Sopapillas with Honey

Desserts

These Sopapillas with Honey hail from New Mexico. This version consists of perfectly fried puffed dough served with a drizzle of honey.

Sopapillas with Honey and Powdered Sugar

Last week I spent a few days in New Mexico (whole re-cap coming soon!) and one of the best things I ate during my trip were Sopapillas with Honey! Have you had a sopapilla before? There are different iterations; before last week, the only version I have had were South American and Tex-Mex versions, but the puffy ones you see pictured are vastly different.

The New Mexican-style sopapilla is almost like a cross between a South American sopapilla and a Native American fry bread. Think of them like that. They’re soft and fluffy and puffy. Traditionally you serve them with a drizzle of honey.
New Mexican-Style Sopapilla

New Mexican-Style Sopapilla Ingredients

Sweet or Savory Sopapillas!

Sopapillas are served in both sweet and savory contexts.

The best version I had (and I had a lot and in savory contexts too!) was at El Paragua Restaurant in Espanola, New Mexico, which is about an hour south of Taos. It was a meal we ate while we were headed to Albuquerque and it was AMAZING. I got the combination plate. It was simple: one enchilada, one tamale, rice, beans and pazole. I’ve had a lot of enchiladas in my day but seriously it was the best enchilada I’ve ever had. Same with the tamale.

The sopapillas were to die for. When I got home, the first thing I did was research recipes.

How to Make Sopapillas Without Shortening!

Most recipes I found used shortening in the dough. I’m not big on using shortening but figured this might be the exception. I ended up buying non-gmo shortening and guess what? I didn’t like them! They weren’t right. They were crispy, not puffy and lacked flavor. Luckily I found this video, which uses no shortening (yay!). I played with his recipe, adding more salt and figuring out the technique that works best. (Them puffing up is all about the temperature of the oil and the thinness of the dough.)

New Mexican-Style Sopapilla

The milk in this recipe (most recipes use water) result in a much softer sopapilla. The version I liked from El Paragua was suuuuper soft on the inside but the exterior was awesomely crispy. These are the same. I tried to mimic their version as closely as possible since they really were the best I had all week.

I can’t wait to share my re-cap with you because New Mexico is sooo beautiful and all the food I ate (and I ate A LOT!) was so good and full of history. But for now, Sopapillas with Honey!

How to Make Sopapillas with Honey

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients. We’re using all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. Make a well in the flour mixture.
  3. Then pour in the honey and milk.
  4. Stir until a dough forms.
  5. Rest the dough for 20 minutes.
  6. Choose your choice of fat. I used shortening but you could use peanut oil, neutral oil or lard. Heat it until it reaches about 300 degrees F.
  7. Roll out the dough so that it’s 1/8-inch thick.
  8. Cut the dough into squares.
  9. Heat the oil further to 375 degrees F.
  10. Drop the squares of dough into the hot oil.
  11. Flip them after a minute.
  12. Cook on the opposite side for another minute. And then transfer to the paper towels.
  13. Eat with honey!

New Mexican-Style Sopapilla with Honey

New Mexican-Style Sopapillas Recipe

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5 from 20 votes
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting time 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serving Size: 18 sopapillas
Calories: 197kcal
New Mexico is a beautiful place and these sopapillas paired with honey are straight from New Mexico. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • Shortening, (or canola oil, peanut oil or lard, for frying)

