Pan de Polvo is A Family Recipe
My grandmother would always have stacks of plastic food tubs full of traditional pan de polvo on top of the refrigerator in her back pantry. Therefore, I spent a lot of time back there, stalking these poor little cookies. They never had a chance.
The trick to pan de polvo is to make them in advance. When I first started making these in my home, I was always disappointed with their cardboard-ish texture, and lack of flavor. But after a few days in a plastic food tub, voila! Magic! If you allow them to rest in storage for 4 to 5 days, their texture become svelvety, the cinnamon flavor ripens, and these unassuming cookies morph into an absolute addiction.
Some people like to use cookie press guns when making pan de polvo. I have done that a few times, as it saves you the mess and hassle of rolling out the dough. Plus, the cookie guns press out cookies with less waste. Either way is fine. Using a cookie gun makes the cookies a bit thinner, and takes away that thick shortbread quality you get with cookies that are rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter.
Kids love making these cookies. They can choose the cookie cutters (small ones are best) and you can break away from the traditional shapes of stars, hearts and circles and try dinosaurs or flowers. Just make sure the cookie cutters are small, and not too detailed. This dough can be sticky, and is not meant for intricate shapes such as snowflakes, or large shapes such as gingerbread men. Keep these cookies small and simple.
Great to Have on Hand When You are Short on Time
And if you have the time, freshly grind the cinnamon for the cookie (the tea part of the recipe requires whole cinnamon always.) My grandmother used a spice grinder to freshly grind cinnamon for her pan de polvo, and what a world of difference it makes in the flavor.
For my batch pictured here, I shamefully used store bought ground cinnamon, and if you noticed, I cut my cookies too big. Ah well, modern times. I am crazy busy at the moment. But I still think my grandmother would be pleased I am following her recipes, even when I don’t have that much time.Print
Traditional Pan de Polvo (Cinnamon Sugar Cookies)
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 10 min
- Total Time: 20 min
- Yield: 6 doz 1x
- Category: Cookies
- Cuisine: Latin American
1–2 sticks cinnamon
2 cups (480 ml) water
5–6 cups flour (700–750 gr)
1 ¼ cups sugar (250gr)
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon (7 gr)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder (6gr)
2 ¾ cup lard or shortening (560gr)
1 ½ cups sugar (300 gr)
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon (7 gr)
Make the tea by combining the stick of cinnamon with the water, and boiling for approximately 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) Combine the 5 cups of the flour, and the sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and shortening or lard in a large mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup (180ml) of the cinnamon tea. Mix well using an electric mixer, until the dough is smooth. Use the extra cup of flour to hand knead into the dough if it is too sticky. The dough should have a smooth surface, but not be too firm. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a ¼” thickness (64cm) and cut into 2” (5cm) wide shapes. Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. While the cookies are baking, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon for the topping in a shallow bowl. Remove the cookies from the oven, allow to cool briefly, and roll the warm cookies through the sugar topping mixture. Set aside to cool completely. Roll again in the sugar mixture, if desired.
It’s difficult to make the exact amount of cinnamon tea needed for this recipe, and its a real hassle when you make too little. I always make a little extra so I have what I need. The rest can be added to another recipe, or perhaps you can add some to a hot tea or coffee beverage. On its own, cinnamon tea is nice with a bit of sugar and lemon.
Melissa….at what point in the recipe do you use the cinnamon tea? I remember my grandmother making these when we were little in Pearsall, Tx. It’s about time I started making them. My tias in the valley would make them as well. However, they would make them with tiny cookie cutters. So much time and love put into their pan de polvo.
Hi, thanks for asking, I just fixed the recipe. Its 3/4 cup of tea. Sorry about that! xo
hi Melissa so its 3/4cup of tea not the 2 cups of water
after i make the recipe dough.
how long will the dough last at room temp?
Hey there! Since lard is shelf stable I would think you could leave it a day or so. I usually store mine in the fridge however. Happy holidays!
What. Kind of lard is best for this recipe. I am also from the valley. Alamo Texas
Hey there! Sorry for my late response, enjoying my family time! I always buy lard at Juniors or La Michoacana. More customers buy it there so the stock is fresher. La Michoacana has their own brand which is more liquid-like and not hydrogentated. Very good! Happy New Year!
