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Mantecadas (Mexican Muffins)

Light and fluffy, these tender mantecadas are little citrusy clouds with the perfect amount of sweetness. Serve them warm with some butter or jam, then grab yourself a big cup of coffee.

Perfectly golden and fluffy, these easy mantecadas will be your new favorite morning treat with a cup of coffee. Flavored with vanilla and lovely hints of orange zest, these classic Mexican muffins are subtly sweet and incredibly moist. They were one of my family’s favorite treats when my father would go to the panadería on Sunday mornings.

You can enjoy these mantecadas on their own, or slice them in half and serve them warm with a bit of butter and jam. They’re also fantastic in school lunches or as an afternoon snack!

Why You’ll Love This Mantecadas Recipe

  • Quick. It only takes a few minutes to mix up the batter for these Mexican muffins, then they’re ready in less than 30 minutes.
  • Easy. They’re as easy as boxed mixes but much much better.
  • Family-friendly. Flavored with vanilla and a hint of orange, the whole family will love these muffins. It’s a fail-proof flavor profile for even the pickiest eaters.
Mantecada sliced in half.

What Are Mantecadas?

Mantecadas means “with butter” or “full of butter” in Spanish. These muffins are inspired by Spain’s, “mantecadas de Astorga.” The latter are packed with butter, but Mexican ones are a little different.

They’ve been historically made with vegetable oil instead of butter to reduce costs. However, they maintain the same richness and sponginess as their Spanish counterpart. In terms of flavor, they’re very simple. They’re usually made of plain vanilla or with a little bit of zest or chopped pecans.

Mantecadas are some of the most popular sweet treats sold in Mexican panaderías (bakeries). They’re often served with coffee for breakfast or in the afternoons as a small snack/dessert.

Ingredients for the Mexican muffins.

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to make this easy Mexican recipe. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.

  • Eggs
  • Light brown sugar – You can also use white granulated sugar or a mix of light and dark brown sugar leftovers.
  • Vegetable oil – Corn and canola oil are okay too. Please don’t use melted butter.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Orange zest – You can also use lemon zest, clementine zest, or leave it out altogether.
  • All-purpose flour – Don’t use bread flour or cake flour.
  • Whole milk – Low-fat milk works too. No almond or oat milk.
  • Salt
  • Baking powder – Please don’t substitute it for baking soda.
Close-up of stack of mantecadas with one sliced in half.

How to Make Mexican Mantecadas

It’s as easy as making a boxed mix. All you have to do to ensure success is not overmix.

  • Prepare the mold. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tray with liners. Set it aside.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl until well combined. Set it aside.
  • Whisk the eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture is slightly pale. The sugar should also be dissolved.
  • Add the oil. Pour the milk and oil into the egg mixture while stirring the ingredients. Add the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients. Transfer half of the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until just combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix again until just combined.
  • Add the zest. Use a wooden spoon to gently fold in the orange zest.
  • Rest. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and let the batter relax. You can also skip the resting time but the muffins won’t be as airy.
  • Fill the liners. Add batter into each cupcake liner until it’s 3/4 full. Don’t add more than this because they’ll overflow during baking.
  • Bake. Pop the tray into the oven and bake for 22-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. They should be lightly golden brown on the outside and springy in the center if you press down on them slightly. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Tip: If you want to speed up the bake time slightly, you can bake these muffins at 360F for 20 minutes.

Variation Ideas

With these variations, you’ll be able to turn this recipe into several different treats:

  • Use add-ins. You can add up to 1/2 cup total of chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, or dried cranberries to give your mantecadas more personality.
  • Make them lemony. Swap the orange zest for lemon zest and make another citrusy variation of these muffins.
  • Change the extract. You can use 1/2 teaspoon of almond, orange or lemon extract instead of vanilla extract. This will, of course, change the flavor profile. Note that LESS of each of these extracts would be used compared to vanilla because the flavors are stronger.
  • Confectioners sugar. Once cooled, sprinkle a little confectioners’ sugar on top for a bit of extra sweetness.
  • Add cinnamon sugar. Toss the mantecadas in cinnamon sugar right after baking for a crunchy, cinnamon-y bite.

Want to Bake this Recipe in a Loaf Pan?

If you don’t have a cupcake tray or just want to make a loaf, you can do that too. Here’s how to make a rich and buttery loaf of quick bread using the mantecadas batter:

  • Line the bottom of a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper, grease the pan, then pour the batter in.
  • Bake at 350 F for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The center should be set and the edges should be golden brown.
  • After removing it from the oven, let it cool for 15-20 minutes before removing it from the pan or it will crumble.
Mexican muffins on a cooling rack.

Tips for the Best Mexican Muffins

Follow these tips to make the moistest, airiest muffins:

  • Don’t overmix. Only mix the batter until it’s just combined otherwise you’ll get rubbery muffins. It’s okay if there are a few small streaks of flour in the batter when you pour it into the liners.
  • Don’t use one bowl. Resist the temptation to mix wet and dry ingredients in the same bowl. It’ll only develop the gluten in the batter and result in dry, over-mixed muffins.
  • Let the batter rest. This is an important step in this recipe and should not be skipped. The resting time allows the batter to develop more flavor and makes the resulting muffins fluffier.
Mantecadas in the baking tray.

Serving Suggestions

While these Mexican muffins are great on their own, you can also serve them warm with butter or with your favorite jam. A dollop of raw honey or whipped maple cream is also delightful!

Enjoy them with coffee, tea, or fancy drinks like my Honey Vanilla Latte, Moon Milk, or a Caramel Latte.

Slingle mantecada sliced in half.

How to Store Mantecadas

Place any fully cooled muffins in an airtight container or bag and store them at room temperature for up to a week. Keep them away from any sources of heat or sunlight. Also, never refrigerate them because the cold will change the mantecadas’ texture drastically.

Can I Freeze Them?

Yes! Individually wrap each mantecada in plastic wrap. Transfer them to a freezer-friendly container or bag and freeze them for up to 3 months. To thaw them, set them on the counter for 1-2 hours or until they’ve reached room temperature.

More Authentic Mexican Recipes

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Mantecadas

Two mantecadas stacked on top of one another.
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With bits of orange zest, these Mexican mantecadas are the sweet, moist, and fluffy treat your morning coffee needs. 

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 26 minutes
  • Total Time: 36 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 small eggs – These can be swapped for 3 large eggs.
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons orange zest

Instructions

  • Prepare the mold. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tray with liners. Set it aside.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and zest in a medium-sized bowl until well combined.
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture is slightly pale and the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the wet ingredients. Use one hand to pour the milk and oil into the egg mixture while using your other hand to stir the ingredients. Add the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients. Transfer half of the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined and then add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix again but don’t over-mix.
  • Add the zest. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to gently fold in the orange zest.
  • Rest. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes.
  • Fill the liners. Add batter into each cupcake liner until it’s 3/4 full.
  • Bake. Pop the tray into the oven and bake for 22-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. They should be golden brown on the outside.

Keywords: mantecadas, mexican muffins, pan dulce

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