There are just some things that instantly take me back to my childhood.
Sopaipillas do that to me every time. Made by my grandmother, the
tender warm pillows of fried dough were sprinkled with cinnamon sugar
and drizzled with honey and always disappeared within minutes. She
would encourage us to eat them immediately while they were still warm,
but it was always said with a wink in her eye – she knew we couldn’t
keep our hands off them until there was an empty plate of grease-laden
cinnamon-scented crumbs.

My grandmother was the best cook I have ever known (next to my mom, of course!). She was in the
kitchen every day and her way with food was astonishing, no matter what
she prepared.  But unlike her rice and beans, sopaipillas were for
special events (as were her bunuelos, too). It was usually Christmas or
New Year’s Eve when she would make dough and fry it in her cast iron
skillet, and I always wondered why we had to wait so long. To a child
eleven months might as well be an eternity.

Traveling the world you’re bound to find various versions of
hot-oil-meets-dough desserts, whether it be beignets, youtiao,
malasadas, loukoumades or gulab jamun.  Unfortunately I adore every
single one of them. But sopaipillas top my list, and not just because
of their familial significance but also because they are among the most
basic of all fried dough desserts. A very simple dough puffs up in the
hot oil in a matter of minutes, and when drizzled with honey it’s pure

My grandmother passed away over 20 years ago, but the love she shared
and the meals she prepared for us will always be in our hearts. And
while I will never claim to be even remotely as talented as she was,  I
find comfort in having a part of her with me whenever I cook.


adapted from Taste Of Home

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup water
oil for frying
cinnamon & sugar

Combine the dry ingredients and then cut in shortening until crumbly.
Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until mixture holds together. On
a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Roll out to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut
with a 2-1/2-in. star cookie cutter or into 2-1/2-in. triangles. In an
electric skillet or deep fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry sopaipillas
for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and puffed. Drain on
paper towels. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and serve immediately
with honey. Yields 1 dozen.

Oops, for some reason comments weren’t working. They are now. Sorry for the inconvenience!


  1. says

    A beautiful post! Those sopapillas look gorgeous! I’d eat them anytime, especially if they are served with honey (fried dough is heavenly)…

  2. says

    Sopaipillas are always good. In Heath, Ohio, USA, there is a restaurant called “La Paloma”, and they serve beef and cheese sopaipillas. They also serve them with various fruit stuffings too (ala mode!).

    I miss my Beef and cheese sopaipillas!

  3. says

    i love sopapillas! i used to make them quite often when my kids were small. interestingly enough, i had never heard of them until i met my texan husband!

  4. says

    My grandmother called them frogs: basic bread dough flattened into rounds and fried, and then topped with anything we could think of: butter, peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, sugar. Definitely a special occasion kind of meal, and it is interesting that every culture has a basic dough-fried-and-coated-in-yumminess recipe. That picture is mouth watering! Mmmm, fried dough.

  5. says

    I don’t think I could really name my favorite food. But, if I could, I think sopapillas might just be it. Sweet, savory… they are just all goodness!

  6. says

    I’ve never tried sopiapillas before but I do love me some gulab jamun heavy with syrup! You can’t go wrong with deep fried sweet dough, can you? Gotta try this out, thanks for the recipe, Matt. :)

  7. says

    My grandmother once spent a torturous half hour just outside of New Braunfels, TX trying to pick a dessert because she really wanted sopapillas and the restaurant didn’t have them. I think by the end of it even the waiter tried to convice the kitchen to make them just to please her. Thanks for reminding me of that happy memory of her!

  8. Rachel says

    Sopapaillas are the one thing that my Dad used to cook for the family!
    so glad to see that other people love them as much as i do!

  9. says

    When I made these from your recipe, I had just one problem. They puffed up a little too much. I had to poke some holes in the middle with a fork, which made them look almost exactly like the picture you have (except for some little fork holes.) Really lovely little pillows instead of huge bubbles in the middle.

    just a tip for anyone who might have that problem too.

  10. Aaron Kessler says

    My husband and I just made Sopaipillas. We live in CA where they do not serve the traditional New Mexico/Southwest style Sopapillas we grew fond of. Our Sopaipillas turned out yummy but were missing the puff. I told my husband I was going to find a recipe on the internet- with a picture- showing the puff pillow we were trying to replicate. Well, your site was the only one I found so far with the exact Sopaipillas we love. A lot of recipes show messy churro looking sopaipillas if they have a picture. So………How do you make yours so perfect and puffy????? By the way, we eat green chilli with our Sopaipillas and only sometimes do honey.

  11. Kate says

    I have sopapillas for the first time in New Mexico last year (I’m an Aussie living in London). I’d like to make this but need to clarify – what is “shortening”? Is that like margarine.


  12. says

    These look absolutely delicious! I’ve been living in Southern California for a few years and I just tried sopaipillas (with a chili powder and honey sauce!) for the first time a few weeks ago at a neighbor’s place. I didn’t realize that it only took a few ingredients as you’ve listed. I’ve been looking for an electric skillet to buy (not only for sopaipillas but I’d definitely make them once I had the necessary equipment!). Do you have any suggestions? Here is the website I’m using. Thanks.

  13. says

    I made these tonight and they brought back so many memories! Growing up in Texas Sopaipillas are on every Mexican resturant menu. Thanks for sharing!

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