Melissa, When I would watch my Mom make them when I was a child I thought I remembered them having anise in the tea. Is that another variation? I have never made them as a grown up. Thank you so much for posting this recipe.
Hey Janna! Yes,you can def do that I see that variation more in the New Mexico area. Anise tea is stronger with star anise rather than anise seeds. New Mexico type biscochos use anise seeds. You just add 2 tsp of anise seeds to this same recipe and make the same way. You can still add the cinnamon too.! I will try to post a bizcocho recipe soon! Thanks Janna! Hugs!
I grew up with watching my aunts and grandma stacking “ookie sheets full of pan de polvo as a kid in San Diego,TX in the 70’s and 80’s. Something I’ve notice is when I was younger everyone used powdered sugar. Somewhere around the late 80’s more and more people were using granulated sugar. I like them both, but powdered sugar is so much better. My favorite thing was sneaking some pan de polvo as it came right out of the oven. Just melted in my mouth. They didn’t use cookie cutters. They rolled it in their hands and wrapped it around their fingers to make rings. I they come out so much more flakey that way.
I love that story Stephen! It makes sense that people would wrap them around their finger instead of using cookie cutters. My mother made Snoball Cookies with butter and my grandmother made pan de polvo with lard – both are so similar but one uses powdered sugar and one uses granulated sugar. Little details that make a big difference! Thanks – I live about 45 minutes from San Diego TX
Hi, I am interested in making this recipe. Do you know how many cookies come out of it. Thank you!
The recipe gives a yield of 6 dozen (72 cookines, but it also depends on the size of cookie cutter you use. Smaller cookie cutters = more cookies. Larger Cookie cutters = fewer cookies. Hope you enjoy them! Let me know if I can answer any more questions!
Was wondering if possible could combine all ingredients a few hours beforehand and put the dough in the fridge?
Hey Brittany! Yes, I make the dough ahead of time but I am not a big fan of putting the dough in the fridge. The dough rolls out better when it is room temperature, so I will simply cover it with plastic and leave it on the counter until I am ready to use it. Chilled dough makes thicker cookies which are not as flaky and crispy. If you do have to chill the dough, just let it come to room temp before you start working it. Have a wonderful holiday season!!
Your recipe is great! I made some tonight after everyone went to sleep. I made a few dozens came out good.
First time making them. Thank you do much for sharing or giving great advice. I have learn so much from the other reviews posted. God Bless You and Merry Christmas.
Thank you Rebecca! Very grateful you took time to send me such a sweet compliment! Try the orange pan de polvo recipe that I developed, not bragging, but they are over the top!
Best to you!
Wow I’m from the valley too. We make these with my mom and grandma. I’m making them with my daughters this year by myself. Trying to keep the tradition going.
Thank you so much for your note! I hope you had a good holiday and enjoyed the pan de polvo!!
I put tea after I start mixing flour and shortening, one cup of tea and qt of sugar in the tea. I bake at 290.
I am so glad you made this recipe! It was my grandmother’s and one of my favorites! MG
I made this pan de polvo every year for the holidays. I always copy different recipes because I like to try and make different pan de polvo. I will make this recipe for Christmas.
This is my grandmother’s recipe so I hope you enjoy it! MG
I love Pan de Polvo.where can I find the corrected recipe with the tea added?
Hi, I just posted it again with the corrections. I corrected it before, but it didn’t save. ugh technology. Here is the link https://kitchenwrangle.wpengine.com/traditional-pan-de-polvo/ smooches to the Cook family xoxo
I just tried the link posted above and I got a 404 Error message with “Page Not Found” Happy New Year. Yes, I’m looking at recipes at 3;24 in the morning.
Thanks for the heads up AC, I checked the link and it seems to be ok. Here it is again, if you have more error probs, let me know. Happy New Year!
How long do the cookies last after they are made? I guess what’s the shelf life of the final, amazing, delicious, product?
Hey Micelle! My grandmother would keep them for a couple of months in a big Tupperware container, but usually they don’t last that long around my house. The flavor does improve after 2-3 days, so don’t be afraid to dole them out slowly/ Enjoy!
