Buñuelos Navideños – Colombian Christmas Buñuelos

Buñuelos Navideños Video Demo (scroll down for printable recipe)

Part five in my Christmas Around the World series! Christmas in Colombia, focus on: BUñUELOS! Muchas gracias a Cristina for this recipe and others that she has shared with me. ¡Abrazos!

Colombian buñuelos Navideños are quite different from any buñuelos I’d seen before. These buñuelos are more akin to Brazilian pan de queso than they are to the flat, sweet buñuelos of Mexico. There are not many ingredients, and most of them are easy to find except maybe the tapioca flour. Tapioca goes by many names: manioc, yuca, cassava. It’s the same plant that provides the tapioca pearls that pudding and bubble tea are made with, but don’t try to substitute tapioca pearls for the flour. If you can’t find tapioca flour, use more cornstarch instead.

bunuelos navidenos

A Colombian cheese called queso costeño is used in Colombia. Lacking that, use Mexican queso cotija, and lacking that you could try it with some dry feta cheese. When making the dough, grate the cheese as finely as possible; it should be like fine bread crumbs to get the right look and texture for the final product. The dough will be smooth and fairly soft and should easily roll into balls without sticking to your hands. Adjust the amount of milk if necessary to get a consistency like that shown in the video.

Make sure you have a thermometer to regulate the temperature of your oil. The oil should stay right around 325F/160C to prevent the buñuelos from cracking or exploding in the oil. Not that they will explode in a dangerous way, but they will turn out with little “tails” and start to resemble giant spermatozoa swimming in the oil, rather than perfect round balls which are the goal. It’s better to have your oil a little under 325 than over 325, in my experience.

Buñuelos Navideños Recipe — Printable!


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  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes



2 cups (1/2 pound) finely grated salty cheese

2 cups cornstarch

2 tablespoons “Yuca” starch (Tapioca)

½ cup milk

2 teaspoons sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 pinch of salt

4 cups oil (peanut, canola) for frying


Mix all ingredients except oil to form a smooth dough.

Take portions of dough and shape into 1-1/2 inch balls. Set on a plate.

Heat 3 inches of oil to 325F/160C or even a little bit lower than that, and fry the balls about 4 at a time for about 10-12 minutes. They will sink the the bottom at first, then after a minute begin to bubble and float to the top. For the first several minutes they will magically rotate themselves but as they start to brown, you will need to maneuver them with a slotted spoon to make sure they brown evenly.

Remove when dark golden brown and let drain on paper towels.

Best eaten while hot, but they are still pretty damn good at room temperature!

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bunuelos navidenos

Other Colombian Christmas recipes!


Natilla is a cornstarch custard that the bunuelos are usually served with. This video from Diana of Sweet y Salado shows how to make it!

Hot Chocolate

Cristina said they are also served with a type of Colombian drinking chocolate (rum is added to it for the adults). I think this version would be a delicious substitute!

Aji Machucado

This is my take on a Colombian dish called Aji Machucado. It’s one of the finest things I’ve put into my mouth in a while. Give it a try!


  1. Michelle on December 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Yayyy you did it! Also love that you linked to other Colombian videos~ (I love sweetysalado!).

    • Hilah on December 14, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Yes! These are so delicious, too! Sweetysalado is a great show. 🙂

  2. Maria on December 13, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Hello Hilah,
    It’s me Maria and I was just wondering if your going to do greek food for your christmas around the World Series it will be good if you do

    Thanks Maria

  3. Diana (Sweet y Salado) on December 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Hi Hilah! Thank you so much for sharing the natilla video, like you said, buñuelos have got to be served with natilla during the holidays in Colombia. I’ve shared your video with my friends and many of them (especially my husband) are very impressed at how perfectly round they came out. Great job!

    • Hilah on December 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you, Diana! That means so much from you. 🙂
      This has been such a fun project to learn about all the new foods, and even learn about general styles of cooking in other countries. I love your videos! They are so informative. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Milan on December 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Dear Hilah, it would not satisfy my stomach coz I’m such a meat person, I would add some meat in it.
    PS. I like your new blue dress as usual. lots of <3

    • Hilah on December 15, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks, Milan! I’m not sure how you would add meat to these, but maybe serve them with a beef stew or something?

  5. Sridevi on December 15, 2013 at 4:17 am


  6. Mary on December 30, 2014 at 9:02 am

    The salty cheese ingredient, what kind? There are so many varieties that go under the category salty cheese. Thank you.

    • Hilah on December 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Cotija cheese or a dry feta works well

  7. Steven on February 15, 2017 at 4:33 am

    Muy bueno

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