Capirotada: A Mexican tradition that never disappoints


Photo Taken by Javier Hernandez

The capirotada coming out of the oven.

Capirotada is known by many as the “Mexican” bread-pudding. In essence the comparison makes sense, but the two dishes are essentially different. 

Capirotada is popular during Lent and Good Friday. It serves as a reminder of Christ’s  suffering.

Traditional capirotada is made with bread, raisins, cheese, spices, syrup and fruit. My family adds our own twist as a homage to my grandmother, who passed down the recipe to her children.

The biggest difference: we don’t add cheese or fruit. Cheese doesn’t allow the richness of the other ingredients to pop out. As to the fruit … I have no idea why it’s not added. I guess it’s my grandmother’s secret.

This recipe does take time, but with patience comes time to bond with family members and prepare a beautiful delicacy.. 

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves: Family of 4-6


  • Large pot to boil ingredients
  • Oven-safe dish 
  • Pan to grill bread
  • Rubber cooking spoon
  • Tongs to flip the bread and dunk


  • Two cans of evaporated milk
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 2-4 tablespoons of butter
  • One can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 ounces of Piloncillo (brown sugar cane)
  • Quarter cup of brown sugar
  • Half a gallon of milk
  • 4 ounces of multi-colored sprinkles
  • 2 ounces of shredded coconut
  • Four pounds of bolillo (variation of a baguette)


I like starting with the items that take longer. Open your kitchen windows because the kitchen is about to get hot.

To start off add a cinnamon stick and piloncillo to a medium-sized pot, then set the heat to medium-high and let simmer. Once the piloncillo starts to melt, it’s time to add one can of evaporated milk. 

REMINDER: Don’t forget to stir constantly during this process to avoid sticking!

Allow the milk concoction to turn brown. Once it has a nice brownish color, it’s time to add half a gallon of milk. Stir this frequently, until it comes together. Then turn the heat off and proceed to the next step.

Now it’s time to grill the bread. The point is to allow the bread to harden, which allows it to soak better. Grab a pan and add two tablespoons of butter. Slowly add your bread once melted. All you’re looking for is some browning and some firmness. 

Once your bread is firm, it’s time to assemble the capirotada. Butter an oven-safe dish, then dunk your bread into the pot of syrup. 

Do this to every piece of bread for your first layer. Once the first layer is full of bread, add sprinkles and shredded coconut. After every piece of bread appears colorful, add sweetened condensed milk and more of your syrup. 

Rinse and repeat until your pan is full of capirotada. Add a couple spoonfuls of syrup once the dish is ready. As tempting as it looks, you still have to wait a little longer before eating. Add the dish to the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes to allow the bread to absorb all the flavors.

The extra 20 minutes is worth it, trust me. Once it comes out of the oven, let it sit for five minutes before serving. This dish is typically served with milk or arroz con leche.

I sent my grandma a picture and she approved. So go ahead and give this dish a try, because my grandma said so! 

Javier Hernandez can be contacted at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter.