Saturday, December 22, 2012

Colombian Buñuelos

Click aquí para versión en español

So today we'll be talking about Colombian buñuelos, which just like the Colombian natilla, cannot be forgotten during the holiday season.  They're completely inseparable, made for each other, eaten both as one, and yet, not really because  buñuelos are pretty much eaten all year round. Weird, huh? Colombians love their buñuelos which are served any time of year and any time of day. They even have street stands dedicated to making and selling buñuelos in every city. Yes, we are crazy about these round, fried cheesy, doughy balls.

And how are they made? Well, remember how in my last post I told you that Colombians use corn flour, in this case cornstarch, for almost everything? Yeah, they use it to make buñuelos as well. They also use a special type of cheese called queso costeño which can only be found in Colombia. It's a semi-solid, salty type of cheese that gives these cheese fritters that special flavor. Now, if you don't live in Colombia, I'm pretty sure you're already wondering where you can get this cheese. The answer is, you can't. But in this recipe I have an alternative, which is the whole purpose of putting it up on the blog. I have tried all kinds of cheeses to make buñuelos and I finally got it down to two different types, queso fresco (fresh cheese), which is a semi-soft Mexican cheese and feta cheese, a crumbly, aged, Greek cheese that has a very strong flavor. The combination of these two cheeses gives Colombian buñuelos the unique flavor found in queso costeño.

Now that we have the cheese issue out of the way, we have to talk about the perfect frying temperature. When you ask a Colombian this question they will say "not too hot, not too cold", which never helped me at all. I tried low, medium low, medium and even medium hot just in case but my buñuelos always exploded after putting them in the hot oil, leaving them deformed with these weird looking tails. I mean, they were delicious, but kind of scary. So after years and years (make that almost 15) of guessing the correct temperature, I decided to go "high tech" and use a deep fryer. I tried setting it at different degrees and found that the magic number is... (drumroll please) 325°F!!! Which according to Google, that's 163°C for those living outside of the US. No more guessing and no more freaky looking buñuelos, 325 is the ideal number for my buñuelos. I suggest you try to fry them at different temperatures to see which temperature works best for you.

But if you don't have a deep fryer you can still try to see if you can get that "not too hot, not too cold" temperature with a big pot on your stove starting at medium low. They say the trick is to put a small ball of dough in the hot oil and wait 30 seconds. If the ball rises before 30 seconds, the oil is too hot. If it takes longer than 30 seconds, the oil is too cold. Try it, it might work for you!



Approx. 12-14 buñuelos

1½ cups (150 g) grated queso fresco

½   cup (50 g) grated feta cheese
1     cup (120 g) cornstarch
½   cup (60 g) tapioca starch (cassava, tapioca, mandioca starch)
¼   cup (50 g) sugar

2     eggs
1     tsp salt
1     tbsp butter
⅛   tsp baking powder
       Vegetable oil for frying  


1. Mix the first eight ingredients until you get a soft, smooth dough. If you find that it is too dry, add one tablespoon of warm milk at a time until you get the right consistency.

2. Add the baking powder and knead the though until it is well mixed.

3. Shape the buñuelos by making small balls, about 1 inch
(2.5 cm) in diameter.

4. Heat up the oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 325°F (
163°C) and add a few buñuelos at a time, leaving enough room for them to float around.

5. Fry for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Drain with paper towels. Serve hot.

**Note: The ideal temperature for frying is between 350ºF (180ºC) - 375ºF (190ºC). However, the room temperature, altitude and weather can many times affect the outcome. For this reason you will have to raise or reduce the frying temperature from time to time for best results.

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  1. Hola, te sigo desde el foro de visajourney, y me parece genial este aporte. El mes pasado prepare buñuelos y fue súper dificil conseguir los ingredientes o el equivalente de los mismos aca en usa, como me hubiese gustado tener a mano la información que das en tu página. Los buñuelitos no me quedaron nada mal, solo utilice queso fresco porque no encontré más :P, no sabia lo de tapioca starch, pero ya se para la próxima utilizaré tu receta.
    Yo soy de cali, y de vez en cuando me gusta preparar sancocho y patacón pisao; estaré pendiente de tu página para nuevas recetas y la daré a conocer a mis amigos por esta zona para que se deleiten con los platos tipicos de nuestra tierra.

    1. ¡Muchas gracias por tu comentario! Y sí, la yucarina (tapioca starch), al igual que el azúcar, son esenciales para que los buñuelos queden como los de Colombia. =)

  2. Hola Diana, saludo cordial, has intentado hacer los buñuelos con quesito? Con mozzarella quedan espectaculares pero definitivamente el mejor buñuelo es con el queso costeño y ahora sí que lo están haciendo mejor x cuestiones higiénicas.

    1. Claro, el queso costeño es muchísimo mejor. Y sí, con el mozarella quedan deliciosos, pero no con el olor que les da el queso costeño, por eso le agrego el feta, para que les de ese olor añejo que llevan. =)

  3. Good Morning, I tried your recipe over the weekend and I think I may have used too much cheese. I was happy they were perfectly round, nice crust, and did not explode - But they were very dense. The buñuelos from the local Columbian restaurant have soft, moist, spongy, cake like interior. Do you know how much queso fresco you use by weight to make up the 3/4 cup? The amount could change depending on how fine it is grated. I used about 9 oz to make up the 3/4 cup. Thanks for the recipe, I enjoy reading your blogs, and look forward to making these again with (hopefully0 a tip or two from you to make these a bit lighter. THANKS!

