Traditional Mexican desserts and sweets you should definitely try

These delicious treats will most likely instigate some cravings after reading about them!

One of the things that I love about a country’s culture is the wide range of traditional foods that it can offer. And in Mexico’s case, boy does it has a huge variety of culinary dishes!

On top of that, for those who have a sweet tooth, you’ll be glad to know that, when it comes to sweets, there’ll always be a different option to satisfy those sugary cravings no matter what state you decide to visit.


Although Mexico is known for using chili -be it flakes, powder, chopped, you name it- as one of the main ingredients in its cuisine, including some desserts, there are many traditional Mexican sweets that are not spicy and deserve to be known about.

Here are a few of these tempting treats that are worth trying!


State: Mexico City, State of Mexico, Morelos

We start off with one of the most iconic Mexican sweets that you can buy almost anywhere around the country. Alegrías are one of the first sweets that existed in Mexico since their origins date back to pre-Hispanic times. In fact, Alegrías were served as an offering to venerate the gods. So you could say that they’re an ancestral treat.


The alegrías were initially a mixture of amaranth and maguey honey. Yet, as time went by, these treats are more often prepared with the honey from the bees. Alegrías are usually accompanied by dried fruits such as raisins, walnuts, or peanuts. Sometimes the amaranth is seasoned with vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry, giving these sweets a unique flavor!

Wonder why they’re called alegrías? Well, there are a few theories regarding its name origin. One of them points out that the Spanish chroniclers called this food ‘alegría’ (in English, joy) after seeing this treat being used in prehispanic ceremonies. In these rituals, those who participated exhibited a state of joy.


Another version states that these treats are called alegrías because, when the amaranth seeds are toasted against the griddles, they jump so much that it seems that they jump for joy!


State: Guanajuato

If you ever visit Guanajuato, especially the city of San Miguel de Allende, you will most likely come across tumbagón. This traditional sweet of San Miguel is made with wheat, sour orange, anise, cinnamon, and some icing sugar to sprinkle. Its flavor can also have some variations, such as chocolate or vanilla.


Tumbagón comes from the term “tumbaga”, a ring that was given to friars and priests, to visually represent their fidelity towards God. Hence, this sweet and crunchy slice adopted was named after this ring, also resembling its shape.

But wait! This sweet comes with an amusing story. Remember what the friar’s ring symbolized? Well, legend has it that, in order to eat a tumbagón, it must be grabbed with the little finger and bitten in half. If the tumbagón breaks and falls, it means that the person is unfaithful!


Anyone couple will definitely have some fun with this Mexican sweet! Or maybe not…

Tortitas de Santa Clara

State: Puebla

Like many of the traditional Mexican dishes, the Tortitas de Santa Clara were created during the country’s colonial times. These delicious cookies from Puebla have been prepared for more than 400 years by the different nuns from the surrounding convents.


Some of the ingredients employed for preparing these tortitas are pepitas (a.k.a. pumpkin seeds), icing sugar, and tequesquite (an artisanal salt). The result? A mixture of sweet and salty flavors gives this treat an exquisite taste.

This traditional sweet was created in the Convent of Santa Clara. The story of the tortitas de Santa Clara says that the nuns of Santa Clara competed with the nuns of Santa Rosa by creating new cookies, which were then offered to the citizens.


It’s said that one of the nuns was in a hurry to create a new dessert. Having on hand the pumpkin seed candy that the Convent of Santa Clara had recently created, she decided to mix it with biscuits.

Thus, a heavenly cookie was obtained and, later on, it would become one of the favorites and iconic sweets of Puebla.



State: Jalisco

From the state that gave us the mariachi and tequila comes the jericalla. This Mexican dessert was created in Guadalajara, the state capital. Jericalla is a culinary encounter between the New and Old Worlds, since it mixes European and Mexican ingredients.

It has come to be confused with flan or crème brûlée, since they share the same ingredients. Yet, they differ in their preparation. Likewise, although the jericalla has a similar flavor to that of Spanish custard, the Mexican dessert has a lighter consistency.


There’s no specific date recorded in the gastronomic which dictates the origin of this dessert; however, it’s known that it has been consumed in Mexico since the 18th century. The most famous version of the jericalla’s origins is the following:

Legend tells that the dessert was named after Jérica, a Spanish town that was the birthplace of the nun that created the Mexican dessert. At that time, Jenara Caracalla was one of the nuns who cooked for the orphaned children of Hospicio Cabañas, located in Guadalajara’s downtown.


One day, the nun Jenara was looking for a French recipe to prepare a nutritious dessert for the children of the hospice. The nun Jenara decided to mix some eggs, milk, sugar, and added a touch of cinnamon and vanilla; she then chose to bake her mixture.

Having to serve so many children at Hospicio Cabañas, the nun forgot it in the oven. Once she took it out, Jenara noticed that it was burned on the top. Yet, upon tasting it, the nun realized that this burnt part gave the dessert a special and pleasant flavor, so much so that when she decided to serve it to the children, it became a thrilling success.


In this way, the recipe and its popularity gradually spread throughout Guadalajara and other states. So much so, that it became a traditional flagship dessert of that place.

The jericalla is internationally recognized as a dessert of Mexican origin. With an exquisite flavor, in part thanks to its golden crust of sugar that covers its surface, and easy preparation, the jericalla has become one of the favorite desserts of the Mexican people.


So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be dreaming about these appetizing sweets for the rest of the day! Which of these would you like to try?

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