Spanish Sweets and Desserts Dictionary

How sweet Spain is! Spain is full of many different types of sweets and desserts. Many recipes come from every culture that has come to Spain, from the Romans to the Arabs. Many of the sweets are made by nuns in cloisters all over Spain.


Adoquines - Huge candies, typical from Zaragoza. These usually come with popular "jota" lyrics on their wrapping.

Alfajor - A cake made of flour, honey, almonds and several spices, including cinnamon. This is usually eaten at Christmas. It is like a macaroon and comes from Cadiz.

Amarguillo - Almond cookie.

Almendrados - Almond cookies.

Almendras garrapiñadas - Candied almonds.

Arroz con leche - Rice pudding.

Bizcochá - Cake from eggs, flour and oil soaked in milk with vanilla, sugar and cinnamon. From Alcazar de San Juan.

Bizcocho - Plain sponge cake.

Bizcocho borracho - A light spongy cake drizzled with brandy, lemon and cinnamon.

Bizcocho de almendras - Almond sponge cake.

Bizcoletas - Iced cakes.

Bollo maimón - aka Salamanca wedding cakes. This spongy cake is a ring-shaped made with flour, sugar, eggs and yeast, usually eaten soaked in chocolate.

Borrachuelo - This is an aniseed and orange roll that is deep fried and sprinkled with sugar.

Brazo de Gitano ( “Gypsy’s arm“) - A sponge roll filled with cream.

Bunyol de quaresma / buñuelo de cuaresma - Especial small fritters filled with cream. Eaten only on Lent's Holy Wednesday. From Catalonia.

Buñuelo - This is a puffy, deep fried pastry that is sweet.

Buñuelo de limon - Lemon cruller.

Cabello de angel (hair of an angel) - Pumpkin strands in syrup.

Carquinyolis - Almond cookies, very similar to Italian cantuccini/biscotti di prato.

Catanies - Marcona almonds are caramelized with sugar, covered with a sweet hazelnut and almond paste, then rolled in powdered cocoa for a combination of textures and crunch. From Catalonia.

Churro - A churro is a deep fried dough pastry that may be sold in pretzel shapes. It is similar to a doughnut without a topping and is a favorite of the Spanish, who eat it with a hot chocolate drink. This is eaten everyday and not just on holidays.

 coca de forner : made with the bread pastry, sugar and  anise. you can find it in bakerys. Typical from Catalonia

Coca de Frutas de San Juan - The traditional sweet bread prepared on the feast of St. John in June. From Catalonia.

Coca de lardoons - Suet pastry. From Catalonia.

Cortadillo - Pastry with a pumpkin filling.

Cortadillos de coco - Coconut pastries.

Crema Catalana - Cold custard with a caramel top. In Catalonia, it is called just crema or crema cremada, depending whether it has or does not have caramelized sugar on top.

Crepes con naranja y coñac - Spanish pancakes.

Cuajados de almendra y almibar - Almond and syrup curdles.

Ensaimada - Fluffy pastry coils that are plain or filled with preserves or cream. They are coated with fine sugar. This is a sweet from Mallorca.

Fardelejo - Crunchy fried cake, light brown, made from pastry filled with marzipan. From La Rioja.

Flan - Custard with caramel sauce.

Flan de fresas - A flan with fresh strawberries.

Gañote- A sweet from Ubrique, made from flour, eggs , cinnamon, and sugar. The concoction is then fried and this is a traditional sweet for Hole Week.

Gató d'ametlla - Majorcan cake from Valldemossa.

Gloria - Little baked ball of ground almond and sugar.

Gofrey - A square waffle with chocolate and whipped cream on top.

Guirlache - Toasted almond and caramel paste. Guirlache is a Christmas sweet, but you can find these all year round. The ones at Zoarraquino's in Zaragoza are out of this world!

Helado - Ice cream.

Hojaldre - Puff pastry.

Huesillo - Fried finger-shaped pastry.

Huesos de santo (Saint's bones) - Filled marzipan rolls.

Leche frita - Fried custard square.

Macedonia de fruta tropical - Tropical fruit salad.

Magdalena - Cupcake.

Mantecadas - Dough made from plain wheat flour, hens' eggs, dairy butter, lard and sugar. From Astorga.

Mantecado - This is a crumbly cookie made with lard, flour and sugar and is usually eaten for Christmas. It is usually flavored with almond or anise, although there are many other flavors. The cookie is wrapped with brightly colored paper, each color denoting a different flavor. Estepa is famous for this.

Manzana asada - Baked apple.

Mazapan or Marzipan - This is a combination of almonds and sugar that may be made into little figures. There are many varieties and many may contain pine nuts and other delicious edibles. The city of Toledo is famous for their version and nuns make them in the cloister.

Mel i Mató - Local soft cheese (tastes similar to cottage cheese) with honey. From Catalonia.

Melindros - Soft cookies to be dip in hot chocolate, similar to "mostachon" but oval instead of round shaped (the traditional way to eat hot chocolate in catalunya is "xocolata amb melindros" instead of churros, even churros are very popular as well)

Membrillo - Quince jelly.

