Easy Sopapillas Recipe - Isabel Eats (2024)

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Puffy, pillowy and perfectly fried Sopapillas dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with honey. This finger-licking dessert from New Mexico is easy to make and can be served any day of the week!

Easy Sopapillas Recipe - Isabel Eats (1)

Sopapillas (and all desserts made from delicious fried dough) are a true weakness of mine. I just can’t say no, especially when they’re as easy to make as this recipe!

What are sopapillas?

Sopapillas are a deep fried pastry that are very popular in New Mexico and other southwestern states, as well as different South American countries. When fried, the pastry puffs up and creates a big air pocket in the middle, making the sopapillas very pillow-like.

They’re often served as dessert and covered in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar, and drizzled with honey.

They can also be served with savory ingredients. In savory versions, the sopapilla is sliced down the middle and stuffed with things like meats and cheese.

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Easy Sopapillas Recipe - Isabel Eats (2)

I’ve shared a recipe for Sopapilla Cheesecake, but it’s finally time to make some real-deal traditional sopapillas. Let’s do it!

How to make sopapillas

Making sopapillas consists of three simple steps:

  1. Making the dough
  2. Rolling out the dough
  3. Frying the dough

Making the dough

If you’ve made my Easy Flour Tortillas or Bunuelos before, then you’re in luck – making sopapilla dough is very similar!

Sopapilla dough is made from:

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • oil or shortening
  • water

To make it, mix together the dry ingredients followed by the wet ingredients and then knead it until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Form it into a ball and let it rest for about 20 minutes

Easy Sopapillas Recipe - Isabel Eats (3)

Rolling out the dough

Once the dough is finished resting, cut it in half and set one half to the side. (I find it easier to work with one half at a time.)

Roll out the dough into a square shape until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Then cut the rolled out dough into 9 pieces. They should roughly be 3-inch squares.

Then roll out the other half of the dough and cut it into squares. You should have a total of 18 pieces.

Easy Sopapillas Recipe - Isabel Eats (4)

Frying the dough

To fry sopapillas, you’ll need to fill a medium pot or deep fryer with enough oil so that the sopapilla dough can be fully submerged. I used canola oil, but you can use any vegetable oil or fat that’s suitable for frying.

Heat the oil to 375°F, or until the oil sizzles and bubbles when a small piece of dough is dropped in. Working in batches, carefully drop in 2 sopapilla squares into the hot oil.

Using a metal slotted spoon, lightly push down each square so that it is fully submerged in the oil. The dough will immediately begin to puff up quickly and should have a big air pocket in the middle.

Once the air pocket has formed, remove the pressure from the spoon and let the dough fry like normal. Flip the sopapillas over after 45 seconds, and let the other side fry.

When golden brown, transfer the sopapillas to a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain.

Easy Sopapillas Recipe - Isabel Eats (5)

Don’t forget the toppings!

To serve, dust the sopapillas with powdered sugar on both sides. Then drizzle with lots of honey and eat immediately!

You can also cover them in cinnamon sugar if you prefer. To get the cinnamon sugar to “stick”, I recommend prepping the cinnamon sugar beforehand and then rolling the sopapillas in the mixture immediately after frying.

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Prepping and making ahead

Since sopapillas are best served immediately after frying, I don’t recommend making them more than 1 hour before serving.

Once fried, you can keep the sopapillas warm in a 200°F oven up to 1 hour.

More dessert recipes to try

  • Easy Sprinkle Cookies
  • Biscochitos
  • Mexican Brownies
  • Tres Leches Cake
  • Easy Flan Recipe

Easy Sopapillas Recipe - Isabel Eats (7)

5 from 4 votes

Sopapillas

servings: 18 sopapillas

Print Pin Review Save

Prep: 25 minutes minutes

Cook: 15 minutes minutes

Total: 40 minutes minutes

Puffy, pillowy and fried Sopapillas dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with honey. This finger-licking dessert from New Mexico is easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons corn or canola oil, or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • oil, for frying (canola, corn, or other vegetable oil)
  • powdered sugar, for topping
  • honey, for topping

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to combine.

