The best way to understand a culture is to eat its food. I think there’s no better place to start learning than with dessert, and Spanish desserts have a lot to offer.
Food choices for celebrations and special occasions reveal so much about a family and culture’s history, and dessert is about decadence and indulgence.
The following list of Spanish desserts demonstrates authentic culture and historic treats for all to enjoy.
Yemas de Santa Teresa
Yemas is Spanish for egg yolks, and Yemas de Santa Teresa is full of them.
This creamy pastry is a specialty of many shops in Spain, especially in Avila, where this dessert originates.
You can make these bite-sized balls with yolks, sugar, and water, and sometimes lemon and cinnamon add extra flavor.
Torrijas follows a recipe similar to French toast. The idea is to dip stale bread in a milky-egg mixture, add spices, and then fry it.
You’ll find various alterations depending on the culture. The Spanish version uses honey, cinnamon, and lemon. It’s sometimes dipped in wine instead of milk.
Torrijas have been part of the Spanish dessert preparations for Lent since the 15th century.
Técula-mécula is from Olivenza, and if you're feeling spicy, make it with almonds, yolks, sugar, and sometimes acorns.
To prepare the crust, you’ll need to chill the dough, roll it and chill it again, and add the filling before baking and serving.
This process can be lengthy, but the end result of this traditional tart is worth the wait.
These shortbread cookies, known as perrunillas or perronillas, are from the Extramedura region in Spain. Convent nuns first made them during transhumance.
These cookies are often on the table during Christmas and New Year’s. I love how these cookies are so tender; they melt in your mouth and are perfect with a cup of coffee.
Spanish Apple Tart
La tarta de manzana, or Spanish apple tart, is more similar to an apple pie than a tart.
You can make individual-sized tarts or one large one. Either way, you get a creamy filling surrounded by a buttery, flaky crust.
I think the best way to eat any pie/tart is warm with vanilla ice cream!
Churros are popular around the world, and while some may consider them a Mexican dessert, they actually originated in Spain or Portugal.
Making homemade churros may seem daunting, but there’s nothing to fear. Churros are easy!
You need an egg, flour, butter, sugar, water, and oil to fry them in. You’ll also want to have chocolate or dulce de leche for dipping.
Once you make these, you won’t go back to the store-bought.
The crumbly Christmas polvorón is a type of heavy and soft shortbread.
Its name comes from the Spanish word for powder, polvo. That’s also the texture in your mouth when you eat one but in a good way.
All you need to make polvorón is flour, butter, sugar, and almonds.
Crema Catalana resembles French crème brûlée, but crema catalana uses different ingredients (and is around 300 years older).
Crema Catalana uses milk, cinnamon, and lemon zest, while crème brûlée uses cream and vanilla.
You get a nice custard consistency contrasted by the thin, sugary crust, and I recommend trying it both hot and cold.
Every culture has deep-fried dough. For Spain, it’s pestiños.
Pestiños are different from other desserts because their dough is flavorful, not just the toppings. The dough is made from sweet wine, anise, citrus zests, flour, and cinnamon.
You can dip them in honey or top them with sugar. I think they’re delicious both ways.
Tarta de Santiago
Tarta de Santiago dates back to the medieval pilgrimage in Galacia during the 15th century. It’s survived this long for a reason; it’s delicious.
This soft, moist tart has hints of citrus that are balanced by sugar. The traditional tart also has St. James Cross stenciled at its center.
The Pantxineta is a tart from Basque. It might seem complicated, but it’s easy to make at home.
You spread cream between two puff pastries and seal the sides. Bake the tart and top with almonds and powdered sugar.
The results will make you feel like a professional chef for so little effort.
You’re going to enjoy these fartóns! It’s a long, sweet bread that’s meant to be eaten with horchata de chufa.
Horchata de chufa comes from Valencia and is a refreshingly sweet beverage.
You dip the fartóns in the horchata de chufa and let them soak up the tiger nut flavor.
Burnt Basque Cheesecake
It’s mind-blowing how delicious this burnt Basque cheesecake is. I thought this cheesecake would taste burnt or have a weird texture, but it doesn’t.
