Rosca de Reyes


In Mexico and many other Christian countries Epiphany, celebrated on January 6th, marks the end of the Christmas season. Mexican kids go to bed early on January 5th expecting to find gifts next to the Nativity scene the following morning. Last year I wrote about  this holiday, Día de Reyes, and how it is celebrated in Mexico. Rosca de Reyes is the traditional sweet bread that Mexicans eat with hot chocolate that morning after opening presents. Last year I bought a rosca at my local Mexican market, but this year I decided to make it myself and share the recipe with my readers.

Rosca de Reyes
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Mexican
  • •2 ¼ tsps dry yeast
  • •¼ cup warm water
  • •¼ cup milk
  • •¼ cup sugar
  • •2 TBSP rum
  • •¼ cup unsalted butter
  • •1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • •1 TBSP anise extract
  • •3½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • •4 large eggs
  • •½ cup raisins
  • •1 tsp water
  • •candied fruit for garnish
  • **And For the Pasta:
  • •½ cup sugar
  • •1 egg yolk
  • •½ cup flour
  • •1/3 cup butter, softened
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes or until it starts foaming.
  2. In a small pot warm milk and add sugar, butter, vanilla, anise and rum. Mix until it reaches about 105°F (40°C) (it will be warm to the touch)
  3. Mix milk mixture with yeast mixture and add 3½ cups of flour, one at a time, raisins and 3 eggs. Knead for 10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is too wet.
  4. Place dough into a bowl and cover. Let it sit until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (175°C)
  6. Turn the dough onto a slightly floured surface and using your palms roll it into a long rope. Shape it into a ring sealing the ends together.
  7. Make an egg wash using 1 egg and 1 tsp of water and brush the bread with it.
  8. In a small bowl mix the ingredients for the pasta mixing them with a fork until they come together. Using an icing knife or bag spread strips of pasta on the bread alternating with candied fruit strips.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Let it cool on a rack for 10 minutes and serve with hot Mexican chocolate.


Roscas are usually baked with a porcelain or plastic baby Jesus inside. Traditionally the person that finds it is supposed to prepare tamales on February 2nd to celebrate Candlemas. I didn’t include any figurine in my rosca, but I am planning to have a big tamale night around that date, anyway.  The candied fruit that it is usually used for roscas are figs, cherries and acitron (candied cactus paddles), but I didn’t find any of those so I used the fruits from a candied fruit salad (kiwi, pineapple, strawberries and papaya)

¡Buen provecho!

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  • Looks so beautiful, Ben.
    I discovered this bread recently and made one too. Its good to see an authentic recipe though.

  • Looks amazing and delish! Way to go.

  • That looks so good!
    Can you please come to DC and open your own Mexican restaurant? 🙂

  • Now that you have nade your own you will probably never go back to the bakery Ben!!

  • I’m glad you blogged about this. Love the picture.

  • This is beautiful Ben! I really like the pasta decoration and will do that when I make it again. Candied cactus paddles, hmm, I wonder if I could make these myself? (Nopales are readily available in markets around here.) Happy New Year!

  • Thanks so much for the Rosca de Reyes recipe! Every winter I tell somebody about this kind of cake, and they kind of look at me like they don’t believe it (baby Jesus and all). I love your blog!

  • love your picturs and made sametings

  • I went to my very first party this year! It was soo fun and the rosca was delicious. I found a jesus in my slice, but basically everyone did. They put a bunch of Jesus’s in instead of just one. :]

  • This is great!!! My stepdaughters have moved from California to Utah and are no longer are readily exposed to Roscas in the Panaderías. I can make this for them!! FYI, the singular form of “tamales” is “TAMAL” not “tamale”. A very common error among many English speakers.

    ¡Muchísimas gracias!

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