Thin, fried and with a sweet deliciousness, Buñuelos (pron: buh-nyou-whey-loes) are one of Mexico’s most popular Christmas traditional treats. Popular in many Spanish speaking countries, they are eaten for luck during the holidays and not just at Christmas, they are also served during other holidays, particularly Easter. Even the bread company BIMBO makes buñuelos year round for consumers.
In some areas of Mexico, you’ll find these treats on carts throughout December, bathed in a pilocillo syrup, or simply showered in sugar, however here on the island, particularly now with the CoVID contingencies, this isn’t as likely – but it’s the 2020 holidays and we could all use a little cheer right? If you did not grow up in Mexico, or Latin America, or your family simply did not make these delicious treats, here’s an opportunity to add this tradition in your home. Be sure to check out the links below for recipes and more information on Buñuelos.
Buñuelos vary from region to region throughout Latin America, Spain and even Turkey and other middle eastern areas where they are thought to have originated. They may be named bimuelos, birmuelos, bermuelos or burmuelos, depending on the area and the styles are as diverse as the names. Sweet or savoury, you may find them as soft balls of fried dough, similar to a small fritter or the famous New Orleans Beignets – which is the French cousin to buñuelos. Although some people in Mexico would argue, the most popular style you’ll find is the flat, crispy-fried disks, or another popular version, a rosette, made with a mold in a flower-like shape (called “Flor de viento”). The region may dictate what you’ll find available but there’s no set style that covers the entire country.
Anise is often used for the sweet buñuelos but it’s not the rule by any stretch. They may be made savoury with cheese, or made sweet with bananas, vanilla or cinnamon. They’re sometimes served with dipping chocolate or drenched in piloncillo syrup, or maybe just sprinkled in sugar. Look around and try each style to find your favourite, or check out the recipe links below – because these Mexican Christmas treats are worth exploring!
Recipes for the crunchy, flat buñuelos:
From Muy Bueno Cookbook (contains instructional video)
From Mexico in my Kitchen (has instructional photos)
Recipes for soft, fritter-like buñuelos
From Spanish Sabores
For Rosette buñuelos:
Mexico in my Kitchen (has instructional photos)
If you can follow along in Spanish, here’s a video with the recipe and method.