If years ago Peru was a synonym of history and archaeology by the Incas culture, and nature, mystery, and adventure by the Amazon, now the Andean Country is recognized worldwide for its amazing gastronomy. No wonder this has positioned itself among the best cuisines in the world (Yes, along with Italian, Chinese, and even French) and the Peruvian desserts are the main actors in this scene.
Each flavor, color, and presentation represent a fresh and new proposal front to foreign palates. International techniques of cooking, combined with local ingredients make the desserts of Peru a true revelation, and with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru, we want to tell you all about the best of these Peruvian delicates, so you don’t stay with the desire!
22 best Peru desserts that you can’t miss on your next trip to Peru!
- Mazamorra Morada
- Suspiro de Limeña
- Turrón de Doña Pepa
- Arroz con Leche
- Crema volteada
- Lucuma Ice Cream
- Frejol Colado
- Arroz Zambito
- King Kong
- Humitas dulces
- Mazamorra de Cañihua
- Queso Helado
- Chocotejas and Tejas
- Lemon Pie
- Tres leches
- Some recommendations
1. Mazamorra Morada (Purple corn Pudding)
Mazamorra Morada is perhaps the most consumed Peruvian dessert in the Andean country. This well-known pudding is made with purple corn as the main ingredient and it gives its iconic color and distinctive flavor. Pleasant and warm flavors of nuts, cinnamon, and cloves in a jelly-like consist will leave you enchanted. Of course, the pudding is the result of purple corn, certain fruits such as pineapple, and peaches boiled, with cinnamon, and cloves. The preparation is usually thickened with sweet potato flour.
The Purple corn was called Api in the Quechua language by the Incas, and there is a record of its consumption since the colonial era, especially between the streets of Virreinal Peru. Nowadays, this iconic dessert is consumed throughout the year in Peru, but it is often more popular in the long winters of the country. Therefore, if you are looking for gastronomical experience tourism in Peru, you cannot miss out on trying this unique Peruvian flavor.
2. Picarones (Deep-fried donuts)
One of the best Peruvian delicates to try during your stay is Picarones. These ones are the Peruvian equivalent of American donuts but fried. For this reason, they are also often called Peruvian donuts and their preparation consists of mashed sweet potatoes and pumpkins, corn, egg, flour, and premium black beer. All these ingredients are mixed in a uniform mass, it is fired in form of donuts for 5 minutes over in plenty of oil. After frying the pancakes, they are spread in Chancaca, a type of lovely sugar syrup, and done!
A warm flavor, like a fresh baked sweet potato pancake, mixed with the sweet syrup of Chancaca or honey will invade your palate. This, not to mention the soft crunch of the picarones in your mouth, will make you feel in paradise.
Their origins go back to pre-Hispanic times when the Incas people, who live in the south of Peru (Cusco and other current cities) elaborated a similar recipe with sweet potato and pumpkin. Years later, on the central coast of Peru, the recipe was combined with foreign ingredients that the Spanish conquerors brought like wheat flour and sugar, resulting in the famous Picaron.
These delicacies are a must at street vendor stalls and are one of the main dishes in Peruvian street food.
3. Suspiro de Limeña (The sigh of a Lima lady)
The Suspiro de Limeña is one of the oldest Peru desserts; its origin dates back to Lima in the 19th century when Amparo Ayarza created the recipe for this delight and her husband, the poet Jose Galvez crowned the creation of his beloved with a name as romantic as Suspiro de Limeña.
This delicious dessert consists of a base of manjar Blanco or dulce de leche made of milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar. It is followed by a top layer of light port meringue with egg white dusted with cinnamon and other flavorings. This dessert is served in individual glasses or bowls at normal temperature or frozen. It is usually a classic in some of the best restaurants in Lima and its flavor is a soft caress of freshness and sweetness in your mouth. A unique experience.
4. Guargüero (Fried funnels with delicacy)
Guargüero is one of the best traditional Peruvian desserts in the south of Peru and Moquegua is its cradle. This dessert is prepared specially during Holy Week festivities in this city. History said that the Spanish conquerors brought cow milk and this was the main ingredient that the Spanish nuns, established in the first Peruvian convents, mixed with egg yolk, wheat flour, and butter, to obtain a uniform mass.