    1. Good morning trazam1986, I'm so glad you gave this recipe a try! And well, it could be the brand of cheese you're using but here's the info for the one I use. The brand is Cacique and it has the word "Ranchero" on it. It's a 12 oz. package which I usually buy at Walmart and half of it usually gives me the 3/4 cup, so 12 oz. should be enough. The best part of your buñuelos is that they didn't explode which is a huge accomplishment in the buñuelo world. LOL.

      Here is the image link so you can see what it looks like:

      Let me know if that helped! =)

  4. Good afternoon. Thank you for posting an easy way of making Buñuelos. I had a great time making it but like trazam1986 my Buñuelos turned out the same. Now I know what kind of cheese to get. But I do have a question on the measurement on the cheese. Is it 11/2 cups or 3/4 cup. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for posting and for making me re-read what I wrote in the earlier post. I meant to say that 12 oz. should be enough because the whole 12 oz. gives you about 1.5 cups total once it's grated. For some reason I wrote 6 oz., which is incorrect unless you're making ½ the amount of buñuelos. I'm editing it right away. =)

    2. Thank you for your fast response. I have one more question for you. What is the difference between tapioca starch and tapioca flour?

    3. When it comes to baking there's no difference between the two and you can use either one. I think it really comes down to the company that sells it, one will label it as "starch" and another will use "flour" but they're both the same thing. So use whichever one you can find. =)

  5. hello, can i make my bunuelos without tapioca starch

    1. No, you can't. Well, you can but they're going to come out mushy and too dense on the inside. The tapioca flour or starch is what makes them crunchy on the outside and spongy on the inside.

  6. Hola me alegra mucho haber encontrado esta pagina, anoche hice buñuelos con todos los ingredientes pero la masa no me quedo perfecta, estaba muy pegajosa y se me quedaba en los dedos entonces le agregue un poco mas de harina tapioca y quedo bien, despues lo eché en el aceite pero éste no quedo en la temperatura adecuada asi que los primeros buñuelos no quedaron bien, no se si tambien tuvo que ver la harina de más que agregué, no creció la masa en el aceite despues al resto le agregue mas baking powder y si me quedaron bien, pero no estoy muy segura de la temperatura del aceite porque además no tengo como medirlo. De todos modos es mi primera vez buñuelos y no quedaron nada mal. Gracias por tu pagina.

    1. Hola Aura, muchas gracias por tu mensaje y no te sientas mal que hacer buñuelos es muchas veces una ciencia. A veces la masa queda muy húmeda dependiendo de qué tan húmedo esté el queso y el tamaño de los huevos, pero se soluciona haciendo lo que tú hiciste que es agregándole ás almidón o fécula de maíz. Y la temperatura es muy difícil de conseguir sin poderla medir, claro que hay personas que lo hacen sin necesitar un termómetro, pero yo no soy una de ellas y por eso necesito mi freidora. El caso es que los buñuelos tengan un buen sabor que es lo importante. =)

  7. Hola Diana!

    Yo tengo dos preguntas yo encontre un queso llamado fresh ‘homestyle’ white cheese from colombia eso es lo que dice. Este es el queso que necesito? Tiene los mismo ingredientes que el queso fresco de mexico. Si tengo ese queso que compre necesito tambien feta cheese? Ya yo tengo el queso pero solo quiero asegurarme si tengo que jacer la mezcla con los dos quesos y si es el queso correcto. Es que mi novio es de Colombia y vivimos aqui en USA y yo solo quiero que los buñuelos me queden al mismo sabor de los de Colombia si es posible!!

    Me encanta tus recetas gracias!

    Siempre veo tus videos y me encantaria que en tus descripciones hables mas de los ingredientes de como se pueden conseguir en USA porque casi siempre son nombres diferentes tu sabes en ingles.

    Gracias de nuevo!

    1. ¡Hola! Sí, el quesito colombiano es prácticamente el mismo queso fresco que hacen en México y cualquiera de los dos te sirve para obtener la consistencia del queso costeño. Sin embargo, es un poco simple y lo debes combinar con el queso feta para obtener más sabor. Algunas personas usan queso cotija, que es otro queso mexicano y que al igual que el queso fresco, se consigue muy fácil en EE.UU.. Lo malo es que a mí me parece que es demasiado seco y es por eso que no lo uso.

      Y sabes, he pensado mucho hablar un poco más de los ingredientes que uso para que las personas los encuentren más fácil, pero a la final no lo hago porque son muchas las personas de otros países o que viven en otros lugares que ven los videos y no me gustaría confundirlos. Por ejemplo, en Colombia, España, México y Argentina, de donde visitan tanto el blog y el canal, no sabrían de qué estoy hablando si menciono los ingredientes en inglés. Fuera de eso hasta los mismos nombres en español son diferentes, entonces ahí sí me toca tratar de ser lo más neutral posible. =\


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