Mexican Pan Dulce Guide from A to Z

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Welcome to our Mexican pan dulce guide from A to Z. There are more than a hundred different Mexican sweet breads, photos and recipes featured here. Please bookmark this page as we will be adding more recipes and photos over time. Enjoy.

Mexican pan dulce on a plater

The traditional Mexican bakery mixes flavors and ingredients from its European roots with the creativity, technique and bread shapes of Mexican artisans.

In honor of all these bakers who work while we sleep, I have created this guide. I hope you like it and it stirs up memories of your favorite cup of coffee, or milk, or tea, enjoyed with your favorite bread.

Table of Contents

This is an extensive guide where I talk about my experiences with bread, the different types there are, and more. If you want to go directly to the names with photos, click on the link below:

  • Mexican Sweet Bread Origins
  • Types of Mexican Bread
  • Names of Mexican Pan Dulce: More than 100 names and a few links to their recipes.

Origins of Mexican Pan Dulce

As mentioned, Mexican bread draws from at least two cultures, the European and the American.

Its origins date to pre-Hispanic times. In those days, it was made from corn and amaranth. But it was not until the arrival of the Spanish that bread began to cement its importance.

The Spanish brought wheat to the Americas and when combined with the ingenuity and creativity of the Mexican people, the shapes and flavors of the traditional Mexican bread that we know today began to emerge.

conchas pan dulce

During the Porfiriato era, when Mexico lived under strong French influence, it gave rise to new breads such as bolillos, cuernitos, and puff pastry. But if we think about it, Mexican bread is an art that continually grows to the delight of all of us.

Types of Mexican Bread

If you had asked my grandmother about the types of Mexican bread, she would have answered you in many ways. She might have said that there is sweet bread, savory bread, fine bread, ordinary bread, carved bread, “merienda” bread, party bread, pan de muerto … you get the idea,  I could go on and on. For convenience, I like to divide them into three basic types.

polvorón tricolor

Pan Dulce

The delicious bread and pastries you find in a Mexican bakery that are sweet, including the type of bread we eat at “merienda” time and the fine bread.

Savory Bread -Pan de Sal-

As the name indicates, these are not sweet, although some can have a little sweetness. Many of these savory breads are eaten with sweet foods; for example, the “cuernitos” are generally served with hot chocolate.

savory mexican bread pan de sal

The “bolillos” can be toasted and served with butter and jam, the “semitas” can be filled with cream, etc. This is the reason why I have added them to this list of Mexican sweet bread.

Party Bread

Here enters those Mexican breads used for special occasions and parties like Day of the Dead bread, the rosca de reyes for Three Kings Day, Mexican cheesecake, empanadas, pulque bread, tres leches and more.

pan de muerto animas

Names of Mexican Pan Dulce

Here are the names of the most popular Mexican pan dulce in alphabetical order, some of them with pictures and descriptions. If we have the recipe it will be clearly marked after the name with a link.

This guide is a work in progress, that is, there are so many names and recipes that we will continually update it, we invite you to return regularly for updates.

If you know the name of a bread that is not on the list, leave us a comment with its description. Thank you.

If you already know the name of a specific bread you would like to know more about, the table of contents below will help you to get to it faster.

Have fun and let’s get baking!

Mexican Pan Dulce From A to Z

Names that start with A

Acambarita

Named after the city of origin, an Acambarita is a yeasted bread with an almost round shape. Very soft on the inside and smooth on the outside. Sometimes you find it flavored with chocolate.

Acambarita is delicious dipped in hot chocolate or filled with cajeta (a popular sauce similar to caramel).

Alamar

Alamar is a sugar-crusted bread with a slight cinnamon flavor made in the shape of a loose bow or knot, like a pretzel. It’s covered in huge grains of sugar. Its name comes from the Arabic al-amar, which means braided tie or knot. You can break it with a snap.

Pan dulce - Alamar

Almejas (Clams)

As its name implies, its shape is inspired by the famous mollusk. These shortbread cookies are filled with buttery sweet cream.

Names that start with B

Banderilla (Banner)

Made from puff pastry, the banderillas are crunchy & flaky with a rich buttery flavor. They are long and thin rectangles with a shiny, golden top.

Barquillo (Cone)

Also known as a cream cone, this pan dulce is made of puff pastry and filled with a thick custard. Sometimes you will see it covered in icing sugar, sometimes covered in an apricot or orange glaze.

barquillo or cream cone sweet bread

Beso (Kiss)

Besos are made from two, raised-dough, soft, dome-shaped breads joined together on the bottom with strawberry jam or cream. Often found covered with butter and sugar or with jam and grated coconut.

Pan dulce: Besos

Bigote (Mustache)

Made from layers of yeasted bread, a bigote is shaped like a croissant but covered in a very generous sugar layer. When you bite it, you will most likely end up with a sugar mustache on your face.

Bisquet (Biscuit)

The bisquet in Mexico is made with a type of shortbread pastry. This pan is a little dense and slightly sweet. Delicious, it’s eaten halved with butter and strawberry jam.

