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Popular Colombian Desserts You Must Try While in Colombia - Medellin Guru
If you are visiting Colombia don't forget to try Colombian desserts. We look at 18 must try Colombia desserts that are very popular in Colombia.

18 Popular Colombian Desserts You Must Try While in Colombia – Update 2023

If you are visiting Colombia don’t forget to try Colombian desserts. We look at 18 must try Colombia desserts that are very popular in Colombia.

While you may have tried desserts from places like France and different parts of the U.S., you are probably less aquatinted with Latin American desserts, particularly Colombian desserts.

We previously looked at popular traditional Colombian dishes as well as popular Colombian street food options. We also looked at 30 exotic tropical fruits of Colombia.

Several Medellin Guru readers have asked about popular Colombian desserts. So, we now look at 18 popular Colombian desserts. These 18 Colombian desserts are in alphabetical order below:

Arequipe

Arequipe

1. Arequipe (aka Dulce de Leche)

Arequipe is a common topping used on all sorts of desserts in Colombia and across Latin America. Similar to caramel, arequipe is made with sweetened condensed milk rather than water and is typically thicker and richer.

Often used as a topping, arequipe also can be enjoyed alone. You can find it sold in small one-serving cups. Also, there are versions with chocolate, coconut coffee and other additions.

Arequipe is perhaps the most famous Colombian dessert on this list and is often accompanied by many other desserts, including several of the desserts listed below.

Arroz con Leche, photo by Dario Alvarez

Arroz con Leche, photo by Dario Alvarez

2. Arroz Con Leche

Rice is served with most meals in Colombia so it shouldn’t be surprising that rice pudding is on a list of popular Colombian desserts.

Arroz con leche is the Colombian take on the classic rice pudding dish. It is made by soaking cooked rice in milk for several hours and then combining it with condensed milk, cinnamon and sugar and bringing the mixture to a gentle boil.

The mixture is then left to cool and thicken, and is served cold. Many Colombians eat this dessert at Christmas time. In addition, arroz con leche can be made slightly differently in the different regions of Colombia but it will always be creamy and sweet.

Brevas con Arequipe

Brevas con Arequipe

3. Brevas con Arequipe

This is a dessert that makes good use of arequipe. Brevas con arequipe is a popular Colombian dessert with brevas (figs) and arequipe.

You can find figs in all areas of the Colombian diet and figs are also eaten with white farmer’s cheese. So, it is fairly common to eat figs with both arequipe and cheese.

Making Buñuelos at El Peregrino restaurant next to Parque Sabaneta

Making Buñuelos at El Peregrino restaurant next to Parque Sabaneta

4. Buñuelos

Buñuelos are both a traditional Christmas dish and a popular breakfast treat for Colombians.

Slightly larger than golfball size, these tasty morsels are concocted of salty flour and small curd white cheese. They are rolled into a ball then fried until golden brown.

Best served piping hot. In Medellín, near Parque El Poblado on the corner of Calle 9 and Carrera 43B you can find a shop that has been frying up this quintessential street food for Colombians and tourists alike for over 20 years. 

In Sabaneta, next to Parque Sabaneta to the right of the church is the El Peregrino restaurant that is famous for its Buñuelos. This place makes normal size Buñuelos as well some giant Buñuelos that are more watermelon size.

In December, for example, this place is one of the most popular places to eat buñuelos, and as is tradition, they put together a nativity scene made of 100% buñuelos.

Churros with arequipe sauce

Churros with arequipe sauce

5. Churros

Colombian churros are slightly different than the Spanish variety. In Colombia, they are small and circular and generally are normally served sprinkled with sugar instead of a side dish of chocolate. But they still have that sweet donut taste.

Churros are long pieces of fried dough and are occasionally for breakfast in Colombia and they are also a very popular street food.  You can find churros being sold all over Medellín.

Cocadas

Cocadas

6. Cocadas

Cocadas are coconut patties, which are a common sight on the Colombian coast. They are more commonly eaten as a sweet snack than proper dessert. And you can find the best homemade ones from vendors on the street.

The traditional variety is made with panela or unrefined brown sugar cane. Brownish in color, the brown sugar accentuates the coconut.  You can also find a white, creamier version made with milk, as well as variations that include arequipe or fruits like pineapple or Guayaba.

Cuajada

Cuajada

7. Cuajada con Melao

Cuajado con Melao is a Colombian dessert made by serving curd in portions bathed with a caramelized liquid made from panela melted in water, called “melao” or “melado“.

This is a traditional Colombian dessert that comes from the eastern Colombian Andes, with roots going back all the way to the Spanish conquest, Cuajada con Melao is basically curd served with sugar cane syrup. This may sound unusual but the mixture of the smooth, white cheese and sweet sugar cane syrup works perfectly to create a tasty dessert.

