Rosca de Reyes

Overhead view of rosca de reyes
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Rosca de Reyes is a sweet yeast bread with a delightful orange flavor, topped with cherries, apricots, and almonds. Also known as Three Kings Bread, this special treat is traditionally enjoyed in Mexico on January 6th to celebrate Kings Day.


For the Dough

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Freshly grated orange zest of 1 orange
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice, or 1 teaspoon orange extract

For the Decoration

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon milk – for the egg wash
  • Candied cherries
  • Dried apricots (sliced, arranged around a cherry)
  • Almond flakes


Making the Dough

  1. In a small pot, melt the butter with milk and sugar over low heat, just until melted and combined. Careful not to bring it to boil. Set aside.
  2. Zest the orange and squeeze the juice.
  3. Fit a stand mixer with a hook attachment and pour the flour into a large bowl of the stand mixer. Add active dry yeast and orange zest and mix with a spoon or with your hand. Add salt and mix again.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together eggs, just until combined.
  5. Add eggs to the flour and mix until the dough starts to form. Then, turn on the mixer to low speed and start gradually adding the warm milk with butter and sugar mixture.
  6. Once the entire milk mixture is added, add the orange juice. Continue kneading the dough on low speed for 10 more minutes. The dough will have a soft texture and it should easily come off a hand when touched.
  7. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth, set aside in a warm place for about an hour. The dough should double in size.
  8. While the dough is resting, make the decoration. Chop butter into cubes and place it in a bowl. Add flour and sugar and combine in your hands until a crumble starts to form. Add cold water and combine until a paste forms. Shape into a rectangle, cover with a foil and let it rest in the fridge for approx. 15-20 minutes.

Shaping the Dough

  1. Shape the dough into a ball, then roll it into a 24 inch long roll. Bring ends together to form a ring (rosca) and place with a seam side down on a parchment paper and an oven-size baking tray.
  2. Cover with a cloth and let it rise for approx. 20-30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.


  1. Brush the dough with an egg beaten with milk.
  2. Cut the paste into strips and arrange on top, along with the glazed cherries, strips of dried apricots and almond flakes.
  3. Bake at 350°F (no fan setting) for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Take out of the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before adding a figurine of baby Jesus. Serve and enjoy!

Keywords: three kings bread, kings day bread, rosca de reyes bread