These Sopapillas with Honey hail from New Mexico. This version consists of perfectly fried puffed dough served with a drizzle of honey.
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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.
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.)
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
- Whisk together the dry ingredients. We’re using all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
- Make a well in the flour mixture.
- Then pour in the honey and milk.
- Stir until a dough forms.
- Rest the dough for 20 minutes.
- 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.
- Roll out the dough so that it’s 1/8-inch thick.
- Cut the dough into squares.
- Heat the oil further to 375 degrees F.
- Drop the squares of dough into the hot oil.
- Flip them after a minute.
- Cook on the opposite side for another minute. And then transfer to the paper towels.
- Eat with honey!
Looking for more Latin-inspired recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
- Tres Leches Cake
- Classic Flan
- Tallarines Verdes
- Pupusas with Curtido
- Pollo a la Brasa
- Green Arroz con Pollo