Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)

For as much as I loved (and I mean, really loved) the bourbon bread pudding that I made a couple of weeks ago, I thought that I might never make another bread pudding recipe again. That I may have reached the pinnacle of all that is bread pudding. Sort of the epiphany I had with my all-time favorite chocolate chip cookies. While classic chocolate chip cookies are pretty basic in their makeup, the amount of creativity and variations that you can spin on bread pudding is seemingly endless. Which is why when my Chief Culinary Consultant was doing some searching for Lenten recipes and found this one, it took me approximately 10 seconds to decide I needed to make it. This was unlike any bread pudding that I had ever come across. As I’ve come to find out, different can definitely be good. And in this case, it was very good!

Now I said that it took me about 10 seconds to decide that I needed to make this recipe; for me, that’s actually rather long. Usually recipes jump out at me and I can make a split-second decision. So what held me up here? This recipe is all-sweet except for one ingredient: cheese. It caught me off guard. I thought twice about it, but figured there had to be a good reason to include it and plus, now I was even more curious about the recipe, so I forged ahead. As almost always, I’m so glad that I did.

This bread pudding is certainly unique, and more delicious than I could have predicted. Instead of a custard to soak and bind the bread together, this bread pudding relies on a brown sugar syrup that has been steeped with cinnamon and cloves. The layers of bread are separated by layers of Monterey Jack cheese, raisins, dried apricots, and chopped pecans. If I hadn’t been the one to make this dish, I would have never known cheese was even in it. It’s so mild, you can’t taste it, but it provides a hint of saltiness that balances out the sweet factor of the dish.

This is a traditional Mexican dessert that is eaten primarily during Lent. The actual ingredients in the dish all have a symbolism connected to Lent and Easter, which you can read about here. It’s a lot of fun to experiment with dishes and cuisines that have been relatively unknown to me, especially when I find ones as delicious as this bread pudding!

One year ago: Fig, Date, and Almond Granola Bars
Two years ago: Rich Coffeecake with Sweet Cheese Filling

Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


1 (24-inch) loaf French bread, cubed and toasted
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cups water
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch square baking pan; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan combine the brow sugar, water, cinnamon, and cloves and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, or until it's slightly thickened and reduced.

3. In a large bowl, place half of the bread and drizzle with half of the melted butter; toss to coat. Drizzle about ¼ cup of the syrup over the bread and again toss to coat. Transfer the bread mixture to the skillet or pan and arrange in a single layer. On top of the bread sprinkle the cheese, then the pecans, raisins and dried apricots.

4. Place the remaining bread in the large bowl and drizzle with the remaining melted butter, tossing to coat. Pour the rest of the syrup over the bread and again toss to coat, ensuring that each piece of bread is properly coated in syrup. Pour this mixture on top of the cheese/nut/raisin/apricot layer in the baking skillet or dish. Arrange the bread so that it is in one layer and pour any excess syrup in the bowl over the bread.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

(Recipe adapted from Homesick Texan)


27 Responses to “Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)”

  1. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on March 1, 2012 at 12:54 am

    The Monterey Jack cheese jumped out at me, too, immediately! in the recipe (read that before I even read your comments and thoughts which is how I always read blog posts; recipe first, then the author’s thoughts…)…I would have probably passed on the recipe but now that I see it all made up, and the fact that I love bread pudding, apricots, & raisins…I am digging it!


  2. Mariana on March 1, 2012 at 1:16 am

    When I saw this recipe in my feed reader it made me smile so hard!
    My mom makes this every year and I can never get enough of it.
    I think I’ll try your version and her’s side by side, though I can’t promise not to be biased. She is my mom. 🙂

    Thanks for making this.


  3. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on March 1, 2012 at 1:39 am

    This sounds so great! So creative!


  4. Kiri W. on March 1, 2012 at 6:02 am

    I love capirotada – I learned how to make it from a Cleveland chef, who used gingersnaps in it, as well. Your version looks delicious! 🙂


    • Audrey on July 31st, 2012 at 9:26 am

      It sounds even better with gingersnaps in it – how many, and where do you add them? I would like to try to add them to this recipe but don’t want to guess!


