Buñuelos de la Tía Isabelita

Tia Isabelita’s Buñuelos

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 30

    large 1½ inch buñuelos

Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

Buñuelos are a traditional food served to friends and family who come to pray the Novenas to the Virgin Mary during the Christmas holidays, from December 15 to 24. In many of the central departments in Colombia, we serve them with Hojaldras and Natilla. You can buy them in bakeries all around the country. These buñuelos are the original ones prepared with a yellow cornstarch called harina de maiz capio, which is an indigenous corn grown from the family of the yellow corn with large kernels and cob. You can also prepare them with Maizena or regular cornstarch. These buñuelos are so easy because you can prepare them ahead of time and serve them at room temperature. When you fry your buñuelos, they should fit loosely because they expand as they cook. This way they will turn themselves and cook evenly on all sides.


  • 2 cups (¾ pound) very finely grated white farmer’s cheese*
  • ¼ cup capio corn flour or cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups oil for frying


  1. Place the cheese in a large bowl.
  2. Add the cornstarch, sugar, salt and egg and mix well with your hands. Form into about 30 1½-inch balls. The mixture is so soft that it feels like making balls out of cotton.
  3. In a deep heavy pot, heat the oil to 325°F. To test the temperature of the oil in a traditional way we do the following: Form a ½-inch ball of masa and place it in the oil. It should fall to the bottom of the oil and float back up after 30 seconds. If it floats immediately, lower the heat of the oil. Place about 6 to 8 buñuelos at a time in the oil, decrease the heat to low, about 300°F for 5 minutes, cover and turn the heat off, leave covered for 5 minutes. They will grow, watch carefully!
  4. Uncover and turn the heat up again to 350°F and keep cooking for 5 minutes more, turning if they don’t turn themselves.
  5. Remove from the oil and drain over paper towels.
  6. Serve immediately, or store in airtight containers.