It’s so easy to make, too. You only need cream cheese, eggs, flour, sugar, and heavy cream.
There’s no crust or toppings, but I’d recommend adding berries on top.
Natillas de Leche
Natillas de leche is Spanish for milk custard. It’s a simple dessert made of eggs, milk, sugar, and cornstarch.
You can add cinnamon, lemon, and vanilla to give it more flavor. The custard is thick, rich, and creamy.
I think it tastes delicious whether I serve it hot or cold. Try both!
Spanish flan is so creamy, rich, and decadent. Every bite of this sweet, caramelly custard is divine, as long as you cook it correctly.
This recipe is easy, but be sure to follow the directions exactly. It actually took me a few tries to get it right, but it was definitely worth the effort, though
Leche frita is a Spanish dish traditionally prepared for Easter. Leche frita is Spanish for fried milk, and miraculously it is in fact fried milk.
The filling is made of milk, sugar, flour, and cornstarch. The breading uses flour and eggs.
The key is to form a thick cream that can be breaded and fried.
Frixuelos de Asturias
Frixuelos de Asturias are crepes that originate in Asturias.
This is another super simple recipe that mixes together quickly. All you need is milk, flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.
There are numerous ways to dress up the frixuelos. The Asturian way is with apple compote. I personally added cheese and eggs.
Huesos de Santo (Saint's Bones)
The Spanish traditionally eat huesos de santo on All Saints’ Day. I think they’d be perfect for serving on Halloween too.
You combine sugar and ground almonds to form marzipan. You roll it out and into a tube. The tube is filled with an egg yolk and sugar combo.
It’s super quick and tastes amazing.
Leche merengada reminds me of Indian Lassi in the best way possible.
It’s a cold milk drink that’s thick like a milkshake. Leche merengada doesn’t sit as heavy on your stomach, though, because there’s no cream in it.
You have to infuse the milk by simmering lemon and cinnamon. It’s insanely delicious!
Catalonian panellets are bite-sized marzipan balls that you top with nuts.
They have a chewy inside that’s balanced well by the crunchiness of the nuts. It’s quite a treat.
You’ll find variations of the panellets that have cocoa powder, cherries, or coconut shavings on top. I recommend trying every kind.
Spanish pastissets are the perfect item to serve with tea, in my opinion.
They’re circular powdered sugar cookies that look excellent on a plate. The recipe uses simple ingredients, but it creates a zesty and buttery cookie.
Cinnamon and lemon really pair well together.
Moriscos, or Moorish Muslim converts to Christianity, were the first to make Spanish buñuelos.
Now, these bits of deep-fried dough are a Christmas dessert, and it’s common to eat them with fillings like cream or custard.
The traditional version used honey and anise, but I enjoyed them with powdered sugar and chocolate drizzle.
The Spanish made the original sponge cake or pan di Spagna. It has a soft, spongy texture that is excellent at absorbing liquids.
The recipe has three basic ingredients but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. It only uses eggs for leavening, which are easy to deflate.
The whole process was tedious, but the end result was magnificent.
Turron de Jijona
Last but not least, we have Turron de Jijona. It’s a soft nougat traditionally made around the holidays.
Like almost every other Spanish dessert, the turron uses lemon, cinnamon, almonds, and sugar, and it also needs an egg white and honey.
Turron is easy to make and produces delicious ooey-gooey goodness.
Which Spanish Sweet Will You Try First?
These Spanish desserts all look so great, it can be hard to know where to start. Tell us your favorite Spanish desserts in the comments!
If you’re interesting in Spanish cuisine, check out our favorite Spanish tapas as well!
24 Traditional Spanish Dessert Recipes
If you’re a fan of Spanish cuisine, then check out some of these desserts to pair with your next meal! Try our favorite Spanish dessert recipes here.
- Yemas de Santa Teresa
- Spanish Apple Tart
- Crema Catalana
- Tarta de Santiago
- Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- Natillas de Leche
- Leche Frita
- Frixuelos de Asturias
- Huesos de Santo (Saint's Bones)
- Leche Merengada
- Sponge Cake
- Turron de Jijona
1. Choose your favorite recipe.
2. Gather the necessary ingredients.
3. Prep and cook your recipe.