Merengón dessert

Merengón dessert

8. Merengón

You should be familiar with this dessert, Merengón is the Colombian version of meringue. This dessert is normally served with fruit and is filled with whipped cream, and made up of layers and layers of lovely, crunchy meringue.

Popular fruit fillings for Merengón include strawberries, guanabana or peaches.

Milhoja de Arequipe

Milhoja de Arequipe

9. Milhoja

Milhoja is an adaptation of the French millefeuille, with layers of cream and or whip cream in between sheets of puff pastry, but mostly a lot of arequipe.

At first glance, Milhoja looks like a regular slice of cake. But Milhoja is made from many stacked layers of puff pastry, which results in the name “mil hojas” – thousand sheets.

In between the layers of puff pastry are arequipe, vanilla, or sometimes white chocolate. This is a very tasty Colombian dessert and one of my favorites.

Natilla and buñuelos

Natilla and buñuelos

10. Natilla

Natilla is a rich, custard-like dessert that is traditionally enjoyed at Christmas in Colombia. This is a custard dessert made from a base of cornstarch and milk with cinnamon.

The consistency is similar to a flan, and it may sometimes be served with fruit. It is usually served alongside buñuelos. Colombian-style natilla tends to be firm and sliceable, although it can also be served in a creamier pudding form.

Obleas are a Colombian dessert that stuffs cheese, jam, and caramel sauce between layers of thin wafers

Obleas are a Colombian dessert that stuffs cheese, jam, and caramel sauce between layers of thin wafers

11. Obleas

The oblea is a traditional sweet treat that you can find in every major city in Colombia. These are thin Colombian wafers with a round shape and usually a slightly brown color

Obleas are plate sized thin wafers that are sandwiched with your choice of a bewildering mix of fillings.

The todo (all) version is first spread with a thin layer of raspberry jam. Then another wafer is stacked on top before adding a thick layer of shredded white cheese. On goes yet another wafer, where is a third layer arequipe(a caramel sauce made with sweetened condensed milk) is added.

This sandwich process continues until you have an inch wedge stack that gets wrapped in foil before being presented to you.

Polvorosas

Polvorosas

12. Polvorosas

Polvorosas are Colombian butter and sugar cookies. These cookies tend to have lots of butter and an underworked dough that will turn out crumbly and delicious.

This recipe delivers on all accounts. With typically only five ingredients, you can have the dough ready to go in a matter of minutes.  Also, the dough doesn’t get rolled and cut So, the dough stays nice and soft and bakes to perfection.

Postre de Natas

Postre de Natas

13. Postre de Natas

Postre de Natas is a popular dessert that is originally from the Andean region of Colombia. Milk is heated, and milk skin and cream is skimmed off the top, then is combined with beaten egg yolks and sugar syrup plus with raisons and sometimes rum.

In addition, this dessert is typically garnished with a few raisins before it is left to chill and thicken in the refrigerator.

Colombian Roscones

Colombian Roscones

14. Roscones

Roscones are the Colombian equivalent to donuts. And you can find roscones in any bakery in Colombia.

Roscones are made from white flour and are baked (or, sometimes, fried) in the shape of a donut. However, they are normally much larger than your standard donut from the U.S. Also, they are fluffier than the U.S. counterpart

Also, roscones are always filled with something delicious such as cream or bocadillo (sweet guava) or arequipe.

Salpicón de Frutas

Salpicón de Frutas

15. Salpicón de Frutas

Salpicón de Frutas is essentially a sweetened-up fruit salad/cocktail, which is very popular in Colombia. Some Colombians grab this in the morning as their breakfasts. And Colombia has many tropical fruits to choose from for these fruit cups.

The vendor chops up various fruits and puts them into a cup. Then, they fill the cup with Colombian soda. Also, it can be topped with either condensed milk or whipped cream.

Torta de Tres Leches

Torta de Tres Leches

16. Torta de Tres Leches (Triple Milk Cake) 

Colombia’s torta de tres leches is a popular dessert all over Colombia. This cake is a soft sponge cake that is soaked in three kinds of milk (condensed milk, heavy cream and evaporated milk).

In Colombia, it is usually frosted with a creamy merengue covering. Also, some chefs have started making this dessert with different flavors including chocolate, coconut and fruits.

Despite being soaked, a good torta de tres leches is moist but not soggy. This is a sweet, rich, and creamy dessert.

Torta Negra (Black Cake)

Torta Negra (Black Cake)

17. Torta Negra (Black Cake)

Torta negra is a dessert staple that is popular during the Christmas season in Colombia but can be enjoyed at any major celebration.

