Sopaipillas are more like donuts than bread, but they make a perfect vehicle for any Mexican dish. They’re light, crispy, fluffy, and pillowy without having to mess with any rising. Just mix them, fry them, and cover them with cinnamon and sugar or as desired.

The Versatility of Sopaipillas

We like the versatility of sopaipillas. They are great at home as an accompaniment for meals, a vehicle for our favorite Mexican foods, or dipped in cinnamon and sugar and served as a snack for the kids. 

Sopaipillas also work as camping food.  They can be made ahead of time as a mix and they work as great, fresh bread on a backpacking trip.  Keep them in mind for emergency bread—they can be cooked over any heat when the power goes out.  Best of all, they are quick and easy.

Santa Fe Sopaipillas Recipe


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup dry milk
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 3/4 cup cool water

Optional cinnamon-sugar coating:


  1. Mix together the dry ingredients.  Cut in the shortening.  At this point, you have a mix.  Store the mix for no longer than thirty days in the pantry, six months in the refrigerator, or two years in the freezer.
  2. To make the mix, place the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Form a depression in the middle and pour in the water.
  3. Cut the water into the mix.  The dough will be crumbly and dry.  Remove to a clean surface and knead for two minutes.  You will have a stiff dough.
  4. Form the dough into balls the size of golf balls.  Smash the balls flat with the heel of your hand until they are no more than 1/4-inch thick.
  5. Heat cooking oil in a heavy frying pan or Dutch oven.  The oil should be 3/8-inch deep and hot enough that there is a slight sizzle when the dough is placed in the oil.
  6. Fry each side until brown.  Dip in cinnamon and sugar if desired. 

This recipe will make about a dozen three-inch sopaipillas.

Click here to see more fried breads from around the world.

(Updated from May 28, 2014)

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