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Medford
Priest Lake

Sopaipillas (Deep-fried Bread)

Sopaipillas with metal tongsRecipe courtesy of Jane Butel and Jane Butel Cooking School

Yield: 4 dozen

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon lard or butter
  • 1 package active dry yeast (optional, gives a yeasty aroma and elastic texture)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-110 F.)
  • 1 1/4 cup scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
  • Oil for deep frying

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening.

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add this mixture to the cooled, scalded milk, stirring well. (If not using yeast, use 1 1/2 cup milk and omit the 1/4 cup water).

Add 1 1/4 cup liquid to dry ingredients and work into the dough. Add more liquid until the dough is firm and springy and holds its shape.

Knead dough thoroughly, for about 5 minutes, until smooth, firm, and elastic. Invert the bowl over the kneaded dough and let rest for 10 minutes or until the dough will yield a hole when poked.

Heat 3-4 inches of oil to 400 F. in deep fryer.

Working with one-fourth of dough at a time (keep the rest well covered wiht plastic wrap), roll to 1/4-inch thickness, then cut into triangles or squares. Do not re-roll any of the dough.

Fry the sopaipillas, a few at a time, in the hot fat. They should puff and become hollow sooon after they are immersed in the oil. If they don’t puff up, keep holding them under the surface of the oil with tongs until they do.

Serve warm drizzled with honey or sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. They can also be served as a savory “pocket bread” filled with refried beans, chili con carne, or other fillings.

Leftover sopaipillas can be frozen in an airtight package for up to 3 months. Reheat in foil packed at 350 F. for 15 minutes. Just before serving, open foil to allow sopaipillas to dry out. These frozen sopaipillas are better served for stuffing than as a dessert.

Jane’s Secrets for Sopaipilla Success:

  1. Cut in lard or butter with your hands rather than a dough hook or pastry cutter.
  2. Don’t overwork the dough. It should be smooth and responsive. Never re-roll.
  3. Keep oil hot (375-400 F.).
  4. “Jiggle” sopaipillas with tongs to keep them under the oil.


Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at realfoodtraveler.com.