Easy Capirotada Recipe: Mexican Bread Pudding Made Vegan

This easy capirotada recipe is going to go on repeat in your home. Capirotada or Mexican bread pudding is one of the most popular Mexican desserts and typically served during Lent. It’s warm, sweet, a little savory and has both soft and crunchy textures. You’re going to love it!

Vegan Mexican capirotada or bread pudding on Mexican earthenware plate.

What Is Capirotada

Capirotada is a popular and traditional Mexican bread pudding that’s typically served during the Lenten season (called Cuaresma in Mexico). It’s a dessert made at home, not really something served at restaurants and can’t say I’ve ever found it at a Mexican bakery.

This traditional Mexican dessert is basically layers of bread drizzled with a sweet piloncillo syrup, raisins, peanuts, and cheese.

Vegan baked capirotada inside glass baking dish.

This dessert is a perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors (from the saltiness of the cheese) which create a unique and delicious tasting Mexican bread pudding treat.

If you ask any Mexican about capirotada, pretty much everyone will have a fond memory of this delicious yet humble dessert.

Typically people start making it at the beginning of Lent and stop at Easter….though honestly, there’s no reason why you can’t make this all year long when you have extra stale bread. Many families also make it during the Christmas season.

Easy to make Mexican capirotada on a brown plate, and this one's vegan!

How is Capirotada Made

Capirotada is made with sliced toasted bread slices (typically bolillo), sweet piloncillo syrup that’s seasoned with Mexican canela or Ceylon cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and sometimes other spices.

A variety of nuts and fruits are typically included, as are raisins and sometimes shredded coconut and colorful sprinkles.

Sliced bolillos with coconut oil on a baking tray to toast them.

How My Mom Makes Capirotada

My mom’s capirotada is delicious! She’s been making it since she was a young girl and that’s how they’ve been making it in my family at least a hundred years.

My mom starts with bolillo bread rolls, which are the key ingredient to Mexican bread pudding.

She told me the traditional method is to slice the bolillos then fry them in melted manteca or lard. This is so the bread is nice and toasted and won’t become soggy. But she says a healthier way is to spread butter on them and toast them on a comal or in the oven.

Mami makes the sweet syrup with just water, piloncillo, and canela. She simmers it until the piloncillo is dissolved and you have a dark golden syrup.

She then takes a baking dish and layers on lightly fried corn tortillas (like you’d fry for making enchiladas) around the bottom. Then she arranges a layer of the toasted bread and on top it and begins sprinkling in peanuts (or pecans), raisin, and either crumbled queso fresco or panela cheese.

Then she drizzles some piloncillo syrup over the ingredients, and continues to make layers until everything is used up. She bakes her capirotada for about 15 minutes.

Her easy capirotada recipe is so simple yet so incredibly delicious. I can almost taste it just thinking about it.

I make my vegan capirotada slightly different than my mom.

Three bolillo rolls on a white cloth.

There Are Countless Capirotada Variations

In Mexico, it seems like every family has their own version for making bread pudding. Let me share some variations with you.

Cheese: Any of the following cheeses may be used depending on the family and region of Mexico. Cotija cheese, panela cheese, queso fresco, Oaxaca cheese, Monterey jack cheeses, Chihuaha cheese which is also known as queso Menonita. Perhaps the most surprising cheese of them all being mild cheddar cheese often used in some border states.

Nuts: Some people like to use peanuts and others pecans or almonds. There are also those that use a mix.

Fruit: Most of the capirotadas I’ve eaten don’t include fruit, other than raisins and does that qualify as fruit? But there are many people that add banana slices.

Sprinkles: Loads of people add sprinkles to their capirotada. My mom, just like me, doesn’t like sprinkles so she didn’t always include them.

The ingredients we’ve already discussed are typical of capirotada de agua or water-based capirotada. But there is also capirotada de leche which uses milk instead of water to make the syrup.

My mom has also made one called capirotada blanca which uses conchas instead of bolillos, maizena atole mixes, evaporate milk, and condensed milk. She told me that some people also call this “sopa de leche“.

Ingredients used for making Mexican vegan capirotada.

Vegan Capirotada

As I previously mentioned, I make my vegan capirotada a bit different than my moms. Quite frankly, amigos, capirotada is a sweet treat that’s very easy to veganize by swapping out just one ingredient!

Ingredients Needed for Vegan Capirotada

  • stale bolillos (or day old)
  • piloncillo
  • Mexican canela
  • clove
  • orange peel
  • peanuts
  • raisins
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  • vegan cheese
  • vegan butter or coconut milk
  • water

If you can’t get bolillos either baguette or French bread would work.

Piloncillo is Mexican unrefined dark brown sugar with a slight molasses taste. If you can’t find it piloncillo feel free tow use muscovado sugar instead.

For the vegan cheese you can use like a crumbly vegan Feta or queso fresco, if you can find it. If not use any type of plain vegan white cheese.

If you don’t like raisins you can swap them for craisins. Additionally you can add banana slices too, if desired.

Making spiced piloncillo syrup for capirotada bread pudding.