Bisquet, pan mexicano

Bolillos

A savory bread made with yeast and wheat flour. Bolillos are the daily bread of choice in many Mexican kitchens. Great on tortas (Mexican sandwich), molletes, or pambazos. Learn how to make them with our step-by-step recipe.

two bolillo bread on top of a white table

Borrachito (The little drunk)

Borrachitos can be in many shapes; some are made of yeasted dough, some are soft sponges. They all have in common the syrup- made with rum or brandy- that gives them their characteristic moist consistency.

Broca (Drill Bit)

Brocas are made of puff pastry and covered in sugar. Sometimes they are made with two different colors or layers, or filled with cream.

Buñuelos

A type of very thin, crunchy, fried dough, you can find them in various forms. The most popular being buñuelos de rodilla (knee fritters) and buñuelos de viento (windmill fritters).

Buñuelos de rodilla

buñuelos de rodilla

Buñuelos de viento

Names that start with C

Cacahuates (Peanuts)

Cacahuates are a Mexican sandwich-type bread made of two pieces of shortcrust dough cookies filled with sweet cream. Its name comes from its shape.

pan dulce cacahuate

Calvo (A bald person)

A dome-shaped bread that gives the impression of a bald head, hence the name. You will find it covered in a shiny layer of chocolate, or with a layer of white glaze, and it has grated coconut all over it. A true delight.

Mexican bread called calvo on top of an orange napkin

Campechana (A person or thing from Campeche)

A very crunchy, sweet, puff pastry bread that can be found in various shapes, like squares, ovals and ovals with holes in the center. Its crisp, shiny crust comes from melted sugar.

mexican pan dulce campechana

Canasta (Basket)

This bread can be made with either puff pastry or shortbread pastry. It can be filled with pineapple jam, strawberry jam or pastry cream. Sometimes it has two crossed handles that simulate the handles on a basket, and sometimes it is just an open bread.

Cartera (Wallet)

A fluffy, rectangular-shaped loaf that resembles a wallet, made with layers of leavened puff pastry. Its glossy finish comes from a layer of apricot glaze.

Cazuela (Clay Pot)

Also known as nido (nest), the Cazuela is a type of sponge cake with a center of pastry cream of jam.

Chilindrina

A dome-shaped bread made of enriched yeasted dough and covered with a sugary crusty topping.

pan dulce mexicano llamado chilindrina

Chinos (Chinesse)

Los chinos are made from a buttery cake, very similar to pound cake. Sometimes covered with pecans or chocolate chips.

bread in a red wrapper

Chorreada

The chorrreada is made of an enriched, yeasted. Its brown color comes from the piloncillo added to the dough. More grated piloncillo covers the bread giving the appearance of being splashed with something runny, hence the name.

Churros

Found the world over, churros are sold by bakeries and street vendors.

Made from a choux pastry dough that, after being fried, creates crispy stripes on the outside and a soft, cylindrical core on the inside. Classic churros are thin and long, but lately, churros filled with cajeta, chocolate or cream have become fashionable. They are sweeter and thicker, however.

churros mexicanos

Cemitas

Dome-shaped, the cemitas can be salty or sweet but never cloying. The best way to eat them is freshly baked dipped in hot chocolate. Delicious by itself but perfect for sandwiches. 

a Mexican bread called cemita with sesame seeds on top

Cisnes (Swan)

One of the charming creations of the Mexican bakers. They are made of choux pastry filled with vanilla pastry cream and covered with chocolate. 

pan dulce en forma de cisne

Cocol

Cocol is a rhomboid or oval bread, a little dry in consistency with piloncillo and anise flavor.

Its name comes from the Náhuatl “cocolli,” which means “quarrel” or “anger.” Either way, it tastes delicious with a good cup of coffee.

Cochinito (Piglet)

Also known as “puerquito” or “marranito.” Its name is given by its own form, obviously. It is a bread traditionally made from piloncillo. But you can also find it in other flavors such as cinnamon, ginger, anise, and even chocolate.

Col (Cabbage)

Bread with sesame seeds on top of a white table

Colchón (Mattress)

A light and sweet yeasted bread that melts in your mouth. You can find them orange or vanilla-flavored, covered with a glaze and sprinkles. Its appearance obviously resembles a puffy mattress. They are Irresistible.

mexican pan dulce - colchón with sprinklers

Concha (Shell)

One of the best-known Mexican bread in the world, so much that some people think its name is actually pan dulce. 

Its shape resembles sea shells, hence its name, and it is made of enriched yeasted bread and covered with a sugary topping made of sugar, flour, and shortening or flour.

Delicious on its own or dipped in hot chocolate. Some people open them and fill them with butter, cream, or even beans.

chocolate concha

Conde (Count as in Dracula)

A rectangular-shaped bread made of puff pastry and covered with royal icing that baked forms a crunchy and sweet crust.

Cono de crema (Creme Cone)

Please read “barquillo” above.

Corbata (Necktie)

Also known as “moño” (bow), corbata is made from layers of yeasted pastry bread and generously covered with sugar.