White wing flour one stick of cinnamon boil qt sugar bake at 290
Does the shortening need to be melted before mixing together?
Hi, sorry for the late response. No, the shortening should be room temperature. Super easy! Have a great holiday!
Your recipe is so like mine only I use one table spoon of anise for the tea.
I will try that! Thanks for reading! xo
I’ve tried so many recipes and this is by far the best.
Thank you Melissa! What a compliment! Try the new orange version of pan de polvo that I created. I am seriously hooked!
best to you in 2021!
It’s my first time to make this cookies and they came out perfect
Thats awesome! enjoy!!
HI, sorry for the late response. They will be crunchy at first, but if you pack them in a container, wait a few days, and they become soft and velvety. I like them soft too. Have a great holiday!
Yilanda M Garcia
Do you sweeten the tea?
No, the tea is unsweet. The sugar coating gives the cookies all the sweet they need! Hugs ~ MG
Just made these for my kiddo to take into Spanish class They came out great!
Knew I could count on you for the perfect recipe. (This is Melanie Rodgers, from Edinburg….Sally’s little sister)
Hey Melanie! Thanks for trying them. Say hi to Sally, I’m still here in the RGV! hugs to y’all! mg
I just made the cookies and added the anise to the tea and they came out delicious.
AWESOME! That made my day!!
How much anise did you add?
Hi, I don’t usually add anise to pan de polvo, but New Mexico style bizcochitos use anise, which is probably something that is included in cookies closer to El Paso. I’m down in south Texas and we seem to stick to good ol’ cinnamon. But I would add some pieces of star anise to the tea making portion of the recipe, and then I would add 1 tsp of anise seeds to the dough if you like. Have a lovely holiday!!
Jose F. Cervantes
Living in Ponca City, OK. I was born in McAllen Texas and as kid, loved to go to La Estrella bakery. Loved their pan de polvo and have been try to make my own. I will try yours and hope they bring back my childhood memories.
I think La Estrella is still there! I used to go there too. The RGV still has amazing bakeries, come visit!
Celebrity Cake Shop was KNOWN for having some of the BEST pan de polvo in South Texas. Now they are concentrating on shipping online through http://www.Felizsta.com and can ship nation-wide!
awesome info, thanks!
I first came across your fabulous recipes back when you had a show on PBS. They were so similar to my abuela style that I became instantly hooked. I wrote them down and now with the age of digital, I’ve bookmarked them and saved them. However, when following the link I’ve used in the past for your Tequila Polvorones ((which are my most requested every year), I see its no longer available. I have to make them this weekend for my son and daughters work Christmas Parties! I did find the regular recipe on here so I’m wondering how much tequila I should add. If you could please respond and help me out, I would greatly appreciate it!!!
Yipes! SO sorry I am ansering this late! Just substitute the same amount of tequila as you would use the tea…3/4 cup. And I have been finding better lard product at the super market…fresher and non-hydrogentated. Better flavor, but just make sure they are fresh. Hope the Christmas parties went well! Again, sorry for answering late. Happy Holidays!! And thank you for your kind words, very appreciated. xo
Hi! I was so happy to find this recipe. I grew up in the Corpus Christi area and my great grandmother who was from Starr County, TX (in the Valley) used to make these. She used anise seed in her tea and the recipe called for yeast in the cake form, which I can no longer find in the grocery stores. She would make tiny wedding rings out of the dough before rolling in cinnamon and powdered sugar. They were beautiful! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you so much for providing it!
Thank you for your note! Cake yeast is difficult to find in our area, but professional bakers can still get it. BEcause it expires, grocery stores are reluctant to stock it. Here is a little article on it, you just have to convert your cake yeast recipe to dry yeast. Let me know if you have any other recipe requests! Happy Holidays!
Can the dough or the baked cookies be frozen? In case I want to make them a few days before I need them.
Hi! I have never done that before, but I don’t see why not. There are no eggs in the dough, which makes it easier to freeze. Try it, and let me know your results. I think it should be fine. Good luck!
After boiling the cinnamon and water to make the tea, at what temperature should I add it to the mix of other ingredients?
