Skip to main content

5 street desserts that are a MUST when you are in Mexico City

The streets of Mexico City offer us countless options to satisfy our sweet and salty cravings. In the previous post on Street Snacks  we share a little of the salty options that you can find while you are on the go. However, it is time to talk about sweet bites, or as many of us usually say, “postrecitos” (little desserts). Although they are not necessarily small portions, we like to refer to food in diminutive terms as a sign of affection. That is why on this occasion we want to share with you a short list of desserts that will not only make your palate happy but also your heart.


1. Flan (Custard)

This dessert of French origin is one of the favorites among Mexicans, not only for its sweet aroma and flavor, but for its soft texture. Although the base for flan is commonly made up of eggs, milk and sugar, here we love to give it that very distinctive touch, so we replace regular milk with evaporated and condensed milk, add vanilla, cream cheese and bake in caramel-covered molds. This delicious mixture gives rise to the Neapolitan flan, an unctuous favorite dessert for children and adults.


Currently there are numerous variants with different ingredients ranging from orange zest, cajeta (burned milk with sugar) instead of caramel, coffee, rum, eggnog, baileys, coconut, chocolate, guava, pumpkin pulp, walnut, almond, even mezcal or cheese; it all depends on the personal touch and creativity of each person.


Recommendation: Currently, a type of instant flan is widely sold on the street that is far from the original: its flavor is very artificial and it looks more like gelatin. To avoid a “bad taste in your mouth”, look for a creamy texture or some bubbles, this will tell you that it is a traditional homemade flan.



2. Gelatina (Jello, gelatin)

Perhaps in no other country do they enjoy this dessert as much as in Mexico. In other parts of the world, it is a type of candy intended for children, but here we all love it. If we are sick, it is an easy food to consume, with a pleasant flavor and texture, also with a high protein content that can help regain energy.  It is something that tastes like home and reminds us of mom’s care when we were in bed.


This dessert also tastes like a party, in almost any celebration where there is cake it will be accompanied by a piece of gelatin, whether simple with a single flavor or several flavors at a time. Sometimes it is combined with fruits, seeds or both. Likewise, it reminds us of childhood, with its various shapes of animals, dinosaurs, cars and cartoons. It is an easy dessert to prepare, which can have many variations and the best of all is that you can eat it on the go.


Recommendation: Be sure to try the mosaic gelatin that combines several flavors of water-based gelatin superimposed on a milk-based gelatin. Another favorite is the “ensalada de gelatina” (gelatin salad) which also has pieces of gelatin combined with fruits, nuts and a mixture of evaporated and condensed milk. You will love it!




3. Buñuelos (Fritters)

Although this is a dessert that is mostly customary during the holiday season, we can find it practically all year round in various streets of the city. Their shapes range from figures that resemble stars or flowers to the simplest ones with an elongated and flat shape.


They are generally served sprinkled with sugar but there are those who prefer them bathed in a syrup made from cinnamon and piloncillo, an artisanal sweetener made from cooked cane juice. The delicious thing about this dessert is that it is usually made fresh, which results in a crunchy texture and a pleasant temperature.


Recommendation: If you visit Mexico in December, accompany the buñuelo with a delicious traditional drink such as café de olla, which is ground coffee beans infused with a slightly sweet cinnamon-spiced water.



4. Helados y nieves (Ice Cream and sorbets)

Is there anything better to dissipate the heat than delicious sorbet or ice cream? With the warm climate of Mexico these are the best desserts to refresh the palate. You can eat them on the street while you are enjoying a pleasant stroll or while you walk to a destination. These are the types of desserts that make almost everyone happy and remind us of childhood.


Depending on each person’s taste, you can decide on a sorbet or ice cream, or both, there is no reason to limit yourself! The former are made with a water base and are usually lighter, but no less complex than ice cream whose base is milk or cream. In ice cream we can find everything from the classic vanilla or chocolate, to combinations with fruits, seeds or some that are a little more extravagant. Can you imagine trying an avocado or marigold ice cream? In the case of sorbets, the most common in Mexico are lemon, hibiscus, mango and soursop, although you can also find them with tequila, mezcal or even mixed with chili.


Recommendation: A must-try ice cream is mamey, a native fruit that recalls the color of papaya but with the texture of yellow sweet potato and notes of dates. In “Las Nieves” you can’t miss that very Mexican touch that is chili: you can order it already combined or request that they add a little when serving it.


5. Chongos

It is said that this peculiar dessert was born in Mexican convents during the viceregal era, a period that began after the Spanish conquest and culminated with the independence of Mexico at the beginning of the 19th century. Apparently someone curdled milk by accident and, to remedy this mistake, added sugar. This resulted in a dessert similar to custard but with a firmer consistency.


To make it, lemon or enzyme pills are added to the whole milk so that it curdles, then it is cooked in a clay pot with piloncillo and cinnamon until it reaches a firm consistency. It is served cold with the same syrup obtained from cooking.


Recommendation: The texture of the chongos should be firm but never rubbery. In some stalls you can ask for a “pruebita” (a small taste). If they comply it is a great sign and you should not hesitate to buy them.


3 spots to explore in Mexico City Previous Article