  5. Priyanka on March 1, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Sounds yummy…the pictures are beautiful


  6. Katrina on March 1, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Mmm this is a very yummy sounding recipe. Those raisins are a great addition!


  7. Erin @ Brownie Bites on March 1, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Jack cheese, wow! I would never have thought that would work. I love bread pudding. It’s one of my top 5 desserts.


  8. Catalina @ Cake with Love on March 1, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I like the addition of pecans and apricots!


  9. Cookbook Queen on March 1, 2012 at 8:25 am

    I looooove bread pudding. As in, I would marry it. This sounds like a fabulous variation!!!


  10. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on March 1, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I’ve never heard of capirotada, but I know I’d love it! Great recipe!!


  11. Mireia on March 1, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Sounds amazing!!! The cheese thing always scares me a bit but I think this could be great!!


  12. Renee @ Tortillas and Honey on March 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I’ve been trying to get my grandma to show me how to make this for a long time! I absolutely love her’s. I’ll have to give this a try if she still refuses to show me how to make it, lol!


  13. Kim of Mo'Betta on March 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    This sounds amazing!


  14. Jenni on March 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Very cool and new to me, too! It reminds me a bit of pudding chomeur when it’s made w/a brown sugar syrup. Something else that was new to me until recently. Glad you decided to make this and share; the cheese would’ve given me pause, too! 🙂


  15. Laura on March 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Interesting.. Wiki mentions this being made with pilloncillo- that would be really good! If you’ve never tried it before it’s unrefined sugar and very, very common in latin america. I lot of traditional sweets are made with it! They usually come in little cones which you need to break apart. That would make this recipe AMAZING!


  16. Erica on March 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    I love capirotada . When I was little I remember watching my grandma making it. I noticed there’s no piloncillo…it always has it. It’s like a hard ,brown,’cone candy and its sweet. The pic looks yummy though..


  17. mindymin on March 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Montery Jack cheese. Never would have even thought…Im intrigued, though. Def going to have to try this one out.


  18. Theresa on March 2, 2012 at 12:34 am

    This looks absolutely yummy! Now if only I can find time to try this out…


  19. Javelin Warrior on March 2, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I’d never heard of capirotada until I read your post – and obviously my loss because this bread pudding looks and sounds delicious. The Jack cheese paired with spices and sugar syrup is certainly unique and I’m itching to try it =)

    I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), so please let me know if you have any objections. It’s always a pleasure following your food…


    • Michelle on March 2nd, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Thank you for including me! No objections whatsoever.


  20. Ally on March 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Love the fruit & caramel goodness in this bread pudding!


  21. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence on March 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Monterrey Jack Cheese in a sweet bread pudding – how interesting! I may just have to give this a go to see how it turns out 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  22. kita on March 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Oh wow. A brown sugar syrup to soak up deliciousness…. everything about this dessert sounds perfect to me. I am not a huge fan of bread puddings but I seriously want to try this one (annnd it took less than 10 seconds to decide that 😉 )


  23. The Kitchen Kook on January 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I know a Latin restaurant that makes a similar version, and I love it! But it’s such a long drive, and I’ve really been craving some. I think I’m going to try this recipe this week so I can finally have some again!

    This will definitely be different from making my standard white chocolate spiced bread pudding (mmm) but it looks well worth it!


  24. valentine on March 7, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I learned how to make it from my mom, though there are a lot of different versions. I use piloncillo cones, and melt that with water, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. I toast the bread in the oven, and layer that with salted peanuts, diced apples, slices of bananas, raisins, prunes, pecans, an fresh mexican cheese. Then covered with foil and baked. You can add or leave out any fruits or nuts you like, a lot of people use, dried figs, cranberries, apricots and candied fruits. But i usually make it the way mom does. I love it!


  25. Irene on April 13, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I will be baking this Easter!!!!


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