Your recipe says i should set aside, but should I wait until the tea completely cools before adding or
The temperature of the tea is not that critical, but I would cool it down to at least 130 degrees F. Boiling hot tea is n’t a good idea, as it can make a dumpling out of your flour. But slightly hot to the touch is fine. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!
I used the Anise seeds, they sell them at Walmart & HEB..I used the warm tea, so that it melts the lard, I can’t wait to use them on my cookie press. Thanks for the tip.
Hi! I am making these for the first time for the Holidays! Fingers crossed for me today! My husband’s family is from Corpus Christi and this is virtually the same recipe my mother-in-law gave me, except they don’t use the baking powder and they add star anise to the tea. I was glad to see you use an electric mixer! My mother in law said to work the dough with your hands for a long time in a warm kitchen until it comes together. But I’ll try the mixer instead! ????
I use the mixer up to a point, and then I take the dough out of the mixer, and knead more flour into it with my hands. Kneading it helps firm up the dough for cutting out the shapes. I should probably add that into the recipe instructions. The same technique works for the Honey Ginger Snap recipe that I posted. Even with the mixer, making pan de polvo is a messy process, but so worth it! I hope you have a wonderful holiday! Let me know if you have more questions!
This is Cristina From Agua Dulce Texas
I grew up with the beautiful cinnamon aroma on holidays, but after my mom passed I wouldn’t dare try to make this cookies myself , until I found this recipe and I took a chance , and Wham !!! Thank you Melissa your recipe is Amazing!!! 💝
I am so glad! Pan de polvo is a big deal for us at the holidays too. Use real lard, because it is amazing! Enjoy, and blessings to you during the holidays!
I use to live in San Antonio and was given a recipe for a Mexican cookie using lard and crushed cinnamon sticks. It was our daughters favorite cookie. She has asked me to make them for Christmas but I cannot find the recipe. Can you help me? Thanks. Shelly
Hi Shelly! the pan de polvo recipe that you responded to on the websiteis probably that recipe. Although there are other cookie recipes that use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar? The crushed connamon would have been the soft “Mexican” cinnamon, which is true cinnamon. It has a softer flavor, and is more popular in Mexico. The long cinnamon quills that you see in the produce aisle are what is used in the ground cinnamon that we buy at the grocery store,. That is cassia bark, but everyone calls it cinnamon. It has a sharper, more pungent flavor. But it cannot be crushed as it is so hard. Let me know what you think, and I am happy to look around for other recipes, but I think this recipe for pan de polvo is what you are looking for. You can email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions or thoughts. Thanks!
I made these last year and they were a hit. Now I’ve got requests again which means I’ll be making several batches. The dough seems soft enough. Ever tried it in a cookie press?
Hi Ruth! Yes, all the time, a cookie press works very well. In fact I may use one this year for quicker baking session. BTW the cookies are much better when they are allowed to rest for several days. They are not so amazing right out of the oven, but ridiculously gorgeous later. Enjoy!!
Would you recommend adding salt?
Hello! I have been traveling and then recuperating from traveling for quite some time! Sorry I didn’t see this before. If you like, you can add a pinch, but I have never added it. I hope you enjoyed your holidays!! thanks for your message and again, apologies for the delayed response!!
Would you recommend salt to this recipe?
I Just made these. I added 1 Tbs anise to the tea. Yumm, Yumm, Yumm. My welita used to make these for Christmas. We would arrive in Pearsall from Michigan and she would have a huge container of these and bunuelos for us. Thanks for bringing back the great memories.
Thanks so much for your note! I’m glad you liked the cookies! I am just now getting back to my blog after a long journey, and then a long recuperation from the journey. Finally I am back on track! Best to you!
Lee Ann Lopez
Hi! Love this recipe, turned out exactly as wanted and remembered as a kid growing up in South TX as well. About how long will these stay fresh in container on counter or is it better to freeze?
Hello sorry for the late response! We always stored them at room temperature, and they seemed to last for about 4 weeks. Freezing is a good idea, but I think the issue is the type of fat you use. Vegetable shortening doesn’t take on any funky flavors, but it is not as delicious as lard. however, lard can get a little funky over time. I think both would freeze well, but pan de polvo made with lard in the freezer may taste weird. Usually it isn’t a problem because they are never in storage very long. They dissappear!! thanks for your note, hope that helps!
