Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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Warm, toasty, and melty, this easy Mexican Capirotada recipe is the perfect dessert. Topped with toasted coconut, raisins, and lots of nuts, every bite of this Mexican bread pudding is loaded with dreamy flavors and texture.

Homemade Mexican Bread Pudding

Baked to soft and melty perfection, this simple Mexican capirotada is loaded with flavor and all of its traditional elements: cheese, peanuts, and raisins. Also topped with toasted coconut, almonds, pecans, and walnuts, this recipe is an explosion of sweet and crunchy goodness.

Drizzled with a homemade aromatic milk, it’s a delicately rich bread pudding filled with warm spices from the cinnamon, whole cloves, and star anise. Don’t worry if you’re out of evaporated milk, though. This capirotada is so simple that you can swap it out for other ingredients and still get a dreamy dessert.

Although it’s typically only eaten during Easter, no one will complain if you ever make it outside of Lent. In fact, once everyone has a bite, good luck only making this bread pudding once or twice a year.

A slice of Mexican bread pudding on a plate with a baking dish behind it.

What Is Capirotada?

Capirotada, or Mexican bread pudding, is a very traditional and once-a-year Mexican dessert. It’s made with sliced, stale bread that’s coated in aromatic milk or cream. Then it’s typically sprinkled with peanuts, raisins, and shredded cheese.

As it bakes, the bread softens, soaking in all the creamy liquid, and absorbs lots of flavor from the add-ins. Once the cheese is nice and melty, it’s ready to be served.

Why is Capirotada Eaten During Lent?

Capirotada is a Lent-only dessert because of the symbolism behind its ingredients. The bolillo (or bread) is Christ’s body, the piloncillo (or sweetener) is his blood, and the whole spices like cloves and cinnamon sticks are the nails and wood of the cross he was crucified on. Since Lent is also a time to be grateful, capirotada is made with leftover bread to avoid wasting any food.

Ingredients in bowls arranged on a coutnertop.

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe is for you if you keep your pantry well-stocked with peanuts, raisins, and all sorts of seeds, nuts, and dried fruits. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full ingredient amounts.

For the Capirotada

  • Butter
  • Mexican Bolillos – You can use store bought or Homemade Bolillos. You can swap them out for baguettes if you can’t find bolillos.
  • Evaporated milk – This adds amazing richness, but feel free to use whole milk or half-and-half.
  • Piloncillo Granulated piloncillo is the easiest way to go about this, but you can also roughly chop piloncillo cones for this. Dark brown sugar and coconut sugar are great alternatives.
  • Star anise – You want to use a whole star anise, do not use ground star anise.
  • Whole cloves – Don’t use ground cloves.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon – You can also use 1/2 cinnamon stick.
  • Ground ginger – Feel free to leave it out.

For the Toppings

  • Shredded coconut – Coconut flakes are a good alternative.
  • Slivered almonds – Roughly chopped almonds work too.
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Salted peanuts – If you can find unsalted peanuts, better. Otherwise, just rinse the salt right off.
  • Raisins – You can substitute them for cranberries.
  • Manchego cheese – Chihuahua cheese is a good substitute.
A plate of Capirotada with a fork.

How to Make Capirotada

Mexican capirotada is just like making your favorite bread pudding. It’s easy!

  • Prepare the baking dish. Preheat the oven to 390°F. Use the butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 9×9″ baking dish. Place any leftover butter in the center of the baking dish.
  • Add the bread. Vertically assemble the bread slices in the baking dish. Make sure to place them in all sorts of directions to leave a bit of room in between the slices. If it’s packed together tightly then there won’t be space for the add-ins to seep through.
  • Simmer the milk. Pour the evaporated milk into a small pot. Add the piloncillo, star anise, whole cloves, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger. Place it over low heat and stir constantly. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
  • Toast the coconut. Add the coconut to a small pan over low heat. Stir it constantly and let it toast for 5-8 minutes or until golden. Don’t leave it unattended because it burns quickly. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
  • Mix the toppings. Add the toasted coconut, almonds, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, and raisins to a small bowl. Mix until well combined. Set it aside.
  • Assemble it. Sprinkle the toppings over the bread and into the nooks between its slices.
  • Strain the milk. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the milk over the bread and toppings. Don’t skip this step because it’ll catch the spices and any bits of film that may have formed. Gently squeeze the bread into the baking dish to help coat it with the mixture.
  • Bake it. Pop it into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melty. Remove it from the oven and serve warm.