This mass was fried in vegetable oil. After the cook had to be given the preparation a conical shape in the process, however, he gave it a funnel shape. After, the fried funnels were retired and dried. Finally, the Guargüero was filled with blancmange, honey, and even delicious Peruvian chocolate. Therefore, if you get to taste them, you’ll feel the soft crunch of their crusts mixed with the delicious blancmange in your mouth. An extraordinary experience.
Nowadays, this process means respecting the tradition of its preparation. Therefore, the Guarguero can be considered the oldest delight among south Peruvian delicates.
5. Turrón de Doña Pepa (Ms. Pepa’s nougat)
Doña Pepa’s Turrón is a well-known Peruvian dessert that is usually consumed more frequently during October. This month is also considered Purple Month and is when numerous faithful people dress in purple and march in processions to celebrate the Lord of Miracles (An image of the crucified Christ dating from the 17th century that is taken out in procession that month)
The tradition said that Josefa Maraminillo, a slave afro-Peruvian woman, was brought from Cañete (a Peruvian city, south of Lima, where lived the most Afro-descendants) to Lima to assist the Lord of Miracles’ procession because she suffered paralysis in all her limbs. One of these nights in Lima, during dreams, Josefa saw the presence of saints who gave her the recipe for a special nougat to be consumed in the purple month. The next morning, Josefa was completely healed. A real miracle! The nougat was named Turron de Doña Pepa – Mrs. Pepa nougat (Take note that Pepa is the Spanish demonym of Josefa)
This exquisitely layered nougat of cookies is also sprayed with Chancaca, a delightful sugar syrup. And after the syrup coating, it is bedewed in a variety of multicolored sprinkles, giving it a powerful visual appeal. Among souvenirs to buy in Peru, turron de Doña Pepa is the best gift that a visitor can bring from Peru!
6. Arroz Con Leche (Rice with milk)
This iconic and internationally known dish is one of the classic Peruvian desserts to enjoy. Despite being known in other countries like Honduras, Spain, and Mexico among others, the Arroz con Leche Peruvian version (Rice with milk) is the dessert of excellence in the Andean country. It is usually sold in the different street stands and is often accompanied by Mazamorra Morada (Which we already talked about earlier)
This dessert consists of the cook of rice with egg, yolks, sugar, cinnamon, butter, nutmeg, and condensed milk or evaporated milk (the original version contains fresh natural milk). All of these ingredients have to be boiled for around 25 minutes, stirring the mixture from time to time, to get a consistent mass of rice and thick milk. This preparation is served in bowls and sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
Also, this pudding has a sweet, warm, and tasty flavor on the palate and it is a classic for Peruvian palates and is typically a great companion on cold winter days. Without a doubt, the Arroz con Leche is a tasty Peruvian must.
7. Crema Volteada (flipped cream)
The Crema Volteada as it is known in Peru would be the equivalent of Flan or the famous french crème caramel. Of course, it is not a dessert from Peru. But if it usually has an important place in the hearts of its locals. The preparation is almost similar to its international version; egg whites and yolks, with sugar, have to be started whisking. To this mix added whole milk and vanilla to get the custard. In a pan boil sugar with water on medium heat and bring to a boil.
When the sugar is dissolved, add lemon juice. Finally, mix both custard preparations and pour them into small containers, bake them for 1 hour, then remove them and let them cool until the next day. You will have a tasty dessert flavored with milk and vanilla. In addition, its texture is a kind of cross between jelly and a cheesecake and your palate will be eternally grateful.
Also, the Peruvian version is frequently a little different from the original recipe. It is light, sweet, and a favorite among the youth of the country. As you can see, it’s surprisingly easy to make and a great dessert to enjoy as a family.
8. Lucuma Ice Cream
We all love ice cream; it is one of those classic desserts that you cannot miss. And Peruvians have their own flavor, the Lucuma Ice cream. It is said that the Spanish conquerors when they came to America were fascinated by 4 things, Chocolate, Cherimoya, Gold, and Lucuma. No wonder that among the most famous Peruvian desserts, the Lucuma flavor is the most recognized ice cream by the locals. Lucuma is a subtropical fruit that grows in the valleys of the Peruvian Andes. In English, it is known as “eggfruit” (due to its similarity of colors with an egg), and its flavor is very similar to that of sweet potatoes. It is a prevalent fruit for juicing and flavoring other desserts.
