Authentic Mexican Conchas: A Sweet Bread Delight

Traditional Mexican Conchas Sweet Bread Recipe

Dive into the world of Mexican pastries with these irresistible conchas! Named after their distinctive seashell pattern, conchas are a beloved sweet bread that will transport your taste buds straight to a Mexican panaderia.

With their soft, pillowy dough and crunchy, sweet topping, homemade conchas are a true labor of love. While they may take some time to prepare, the results are well worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with a batch of these iconic treats that rival any bakery version.

The Art of Making Concha Dough

The secret to perfect concha dough lies in the careful balance of fats and flours. This recipe uses a combination of processed lard and butter for the ultimate tender yet chewy texture. Bread flour gives the conchas their signature springy bite, while a long refrigerated rise develops deep, complex flavors.

Crafting the Signature Concha Crust

The crunchy, patterned crust is what makes a concha truly special. We’ll create both vanilla and chocolate versions, allowing you to enjoy the two most popular concha flavors. A simple scoring technique creates the iconic seashell design – no special tools required!


For the concha crust:

  • 8 ounces processed lard (1 cup; 227g), such as Armour (see note)
  • 4 ounces powdered sugar (1 cup; 114g), sifted
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (2 cups; 256g), such as Gold Medal
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) natural cocoa powder, sifted

For the concha dough:

  • 2 tablespoons (18g) instant yeast, such as SAF
  • 21 ounces bread flour (about 4 1/2 cups; 600g)
  • 2 tablespoons (12g) nonfat powdered milk
  • 4 1/2 ounces sugar (heaping 1/2 cup; 125g)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (12g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much volume or the same weight
  • 6 large eggs (300g), brought to about 65°F (18°C)
  • 3 ounces (85g) water, about 80°F (26°C)
  • 5 1/2 ounces unsalted butter (3/4 cup; 160g), cut into 1-inch cubes, and softened to about 65°F (18°C)
  • 3 ounces processed lard (6 tablespoons; 80g), such as Armour (see note)


  1. Prepare the concha crust: In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat lard until creamy. Add powdered sugar and flour, mixing until smooth. Divide the mixture, flavoring half with vanilla and half with cocoa powder. Shape into rectangles, wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Divide each flavored crust into 8 portions, form into balls, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
  3. Make the concha dough: Whisk together dry ingredients. In the stand mixer bowl, combine eggs and water. Add the flour mixture and mix until a cohesive dough forms.
  4. Gradually incorporate butter and lard until the dough becomes smooth and shiny. Perform a windowpane test to check gluten development.
  5. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, performing two sets of folds. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. Divide the dough into 16 portions and shape into smooth balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  7. Apply the crust: Roll out each portion of chilled crust and drape over the dough balls. Tuck in the edges and gently press to adhere.
  8. Score the crust in a seashell pattern using a butter knife or concha cutter.
  9. Allow conchas to rise until nearly doubled, about 2 hours.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Bake conchas for about 20 minutes, rotating trays halfway through, until golden brown.
  11. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving warm, or allow to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Processed lard is recommended for its neutral flavor, but unsalted butter can be substituted if preferred. A 3.25-inch concha cutter can be used for a traditional shell pattern, but a butter knife works well too.

Storage and Make-Ahead Tips

Store conchas in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. To freeze, wrap individually and store for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours before enjoying.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
533 Calories
30g Fat
56g Carbs
9g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 533
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 13g 66%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 325mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 31mg 2%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 107mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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