How to Make Vegan Capirotada

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush a baking dish with some melted vegan butter or coconut oil.
  • In a medium pot pour in the water, add the piloncillo, spices and orange peel. Simmer until piloncillo has melted. Stir now and then.
  • Brush melted vegan butter or coconut oil on the stale sliced bolillo. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 5-8 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.
  • Once the syrup is finished, remove the cinnamon stick, orange peel and clove.
  • Place a layer of the toasted bread slices in your baking dish. Begin layering the nuts, raisins, shredded coconut and some shredded cheese. Drizzle with some piloncillo syrup.
  • Repeat the layering process until you reach the top of the baking dish or run out of ingredients.
  • Place in the center of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Don’t let it burn.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!
Making Mexican capirotada bread pudding with piloncillo syrup.

What Vegan Capirotada Tastes Like

Amigos, I think you’re going to really love this easy capirotada recipe.

It’s soft, sweet, a little savory from the vegan cheese, coconutty, its tender with a little bit of crisp texture from the almonds and pecans. Most surprising, you’re going to love the touch of citrus from the mandarin peel – it brings all the flavors together.

I truly hope you give my recipe a try. Do tag me on social media if you do.

How to Serve Capirotada

Traditionally capirotada is served by itselft.

However you can serve with a cup of coffee as a dessert.

If you wanted to make capirotada an even bigger sweet treat you could serve with a dollop of whipped cream, some vanilla ice cream would be an extra decadent treat if you’re into that.

This easy capirotada bread pudding is baked inside a glass baking dish.

How to Store Leftovers

Any leftovers can be store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Make sure the capirotada comes to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.

How to Reheat Leftovers

You can serve leftovers either cold, at room temperature or warmed up.

To warm up you can put in the microwave for about 30 seconds or longer — just be careful not to burn yourself or over heat.

Alternatively you can reheat in the oven for 10 minutes covered with aluminum foil.

Close up view of capirotada bread pudding made with pecans and almonds.

FAQ About Capirotada Bread Pudding

Are bolillos vegan?

Yes they are! No animal products are used in the authentic traditional bolillo recipe.

What are the ingredients in capirotada?

Capirotada is made with toasted bolillo bread, piloncillo, cinnamon, cloves, nuts and raisins, and cheese.

Is capirotada a healthy dessert?

While capirotada is a delicious dessert, it’s not necessarily the healthiest option due to its high sugar and carbohydrate content. However, you can modify the recipe to make it a bit healthier by using whole grain bread and reducing the amount of sugar used.

Can capirotada be made ahead of time?

Yes, capirotada can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Just be sure to reheat it in the oven before serving to ensure it’s warm and crispy.

Can capirotada be frozen?

Yes, capirotada can be frozen, but it may lose some of its texture and flavor when thawed. If you do decide to freeze capirotada, be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container.

Vegan capirotada made without peanuts inside a baking dish.
Vegan Mexican capirotada or bread pudding on Mexican earthenware plate.

Easy Capirotada Recipe Made Vegan

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
This easy capirotada recipe is going to go on repeat in your home. Capirotada or Mexican bread pudding is one of the most popular Mexican desserts and typically served during Lent. It's warm, sweet, a little savory and has both soft and crunchy textures. You're going to love it!
5 from 4 votes
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Print Recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican, vegan mexican
Servings 8 servings
Calories 295 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush a baking dish with some melted vegan butter or coconut oil.
    Ingredients used for making Mexican vegan capirotada.
  • Brush melted coconut oil or vegan butter on the sliced bolillo. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until the bread turns golden brown.
    Sliced bolillos with coconut oil on a baking tray to toast them.
  • In a medium pot pour in the water, add the piloncillo, cinnamon stick, clove, and orange peel. Simmer until the piloncillo has melted. Stir now and then to help dissolve the cone quicker.
    Once the syrup is finished, remove the cinnamon stick, orange peel and clove.
    Making spiced piloncillo syrup for capirotada bread pudding.
  • Place a layer of the toasted bread slices in your baking dish. Begin layering the almonds (or nuts), raisins, shredded coconut and some shredded cheese. Drizzle with some syrup.
    Repeat the layering process until you reach the top of the baking dish or run out of ingredients.
    Making Mexican capirotada bread pudding with piloncillo syrup.
  • Place in the center of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Don’t let it burn.
    This easy capirotada bread pudding is baked inside a glass baking dish.
  • Serve warm or cold with a cup of cafe con leche.
    Close up view of capirotada bread pudding made with pecans and almonds.

Notes

Please notice that the nutrition information will differ depending on the vegan cheese brand you use. Additionally if you add more piloncillo or nuts or raisins it will also adjust the nutritional information. 

Nutrition

Serving: 8servingsCalories: 295kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 4gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.04gSodium: 281mgPotassium: 260mgFiber: 5gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 345IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicanmademeatless!

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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My family made your capirotada this weekend & it didn’t dissapoint. No one knew it was vegan and there were no leftovers.

  2. 5 stars
    I tried the recipe previously and forgot to give you feedback Nancy. The recipe is awesome!! Please keep sharing!.
    Cheers,