Tips for Success

These simple tips can take your Mexican capirotada to the next level in a second:

  • Toast the bread. Spread your bread slices with a bit of butter or vegetable oil and toast them in the oven at 390°F for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden. It will give the bread more structure as it bakes. However, it’s not really necessary if your bread is more than a couple of days old.
  • Use leftover bread. It doesn’t matter if your bolillo is a week old and rock-hard. From the way this capirotada turns out, you’d never know the loaves sat on your counter forever.
  • Make it zesty. Add 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest into the mixture for a citrusy kick.
  • Use more add-ins. Although chocolate chips and other dried fruits aren’t used in traditional capirotada, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. After all, it’s your bread pudding. Add 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite add-ins.
Capirotada in a casserole dish with a spoon.

What to Serve with Mexican Capirotada

Capirotada is great after a Mexican-inspired meal. Since it’s a dessert, you need to pair it with a yummy drink. Coffee, Café de Olla, and Mexican Atole are the most traditional drinks to serve with this bread pudding. A Carajillo would also go great along with this bread pudding if you wanted an after dinner cocktail!

A slice of Mexican Capirotada on a plate with a fork.

How to Store Leftovers

Once fully cooled, you can refrigerate this Mexican bread pudding for up to 5 days. I suggest doing so in an airtight container to avoid the transfer of odors from strong-smelling foods like onions, but you can also cover the baking dish with foil and pop it in the fridge.

To reheat it, sprinkle it with 1-2 teaspoons of milk and then microwave it for up to a minute or until warm. If you’re reheating a large portion (for more than 3 people), place it in the oven at 360°F for 6-12 minutes.

More Mexican Recipes

A plate of Capirotada with a fork.
5 from 2 votes
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Yield: 4

Capirotada Recipe (Mexican Bread Pudding)

Warm, toasty, and melty, this quick Mexican capirotada will become your new favorite bread pudding loaded with peanuts, coconut, and cheese. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients

For the Capirotada

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 Mexican bolillos, day-old and cut into 3/4″ slices
  • 16 fluid ounces evaporated milk
  • 3-6 tablespoons piloncillo, to taste
  • ½ medium star anise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground ginger

For the Toppings

  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 2 ½ tablespoons roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 ½ tablespoons roughly chopped salted peanuts, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • ½ cup shredded Manchego cheese

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 390°F. Use the butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 9×9" baking dish.
  • Vertically assemble the bread slices in the baking dish. Make sure to place them in all sorts of directions to leave a bit of room in between the slices.
  • Pour the evaporated milk into a small pot. Add the piloncillo, star anise, whole cloves, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger. Place it over low heat and stir constantly. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
  • Add the coconut to a small pan over low heat. Stir it constantly and let it toast for 5-8 minutes or until golden. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
  • Add the toasted coconut, almonds, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, and raisins to a small bowl. Mix until well combined. Set it aside.
  • Sprinkle the toppings over the bread and into the nooks between its slices.
  • Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the milk over the bread and toppings. Gently squeeze the bread into the baking dish to help coat it with the mixture.
  • Pop it into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melty. Remove it from the oven and serve warm.

Notes

Storage: Once fully cooled, you can refrigerate this Mexican bread pudding for up to 5 days. I suggest doing so in an airtight container to avoid the transfer of odors from strong-smelling foods like onions, but you can also cover the baking dish with foil and pop it in the fridge.
Reheat: To reheat it, sprinkle it with 1-2 teaspoons of milk and then microwave it for up to a minute or until warm. If you're reheating a large portion (for more than 3 people), place it in the oven at 360°F for 6-12 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 786kcal, Carbohydrates: 80g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 77mg, Sodium: 775mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 24g

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Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.