A buñuelo (Spanish: [buˈɲwelo]; alternatively called bimuelo, birmuelo, bermuelo, burmuelo, or bonuelo; Catalan: bunyol, IPA: [buˈɲɔl]) is a fried dough ball or tortilla found in Southwest Europe, Latin America, and parts of Africa and Asia. It is a popular snack in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, India, Italy, Israel, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, and Venezuela. It is traditionally prepared at Christmas, Ramadan, and among Sephardic Jews at Hanukkah. It will usually have a filling or a topping. In Mexican cuisine, it is often served with a syrup made with piloncillo.[1]

Round Colombian buñuelos
Alternative namesBimuelo, birmuelo, bermuelo, burmuelo, bonuelo
Place of originSpain
Region or stateSouthwest Europe, Latin America, and parts of Africa and Asia
Serving temperatureHot or room temperature

Buñuelos are first known to have been consumed among Spain's Morisco population. They typically consist of a simple, wheat-based yeast dough, often flavored with anise, that is thinly rolled, cut or shaped into individual pieces, then fried and finished off with a sweet topping. Buñuelos may be filled with a variety of things, sweet or savory. They can be round in ball shapes or disc-shaped. In Latin America, buñuelos are seen as a symbol of good luck.[2]

Regional adaptations

  • In Colombia they are made with a small curd white cheese and formed into doughy balls then fried golden brown. It is a traditional Christmas dish, served along with natillas and manjar blanco.
  • In Cuba they are traditionally twisted in a figure 8 and covered in an anise caramel. The dough contains cassava and malanga.
  • In the Dominican Republic, buñuelos are rolled into balls from a dough made of cassava (called yuca) and eggs. They are then covered in a cinnamon sugar syrup, often using coconut milk instead of water.
  • In Nicaragua, buñuelos are made from, cassava, eggs, and white grating cheese. The buñuelos are rolled into balls and deep fried. They are served alongside a syrup made of sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. They are eaten year-round, and are a typical side-dish or snack served during holidays.
  • In the Philippines, buñuelos (also called bunwelos, bunuelos, binowilos, etc.) can be shaped like a ball, a pancake, a cylinder, or even a doughnut. They are commonly eaten with tsokolate, the local hot chocolate drink.[3][4][5] There are also unique local variants of buñuelos, the most common is cascaron (also bitsu-bitsu) which is made with ground glutinous rice (galapong) rather than regular flour. Another variant is bunwelos na saging, which is made with mashed bananas added into the mixture, similar to maruya, a Filipino banana fritter.[6][7][8]
  • In Puerto Rico, buñuelos are small and round. The dough is often made with milk, baking powder, egg, flour, apio or cassava, or grated corn that has been squeezed through a cheesecloth. They are often filled with cheese, ham, spices, and are then baked. Sweet buñuelo dough contains yam or batata filled with guava and cream cheese and usually fried.
  • In Mexico buñuelos are made from a yeasted dough with a hint of anise that is deep-fried, then drenched in a syrup of brown sugar, cinnamon, and guava. Buñuelos are commonly served in Mexico and other Latin American countries with powdered sugar, a cinnamon and sugar topping, or hot sugar cane syrup (piloncillo) and are sold in fairs, carnivals, and Christmas events such as Las Posadas.
  • In Peru, buñuelos resemble picarones in shape (round and ring shaped) but lack yam or squashes as in picarones. Made of flour, water, sugar, and anise, and yeast. They are served with a sweet syrup made of chancaca (sugar cane derived sweet). Common street food native to Arequipa.
  • In Italy, they are usually served with cream, and popular during Carnival time, in particular in the North-East of the country.
  • in Uruguay sweet buñuelos are made with apples and bananas and covered in sugar. Salty variations are traditionally made of spinach, cow brains and seaweed. Cow brains were banned in the country due to mad cow disease of 1996 in England. Seaweed buñuelos are considered a delicacy in Rocha Department.

There are references to buñuelos in Majorca, Catalonia or Valencia; there are also buñuelos in Turkey, India, Puerto Rico, and Cuba; buñuelos in Russia. Jews in Turkey make buñuelos with matzo meal and eat them during Passover.

In many Latin American countries, this particular dish can also be made with flour tortillas, and covered in sugar or cinnamon.

See also


  1. Grodinsky, Peggy (6 September 2006). "Pump up the flavor with piloncillo". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  2. Herrera, Jennifer. "Buñuelos: Tasty dessert symbolic of good luck". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  3. Fernandez, Doreen (1994). Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture. Anvil Pub. p. 46. ISBN 9789712703836.
  4. "Bunwelos". About Filipino Food. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  5. "Bunuelos (fried dough or doughnuts)". Kusina ni Manang. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  6. "Pinoy Meryenda: Bunuelos making (Cascaron)". SweetestCherry. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  7. "Glossary of Filipino Food ...and essays on the world's "original fusion cuisine" too". Filipino ricecakes, sweets, and other snacks - B. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  8. "Bunwelos na Saging". Pinoy Hapagkainan. Retrieved 14 December 2018.

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