Mexican buñuelos, light, crispy, and golden brown rounds of goodness. In this version, the dough is studded with orange zest and orange juice and served covered in cinnamon sugar.
Buñuelos are one of those great traditional Mexican foods you wish were available all year long, but that are so time-consuming to make, that twice a year is more than enough. They are usually eaten on Christmas Eve and New Year’s. I know what you're thinking, who has time to make buñuelos? But If you have ever tried them, you know it will not be time wasted.
Buñuelos in Mexico
There are many variations of buñuelos across Latin America, but this recipe is what we call in Mexico buñuelos de rodilla because during the preparation you would place a kitchen towel on your knee, where you would then lay the rolled out dough to stretch it out before frying. There’s also buñuelos de viento, which are made by using molds shaped like a star, snowflake, or flower.
Buñuelos also vary from region to region within Mexico. In Coahuila (where I’m from), and Nuevo Leon the dough is made with orange juice and orange zest, and they served covered in cinnamon-sugar. In Chihuahua, the dough can include cheese and they are served with coffee.
In Chiapas, they are called hojuelas and are cut into a rectangular shape. The dough also has orange juice, and they are usually drizzled with honey or sugar. In Michoacán, after they are fried they are broken into pieces then cooked in a piloncillo syrup until they are completely soaked.
There are also some made with almonds in the dough, sweet potato, and even rice flour. In Veracruz, there’s a buñuelo in which the dough has pineapple soaked in rum and smothered in baked mamon. What version of buñuelos is your favorite??
Tips for Making Mexican Buñuelos
- I know it might seem that there’s too much orange zest in this recipe, but I promise there isn’t.
- Take the time to knead the dough until it is smooth and a bit elastic.
- Roll the dough disks as thin as possible then continue to stretch until the dough is almost transparent, but avoid tearing the dough.
- If the oil is too hot the buñuelos will burn quickly, if it is too low they won’t bubble up.
- 250 g All-purpose flour (1 2/3 cup)
- 1 tsp. Baking powder
- 1 Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp. Orange zest
- 2 tbsp. Avocado oil
- 1 cup Orange juice
- 2 cups Vegetable oil
- ½ cup Sugar
- 2 tbsp. Ground cinnamon
- In a small pot, heat orange juice until it begins to steam. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, orange zest. Add the avocado oil and incorporate it into the flour using a fork.
- Add ½ cup of the orange juice to the flour mixture and knead with your hands. The dough should be wet and sticky, but still manageable. If the dough is too dry, gradually add the remaining ½ cup of orange juice.
- Knead dough for 20 to 30 min. or until it becomes smooth and elastic. (As an alternative, you can also knead the dough in an electric mixer with the hook attachment for 10 – 15 min.) Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest 30 – 40 min.
- Remove dough from bowl and roll into 1 ½ inch balls. Cover balls with a towel, and continue to roll the rest of the dough. On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll out each ball as thin as you can keeping the circle shape.
- Take one round of dough and hold with both hands. Use your fingers and thumbs to carefully stretch out the edge of the dough. Continue this motion around the whole diameter of the dough. The round of dough should be thin, so thin you can almost see through it. Avoid tearing as much as possible. (Alternatively, you can do this by placing a bowl open side down covered with a towel, and stretching the round of dough over it.)
- Lay stretched out rounds of dough on kitchen towels, repeat this process with the rest of the dough, and let rest uncovered for 20 min.
- Heat 2 cups of oil in a large sauté pan to 350F and fry until golden brown, about 20 seconds on each side. Remove buñuelo from oil and lay on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough. Add more oil to the pan if necessary. Once all the buñuelos are fried, dust with cinnamon sugar and serve.
• Roll the dough disks as thin as possible then continue to stretch until the dough is almost transparent, but avoid tearing the dough.
• If the oil is too hot the buñuelos will burn quickly, if it is too low they won’t bubble up.