10 Spanish Desserts You Need To Try

Crema Catalana

spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain crema catalana
Crema, better known as Crema Catalana, is a custard-based dessert that originally comes from the Catalonia region.

This dessert is believed to have originated from dishes made by poor families.  They would create desserts using leftover ingredients ending in a humble yet unforgettable dish.

Made with an egg custard and then topped with sugar that is caramelized into a crispy crust, you can find Crema at most restaurants in Spain as well as some cafes that specialize in desserts.

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spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain flan
No one should go to Spain without having a dish of traditional flan.

Flan is a unique jelly-like dessert that is made by combining milk, sugar and eggs into a mold before it is given a water bath, cooked, and then cooled.  Flan comes in many flavors but, traditionally, Spanish cuisines tend to go with either vanilla flan or egg flan for a more subtle profile.

Flan has a layer of caramel on the bottom which, when flipped over when the mold is removed, results in a river of caramel that floats down the entire dessert to delicious effect.

Churros con Chocolate

spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain chocolate con churros
Churros are long fried dough pastries that are usually topped with sprinkled sugar, cinnamon, as well as warm chocolate.

You won't, however, find them on any authentic Spanish restaurant menu as churros are eaten as sweet snacks or even as a sweet breakfast food rather than a proper dessert.

So, if you'd like to try authentic Spanish Churros, make sure you head out to a bakery around breakfast or mid-morning.

Natillas de Leche

spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain natillas de leche
Natillas de Leche is a classical Spanish custard that is creamy, rich, and just a bit decadent.

Despite the simplicity of the recipe, Natillas de Leche has a richness of flavor brought out by the inclusion of a lemon infusion and a touch of cinnamon.

You may find Natillas de Leche with many different flavors around Spain, but the most traditional recipes are made with vanilla or egg flavors.

Tarta de Santiago

spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain tarta de santiago
Tarta de Santiago, which literally translates to “the Cake of St. James”, is a unique almond cake that dates all the way back to the Middle Ages.

The cake is made with a filling of eggs, sugar, ground-up almonds, lemon zest and some form of alcohol like brandy or sweet.  After baking, it’s finished with powdered sugar over a stencil of the Cross of St. James which is what gives the cake its’ unique name.

In order to actually be called a Tarta de Santiago, the cake has to be made within Galicia and needs to contain at least 33% almonds.  To find an authentic cake, you’ll have to look either in the Galicia region or at bakeries that specialize in importing them.
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Leche Frita

spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain leche frita
Leche Frita literally translates to “fried milk” which should give you an idea of how this simple, but delicious, dessert is made.

Leche Frita is made by combining milk and sugar with flour and then cooking it until it creates a firm dough.  The dough is then cut into small squares before it is fried and topped with a glaze of sugar and/or cinnamon.

The dessert tends to be served at smaller restaurants rather than fine dining establishments, so look for smaller local restaurants if you want a taste of this sweet fried dessert.


spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain torrija
Torrijas are a traditional Spanish dessert that are most often served during Lent and Holy Week, although you can sometimes find them at other times of the year.

Torrija are made by taking stale bread and soaking it in sweetened milk for a few minutes before dipping it in egg and frying it in a pan.  The dish is usually served with syrup, although it can be eaten alone.

Arroz con Leche

spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain arroz con leche
Arroz con Leche is a Spanish variant on rice pudding.  It is made by cooking rice with a sweet milk mixture that includes condensced milk for plenty of added creaminess and sweetness.

When the rice is fully cooked it is usually served with some ground cinnamon, although it can also be served with whipped cream.

Tarta de Queso

spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain tarta de queso
Tarta de Queso is a Spanish cheesecake that is distinct for its usage of tangier ingredients like goat's curd, Greek yogurt, and even a touch of brandy.

Another unique feature of the Tarta de Queso is that it has a very slightly crisp top which is cooked until it is dark and almost burnt.  The crisp top gives the cake a very distinct texture that stands out among other European cheesecakes.

You can find Tarta de Queso year round at many restaurants, cafes and some coffee shops.


spanish desserts to try madrid barcelona spain polvorones
Polvorones, a classical Spanish cookie, are served almost exclusively around Christmas time.

The dessert is made with almonds and has a crumbled texture that gives the cookie its’ name which means "Powder" or "Dust".

Polvorones are also distinct for the unique way that flour is incorporated into the recipe, as the flour must be toasted in the oven first.  This gives the cookies a unique edge over other Christmas cookies.
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