Equivalent to the Christmas cakes found in many other parts of the world, the torta negra is made from a mixture of chocolate, fruits, almonds, nuts and can include wine, rum and spices.

Gelatina de pata

Gelatina de pata

18. Gelatina de pata

It is believed that this Colombian dessert was created in 1917 in Valle del Cauca, but it is famous throughout the country. For example, if you are visiting Antioquia, in Jardín, you will find it easily.

To prepare it, beef leg, sugar, panela, corn starch, and water are required. There are some variations in the ingredients, such as adding fruit essences, colorings, or sugar. It comes in powder, boxes, cups, and sachets.

Although she is sweet, is not so much. In addition, this will provide you with collagen since it is one of the main benefits of eating this dessert.

Medellin Guru’s Guide to Colombian Food and Drinks

On the Medellin Guru website, we have six articles covering Colombian food and drinks:

  1. 16 Traditional Colombian Food Dishes You Must Try in Colombia
  2. 16 Colombian Street Food Options You Really Must Try
  3. 18 Popular Colombian Desserts You Must Try While in Colombia
  4. 30 Exotic Tropical Fruits of Colombia a Fruit Lovers Paradise
  5. 13 Traditional Colombian Drinks to Try When You Visit
  6. 12 Popular Colombian Soups to Try When You Visit Colombia

The Bottom Line: Popular Colombian Desserts You Must Try While in Colombia

The Colombian desserts in this article are some of the most popular desserts that you are likely to encounter in Colombia.

Many of the bakeries in Colombia will have many of these desserts. So, when you go to a bakery you can try more than one. And if you want to try more of Colombia’s cuisine, see our article about 16 traditional Colombian food dishes.

How many of the above Colombian desserts have you tried? And do you see any popular Colombian desserts we missed?  Please let us know in the comments below.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on March 27, 2021 to add two desserts to the list.

Editors note: updated on April 13, 2021 to add one dessert to the list.

Editors note: updated on June 8, 2021 to add one dessert to the list.

Editors note: Updated on July 24, 2023 to add one desset to the list and new images.

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12 thoughts on “18 Popular Colombian Desserts You Must Try While in Colombia – Update 2023”

    1. Geoffrey March 27, 2021

      One dessert not included here is the pastel de guava which is available at two shops in Laureles and it’s the very best I’ve ever had. They are available everywhere in Central Miami and I ate loads of them over the years but they don’t come close to the ones and “El Tejadito” and “El Tejadote”. One of the owners told me that his grandparents brought the secret recipe over from Spain. They’re so light and flaky with melting guava paste in the middle, made fresh throughout the day and kept hot.

    2. Herberth Posada August 27, 2020

      I’m original from Medellin i living in the states since 1978 after 40 year when back for frist time omg I eat paisa everyday buñuelos,empanadas arepa con quesito i miss my food so bad I hope i can retire one day in santalena i loved my Medellin

    3. Thanks for making me gaining more weight 🙂

      Question: How do I know when they use margarine instead of butter? They do not differentiate between them, calling both ‘mantequilla’… If I ask them, they have no idea what am I talking about and why should it matter… Any ideas?

      • Yes, probably don’t differentiate and call them both ‘mantequilla’.

      • Margarita April 15, 2021

        Any hood cook in Medellin use real butter and not “margarine”. Is a matter of budget and taste …

    4. Nice post and looks like some great desserts.

    5. mmmmm! You didn’t explain buñuelos – similar dough (special corn and tapioca/yuca flours plus cheese) like Pandebono (Colombian Cheese bread) but fried. Like a Colombian doughnut.

      Can find these at tiendas everywhere or the Pan Pan Ya! bakery chain.

      Will look for Natilla and Postres de Natas. These four plus Arroz con Leche are known to be Gluten Free (no wheat)

      Havn’t seen Frutas in the market. Hesitate to buy on the street (only grilled foods like arepas)

      Buen apetito!

      • Thanks for the suggestion, buñuelos slipped my mind even though was included in our article about street food – https://medellinguru.com/street-food/

        Also, my Colombian wife didn’t think about buñuelos when she contributed to the article. Will add buñuelos tomorrow.

    6. David Williams June 7, 2020

      Nice article, I have not tried all these yet. I have a few left to try. Out of the ones I have tried I really like Milhoja and Merengon.

    7. Juan Osorno June 7, 2020

      Hi.

      Excellent article on Colombian sweets.

      There is one that I love very similar to Arequipe. It is produced on in Valle del Cauca (Cali). It is called ManjarBlanco. I think it is way better than Arequipe. My aunt made it on a wooden stove and a bronze pan. It took about 2 hours to cook.

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