Picarones: A Sweet Journey Through Peru’s Favorite Doughnuts

Peruvian cuisine, known for its diverse flavors and rich history, offers a unique and delectable array of dishes. Among these, Picarones stand out as a sweet testament to Peru’s culinary ingenuity. Picarones, often hailed as Peru’s favorite doughnuts, are a must-try for anyone exploring the rich tapestry of South American cuisine.

What are Picarones?

Picarones are a traditional Peruvian dessert, similar to doughnuts, made from a mix of sweet potatoes and squash. Locals shape them into rings and deep-fry to golden perfection. The key to their unique flavor and texture lies in the use of these native Andean ingredients, which provide a subtly sweet and earthy taste.


The Historical Roots of Picarones

Tracing their origins back to the colonial period. Spanish settlers initially introduced them as a version of the European “buñuelo.”Over time, locals adapted the recipe to include local ingredients like sweet potatoes and squash, transforming it into the distinctively Peruvian delicacy we know today.

The Making of Picarones

The process of making is both an art and a science. It starts with creating a dough from mashed sweet potatoes and squash, mixed with flour, yeast, sugar, and anise. This mixture is then left to ferment, giving Picarones their characteristic light, airy texture. After fermentation, the dough is shaped into rings and deep-fried until they puff up and turn a beautiful golden-brown.


The Sweet Finish: Chancaca Syrup

What truly sets Picarones apart is their accompaniment: a sweet, aromatic syrup made from chancaca, or unrefined cane sugar. This syrup has a falvour of orange peel, cinnamon, and cloves, offering a fragrant complexity that perfectly complements the doughnuts’ earthy sweetness.

Picarones: A Cultural Symbol

More than just a dessert, they are a symbol of Peruvian culture and tradition. They are a staple at various festivals and celebrations, often served by street vendors who prepare them fresh for eager customers. Eating them is not just about indulging in a sweet treat; it’s about experiencing a piece of Peru’s rich cultural heritage.


Where to Find the Best Picarones in Peru

For the ultimate Picarones experience, head to the streets of Lima or Cusco, where you’ll find vendors expertly crafting these treats. Each vendor adds their personal touch to the recipe, making each Picarones experience unique.


Picarones are more than just Peru’s answer to the doughnut; they are a culinary adventure, rich in history and flavor. Whether you’re a food enthusiast or a curious traveler, the taste is a glimpse into the soul of Peruvian cuisine. So, the next time you find yourself in Peru, remember to indulge in this sweet, ring-shaped delight and savor every bite of this beloved Peruvian dessert.

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