Cubilete (Cup for Dice)

A bread the size of a cupcake made with a buttery crust and filled with a sweet cream made with cream cheese and topped with an apricot glaze.

Cuernos (Horns)

In Mexico, there are many types of this bread: sweet, salty, soft, or firm. The traditional cuernito is very similar to a small croissant, obviously inspired by the French pastry, but its consistency is slightly different. Each bakery can have its own version. Here are some of them:

Cuernito de Manteca: It has a firm but not hard consistency. In fact, it may fall apart when biting it. It’s made with lard, hence its name.

Cuerno de Sal: This is a savory bread firm in consistency. It feels more like cracked dough. Great for dipping in chocolate or coffee.

mexican bread called cuerno

Chocolate Cuernito Dulce: A firm but crumbly bread made of shortbread dough. It has a vanilla flavor, chocolate-covered tips, and a dollop of jam in the center. It also looks like a horseshoe.

cuernito de chocolate

Cuerno Polveado:  A firm but crumbly bread covered with a crusty topping, like the one in conchas and generously dusted with sugar, hence its name.

cuerno polveado pan dulce

Names that start with D

Pan Danés (Danish)

Dona (Doughnut)

Nombres con E

Elote (Corn in the Cob)

mexican pan dulce - elote

Empanadas Dulces (Sweet Empanadas)

mexican sweet empanada

Encuerado (Naked)

Espejo (Mirror)

mexican pan dulce - espejo

Estribo

Mexican bread estribo

Estropajo 

Estropajo floreado 

Mexican bread - estropajo floreado

Names that start with G

Galleta con Gragea (Cookie with Sprinkles)

Garibaldi (Last name)

Gendarme (Police Officer)

Gordita de nata

Gusano (Worm)

Names that start with H

Hamburguesa (Burger)

round doughnut

Hojaldra

Hojarasca

Huacales 

Names that start with L

Ladrillo (Brick)

Libro (Book)

Lima (A citrus Mexican fruit)

Names that star with M

Mantecada (Buttery)

cupcake in a red paper

Manteconcha

manteconcha a kind of pan dulce that looks like a concha

Mini Volteado de Piña (Pineapple up side down mini cake)

Marranito (Piglet)

Moño (Bow)

sweet bread covered with sugar

Names that start with N

Nido de Danés

Niño envuelto (Mexican Swiss Roll or Roulade)

The name roughly translates to wrapped child or wrapped baby and you can buy it by the slice.

Niño Envuelto is a Swiss roll or roulade filled with strawberry marmalade and covered with more marmalade and shredded coconut. Learn how to make it with our recipe.

Niño Envuelto pan dulce sliced

Novia (Bride)

Nube (Cloud)

Nueces (Pecan)

bread called pecan

Names that start with O

Ojo de buey (Bull’s Eye)

Ojos  (Eye)

Oreja (Ear)

Names that start with P

Paloma (Dove)

Pan de Agua

pan de agua

Pan de Elote (Sweet cornbread)

Pan de Muerto Tradicional

pan de muerto tradicional

Pan de Muerto Animas

pan de muerto cubierto de un glaseado blanco y azúcar rosada

Pan Tallado

pan tallado mexicano

Panqué

Pay de Queso (Mexican Cheese Cake)

slice of Mexican cheesecake with whipped cream and strawberries

Peine (Comb)

Peineta

a sweet bread called peineta

Picón

Piedra (Rock)

Piojosa

Polvorón

Polvorón de naranja

Polvorón sevillano

polvorón sevillano

Polvorón bicolor o tricolor

Puerquito (Piglet)

Names that start with R

Ratoncito (Little mouse)

Rebanada chocolate (Chocolate slice)

Rebanada de mantequilla con azúcar (Butter slice)

Rehilete (Pinwheel)

Roles de canela (Cinnamon roll)

Rosca china

rosca china - Mexican bread

Rosca de Reyes (King’s Wreath)

A traditional enriched bread that is served between January 5th and 6th to celebrate the Three Kings festivity. Usually covered with dry fruit, cherries and sugar, you can find it in different flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate or orange like our recipe.

Rosca de reyes

Rosca Apastelada

rosca apastelada

Rosca de Canela

Names that start with S

Semita

Soles  (Suns)

Names that start with T

Taco o Taco polveado

Telera

A savory Mexican bread made with yeast and wheat flour, the Telera is considered the traditional Mexican “torta” roll. The inside is soft, and the crust is firm.

Learn how to make them at home with our telera recipe.

Mexican telera bread

Torcido (Twist)

Tortuga (Turtle)

Mexican pan dulce called tortuga or turtle

Trenza (Braid)

Names that start with V

Vienas

Pan Vienas con ajonjolí

Volcán (Volcano)

Do you have a bread name that is not on our list? Do you have a cute photo that you would like to share with us? Leave us a comment with your description and we will contact you. Thanks.

Sources: This article was born from my personal experience with Mexican bread for the last 35 years. Other sources were Larousse Cocina and Larousse “Panes Mexicanos” by Irving Quiroz

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