To prepare it, you only need some Lucuma fruit, peeled and cut into pieces, vanilla extract, heavy cream, and some egg whites. All of them are blended with sugar. The mix has to be refrigerated by 8 hours approx, and well done! A tasty ice cream, Peruvian trademark!
Also, if you want to our recommendation, a good Lucuma Ice Cream is excellent after trying Ceviche, Peru national dish. Try it, you will not regret it.
9. Frejol Colado (Strained beans)
The Frejol Colado is an Afro-Peruvian bean candy native to the Cañete and Chincha valleys (The dessert was first prepared by African immigrants 150 years ago approx.) Frejol Colado translates in English as strained beans. It may not sound like something delicious, but trust me it is a rich and delicious dessert. Sweet as candy! Its preparation is not so complicated and requires simple ingredients. You will only need black beans cooked and crushed (without the shell), sugar, cloves, anise, and milk mixed and blended slowly with the beans, and well done! You can expect a Peruvian dessert with a consistency of puree or pudding. It is not necessarily a great representative of Peruvian gastronomy, but it is a dessert with a great history behind it and consumed by everyone!
10. Arroz Zambito (Zambito rice)
Arroz Zambito is the local variant of Arroz con Leche (Milk rice). Even, their preparation is similar, with the difference of Chancaca (unrefined brown sugar) that is included in the preparation phase of boiled rice, with aniseed and coconuts. Therefore, this ingredient brings its traditional brown color. As an additional note, Zambito or Zambo was the appellative that Peruvian gave to descendants of African persons who arrived in Chincha (South city from Lima) since Colonial times, due to its dark and ocher colors. In the beginning, the recipe was cooked with boiled water, in the late years the water was replaced with milk, to obtain more consistency and viscosity. The final delight used to be adorned with dried pecans or shredded coconut.
Nowadays, Arroz Zambito is one of the most consumed desserts in all regions of Peru. And the best of all is that there is no special occasion to taste it!
11. Ranfañote (Caramelized toast bread)
Among all Peruvian desserts, Ranfañote is considered the oldest desert in the Andean country. Its origin is still being discussed today. Some affirm that the dessert was an invention of Afro-Peruvian slaves who did not know what to do with their dry bread rations. Others indicate that it was a creation of Peruvian soldiers with their food rations during “The War of the Pacific” (a war between Peru and Chile)
Either way, the Ranfañote is the best representative of the Peruvian invention to stifle hunger. Pieces of toasted bread bathed in honey, blancmange, including Chancaca (raw brown sugar syrup). All of them are adorned with grated coconut, dried fruits, nuts, and pieces of salty cheese. Without a doubt, Ranfañote is a traditional delight that all visitor has to taste, at least once, during their trips to Peru.
12. Champus (Fruit and corn porridge)
With such rich biodiversity in Peru, it is not surprising that there is also a great variety of desserts made of endemic fruits. When we talk about Champus we are not referring to the bath shampoo. Although they have a similar name, Champus are Peruvian fruity desserts that owe their name to the derivation of the Quechua word “Chapusca” which means mixture (Quechua was the ancient Inca language)
These desserts are very similar to the oatmeal porridge that is usually sold in the street carts of Peru. The base of the dessert is composed of Mote (peeled corn, boiled and then crushed), fruit pulp, cornmeal, and water. The fruits that are used can vary, but traditionally the following are used: Apple, quince, pineapple, and fresh guanabana (soursop). These ingredients are boiled and stirred from time to time to get an oatmeal porridge of yellow color. It’s very delicious, fresh, and energetic! This nutritious dessert is not too sweet and is served hot. A perfect alternative for those cold days.