Oh hi again! See the note I sent;…let me know if you have more questions!!
Thank you for this great and easy recipe. These are my granddaughters favorite cookies. I will definitely try making them for her.
So glad you liked them! They are my fave too!! Thanks for your sweet note!!
hi Melissa so its 3/4cup of tea not the 2 cups of water
yes, 3/4 cups of tea. I need to edit this recipe this week, not sure what happened to it on my website. Apologies for the inconvenience, thanks for your note!
HOLA MELISSA…YO SOY DE MCALLEN TEXAS ESTA RECETA SE PUEDE HACER CON LA COOKIE GUN Y CON NUEZ? TIENES LA RECETA GRACIAS
Hola! si claro un cookie gun funciona bien con este receta pero hay que moler finamente los nueces. Un pedazo grande de nuez puede tapar el tubo. Intentalo y avisame como salió. UN saludo cordial
I had so much fun making these! It took forever since I only had small baking sheets and I did it myself, but they turned out good! I can’t wait until tomorrow to see if they’re even better. 😊
I’m glad you enjoyed them! I am posting a variation on the recipe tomorrow!!
Hi Melissa! Ive tried this recipe twice so far. The first time I made them they were incredibly delicious!! The recipe was simple and had a traditional flavor. My cookies turned out a slightly bigger than my cookie cutter and had a very good texture.
A few days later, I made my second batch and I was a little disappointed. It was not the recipe. The flavor is still delicious, but the quality of the cookie was not the same. Does the type of flour used make a difference? I used a different flour brand this time and it gave me different results. My cookies shrank and were not as “melt in your mouth” as my first batch. What went wrong? The only thing I changed was the flour brand. Do you have any suggestions? I didn’t think the flour brand would make a difference. If it does, what brand is better to use for this type of cookie? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hey Diana, glad you like the recipe! There are several factors that can change the quality of the cookie. The quality of the flour matters. Bread flour, all purpose flour, unbleached flour, self rising flour – all will give you different results. The age and storage of the flour will affect the quality as well. The quality of the lard or shortening has an effect also. I use King Arthur all purpose flour and Armour lard, which are very commonly found at the super market. Also, make sure your baking powder is fresh for best results.
I find that the cookies are much better if they age for a few days after baking. The texture becomes more velvety and “melt in your mouth.” Fresh pan de polvo never impresses me. Perhaps that is another issue. For me, aging the cookies is the most important detail.
Happy holidays! Let me know if this info helps!
Hola Melissa! Thank you for such an easy, delicious recipe! Hojarascas have always been my all time favorite cookie but I never knew they’d be this easy to make. This will be my go to recipe from now on! They were such a major hit with the family and kids that I’ve made them twice in the last 2 days! I like using cinnamon milk in place of the cinnamon tea and they turn out marvelous. **I’ll have to be sure and try the anise seeds next time too ;)** These little cookies are heavenly! Thanks again and Happy New Year!
I am so glad you enjoyed them Laura! These are a family favorite and I usually eat waaay too many! It gives me such pleasure to know you enjoyed them too! Try the orange flavored ones too, my newest fave! Happy New Year!
My husband and I made these for Christmas this year, and they were gone in a heartbeat. I used gluten free flour for half of the recipe (for me), and ‘normal flour’ for the remainder. Both types were excellent. When my company returned on New Years Day, they looked for more cookies – and took them home! I’m using the recipe again now (Jan. 12, 2021), for a wedding rehearsal BBQ for 35 people. Although we’ll have 5 pies, these light, crispy just right cookies will be perfect.
I am so happy to hear that Rosemary! I had never thought to use gluten free flour to make them – I might try that with some almond flour I have. I am enjoying changing traditional favorites to freshen them up a little bit…I am now a super fan of the orange flavored pan de polvo…the recipe is on the blog. Wedding blessings! So incredibly flattered that my recipe will be included! Hugs!
