Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)

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Mexican bread pudding combines toasted bread soaked in a spiced, sweet milk sauce with crunchy almonds and dried fruit between its layers. Smooth, creamy bananas are layered on top and finished off with a surprise ingredient: cheese!

overhead: a large piece of mexican bread pudding on an orange ceramic plate

My time traveling throughout Mexico and enjoyment of authentic Mexican meals in California gave me a profound appreciation for the cuisine. Sometimes I give these recipes my own spin, and sometimes I stay as close to the original as I can.

Capirotada, or Mexican bread pudding, is one traditional recipe I wouldn’t change a thing about! This soft, spiced dessert is most often eaten during Lent, reaching peak popularity on Good Friday, when those observing abstain from eating meat. 

overhead closeup: capirotada bread pudding with fruit and bread showing

The secret to this super moist brown sugar treat? Cheese! The gooey oaxaca cheese adds some salty to all of that sweet, and boy does it make all the difference. And that bit of extra protein from the cheese makes it a practical Lent recipe too!

Itching for more Mexican desserts? Try these sweet apple empanadas, decadent Mexican hot chocolate (chocolate con leche), or some creamy rice pudding!

Tip From Kevin

Why Just Milk, Why Not Tres Leches?

Typically this recipe calls for using just milk in the soaking process, but I decided after a few tests to bump it to the next level. I use milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk, also known as Tres Leches (three milks) in this!

overhrad: capirotada soaked with sweet milk mixture in baking dish
soaked with sweet milk mixture

Tip From Kevin

Piloncillo or Dark Brown Sugar

Piloncillo is a type of Mexican sweetener. It’s a form of unprocessed cane sugar, and you’ll likely come across it if you want to whip up a traditional Mexican dessert. Because it’s unprocessed, it boasts a golden brown color.

It’s made by boiling sugar cane juice until it becomes a sugary syrup. The syrup is then poured into cone-shaped molds to harden into a piloncillo cone. You can read more about it below.

If you can’t find piloncillo you can substitute 1 1/4 cups of dark brown sugar per 8-ounce cone.

overhead: baked mexican bread pudding

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

(Be sure to check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and quantities)

  • Bolillo Bread Rolls – Slice each roll lengthwise with a serrated knife, then slice each of those pieces into 8 or 10 smaller pieces. I love this bread for its gorgeous crust, and this slicing method gives you delectable bite-sized pieces for your capirotada. 
  • Whole MilkFull-fat milk leads to richer texture, but feel free to substitute with your preferred low-fat or dairy-free milk options. 
  • Bananas – Bananas are traditional in Mexican bread pudding, but I sometimes use fresh or diced pineapple for a taste of something different!
  • Sweetened Milk Topping A combination of sweetened condensed and evaporated milk is seasoned with vanilla, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks, then sweetened with:
    • Cone Piloncillo – If you have trouble getting your hands on Mexican brown sugar, go ahead with dark brown sugar. A quick tip: piloncillo dissolves faster if you break it up before using it! 
  • Raisins – You can replace raisins with any other dried fruit of your choice.
  • Almonds Pecans and walnuts are delicious in Mexican bread pudding too — use all of one kind of nut, or a combination of your favorites!
  • Oaxaca – Melty Mexican oaxaca is perfect for capirotada. The best substitutes are Monterey Jack or mozzarella.  
overhead: a slice of capirotada on an orange ceramic plate

How to Make Mexican Bread Pudding

  1. Toast Bread. Bake the cubed bread at 350°F for 5 minutes. Once dried out, remove from the oven and set aside while making the brown sugar milk topping. 
  2. Make Milk Topping. Heat the milk, piloncillo, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a slight boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and discard the whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla and stir into the milk. Remove from the heat and set aside. 
  3. Layer. Place half of the dried bolillo in a greased baking dish, arranging in a single layer. Place half of the sliced bananas, half of the raisins, half of the nuts, and half of the cheese on top of the bread. Repeat, topping with another layer of bread, bananas, raisins, nuts, and cheese.
  4. Bake. Pour the warm, sweetened milk mixture over the baking dish and cover with foil. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for 15 minutes longer.
  5. Let Rest & Serve. Remove from the oven and let rest for a minimum of 5 minutes before serving.
  • 9×13” Baking Sheet – It’s important not to use a pan that’s too deep so that the center can cook all the way through. This pan size allows for that, and also just gives a better presentation — a deeper pan leads to deeper deflating, which just doesn’t look as appetizing!

Storing and Reheating

Capirotada is most delicious served warm and gooey, but it is also perfectly delicious at room temperature, or cold and straight from the fridge!

Wrap up any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate to enjoy for up to 5 days after baking. Like I said, leftovers can be eaten cold — it’s one of my favorite breakfasts! — or covered and briefly microwaved until warmed through.

closeup: a slice of mexican bread pudding on a ceramic plate

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Mexican bread pudding so soggy?

To prevent soggy pudding, cover with foil for the first 15 minutes of baking to allow the center to “steam” and cook from the inside out. Then, bake uncovered to let the surface and edges brown, adding firmness and structure to the dessert.

If your dish is still soggy after this, it’s possible you used too much liquid compared to the amount of bread, that the oven wasn’t hot enough, or that it simply wasn’t baked for long enough.

Do you need to use stale bread for Mexican bread pudding?

While using stale or day-old bread might help you save some baking time, it isn’t necessary. Toasting bread will dry it out sufficiently. The key is to use firm, dry cubes — however you achieve that makes no difference to the end product.

Why did my bread pudding collapse?

It will naturally collapse as time passes. For maximum puffiness, serve as soon as possible after a brief rest. Bear in mind that that 5-minute rest is also important for preventing the dessert from collapsing!

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Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)

Mexican bread pudding is a cinnamony, milky treat dotted with raisins, nuts, and melty cheese. You have to try this one-of-a-kind dessert!
Servings: 10
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 tbsp butter for greasing pan
  • 6 large bolillo bread rolls (See Note 1)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounce cone piloncillo or 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (See Note 2)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large bananas sliced into rounds (See Note 3)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup almonds sliced
  • 2 cups Oaxaca cheese or Monterey Jack or Mozzarella, shredded


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking dish (or a dish that’s slightly bigger) with butter. Set aside.
  • Transfer the cubed bolillo bread onto large baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes until it’s toasted and dried out. Remove it from oven and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat add the milk, piloncillo (or dark brown sugar), cloves and cinnamon sticks. Stir and bring to a slight boil. Turn heat to low and simmer it for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla. Set aside.


  • Spread half of the toasted bread in a single layer in prepared baking dish. Top it with half of the banana slices, half of the raisins, half of the sliced almonds and half of the shredded cheese. Repeat the process with another layer of each.
  • Carefully pour the sweetened milk all over the capirotada and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove it from the oven, let it cool for 5 minutes, and serve warm.


  1. Use a serrated knife and cut each bolillo bread roll lengthwise, then each piece into 8-10 pieces.
  2. If you’re not too patient waiting for the piloncillo to dissolve in the milk like me – I help it dissolve quicker by placing the sugar cone in a plastic bag and whack it with a hammer or something to break it up, optional.
  3. I have also add diced pineapple chunks for another fruit to substitute. I prefer fresh, about 2 cups, or use a drained canned pineapple.


Calories: 582kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 742mg | Potassium: 689mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 504IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 410mg | Iron: 7mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): capirotada mexican bread pudding


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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