13. King Kong (Giant layered alfajr)
Alfajor de Trujillo (Trujillo is the capital city of the Peruvian north region Lambayeque) was the first name that received this traditional north Peruvian dessert. The non-official history says that a baker of Trujillo decided to prepare a giant dessert by collecting cookie scraps and using honey or Chancaca syrup as glue. By the same days of 1933, the first movie of King Kong (The famous gorilla of exorbitant dimensions) was premiered. The north Peruvian related both elements (The movie and the dessert) having a common factor, the big size of them. The Alfajor of Trujillo passed to, re-named King Kong.
This Peruvian dessert consists of cookies, situated one on top of the other. In the middle of them, blancmange, peanuts, and strawberry jam inter alia are added. The result is a delight that all Peruvians consume whenever they can. You should not be the exception.
14. Humitas Dulces (Sweet humitas)
The Humitas Dulces was named “The Incas bread” by the chronicler and historian Garcilaso de la Vega. The term Humita comes from the Quechua word “Huminta” which means (cornbread). The Incas used to prepare them for main festivities and special occasions. Also, according to studies by Alexander Grobman, emeritus professor at the Agrarian University of La Molina in Lima, corn has come cultivated in Peru since 6504 and 7775 years ago, being Peruvian corn the oldest in all of America.
The Humitas Dulces are the Peruvian desserts that are still being prepared in south Peruvian cities like Cusco, Arequipa, and Puno inter alia. The fresh corn is peeled and blended with milk, and this mix is added to the preparation of melted margarine, cinnamon, honey, and clove. After some minutes of cooking, the mix is wrapped in corn leaves and boiled in water, inside large saucepans. Finally, the humitas are retired and consumed at tea parties and special occasions. Dare to prove them, you will not regret it!
15. Alfajores (Alfajr)
Among the Peru desserts, Alfajor is one with an extensive history behind it. Of Arab origin, South America adopted it as its own. Throughout the American continent, this cookie is prepared in various ways. You can find Alfajores in wineries, markets, bakeries, supermarkets, and even in street carts. In general, the main Peruvian ingredient is the Manjar Blanco or dulce de leche, as it is known in other regions of America. This syrup serves as a glue between two soft and sweet cookies. After, this sweet sandwich is dusted with white powdered sugar or grated coconut. It is usually an excellent gift for relatives after enjoying the different tours in Peru, or a tasty lunch.
16. Mazamorra de Cañihua (Cañihua grits)
Cañihua is one of the Andean cereals with the most nutritional contribution in all of Peru. These offer double the protein of wheat, rice, and even oats. This cereal is cultivated in the north of Titicaca Lake, in the Puno Region (South of Peru), and can resist severe inclement weather, such as frost, drought, and even flooding. Therefore, from powerful ingredients, nutritious food is elaborated, the Mazamorra de Cañihua. This is the best example of Andean desserts, and its preparation is very easy.
First, the Cañihua has to be boiled with cinnamon and cloves. In another pan, over boiled water add two egg yolks, flour, and carob juice. Remove constantly the mix (To prevent lumps) and add the water, where the Cañihua was boiled previously, and the same Cañihua cooked and crushed. When the mixture is thick, you can add sugar or bee honey to taste and… Well done! You will have the famous mazamorra of Cañihua.
17. Queso Helado (Frozen cheese)
Frozen cheese or “Queso Helado” is one of the best-known Peruvian delicates from Arequipa, a southern department of Peru. This unique dessert is well known nationally for its particular texture and flavor, similar to cold roast milk with mild aromas of cinnamon. It is one of the healthiest desserts in the repertoire of Peruvian desserts. According to history, the first place, where the historians registered its preparation, was the Santa Catalina Convent in the Historic Center of Arequipa.
And, believe it or not, the Queso Helado (Frozen cheese) does not contain cheese in its preparation. Conversely, the main ingredient is fresh cow’s milk, which contains protein, calcium, and different minerals. This milk is sweetened and mixed with cinnamon powder. Then, it is put in a frozen container and it is stirred little by little. The result is ice cream stuck to the walls of the container. This is scooped out and served in cones sprinkled with cinnamon powder. Definitely, after trying some Peruvian food dishes, why not enjoy a Queso Helado for dessert?
