Spanish polvorones

spanish polvorones
These super crumbly and soft Spanish Xmas sweets are as good for your soul as they are bad for your diet. But hey! Who said diet in Xmas?

Polvorón’ comes from ‘polvo’, Spanish for dust. Remember it the next time you put a polvorón in your mouth and everything will suddenly make sense.

The Spanish polvorones are a very soft and crumbly type of Spanish shortbread made of four basic ingredients: pork lard, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Like many other sweets from southern Spain, the original recipe for the polvorones was inspired by an ancient Arab preparation which was introduced in the peninsula by the Moors. Given that Muslims do not eat pork, the original recipe did not include pork lard but it used oil or sometimes milk instead. It became such a popular sweet that when the Spanish Inquisition started to persecute non-Catholic citizens, it was officially decreed that the milk should be replaced by pork lard as a mean to identify secret Jews or Muslims.

Today, the Spanish polvorones are made all over the country, where they have become a popular Xmas sweet which gets traditionally served after the festive meals, together with the ever present turrón. We can find polvorones in several Spanish regions like Tordesillas in Valladolid or even in Navarre. Still though, Andalusia remains the main producer in the country, and the towns of Estepa in Seville and Antequera in Málaga are famously known for their vaste production.

The recipe below is the classic one for Spanish polvorones. However, you can create your own flavoured variants by adding some extra ingredients when you are making the basic dough. Try adding 50g of cocoa powder during step 2 of the recipe for an indulgent chocolate polvorón. Or 40g of grated coconut for a coconut version. Or the zest of two lemons for a citric flavoured option.

Making polvorones is good fun so go for it! You will love them! And most importantly, when you hold one in your hand remember to do what every single Spanish child has done at some point during their early years. Put a whole polvorón in your mouth and then try to say ‘Pamplona’ very loud. Let’s see what happens! 😉

* This recipe was originally developed for the Xmas issue of the ‘Sharp For Life’ magazine. Make sure you check it out here!


Spanish polvorones
Serves: polvorones Print recipe
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 70 minutes
Passive time: 120 minutes (60 + 60)
Difficulty: Easy



  1. Preheat the oven at 120ºC. First of all, we need to toast the flour in order to eliminate any potential moisture that it might have. To do this, lay the flour all over the bottom of a baking dish and toast it in the oven for approximately one hour, stirring in every 15 minutes so that it doesn’t burn.
  2. Once toasted, let it cool down and sieve the flour, the icing sugar and the cinnamon over a big bowl. Add the liqueur and the pork lard in small bits.
  3. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and knead the resulting paste until you achieve a well integrated and consistent dough.
  4. Extend a large piece of cling film over the kitchen top and add half of the dough in the center of the sheet. Shape a rough cylinder with a diameter of about 5cm.
  5. Wrap the dough with the cling film and roll it until you have an almost perfect cylinder. Leave in the fridge for one hour so that the dough becomes more solid.
  6. Take the dough out of the fridge, remove the cling film and over a clean surface cut the cylinder in thick slices of about 4cm.
  7. Place the slices over a baking dish covered with baking paper. Bake the polvorones for 10 minutes at 180ºC. Take them out of the oven and let them cool down for at least an hour.
  8. To decorate the polvorones, sieve some more icing sugar first and then finish with a little bit more of cinnamon. Our polvorones are now ready to be served!

If you would like to keep them for later or simply use them as a homemade gift, wrap them in some paper before placing them into a food container so that they do not break apart.