This Mexican Conchas Recipe (Pan Dulce) is an authentic Mexican staple that is popular in Mexico and served in every coffee shop.
These little pastries require labor but the end result is totally worth it. One thing you need to realize when making this recipe is to not take shortcuts and to take your time. Sometimes the dough will take longer to double in size, but everything must be done right. If you love these conchas, feel free to try my Mexican Buñuelos and my Rosca de Reyes.
What are Conchas?
Conchas are recognized in Mexico as the perfect pairing to coffee in the morning. They are one of the most creative and versatile pastries. Rounded, soft and covered with a sugar crust, conchas are one of the most beloved pastries by Mexicans, not only for its delicious flavor, but also for being one of the most versatile in the world of baking.
As a result of the Spanish colonization and the introduction of wheat, bread began to form part of daily life. The owners of the first bakeries were Spanish, which also began a new bakery era in Mexico. The word ‘concha’ translates to ‘shell’ in English, which describes their seashell appearance.
What is a Concha topping made of?
The concha topping is made up of four, butter, granulated sugar and your choice of spices. This can be vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, cardamom and/or cloves. Feel free to get creative with the toppings.
Why you will love this recipe
Full of flavor: This recipe has three different toppings: vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate and each of them are delicious.
Kid Friendly: I loved eating these when I was a kid, and it was so fun to bake them with my grandma.
Great for any weather: Pan dulce is served in the summer and winter months in Mexico city. It is always served at breakfast time.
Serves a crowd: This recipe makes a batch of 16, and it is perfect for your next dinner party.
What are conchas made of?
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Active yeast
- Whole milk
- Granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Cocoa powder
- Concha cutter
See recipe card for quantities for this Mexican Conchas Recipe (Pan Dulce).
How to make Conchas Recipe
See video below for step by step.
In a bowl, add the flour, yeast and milk. Mix, cover and rest for 15 minutes.
With a Kitchenaid with a dough hook, add the rest of the flour along with butter, eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla. Mix for 7 minutes at medium speed. Add the “sponge” into the bowl and keep mixing for another 7 minutes. The dough should be soft, sticky and elastic. Add this into a greased large bowl and cover with Saran Wrap. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about another hour. Be aware that if you leave it in the cold, it will take longer to rise.
While this is rising, you can make the toppings for the conchas. We will be making a vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon topping. In the stand mixer, add the flour, butter and powdered sugar and mix. Divide this paste into three portions. For one, you will add the cacao and for the other one you will add the cinnamon. Mix each well. Now you have a vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon topping. Cover so it doesn't dry out.
Once the dough is doubled in size, place this on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 small balls. To shape the balls, flour your hands and press the ball down while making rotating motions to form each ball. Place each ball on a greased baking sheet and continue with the rest. Make sure they are not too close to each other. You may need multiple baking sheets.
To add the topping, crack an egg and brush on the top of each ball. This will help adhere the topping. The topping paste should be a total of 16 parts, so divide them. Use your hands to press down on each to form a flat disk. Place this circle on each ball. Use a concha cutter or a knife to decorate them with a traditional concha shape.
Allow these conchas to rise in a warm place until they are almost double in size and the jiggle when you move the baking sheet. This could take another hour or less.
Bake in the oven at 325°F for 20 minutes, or until the bottom of the conchas are slightly golden.
Hint: Keep in mind that some people have different temperatures in their house. Some people will have quick rising in just 30 minutes while others will have to wait for an hour or longer.
Flour: I used all-purpose flour but traditionally this uses wheat flour. Both are equally as delicious and work perfectly.
Butter: I used unsalted and salted myself, but you could use salted butter.
Milk: I used whole milk but feel free to use almond, oat or skim milk.
Spices: I kept it simple and used cocoa powder and cinnamon, but feel free to use cardamom, anise or cloves as well.
Cooking is a chance to be creative! Have fun with it and feel free to make your own variation.
- Deluxe - different spices into the toppings like cardamom or cloves.
- Kid friendly - Bake with your kids for a fun day. I grew up eating this!
Check out my Mexican Croissant Pan Dulce recipe.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Stone bakeware takes longer to heat up than metal pans, and also retain heat for longer, which could make the recipe more watery, or burnt on the outsides.
You will need a concha cutter for this recipe, and great baking sheets.
This will be good for 2-3 days.
Pan Dulce freezes easily. To freeze, bake them and allow them to cool completely. Add them to a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
Start early in the morning to have enough time to let the dough rest. You can even prepare the dough a day before and store it in the fridge to bake the next day. Do not take shortcuts and take your time to make them.Print
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove