Mexican Polvorones Recipe

Learn how to make Mexican polvorones, a sweet treat with an amazing texture between a cookie and a cake. Our traditional recipe is also very easy to make!

Mexican polvorones on a plate and café de olla and a basket with more cookies on the background.

About Polvorones Mexicanos

Mexican polvorones are a type of cookie with a sweet, delicate, and buttery taste very popular all over the country.

The name comes from the Spanish word “polvo” which means dust or powder in English and it refers to the crumbly and flaky texture of those cookies.

They are usually eaten in the morning with café de olla or milk, or for la merienda, the small meal before dinner.

In Mexico, they are found under the category of pan dulce and come in many flavors, colors, and shapes such as round, star-shaped, rhombus, and also squares.

Mexican polvorones with various shapes piled on a plate.

The Mexican polvorones recipe originates back to Colonial times when the Spaniards introduced this type of pastry adapting it to the uses, ingredients, and customs of the Aztec country.

Mexican bakeries offer these delicious cookies in different flavors, for example, cinnamon, orange, lemon, vanilla, chocolate, and even anise.

If you like Mexican cookies try also our coyotas from Sonora or our traditional recipe for coricos corn cookies.

The Recipe Ingredients

Those are the ingredients needed to make Mexican shortbread cookies. Check up the recipe card below and click on the “metric” option for measurements in grams.

  • 3 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour.
  • ⅔ cup butter (it needs to be soft).
  • ½ cup lard/shortening (you can replace it with butter).
  • ⅓ cup white sugar.
  • 1 egg.
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest.
  • Pinch of salt.

How To Make Mexican Polvorones

Place the butter and shortening in the stand mixer bowl. Add sugar and beat at high speed for 2-3 minutes or until you will have a smooth and fluffy cream.

Add the egg, salt, orange zest, and vanilla extract. Mix for 2-3 more minutes to combine.

Showing creamy butter texture with a spatula.

Sift the flour together with baking powder and baking soda.

Replace the whisk attachment with the mixing paddles in your mixer.

Add a cup of flour and mix at medium speed to combine the ingredients, add the remaining flour, one cup at a time, until everything is combined.

Mexican Polvorones dough in a bowl.

Dust a working surface with flour and transfer the dough there.

Quickly form a ball, wrap it with cling film and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Polvorones dough ball on a marble surface.

Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into two portions. Wrap one of the portions and keep it in the refrigerator while working with the other.

With a rolling pin roll the dough into a sheet about 1/3 inch (0,80cm) thick.

The polvorones dough rolled on a marble surface with a marble rolling pin on the side.

Cut circles about 3,60″ (9cm) in circumference. Use a cookie cutter or the edge of a small bowl.

Cutting the polvorones dough in circles with a cookie cutter.

If you want to decorate them with a little circle in the middle you can use a small cookie cutter or the tip of a bottle.

Making a decoration on top of a polvorón with the tip of a bottle.

How to make the gendarmes/elotitos:

  1. Form a cylinder with a portion of the dough, giving it an elongated shape with your hands.
  2. Flatten it with the palm of your hand.
  3. Then shape the narrow ends with your fingers.
  4. Use a fork to design the stripes on top.
A collage with 4 photos showing how to shape the south into

How to make the rustic edges:

If you want the shortbread cookies to have unformed-rustic edges, do not knead the dough too much.

As you remove it from the refrigerator, make the portions and use the palm of your hands or the bottom of a heavy plate to flatten them and make the rustic edges.

Flattening polvorones cookies with a plate.

Bake

Place the raw cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

NOTE: If you want, you can make a mixture of 1 egg yolk + 2 tablespoons of cream or milk and use it to brush the top of the cookies, but this is optional.

Unbaked polvorones on a baking tray.

Bake at 370°F (180°C) for about 20 minutes or until polvorones start to brown on the edges.

Take them out of the oven and very carefully place them on a cooling rack.

Baked polvorones on a cooling rack.

Once polvorones have cooled enough, you can roll them on powdered sugar or brush them with melted butter and then roll them on regular sugar.

Or you can simply enjoy them as they are.

Mexican polvorones on a cooling rack, some dusted with confectioner's sugar.