Hello. It’s August and hot in North Texas and I’m already thinking of Christmas. I would really love to make these for my daughters this Christmas. Can you please send the updated recipe because the newer link isn’t working?
Hey there! Thanks for the heads up, I am working on the website and will figure out what the problem is. Check this link to see if it works
let me know! email@example.com
Dear Melissa, thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipe. I made the cookies ahead to share with a family gathering this weekend. I had made cookies like these with a friend from Mexico a few years ago, and I loved them. I wondered if I could find a recipe on the internet. This one sounded the best, and the comments from people who had tried the recipe were helpful. The dough was lovely to work with, and the cookies reminded me of my grandmother’s piecrust. (Her background was Scots, English, Irish.) She used to take the little bits of dough that were left after making a pie, press them together, roll out the dough, put it in a small pie pan, sprinkle it with sugar and cinnamon, and add dabs of butter. Taking these cookies to a gathering of my cousins and their children and grandchildren feels like I’m completing a circle. Thanks again!
Hi Paula! I am so glad! Its a favorite recipe and it always makes me happy to hear other people enjoying it! Thank you for your very kind note, and for taking time to write me!
I’m so happy I saw this! I’m literally crying right now. This is the exact recipe my mom used. I remember her making these cookies every Christmas. I just couldn’t remember if I needed to add sugar! Thank you sooooo much! My mom passed away in April and my family has been so heartbroken. I can’t wait to surprise them!
Oh Connie, so sorry for your loss. I miss my grandmother and this is her recipe. Store bought just isn’t the same at all! I have another version that I will be posting before this Christmas which is a variation with pecans. I love those too. My deepest condolences to your family. Bless you during this holiday season! Thank you for your sweet note! MG
I tried your recipe about a year ago and the cookies came out fantastic. I added chopped, thinly sliced almonds to mine. I also used a cookie press and cut the time even more. Thanks so much!
That sounds so delicious Robert! I have to say that I really enjoy adding pecans but I will most definitely give the almonds a try! Happy holidays! MG
Hi Melissa great recipe and easy to follow thank you for sharing it. Is there a way to do cookie outs without the cookie crumbling so quickly? I’m able to do the cut but after multiple tries. Any advice
Hey Abby! Try adding a little more flour to keep the dough together. If you are cutting out the cookies and then starting over, what is happening is that you are “working” the dough like it is bread – the gluten is developing and the dough becomes more elastic. That is fine, I do that sometimes too when my cookies are crumbling. If you knead the dough like that, the final cookie might be a little tougher, but it will soften up after it is baked and left in a storage container for a few days. Kneading or adding more flour should help. Thanks for your note, happy to hear from you! MG
Hi Melissa, So love your recipes! I cannot find the Pecan Pan De Polvo recipe but I know it is similar to the Pan De Polvo recipe.
At what point do you add the pecans and how much?
Hey Cyndi! Thanks so much, here is the post! Pecan Pan de Polvo
I too remember stacking those same containers for my grandma and helping her stuff them. I look forward to trying this recipe and sharing the tradition with my kids.
I love hearing about other family’s pan de polvo memories! What a lovely memory to share! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Hugs!
Can I use butter instead of lard?
Hi there! No, I would only use lard or vegetable shortening as the water content in butter is higher. However, European butter is lower water content, but I have never tried that. Let me know if you experiment, I would love to hear about the results! MG
Yours is the ONLY recipe i have found that includes cinnamon tea. And THAT is what I’ve been searching for. I cannot thank you enough!!
My pleasure Barb! I make these all the time. It’s my grandmother’s recipe and she would be so pleased! Enjoy!
I want to make 1 doz to try it out but how would I portion out all the ingredients for just 1 doz
Hi there, just seeing this! I can’t recommend just making 1 doz as it is a lot of work for so few cookies. But you could probably make a half recipe and then make a gift of the cookies you can’t eat. Hope this helps!
I want to make 1 doz but how much of the ingredients would I need
i press print and it take me here. I haven’t made these yet
This recipe is like the one Bertha Ceballos of Edinburg gave me a long time ago.
Hi Nancy! I am sure these recipes are related as my grandmother knew many of the ladies in Edinburg. I am glad you enjoy them as much as I do!