Picarones – Peruvian Dessert


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Indulge in the flavors of Peru with Picarones, a mouthwatering dessert that holds a special place in Peruvian hearts. These delectable doughnuts are made from sweet potato and pumpkin, giving them a unique and delightful taste. Picarones are typically served with a drizzle of spiced syrup, creating a delightful harmony of sweet and spiced flavors. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through making the perfect Picarones, so you can experience a taste of Peru in your own kitchen.

Picarones are a delightful Peruvian dessert with a history that dates back to pre-colonial times. These deep-fried dough rings are often enjoyed as a sweet treat or street food in Peru, making them a beloved part of the country’s culinary heritage. Here’s a closer look at the story and origins of this delicious dessert:

  • Pre-Colonial Roots: Picarones have indigenous origins, with the Incas and other native peoples of Peru enjoying similar fried dough treats made from ingredients like sweet potatoes and corn.
  • Influence of Spanish Colonization: With the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, European culinary techniques and ingredients were introduced to the region. This led to the evolution of picarones into their modern form, incorporating wheat flour and pumpkin.
  • Cultural Significance: Picarones are often associated with religious festivals and celebrations in Peru, particularly during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. They are a symbol of unity and sharing during these festive times.

Picarones – Peruvian Dessert

Picarones are a traditional Peruvian dessert that is similar to doughnuts or fritters. What sets them apart is the use of sweet potato and pumpkin in the dough, which adds a unique flavor and makes them incredibly soft and fluffy. These golden-brown delights are often served with a spiced syrup, made from molasses and infused with cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel. The combination of the sweet and spiced flavors makes Picarones a truly irresistible treat.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 30 mins Rest Time 1 hr Total Time 2 hrs Difficulty: Advanced Servings: 20 Calories: 105.34 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


For the Picarones:

For the Spiced Syrup:

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, then sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed sweet potato, pumpkin, flour, salt, cinnamon, and ground cloves.

  3. Add the activated yeast mixture to the bowl and mix everything together with a wooden spoon until a soft and slightly sticky dough forms.

  4. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rest in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

  5. While the dough is resting, prepare the spiced syrup. In a saucepan, combine the molasses, water, cinnamon stick, cloves, and orange peel.

  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the syrup thickens slightly and the flavors meld together.

  7. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the spiced syrup cool.

  8. In a large pot or deep-fryer, heat the vegetable oil to about 350°F (175°C).

  9. Use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to scoop up small portions of the rested dough and carefully drop them into the hot oil.

  10. Fry the Picarones in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot, until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per batch.

  11. Remove the Picarones from the oil and let them drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 20

Amount Per Serving
Calories 105.34kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.22g1%
Saturated Fat 0.04g1%
Sodium 40.18mg2%
Potassium 303.8mg9%
Total Carbohydrate 24.73g9%
Dietary Fiber 1.18g5%
Sugars 12.79g
Protein 1.66g4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.


Tips and Variations:
  • You can adjust the sweetness of the Picarones by adding more or less sugar to the dough.
  • For a gluten-free version, you can use gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour.
  • The spiced syrup can be refrigerated and used for other desserts or pancakes.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Picarones are best served warm and fresh, drizzled with the spiced syrup. They make a delightful dessert for any occasion or can be enjoyed as a sweet treat on a cozy afternoon.
Allergen Information:
  • Gluten: The primary ingredient in picarones is wheat flour, which contains gluten. If you have gluten allergies or sensitivities, you may want to explore gluten-free versions of this dessert.

  • Eggs: Some picarone recipes include eggs as a binding agent. Individuals with egg allergies should use egg substitutes or seek eggless recipes.

Wine or Drink Pairing:
  • Chicha Morada: A traditional Peruvian drink made from purple corn, chicha morada pairs wonderfully with picarones. Its sweet and fruity flavor complements the dessert's sweetness.

  • Coffee: A cup of rich and aromatic Peruvian coffee is another excellent choice. The slight bitterness of coffee provides a delightful contrast to the sweetness of picarones.

Storage and Leftovers:
  • Room Temperature: Picarones are best enjoyed fresh and hot, right after frying. They are a treat often served immediately after preparation.

  • Reheating: If you have leftovers, you can reheat picarones in an oven or toaster oven for a short time to restore some of their crispiness. However, they are best when consumed promptly.

Keywords: Picarones, Peruvian Dessert, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Doughnuts, Fritters, Spiced Syrup, Soft and Fluffy, Sweet and Spiced Flavors

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