18. Chocotejas and tejas (Peruvian truffles)
Tejas is the Peruvian equivalent of traditional truffles. This Peruvian dessert originates from the desert region of Ica (South of Lima). They are usually dipped in a white sugar fondant. However, the chocotejas are also a trendy alternative, with a chocolate exterior. Inside, you can find a layer of walnuts and Manjar Blanco, among other things. These delicacies are often wrapped in paper and are often excellent gifts for relatives at home. They are usually widely consumed on the central and northern coast of Peru.
19. Lemon Pie
Although it is not a Peruvian dessert par excellence, Pie de Limón is an international dessert recognized throughout the world. And that is why it cannot be absent from some Peruvian tables in the country. Especially after enjoying a classic dish of traditional Peruvian food. Therefore, Peruvians have a unique way of preparing this dessert, giving it a different and individual touch. So, the difference? It is replaced the lemon with the sour lime. This little change makes the Lemon Pie (that should be called Lime Pie) unique and special. Its flavor is more fresh, sweet, and more delicious than the international version.
Another of the Peruvian delicates where the Manjar Blanco has a leading role. The Peruvian Pionono is a popular and delicious dessert. It is also known as Jelly Roll in other parts of the world. This dessert is not originally from Peru, since many other countries have their own version and it originated in Italy when the glutton of Pope Pius IX (Pio Nono in the Italian language) demanded to his cooker create a tasty dessert with almost all the candies. So, he created a large rolled biscuit and mixed it with sweet melted syrup.
But the fact that the Peruvian version is filled with Manjar Blanco is what gives it the characteristic style. Enjoy a slice for a sweet snack while paired with delicious coffee. If not, serve it as a dessert for a party or special occasion. It is not necessarily one of the Peruvian superfoods, but it is super delicious.
21. Tres Leches (Three milk)
You cannot talk about Peruvian desserts without thinking about this magical dessert. Tres Leches is a cake that is usually soaked in milk syrup. Milk syrup is made by combining evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk (Hence its name three milk) So, you can imagine the tasty and humid cake that you will have sweetening your palate. Although heavy cream can also be an excellent substitute. The result is a cake with a consistency similar to that of pudding. It’s quite big and heavy, so make sure you’re hungry when trying it out! Make sure to try one of these delicious desserts in the middle of your Peru itinerary.
Di you know that Peru is the second country, besides Italy, to consume panettone? The Peruvian Panettone is a delicious cross between cakes and bread. This is one of the most incredible and popular desserts in Peru. Its unique shape resembles a dome of a tall building. This delicious sweet bread is combined with raisins and candied fruit and can be enjoyed throughout the year. Also, in general, it is usually a common dessert during festive times like Christmas and New Year’s Eve. On the Peruvian coast, you can find it also during the Independence day festivities. In Peru, you can find Panettone from excellent brands as well as homemade ones.
Some other recommendations
If you are looking to get some advice on where to try the best desserts of Peru, we recommend that you do it in Lima. In the capital of Peru, you will not only find incredible restaurants, but you can also enjoy high-quality bakeries and cafes. Here we have listed some favorite places of the locals of Lima. Excellent to enjoy a sweet coffee.
- Ana Avellana Pasteleria: Cookies, Cakes, Tarts and more.
- Puku Puku Café: Coffees, Cakes, Kekes, and more.
- Blu: Ice cream shop in the district of Barranco, Lima.
- La Fiorentina Gelateria: An old-school ice cream parlor, an excellent alternative.
- Manolo: Churros filled with Manjar Blanco or Chocolate.
The truth is that these places are just a glimpse of everything available in Lima. And the capital is not the only specialist in delicious desserts. Throughout Peru, you can enjoy a great variety of unique desserts. Together with our guides, you will be able to know the best places and establishments where you can enjoy a delicious dessert.
“LAUGHTER IS BRIGHTEST IN THE PLACE WHERE THE FOOD IS”
As you can see, there are a few Peruvian desserts to enjoy on your next visit to Peru. These are just a glimpse of everything sweet and delicious that you will be able to experience on your trip. We hope together with Machu Travel Peru to have opened your appetite to try new flavors. Cusco and the Andean country is a great start for you to begin experiencing new recipes and new cultures. Remember that to organize a culinary experience; you only have to contact our qualified advisors. We’ll be waiting for you!