  • Add oil and water and stir to combine until a dough forms.

  • Transfer the dough onto a well-floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough becomes too sticky to work with during the kneading process, add in a little more flour. The final dough should be tacky, but not so much that it completely sticks to your fingers and hands.

  • Roll the dough into a ball, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

  • While the dough is resting, line a large baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.

  • 5 minutes before the dough is finished resting, heat the frying oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven to 375°F. (If you don't have a thermometer, you'll know it's ready when a small piece of dough sizzles and bubbles in the frying oil.)

  • Cut the dough ball in half. Roll out each half into a square about 1/4-inch thick, then cut the dough into 9 pieces (I used a pizza cutter for this). Each piece should roughly be a 3-inch square. You should have 18 pieces total. (Some pieces may be rectangular or triangular in shape – that's okay.)

  • Working in batches, carefully add 2 sopapilla squares into the hot oil. Using a metal slotted spoon, lightly push down each square so that it is fully submerged in the oil. The dough will immediately begin to puff up quickly and should have a big air pocket in the middle.

  • Once the air pocket has formed, remove the spoon and let the dough fry like normal. Flip the sopapillas over after 45 seconds, and let the other side fry.

  • When golden brown, transfer the sopapillas to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Continue frying the remaining sopapilla squares.

  • Dust the sopapillas with powdered sugar on both sides, then drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

Notes

Nutritional estimate does not include toppings or the oil used for frying.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1sopapilla, Calories: 64kcal (3%), Carbohydrates: 11g (4%), Protein: 1g (2%), Fat: 2g (3%), Saturated Fat: 1g (5%), Sodium: 88mg (4%), Potassium: 15mg, Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugar: 1g (1%), Calcium: 15mg (2%), Iron: 1mg (6%)

Author: Isabel Orozco-Moore

Category: Mexican

Leave a Reply

  1. Sabra

    what’s the difference between bunuelos and sopapillas?

    Reply

    1. Morgan @ Isabel Eats

      Hi! The recipes of sopapillas and bunuelos are slightly different as is their shape. Bunuelos are covered in cinnamon sugar, they’re round in shape, and not as fluffy as sopapillas.
      Check out Isabel’s recipe for bunuelos here: https://www.isabeleats.com/mexican-bunuelos/

      Reply

  2. Kristi

    Have you ever made these in the airfryer by chance?

    Reply

    1. Isabel

      I haven’t, Kristi. I would love to try, though! Unfortunately I don’t own an airfryer yet, but I want to get one. If you do try it in an airfryer, let me know how they turn out!

      Reply

  3. Renee

    The first time I ever had sopapillas was in the 90s at a Mexican restaurant in Oklahoma City called Ted’s. They always had about an hour and a half wait, but it was totally worth it. Sopapillas came at the end of every meal, and it was love at first bite. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m sure I’ll feel like I’m in college all over again.

    Reply

    1. Penni

      Huh! The first time I had sopapillas was in the 70’s…college also – in Albuquerque New Mexico. Instead of at the end of the meal, they were served at the beginning of the meal. In place of a bread basket, a napkin wrapped basket was placed on each table with a container of honey by its side. No powdered sugar and they were ( as many other foods) made with lard. I’ve been a vegetarian for MANY years, but I have to tell you… they were out of this world! We chose the restaurant by the quality of their sopapillas. Since moving back east, I’ve not tasted a great sopapillas. They dressed ‘m up too much. Isabel, I’m going to make up a batch and introduce them to my husband. Then I’m going to call (rather than reach out by FB) my roommate that shared my New Mexico adventure with me and take a walk down memory lane!

      Reply

  4. Kelly | Maverick Baking

    These look incredible!

    Reply

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