Menjar blanc: almond cream with cinnamon, typical in Reus and south of Catalonia.

Mermelada de naranja - Orange marmalade.

Merengas de café - Coffee flavored meringues.

Merengue - Whipped egg whites and sugar.

Mojicones - Sponge cakes.

Mona de Pasqua (easter cake) - The original recipe is a pastry ring with eggs, related to old Spring/fertility rituals. The modern version includes chocolate figures, some real artworks. From Catalonia.

Mostachon - A kind of shortbread from Utrera, used for dipping in hot chocolate or coffee.

Mousse de chocolate - Chocolate mousse.

Music 's dessert: almonds, hazelnuts,raisins, dry figs and a glass of moscatell or similar. From Catalonia.

Natilla - Cold custard and cinnamon.

Neulas - Tube wafers, typical at Christmas (try to drink some Cava through a "neula" and have fun!) - From Catalonia.

Nicanores - Puff pastry withdough of flour, salted butter, eggs and white wine. From Boñar.

Oblea - Wafer.

Oralletes: thin and oval  fried plastry with sugar. Typical of Lleida and others zones of the south of Catalonia.

Palmeras - Palm shaped pastries.

Pan de datiles - Bread made with dates.

Pan de higo - Fig roll.

Panellet - Catalan almond cookie, only eaten on All Saints day (Nov. 1).

Pastel Cordobes- Cordovan cake made with puff pastry and sweet pumpkin filling. Optional additional serrano ham filling.

Pastel de chocolate - Chocolate cake.

Pastel Ruso - Typical from Huesca, it's said that a local pastry cook made it first time for a Tsar's wife. Best ones in Ascaso pastry shop.

Pastel vasco - Basque cherry tart.

Pastisset - Powdered sugar cookie from Catalonia. In fact "pastisset" just means "small pie", so you can get different things in different towns, with this same name. Quite famous are the Pastissets of Tortosa. Fills of "cabell d'angel (a kind of pumpkin confiture) or"mató" ( fresh cheese).

Peras al vino - Pears in red Rioja wine.

Peras al vino dulce - Pears in sweet wine.

Perrunilla - Oval or circular cinnamon and lemon flavored biscuit.

Pestiño - This is a honey coated fried dough.

Piedra - A large Spanish almond covered in rich dark chocolate and powdered with cocoa.

Piedras del Ebro - Candies shaped and colored like pebbles, from Aragon.

Pijama - Peaches, flan, and whipped cream.

Piñonate - A pine nut sweet.

Piononos - Babas with cream, from Santa Fe in Granada Province.

Platano al horno - Baked banana.

Polvoron - This is a powder cake that is composed of finely ground almonds, lard, sugar, and cinnamon. It is wrapped in paper and easily crumbles when eaten. Estepa is famous for this.

Pudin de arroz - Rice pudding.

Rabito - Chocolate covered fig.

Roscon de Reyes - The roscon de reyes (king cake) is a type of sweet bread that the Spanish eat on the Feast of the Three Kings (Jan. 6). Three Kings is the day that the Spanish traditionally give their children their gifts. The roscon is shaped like a large oval ring and is a bit flat. It is usually sliced in half horizontally and filled with whipped cream or a custard. When the dough is soft, a small figurine is placed inside the dough and baked with it. The top of the ring is decorated with candied fruit pieces of different colors. The person who finds the figurine in his serving is supposed to get good luck.

Rosquillas listas (smart doughnuts) - Sugared ring shaped pastry from Madrid.

Rosquillas tontas (dumb doughnuts) - Ring shaped pastry from Madrid.

Rosquillos de vino (Roscos is the other name) - These are wine ring cookies, with anise flavoring. They are usually eaten with anise liqueur.

Sobaos pasiegos - Cupcake made from butter, flour, powdered yeast and eggs. From Cantabria.

Sorbete - Sherbet.

Sultana - Macaroon.

Tarta de almendras - Almond cake.

Tarta de cappuchino - Cappucino cake.

Tarta de manzana - Apple tart.

Tarta de platano - Banana cake.

Tarta de Santiago - Galician almond cake.

Tejas - Almond biscuits from Tolosa.

Tetas de Santa Agueda (yes, it means "Saint Agatha’s ___") - Puff pastry topped with a cherry. You can imagine the shape of it! It is eaten at Santa Agueda festivity, Feb 5, "Day of the Women". From Aragon.

Tocino del cielo - A rich caramel topped custard.

Torrijas - A traditional bread pudding eaten in Easter.

Tortas de aceite - Round, flat cakes.

Torta de Santiago - St. James cake, made of almonds and sold in Santiago de Compostela.

Tortells - Pastry rings, Catalan equivalent to "Roscón", different types related to different festivals.

Turron - This is nougat candy, made with honey, sugar, egg white, and almonds. It is usually shaped into rectangular tablets, although one can also find round tablets. There are two types, the hard (from Alicante) and the soft (from Jijona). It is of Moorish origin.

Yema - Candied egg yolks. This is a specialty of Avila.