Raspados Mexicanos are the ultimate summer treat! Made with fresh fruit syrup and shaved ice, this particular snack is also kid-friendly and perfect to serve at parties!
What Are Raspados?
Raspados Mexicanos is a refreshing snack made with shaved ice and drizzled with various flavored syrups.
In Mexico, depending on the area or local, they are known by different names, but whether you call them granizados, yuki, raspa or yaguata, they are a welcome and refreshing treat in the heat on a hot summer day.
They are a popular alternative to popsicles or ice cream because their unique taste and texture.
The crushed ice gives them a fun crunch, and the melt-in-your-mouth sensation is somehow much more enjoyable than popsicles or other frozen treats.
Whether prepared at home or purchased from a street vendor, raspados are one of the simplest and most popular desserts in Mexico.
History in Mexico
In pre-hispanic times the tlatoanis (kings) of indigenous tribes would have snow brought down from the highest mountains. This snow was sweetened with honey and fruits and was a favorite of the elites of the day.
Sometime after the arrival of the Spanish, the idea of substituting snow for ice was hit upon. As the production of ice became easier in modern times, the popularity of raspados grew.
Today they are a traditional dessert in many areas of the country, especially in states like Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit.
Where are they sold in Mexico?
They are commonly available in city centers and very popular at schools for children to enjoy once the school day is over.
Raspados are sold from street vendors with either a pushcart or pulled by a bicycle, so they easily move to various parts of the city, town squares, tourist areas, offices, and schools.
But how do you recognize them from other street stalls? As is well known, in Mexico there are many products that are sold in carts, bicycles, and all kinds of street stalls.
Regardless of whether the stall is signposted or not, it is easy to recognize them by the row of jars containing the different syrups, and of course, by the block of ice that is usually covered by a blanket.
It also helps that the vendors usually advertise their product with a well-known “raspaadooos” shout. Nowadays they are part of the charm of many towns.
How Are They Made
There are two main ingredients to make Raspados Mexicanos, ice, and syrup.
To prepare it, the seller “scrapes” a block of ice, with a “scraper” which is a kind of iron brush. Although there are vendors who use machines that grind the ice, the manual way using the scraper is still the most popular method in Mexico.
Once the scraped ice is obtained, it is placed inside a disposable glass, then the preferred flavor is added and that’s it! It can be sipped with a straw or eaten with a spoon.
There are different methods to prepare the syrup, all quite easy, as the homemade raspado de fresa recipe we are sharing below.
The first option is syrup made with real fruit. It takes longer to prepare but is well worth the time and effort.
Many vendors use seasonal fruits, selling different flavors around the year. The most popular flavors are strawberry (fresa), mamey, jamaica (hibiscus), lemon, etc. In the Pacific coastal towns guava, coconut, tamarind, and mango are very popular.
Once the fruit is chosen it is chopped or mashed, then it is combined with sugar, and water, and then boiled until it thickens to create a flavorful syrup.
The second and simplest option is syrup made with powdered flavorings. Sugar water is boiled and powdered flavoring is added. This is the fastest way, however, artificial flavoring isn’t popular with many.
Are They Healthy?
To answer this question there are three main factors to consider:
- The method of preparation. Using natural ingredients is always better. Luckily most street vendors make their own syrups with seasonal fruits.
- The amount of sugar. Less sugar, the less calories and the healthiest. If you make them at home you can always control how much sweetener you add, since fruits are already sweet.
- The type of fruit. Some fruits are more nutritious than others. The amount of vitamins may vary depending on the fruit.
There are some variations for Raspados Mexicanos. Flavor combos of your choice are easy to make and vendors will always suggest which flavors pair well.
But if you are looking for something different, another type of raspado that cannot be missing in Mexican culture is the famous diablito or little devil, which lives up to its name by adding chili.
The type of chili varies depending on the creativity and taste of the seller. You can find options made with chile de árbol, piquín chili, etc.
The most popular of these is the Mangonada or chamoyada. This flavor combines frozen mango, Chamoy salsa, and Tajín chili powder. The same recipe gets some variations by blending the ice into a slushy and adding varios types of Mexican candies.
But if you don’t like chili, you can try the diablito’s counterpart, Angelitos which in English translates as “little angels”.
To prepare them, apart from the already sweet flavor of the syrup, some condensed milk and vanilla mixture is added, which intensifies its sweetness. If you have a sweet tooth this is the best option for you.
