This blog post was originally posted on June 7, 2015 and was updated on August 1, 2018.
If your trip to Spain is shorter than seven days, you may want to rethink it—you’re going to need time to try each of these typical Spanish desserts!
Spain may not be as famous for dessert as some of our other European counterparts, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many sweet treats Madrid has to offer. Here are some of our favorite typical Spanish desserts and where to enjoy them in Madrid!
One delicious Spanish sweet you aren’t going to find on this list? Churros! That’s because churros are served for breakfast or as a snack, but never for dessert. Here’s our list of the best churros in Madrid. Now, on to the desserts!
1. Leche Frita
Leche frita, or fried milk, is a Spanish sweet that is typical to northern Spain. The exact origin is unknown, as many regions claim to have invented the dish, but this recipe spread very quickly throughout the country!
It is made by combining flour, eggs, milk and sugar into a custard-like dough. The mixture is then molded into rectangles and deep-fried in olive oil, creating a perfectly crunchy exterior. Just before serving, it’s finished off with a sugar glaze and a dash of cinnamon. Yum!
Where to try it: In Madrid, head to Casa Salvador (Calle de Barbieri, 12), a traditional restaurant in the heart of the Chueca neighborhood.
Depending on which Spanish-speaking country you’re in, bizcocho can refer to anything from pastries to cookies. However, here in Spain, when you see bizcocho on a dessert menu, you can expect a delicious pound cake.
Where to try it: When you’re checking out the Plaza Mayor, make sure to wander over to El Riojano (Calle Mayor, 10), one of our tour partners in the city center. There you’ll find amazing, typical Spanish desserts made with natural ingredients in the traditional way.
If you love to start your morning with French toast, then torrijas are the dessert for you! Stale brioche bread is soaked in sweetened milk and eggs, then fried in olive oil and dusted with cinnamon sugar. The end result is to die for, with a crispy outside and fluffy inside. They are sometimes even soaked in wine instead of milk, or drizzled with honey for an extra punch of flavor.
Where to try it: Typically eaten during Lent and Easter Week, torrijas are one of the most typical Spanish desserts. Lucky for us, many restaurants serve these tasty morsels year round! Try them in the city center at La Casa de las Torrijas (Calle de la Paz, 4), or grab them on the go from La Mallorquina bakery (Calle Mayor, 2) just up the street.
Spanish flan is a caramel pudding made from a simple mixture of milk, sugar and eggs. You’ll see it served in almost every bar and restaurant in Madrid and beyond, making it the king of all the typical Spanish desserts.
This rich, gelatinous dessert is placed into a metal mold and then cooked to perfection in a water bath (known in Spain as a baño María). Once the custard has set, it’s turned upside down on a plate so that the sweet caramel sauce can drip down its sides. Vanilla is the classic flavor, but you can find other variations like chocolate and even coconut!
Where to try it: For an extra-special treat, head over to La Primera (Calle Gran Via, 1) to enjoy what is rumored to be one of the best flans in all of Spain.
5. Tarta de Queso
Spanish cheesecake is lighter and fluffier than what you usually find in the United States. The best Spanish cheesecakes spotlight delicious regional cheeses: you can find cheesecakes in Madrid made with everything from cured Manchego sheep cheese to creamy Payoyo goat cheese from the mountains of Cádiz.
Where to try it: Try some of the best cheesecake in Madrid at Pan de Pi. This artisan bakery makes a Galician-style cheesecake with tetilla cheese that is out of this world!
Natillas is one of the most versatile and typical Spanish desserts. Nuns all across Europe made variations of this dish in the past, but Spain has refined it into what it is today!
This custard dessert is made from milk, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Cinnamon is often infused into the mixture, as well as other flavors such as chocolate, lemon and turrón—a Spanish candy popular at Christmastime.
Where to try it: To taste a truly authentic natillas, head over to Restaurante Sobrino de Botín (Calle Cuchilleros, 17), which is famous for being the oldest restaurant in the world. Here you will find a number of typical Spanish desserts, including delicious natillas!
7. Roscón de Reyes
The roscón de Reyes is the most typical Spanish dessert to eat on January 6th for El Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings’ Day).
The king cake is a sweetened bread in a circular or oval shape. You can buy one plain, or cut in half lengthwise and filled with whipped cream or chocolate. For the pièce de résistance, it’s often covered with candied fruits to look like a bejeweled crown.
Inside, look for a figurine and a bean. If you find the figurine, you’re the king for the day! If you find the bean, though, you have to pay!
Where to try it: During the holiday season, there are roscones de Reyes all over town. These bakeries serve our favorites in Madrid. Antigua Pastelería del Pozo (Calle de Pozo, 8) just might be the best of them all!
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