HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Mexican Bakery Novice- what to try?

I recently found an amazing Mexican bakery in my little midwest city. The place was beautiful and I was overwhelmed by the huge selection of pasteries, cookies, empanadas, etc - probably 100+ different items. Not being very familiar with Mexican baked goods, I stuck with a few things that looked somewhat familiar- i bought churros, something croissant-like (but with an interesting creamy filling), and a kind of thick, almost pudding-y cornbread that was amazing, along with a few tamales and some mole sauce. Everything I bought was great, but I'd love some suggestions on what to look for when I go back. The items were not labeled, so visual descriptions would be helpful. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Wow that all sounds great. The Mexican bakeries I have been to had really dry product. Limited selection of sweet buns, sometimes with a lot of food coloring involved.

    1 Reply
    1. re: divadmas

      Seems like you live in Seattle so I'm not surprised. Hop aboard a "quick" flight to Houston, panaderias everywhere, but El Bolillo is the best. Check ou the selection.


    2. That does sound lovely.

      Growing up, my Mexican nanny would take me on the public bus once a week to buy conchas, a Mexican bread with a sugary crust: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/conchas-... We would eat them in the park as a snack; they're not super sweet and I think would be great with a cup of coffee or tea.

      The only thing I currently seek out from Mexican bakeries are bolillo rolls: https://www.google.com/search?q=bolil... They are the perfect vehicle for any kind of sandwich you can come up with.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nothingswrong

        I definitely saw both of those there- thanks for the tip!

      2. Get the donuts if they have them.

          1. Capirotada, like a mexican bread pudding with raisins like this:

            See if they sell homemade corn tortillas- those are wonderful- but very perishable, so either eat asap or freeze them.
            Also check if they have menudo on sundays. I am so jealous about the tamales! The sweet corn ones are my favorite yet hard to find....

            5 Replies
              1. re: James Cristinian

                I've never seen it as an individual size....but it would be awesome to bring a whole cake for a summer picnic or bbq!

                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  It's quite common to see individual portions in restaurants and the many panaderias here in Houston.

                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                      Lucky indeed! Panaderias, carnicerias, taquerias, taco trucks, tamale factories, Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants, plus ostionerias seemingly as far as the eye can see. We even have a neighbor that brings fresh tamales and flan to the door, at a very reasonable price.

            1. A lot of non-MX people don't like pan de huevos/conchas because they seem dry, but if you get very fresh ones, they are feather light, airy, and practically dissolve on the tongue, and very good with hot chocolate or coffee.

              Here are some faves for me: Fresh churros, chocoflan, flan, pastel de tres leches, orejas (elephant ears, these are sooo awesome!), polvorones/MX wedding cookies...melt on tongue, cream puffs/profiteroles, these are my faves, but just get whatever looks good.

              I find a lot of MX bakery empanadas dry and under-filled, but maybe your bakery has good ones. They might have good donas (doughnuts) too, but all MX donas are not equal.

              You've already discovered the tamales, that's another yummy thing they sometimes vend. See if they have barbacoa and/or menudo on the weekends.

              1. Congratulations on your find. I'm one of the ones that hasn't found pan dulces and pan huevos very interesting but I go for churros and cemita de anis (see the linked site from JungMann), tortillas, if they make their own (around here, tortillerias are usually separate businesses), Tres Leches, and teleras, the flattened versions of bolillos used for tortas, the over-stuffed Mexican sandwiches. i find them more useful rolls than bolillos.

                Besides tamales, barbacoa and menudo, look for birria or borrego on the weekend and champurrado to go with those tamales.

                Around here some panaderias even offer kolaches; good luck finding those unless your midwestern city is in the Czech belt. Yep, fusion panaderias. I haven't found Mexican takes on donuts or kolaches very good but at one place near me, the Hispanic customers eat 'em up.

                Oh yes, the cemita de anis according to some accounts is a regional thing so also may not be available where you are.

                1. Flan and paletas are a possibility ... ask about them.

                  1. My absolute favorites are the pig shaped molasses cookies called Marranitos. They're a great snack but I absolutely love them for breakfast.

                    Bolillos (for tortas and just slicing and toasting) always end up in the bag plus I buy a pumpkin empanada to eat in the car. My favorite bakeries sell drinks in addition to their pastries. Look for horchata and aguas frescas- on a hot day you're in for a treat!

                    Man, this thread is making me drool!