Conchas – Pan Dulce

I have made conchas a few times, making adjustments each time to this recipe by Melissa Amador. This past weekend I think I finally got them just the way I like. Don’t be intimidated – try the original or my variation below. You’ll be surprised how easy it is and your house will smell like a panadería all day.

Conchas (Mexican-style Pan Dulce)


5 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
8 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Topping ingredients:

2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a few drops red food coloring


In a large bowl stir yeast and water. Add evaporated milk, sugar, butter, lemon extract, salt, eggs and half the flour. Gradually add the rest of the flour.

Knead on a floured surface. Work in an additional 1/4 to 1/2 of flour if the dough is too sticky. Knead for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into a large ball. Put in a large greased bowl. Cover in a warm area. Let rise until doubled (1 hour)

Topping Directions:

In a medium bowl beat sugar and butter. Stir in flour until it is like a paste. Mix in vanilla and red food coloring until desired pink color is achieved. (The food coloring is optional, but I think it’s pretty.) Set aside.

Back to the dough:

Cut dough into 24 equal pieces. Form into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. (Twelve per cookie sheet works for me.) Divide the pink topping into 24 balls. Cover each dough ball with a thin layer of topping by pressing the pink topping flat into a disc-shape on top of the dough ball. You do not want the topping to be thick or it will fall off after baking.

Use a knife to cut grooves into the top of each concha. You can also use a drinking glass to make a pattern with curved lines.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Bake in 375 F oven on middle rack for a little less than 20 minutes.

Yield: 24 conchas


    • I sooo wish I had a photo of the first time I made them – you would laugh until you cried, seriously. I put the topping on way too thick and they looked like the most demented hedgehogs you can imagine jajaja

  1. These are gorgeous! I love pan dulce. I am vegan and cook for my family everyday so I have adapted the pan dulce recipe to fit our dietary needs. However, they don’t come out as pretty at those. I have to make a few more adjustments. Good job!

    • Thanks, Karen! The change that made the biggest difference is the lemon extract. The cinnamon in the original recipe just wasn’t doing it for me so I bought some conchas from our favorite bakery to compare and I could taste a note of citrus. That’s when I figured out what was missing for me!

  2. My aunt used to own a mexican bakery/tienda/store and every morning that I worked with her I had these with coffee you would think I learned how to make them pero nope lol I am def going to try your recipe! :) thanks for sharing! Ash! It is 9:35pm and I have a sweet bread and cafe craving (thanks :s lol)

    • LOL – sorry for the craving, Yanet! … How fun that you got to work in the bakery. Good memories, I bet!

    • Wow, if Muy Bueno Cookbook gives their seal of approval then I know I didn’t do too bad ;) Gracias, Yvette!

    • Acckh! No me crees aunque tengo la foto donde estan “rising” on my own nasty looking baking sheets! jajaja

  3. Hey, just tried these out and your recipe was great! I used a couple of other recipes from allrecipes (meh), but this was waaay better.

    • When dough doesn’t rise, it can be due to several reasons:

      Water temperature – The water you mix with the yeast can’t be too hot or it will kill the yeast. If the water is too cold, the yeast won’t activate. The water should be around 110 degrees F.

      Dead yeast – The yeast you used may be too old. It helps to keep it in the refrigerator.

      Temperature of the room – Where did you put it to rise? If it isn’t in a warm enough place, it won’t rise. (I sometimes turn the oven on for a minute or two and then turn it off – then I let the dough rise in there.

      That’s just a few things that could go wrong – yeast can be tricky… I wouldn’t give up on the dough though. Even if it doesn’t rise, I would just go ahead and make the conchas with it. Sometimes my dough doesn’t rise or doesn’t rise enough in various recipes and I just keep going. It’s never been a disaster – the dough will just be denser.

      Good luck!

      • thanks i just keep going that day and the second rise was omg sooooo big i had to get two more Cookie sheets just to fit the rest i still dont know what happen with the first but im doing it again as we speak and waiting for the first rise cross fingers works out better :-)

      • Yay! Great, Vanessa. Thanks for checking back in and letting me know how it went. Did the conchas come out well in the end? Hope they’re even better the second time, (my second batch was better than my first.)

  4. yea they came out waaaaaay better the only thing thats not coming out right is the topping so im trying again today but with out the topping any pointers i might have i would love thanks

    • What kind of problem are you having with the topping?

      The first time I applied my topping too thick and it looked awful when they were done and the topping was falling off.

      After that, I realized I needed to put on a much thinner layer and had no problems! … It’s hard to give exact measurements because not sure how big you’re making the breads, but if they’re about the size of mine in the photos, then, (if I remember correctly), each topping ball should be about the size of a walnut. Flattened out, the topping should be the thickness of maybe 2 thin corn tortillas stacked, (but obviously not the same size! Just thickness!) … When you cut designs and let it rise, it’ll puff up.

      Hope that helps – sorry if that is just more confusing! LOL

    • Also, make sure the butter is softened just enough so that you can work with it — it should NOT be melted or even close to melted!

      • sorry i didnt get back to u sooner, my topping comes out sticky and runny and when its rising it comes off of some and breaks up on others it dosent come out fluffy for lack of a better word lol idont know i

      • sorry i do them for my hubby and right nkow we r to the point where we just do the topping the bread is great thou love the bread lol thanks

      • LOL! Your multiple comments here are cracking me up.

        Make sure the butter is mushy (you can push it down with your finger) but not melted before working with it, and after you prepare the topping, you can even put it in the fridge for a little while to stiffen it up if needed. You could also try gradually upping the sugar and flour a little bit. Lastly, remember not to put the topping on the panes too thickly. Hmmm… hope you figure it out but glad you’re enjoying the bread part :)

  5. What kind of yeast do I use dry active yeast or which one my mom uses the dry one but this will be my first time making them my dad was with my mom a lot of years so now all he wants is mexican food and pan dulce because my mom is mexican and my dad is white lol thank you in advance

    • I’m sorry to hear that Nathalie! … Is it possible that your yeast wasn’t fresh? If it didn’t bubble up then it may have been dead. If your water was too hot, you could have also killed it. (The warm water should be just barely warm, not hot.) … Also, did you knead the dough long enough?

  6. Hola Señora López! Ya he probado esta receta al pie de la letra y quedaron en realidad exquisitas! En cuanto vi “conchas” voló mi corazon a SLP en Mexico <3 gracias por compartir esta receta!
    Por cierto, por alguna razón me recuerda a Marisolpink de YouTube! Tal vez por las recetas que tienen!!

  7. Hi Tracy,
    Once again your recipes are fabulous! I made conchas yesterday and they are so good. My husband and I had it with coffee this morning and they were perfect! I love Salvadorian pan dulce do you have other recipes of pan dulce? Maybe margaritas? Or any other pan dulce recipe.

    • Hi Fabiola!

      Thanks so much. It’s always great to hear someone loved a recipe. I don’t have a recipe for margaritas at the moment, but I have several Salvadoran pan dulce recipes linked on the recipes page, including marquesote, quesadilla, semita, and salpores de arroz. Scroll down and look under “DESSERTS” here:

      Thanks again for the nice comment. Saludos!

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