Directions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Next, create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the honey and whole milk. Using a spoon or your hands, mix the dough together until it forms a sticky mass. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes.
  • I know frying this is a bit of a bummer but I’ll say that with these it’s needed and worth it. Since I had shortening leftover from my first batch of dough, I used it to fry these sopapillas; canola oil or peanut oil or lard will also work. In a cast iron skillet (or medium pot), add enough fat so it reaches 3-inches up the sides of the skillet/pot. Heat up your oil to around 300 degrees. (Right before we fry them off, we’ll heat it up even further.)
  • Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. If the dough is at all sticky (it shouldn’t be after it rested) feel free to sprinkle it with a bit of flour so it doesn’t adhere to the surface. Dump the dough onto the counter and roll the dough into a thin (1/8-inch thick) square. (It doesn’t have to be a perfect square either, just do your best.) Cut the sopapillas into 4 x 3-inch rectangles. Again, the measurements don’t have to be exact, you can definitely eyeball this.
  • Before you fry them up, be sure to get your honey ready. Line a baking sheet or plate with a few layers of paper towels or clean kitchen towel. Heat the oil up again to 375 degrees F. Drop the sopapillas in the hot oil, frying two to three at a time, for about a minute, flipping them over at the halfway point. (If they don’t puff up, they’ll still be tasty! But it may mean the dough isn’t rolled thin enough.) They should be lightly golden brown—not too crispy. Transfer them to the bed of paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining sopapillas.
  • These taste best straight from the fryer to a plate to being consumed but if you want, you can keep the sopapillas warm in an 200 degree pre-heated oven while you fry up the rest. Serve them alongside some honey and apricot preserves.
CourseDessert
CuisineAmerican
Keywordhow to make sopapillas, new mexican sopapillas, new mexico, sopapia, sopapilla
Serving: 1g | Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 41.1g | Protein: 5.3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 791mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1.1g | Sugar: 9.2g
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Looking for more Latin-inspired recipes? Here are some of my favorites: 

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25 Comments

Leave a Reply






  • Reply Nehemiah Salcido March 10, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    5 stars
    Best I’ve ever made !!! Loved them , Thanks

  • Reply Mike Wood January 8, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    5 stars
    Back in the late 1950s, when I was a young boy, my family lived in Tucson, AZ. There was a Mexican restaurant (Ponchos) down the road that served SOPAPILLAS, which were to die for. They were more oblong, like a potato, but hollow in the middle. You would tear open the SOPAPILLA and pour in honey. These were, as I mentioned, to die for. In the 60 years since then, I have never seen a Mexican restaurant offering these on a menu. You can imagine my thrill I had when I came across this posting. My wife is going to try this recipe over the weekend and I will edit this post then, but I feel quite confident that these are the same. The video that was mentioned in this posting (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XQrVSRRM1o) was also very helpful and I would recommend watching that as well. Ponchos had candles on each table that would burn down to create a rainbow of melted candles. There was one huge candle as you entered the door which had hundreds of melted candles creating it. I learned, from a friend that Ponchos burned down and was never rebuilt. Great childhood memories from childhood.

  • Reply Maggie September 1, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    5 stars
    My exs mom made a beer batter for them and guess where she’s from… Española! I’ve eaten at the restaurant mentioned and the beer batter is where it’s at! And she rolled them in cinnamon and sugar then drizzled with honey

    • Reply Rene Flores December 15, 2019 at 11:47 am

      5 stars
      Sopapillas are native American. My wife’s family from Espanola the best sopapillas you get at La Cocina restaurant. Stuffed sopapillas with carne avocado excellent. Had my wedding reception at El Paragua. From Cali food very food lived in Texas 13 years food took getting used to but New Mexico(northern). It’s addicting delicious thebest I’ve had..

  • Reply Alexandria Shields June 28, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    5 stars
    OFF THE CHAIN! Is all I have to say! I skipped the sweets ’cause we had it with beans and Chile, but a great recipe nonetheless! I’ve made sopaipillas for years and being from NM, this recipe pretty much nails it… I did add roughly a T of lard because I suppose I’m just conditioned to it lol and the milk was a first time for me and they were super fluffy, soft and just enough crispy on the outside! I’m glad u enjoyed our beautiful state, cuisine and culture! You girl, are NM approved!

  • Reply Phoebe Gibbs May 15, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    5 stars
    Hi and thank you!- I grew up in New Mexico – I ate these torn open on the corner and the honey poured in (at the table) and squished around so there is a smear throughout the inside of the hot sopapilla – then you can dip it in the chile of whatever dish you are eating – so true about the hot and savory with the sweet! Also is helpful when your chile is super hot -takes a bit of the edge off!

  • Reply steve April 5, 2018 at 10:32 am

    New Mexican here. Don’t ever put powered sugar on my sopapilla

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