Our Homemade Sopapillas Will Have You Wondering Why You Didn't Make Them Sooner

Sopapillas are a fried dough often served as dessert in Tex-Mex restaurants and are very beloved in New Mexico. They can be coated in cinnamon sugar, as ours are, or dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Where I grew up in Oklahoma, the best Tex-Mex restaurants would give them out for free after your meal and serve them with honey to drizzle over. There’s always one spot in a sopapilla that puffs up the highest, and the absolute best method for eating a sopapilla is to poke a hole in that part to fill the hollow inside with honey. These are some of the easiest fried doughs to make at home: They aren't yeasted, so they require very little resting time, unlike donuts or beignets. The sweetness was always the perfect end after spicy enchiladas or chiles rellenos. Endless chips and salsa are all that’s needed to complete this meal!

Why didn’t my dough puff up?
Sopapillas always have a big spot in the middle that puffs up when frying. If yours aren’t rising like that, your dough most likely needs to rest more. After making the dough, allow it to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. This not only relaxes the dough, but helps hydrate it as well. The steam will cause the dough to puff and rise as it fries.

Can I make these ahead of time?
Like most fried desserts, sopapillas are best served warm right after being made. If you’re making a big batch and want to keep them warm to serve all of them at the same time, keep these in a 200° oven until ready to serve.

If you love these, try making your own churros or sopapilla cheesecake next!

Did you make this? Let us know how it went in the comments.

Yields: 18 servings

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 45 mins


  • 3 c.

    (360 g.) all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

  • 2 1/2 tsp.

    baking powder

  • 3/4 tsp.

    kosher salt

  • 3 tbsp.

    lard or shortening

  • 3/4 c.

    (150 g.) granulated sugar

  • 2 tsp.

    ground cinnamon

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • Honey, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Add lard and work into flour mixture with your hands until pea-size pieces form. Add 1 cup warm water and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined, then knead with your hands a few times to ensure dough is hydrated. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk sugar and cinnamon.

  3. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, working with one half at a time, roll dough to a square about 1/8" thick. Cut dough into 9 (3") squares. Repeat with remaining dough.

  4. Into a large, heavy pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer, pour oil to a depth of 3". Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 375°.

  5. Working in batches to not overcrowd the pot, fry sopapillas, turning halfway through and adjusting heat as needed to keep oil at 375°, until puffed and golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.

  6. Arrange sopapillas on a platter. Serve warm with honey alongside.

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