In Huatulco, Oaxaca you can buy some variants where they add sparkling water, which melts the ice faster, changing the consistency and flavor.
In Nuevo León, Yuki is the name of their variant, and the history behind its name is tied to the Japanese Kakigōri.
Regardless of the type of raspados you order, try it with pieces of fruit on top, it is definitely a delicious touch.
Around the world
The simplicity of its preparation as well as its delicious flavor makes it one of the most popular desserts worldwide.
It is interesting to know that these desserts are among the oldest in the world, there are records of their consumption since the Mesopotamian era, approximately 1800 bc. The ice was served with fruit or honey making it a dessert par excellence.
Just like the tlatoanis of Mesoamerica, in many cultures only the great elites could enjoy this delicious dessert, the reason behind it is that conserving the ice for consumption during the hot seasons was something that only a few people (or kings) could afford.
Thus, the first records of its consumption are found in the mandates of emperors who sent their slaves to obtain ice from mountains for its consumption in the courts.
Fortunately, you no longer need to be extremely rich and powerful to be able to give yourself this little treat. Plus, you can enjoy it in different parts of the world, with some variants in flavors and preparations.
Here are some examples:
- The Japanese Kakigori, which influenced the Mexican Yuki, has a consistency closer to the ice cream and the flavors most commonly used on the syrups are lemon, green tea, strawberry, cherry, and grape.
- In the United States, they are known as snow cones. Easy to find during the summer.
- The Dominican Republic has the Yun yun or frío-frío.
- In Puerto Rico, they are named piraguas.
- In Guatemala, they are particularly popular. Known by the name granizadas, they are commonly accompanied with condensed milk or chocolate syrup.
- In India, the snow cones are called baraf ka gola and its preparation differs from others by tightly packing the shaved ice in a plastic glass, then a popsicle stick is put in the middle of the ice.
Once it is ready the glass is turned down to remove the gola from it, the result is a popsicle-raspado. Different combinations of flavored syrups are added at the end.
Now that you know more about this Mexican frozen treat, let’s see how to make it at home.
Easy Homemade Raspado Recipe
Start by making the fruit syrup you want to use. In this recipe, we are using fresh strawberries but you can also use mango, cherries, plumps, or pineapple. Just make sure you cut the fruit into small pieces.
In a saucepan, add sugar and water, then mix to dissolve. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, then add the fruit. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the fruit softens nicely.
Allow to cool down then transfer to a jar and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or until is cold enough to be served over ice without melting it.
Fill your blender about halfway with ice cubes. Pulse a few times on high until all ice has a shaved consistency.
Transfer shaved ice to cups and pack it in, pour over the ice some syrup, and top with fruit bites.
Serve with a straw and a spoon and enjoy your strawberry raspado!
- Thanks to sugar, you can store the homemade strawberry syrup for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Not sure if you can use your blender to crush ice? You can get a cheap shaved ice machine on Amazon and enjoy this treat whenever you want.
- Make it sugar-free by leaving out the sugar and doubling the amount of fruit.
Watch The Video
Hope you enjoyed this article and our homemade raspado recipe. Please don’t forget to rate it and leave us your comments below!
Raspados Mexicanos Recipe
- 1 lb strawberries (cut into quarters)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 ½ cups water
- ice (as needed)
- Add sugar and water in a saucepan. Mix to dissolve.
- Boil for 5 minutes.
- Add the strawberries and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool down then transfer to a jar and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Fill your blender about halfway with ice cubes.
- Pulse a few times on high until all ice has a shaved consistency.
- Transfer shaved ice to cups and pack it in.
- Pour over some syrup, and top with fruit bites.
- Serve with a straw and a spoon.
Frequented Asked Questions
Do raspados contain dairy?
Depends. Most of them are made only with fruit syrup, but others might contain a syrup made with condensed milk or regular milk.
What part of Mexico are raspados from?
They are sold all over the country but are especially popular in coastal states such as Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, Veracruz, etc.
What is the best flavor of raspado?
De gustibus! It really depends on everyone’s preference. For me, strawberry raspado is my favorite flavor, or coconut, vanilla, or guava…
Are they vegan?
If using only fruit syrup, yes. For milky syrups we recommend coconut milk or almond milk that are also delicious!