Useful Recipe Notes

  • Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Butter and lard have to be nicely softened, so they will be easier to combine.
  • Take in mind that flour is measured by spooning it into a cup and not packed like when you take it from the bag with a cup.
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can still make these Mexican shortbread cookies by hand, it will just take some effort beating the butter and sugar.
  • Don’t skip the dough resting time in the fridge. It helps the dough to be more manageable and easier to shape.
  • When transferring the baked cookies from the oven to the cooling rack, be extremely careful because they are very fragile and could break easily. Allow to rest for a few minutes then use a spatula to remove them.
  • Shortening is widely used in northern Mexico, however, I don’t like it and I prefer to use lard instead.
  • If you want to use pork lard, make sure is the one with a light color and neutral flavor, not the brown lard found in many Mexican butcheries as that one has a stronger flavor that doesn’t go too well with this recipe.
  • Or you can simply skip the lard and use only butter.

Recipe Variations

  • Chocolate: You can make polvorones de chocolate by adding some cocoa powder to the dough. Start with 1/3 of the dough and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, combine and add more cocoa as needed.
  • Spiced: Add a pinch of cinnamon powder, powdered whole cloves, or anise star. It makes them smell amazing!
  • Different sugar: You can use grated piloncillo or packed brown sugar for a different flavor.
  • Make them vegan: Check up the best vegan butter options and use egg substitutes to make this recipe vegan-friendly.
Mexican polvorones cut to see their crumbly texture.

How To Store

Once the Mexican polvorones are at room temperature, you can put them in a container with a lid and leave them on your kitchen countertop. They keep for about a week.

If you want to freeze them, wrap them individually in cling film or place them into a freeze-proof container.

You can also freeze the shortbread cookie dough for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw the dough and proceed with the recipe as instructed.

Watch How To Make

Mexican Polvorones Recipe

author Maricruz
Those yummy Mexican polvorones are delicious and similar in texture to a pie crust, but also something between a cake and a cookie.
prep 30 minutes
cook 20 minutes
resting time 30 minutes
total 1 hour 20 minutes
serving 14 polvorones

Equipment

  • stand mixer
  • cookie tray

Ingredients 

  • 3 ⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • cup butter (softened)
  • ½ cup pork lard or shortening (softened)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest

optional

  • 1 egg yolk + 2 tablespoons of cream or milk (for brushing the cookies)
  • confectioner's sugar (for dusting the cookies)

Instructions
 

Make the dough

  • Place the butter and shortening in a stand mixer bowl.
  • Add sugar and mix at high speed for 5 minutes or until fluffy.
  • Add the egg, salt, orange zest, and vanilla extract.
  • Mix for 1 more minute to combine.
  • Sift the flour together with baking powder and baking soda.
  • Remove the whisk attachment of your mixer and put the paddles in.
  • Add a cup of flour and mix to combine all ingredients.
  • Add the remaining flour, one cup at a time, until everything is nicely combined.
  • Transfer the dough to a floured working surface and form a ball.
  • Wrap it with cling film and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Make the polvorones

  • Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into two portions.
  • Wrap one of the portions and keep it in the refrigerator while working with the other.
  • Roll the dough into a sheet about ⅓ inch (0,80cm) thick.
  • Using a cookie cutter or the edge of a small bowl, cut circles about 3,60″ (9cm).

Bake

  • Place the raw polvorones on a baking sheet (brush them with eggwash or proceed with the next step).
  • Bake at 370°F (180°C) for about 20 minutes or until polvorones start to brown on the edges.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and carefully place them on a cooling rack.
  • Once the polvorones have cooled, roll them on a bit of confectioner's sugar or just enjoy them as they are.

Notes

  • All ingredients need to be at room temperature.
  • Flour is measured by spooning it into a cup and not taking it from the bag with a cup.
  • Don’t skip the dough resting time in the fridge. It helps the dough to be more manageable and easier to shape.
  • Be extremely careful when transferring the baked polvorones to the cooling rack because they are very fragile and could break easily. Allow to rest for a few minutes then use a spatula to remove them.
  • Shortening is widely used in some parts of Mexico, however, I don’t like it and I prefer to use lard instead.
  • If you want to use pork lard, make sure is the one with a light color and neutral flavor, not brown lard because that one has a stronger flavor that doesn’t go too well with this recipe.
  • Or you can simply skip the lard and use only butter.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1polvorón | Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 59IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
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