.
  • The diversity of ingredients in Mexican desserts mirror the country’s abundant natural resources and the varied influence over its history.
  • The preparation methods of these desserts are as varied as the desserts themselves, often a testament to time-honored traditions and culinary artistry.

Exploring Mexican desserts is akin to taking a deliciously sweet journey through Mexico’s history and culture. This introduction serves as a prelude to the next section, which will delve into detailed recipes and preparation techniques of some most beloved Mexican desserts.

12.2 Mexican Desserts

Recipes and Techniques for Iconic Mexican Desserts

In this section, we’ll delve into the world of iconic Mexican desserts. From the smooth, creamy flan to the rich tres leches cake, and the crispy, sugary churros, we’ll explore their origins, preparation techniques, and the secrets to perfecting these sweet delights.

1. Flan: A Creamy Delight

Flan, a dessert of Spanish origin, has found its place in the heart of Mexican desserts. The secret to a perfect flan lies in the caramel layer, the right proportion of ingredients, and the water bath baking method.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 14oz can condensed milk
  • 2 13oz cans evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C).
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color.
  3. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes. Let cool completely.

2. Tres Leches Cake: A Moist Marvel

The tres leches cake is a popular dessert throughout Latin America. The cake gets its name from the three types of milk that are used in the preparation, making it incredibly moist and delicious.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  3. Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
  6. Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.

In conclusion, the world of Mexican desserts is rich, diverse and deeply rooted in the country’s history and tradition. Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, these recipes can help you bring a piece of Mexico to your table. Here at El Cabrito Mexican Grill, we celebrate the authentic flavors of Mexico in all our dishes, including our dessert menu, inspired by these classic Mexican treats.

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