Sopapillas Recipe


Sopapillas are a delightful culinary creation that originated in the Hispanic communities of the American Southwest, particularly in New Mexico. These delectable pillows of fried dough are cherished for their light, airy texture and sweet flavor. In this article, we will take a closer look at sopapillas, their history, ingredients, preparation methods, and the best ways to enjoy them.

History: The exact origins of sopapillas are somewhat uncertain, but they are believed to have originated in New Mexico, where they have been a beloved part of the local cuisine for generations. Some trace their roots to Native American frybread, while others attribute their creation to Spanish settlers in the region. Regardless of their precise origin, sopapillas have become an integral part of Southwestern cuisine and are enjoyed by people of all backgrounds.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm water
Vegetable oil, for frying
Cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon), for coating
Honey, for drizzling (optional)


In a mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar.
Add the vegetable oil and warm water to the dry ingredients, and stir until a dough forms. Knead the dough briefly until smooth and elastic.
Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into squares or triangles.
In a deep skillet or pot, heat vegetable oil to 350°F (175°C) over medium heat.
Carefully add the sopapillas to the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry until golden brown and puffed up, about 1-2 minutes per side.
Remove the sopapillas from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
While still warm, coat the sopapillas in the cinnamon sugar mixture, shaking off any excess.
Serve the sopapillas warm with a drizzle of honey, if desired.

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes | Kcal: X | Servings: Makes about 12 sopapillas

For extra flavor, add a pinch of ground nutmeg or cloves to the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Serve sopapillas with a side of whipped cream, ice cream, or chocolate sauce for dipping.
Leftover sopapillas can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Reheat in the oven or toaster oven before serving..

Serving Tips:

  1. Freshly Fried: Sopapillas are best enjoyed fresh and hot out of the fryer. Serve them immediately after frying for maximum flavor and texture.
  2. Drizzling Honey: For a classic sweet treat, drizzle warm honey generously over the sopapillas just before serving. The combination of hot, crispy dough and sweet honey is simply irresistible.
  3. Dusting with Cinnamon Sugar: Another popular option is to dust the sopapillas with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar while they are still warm. This adds a delightful hint of warmth and sweetness to each bite.
  4. Pairing with Ice Cream: For an indulgent dessert, serve sopapillas alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The contrast of warm sopapillas and cold ice cream creates a heavenly flavor and temperature combination.
  5. Garnishing with Fresh Fruit: To add a fresh and vibrant touch to your sopapillas, garnish them with slices of fresh fruit such as strawberries, bananas, or peaches. The fruity sweetness complements the warm dough beautifully.

Storage Tips:

  1. Room Temperature: Sopapillas are best enjoyed fresh, but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Keep them away from direct sunlight and moisture to maintain their crispiness.
  2. Reheating: To revive leftover sopapillas, simply reheat them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 5-10 minutes, or until they are warm and crispy again. Avoid microwaving, as this can make them soggy.
  3. Freezing: If you want to store sopapillas for a longer period, they can be frozen for up to 1 month. Place the cooled sopapillas in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, then transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container. To reheat, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in the oven as instructed above.
  4. Separate Layers: When storing sopapillas, place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between each layer to prevent them from sticking together and becoming soggy.

Variation 1: Chocolate Sopapillas


  • Prepared sopapilla dough
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Chocolate sauce, for serving


  1. Roll out the sopapilla dough and cut it into squares or triangles as usual.
  2. Place a few chocolate chips in the center of each piece of dough.
  3. Fold the dough over the chocolate chips to form a pocket, then seal the edges firmly.
  4. Fry the stuffed sopapillas until golden brown and puffed up.
  5. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm with a drizzle of chocolate sauce for an indulgent twist on the classic sopapilla.

Variation 2: Apple Cinnamon Sopapillas


  • Prepared sopapilla dough
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Caramel sauce, for serving


  1. In a skillet, cook the diced apple with brown sugar and cinnamon until softened and caramelized.
  2. Roll out the sopapilla dough and cut it into squares or triangles.
  3. Spoon a tablespoon of the cooked apple mixture onto each piece of dough.
  4. Fold the dough over the apple filling and seal the edges securely.
  5. Fry the filled sopapillas until golden brown and crispy.
  6. Drain on paper towels, then dust with powdered sugar.
  7. Serve warm with a drizzle of caramel sauce for a deliciously sweet and comforting dessert.

Variation 3: Savory Sopapilla Nachos


  • Prepared sopapilla dough
  • Refried beans
  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa


  1. Roll out the sopapilla dough and cut it into small triangles.
  2. Fry the sopapilla triangles until golden brown and crispy.
  3. Arrange the fried sopapillas on a serving platter.
  4. Top with a layer of warm refried beans and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and sliced jalapeños on top.
  6. Serve immediately with dollops of sour cream, guacamole, and salsa for dipping, creating a savory and satisfying twist on traditional sopapillas.


  • What are sopapillas? Sopapillas are a type of fried pastry originating from Hispanic communities in the American Southwest. They’re made from a simple dough that’s fried until puffy and golden brown.
  • Are sopapillas sweet or savory? Sopapillas can be enjoyed both ways! Traditionally, they’re served as a sweet dessert, drizzled with honey or sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. However, they can also be filled with savory ingredients like beans, cheese, or meat for a delicious savory treat.
  • Can I make sopapillas without frying them? While frying is the traditional method for making sopapillas, you can try baking them for a slightly healthier option. Bake them at a high temperature until they’re puffed and golden brown.
  • What’s the difference between sopapillas and frybread? While similar in appearance, sopapillas and frybread have distinct differences. Sopapillas are typically sweet, made with leavened dough and often served as a dessert. Frybread, on the other hand, is usually savory and made with unleavened dough, often served as a base for savory dishes like Indian tacos.
  • Can I freeze sopapillas? Yes, you can freeze sopapillas for later use. Once they’re cooled, place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to a month. To reheat, simply thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and warm them in the oven before serving.
  • Are sopapillas gluten-free? Traditional sopapillas are made with wheat flour, so they are not gluten-free. However, you can try making gluten-free sopapillas using alternative flours like rice flour or almond flour.
  • What’s the best way to store leftover sopapillas? To keep sopapillas fresh, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. If you have a large batch, you can also freeze them for longer storage.
  • Can I make sopapillas ahead of time for a party? Yes, you can prepare sopapilla dough ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to fry them. Alternatively, you can fry the sopapillas in advance and reheat them in the oven just before serving.
  • How do I know when sopapillas are done frying? Sopapillas are done frying when they’re golden brown and puffed up. It usually takes just a few minutes per side in hot oil. Be sure to flip them halfway through cooking to ensure they cook evenly.
  • What’s the best way to serve sopapillas for a crowd? For a crowd-pleasing dessert, set up a DIY sopapilla bar with various toppings like honey, powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and fresh fruit. Let your guests customize their sopapillas to their liking for a fun and delicious treat!


Sopapillas are a beloved culinary tradition in the American Southwest, cherished for their delicious flavor and versatility. Whether enjoyed as a sweet dessert or savory snack, these golden pillows of fried dough are sure to delight your taste buds and add a touch of Southwestern flair to any meal. So why not try making sopapillas at home and experience the magic for yourself?

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