Have a sweet tooth? These Ecuadorian desserts make visiting this South American country a treat.
Ecuador is one of my favourite countries. I have visited 3 times. Every time I go I think I’ll spend a few weeks but then max out my 3 month visa.
Most people only see it as the Galapagos, which are truly amazing. But this tiny country also has the Andes mountains, Amazon jungle and a Pacific coast.
And the food is different everywhere you go because its based on availability. So eat pork in the Andes, shrimp along the coast, and chonta worms in the Amazon!
And while desserts in Ecuador are sometimes similar to Peru or Colombia, they have some things you can only find here. And so that’s reason enough to travel.
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One of the things I like about Ecuador is that a bakery is often specializing as a pasteleria (sweet shop) or a panaderia (bread shop).
But they also like to bread the rules, and so you’ll find things like bread or empanadas sprinkled with sugar. And some sweet items have a savoury component.
In Ecuador dessert is not hard to find, the hardest part is not eating it all the time.
True to its name that means “a sigh or breath,” suspiros are a sweet, light and airy meringue dessert.
Suspiros is made using egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla and food coloring.
It is a baked meringue dessert in Ecuador. It comes out of the oven light and stiff in swirls of goodness..
Suspiros usually come in white or beige. But some bakers make them in yellow, green, pink, red and a variety of other colors.
This makes them look more appealing, especially to children who love to eat them.
It is common to have these Ecuadorian desserts as a snack and dessert. It’s not too heavy since it easily melts in the mount, but it’s still very filling.
You’ll find this sweet delight in a lot of bakeries and pastry shops around Ecuador.
In Peru there is a twist on this dessert with the Suspiro de Limeña. It may be one of the most famous Peruvian desserts. It is certainly considered THE dessert of Lima.
Espumillas or sweet mousse is a street food dessert in Ecuador. It’s easy for it to be mistaken as ice cream. Mostly because it has a creamy texture and it’s served in an ice cream cone.
But it never melts.
Espumillas doesn’t melt because it’s basically a meringue or foam that’s light and fluffy.
These Ecuadorian desserts are made with egg whites, sugar and pulp from Ecuador fruits. Many times you’ll find guava,
However, it is often one of the most dangerous Ecuador desserts.
Many tourists get sick eating it, so if you don’t have a strong stomach this may be one to miss.
The mousse is then scooped in the ice cream cone and topped with “arrope de mora” or blackberry syrup, some coconut flakes and sprinkles.
Children love eating Espumillas because it’s sweet like suspiros but more airy and fluff because it’s not baked.
Dulce de Higo
One of the most popular Ecuadorian desserts would have to be dulce de higo or higos con queso. This simply translates to sweet figs and cheese.
This traditional dessert in Ecuador is made with figs that’s abundant in the country. It is cooked in a panela sauce, which is basically a combination of cane sugar and some spices.
This preserved fig dish is then served with a slice of unsalted, soft cheese like queso fresco to balance out its sweetness.
Dulce de higo makes the perfect combination of figs and cheese. It is so popular that you can order it from most local restaurants around Ecuador as a dessert.
Who doesn’t love tres leches anyway? But if you’re really looking for an authentic three milks cake recipe experience, you have to try it in Ecuador.
This classic Ecuadorian cake dessert is a moist, spongy and sweet cake. You can find in almost every bakery in Ecuador.
Tres leches is made from three different kinds of milk: evaporated milk, heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk.
It is common throughout Latin America and is one of the most popular Nicaraguan desserts.
After baking the sponge cake, it is poured with a hefty amount of milk. It soaks and then is frosted.
The cake also sits in a base of sweetened milk and whipped cream is added as a finishing touch.
Tres leches is a delight for any sweet tooth because the cake is just moist and sweet without being soggy.
But it can get overwhelming for some who doesn’t love too much sugar.
Dulce de Leche Manjar
Although you can buy dulce de leche back home, Ecuador makes one of the best milk caramel spreads in the world.
Well don’t tell that to anyone from Argentina. As it is one of the most popular Argentinean foods and a key ingredient in alfajores.
In fact, this Ecuadorian dessert is eaten as candy, as a spread for cookies or toast and even as flavoring for ice cream.
The milk caramel is made simply by cooking milk, white sugar, baking soda and vanilla extract to create a thick milk spread.
Dulce de leche in Ecuador is made more special because of panela or dark cane sugar, which is abundant in the country.
Locals also make it traditionally on a stove top. It must be stirred for about three hours before you get the final product.
Guaguas de Pan
You can’t be in Ecuador and not try guaguas de pan.
Also called “bread babies,” these little brioche breads are eaten by Ecuadorians all year round.
However, they become a staple during All Soul’s Day, which is also celebrated as Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead..
Day of the Dead Food
They are served with colada morada which is one of many traditional Ecuadorian drinks.
Guaguas de Pan are decorated to resemble little people and eaten by Ecuadorian families in the cemeteries on November 2.
As part of a tradition where they put foods and flowers for the dead relatives and share a meal with them.
But for the rest of the year, you can find Guaguas de Pan in almost every panaderia in Ecuador where they are especially enjoyed by children.
You’re probably thinking that quesadillas are not desserts, and that’s true—or at least not when you’re in Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian quesadilla is a pentagon-shaped dessert filled with cream cheese and sugar that’s enjoyed all-year round by locals. It is usually made with just flour, eggs, sugar and cream cheese.
It can also be regarded as one of the most authentic Ecuadorian pastries. These Ecuadorian desserts originated in Quito at a bakery called Panaderia y Pasteleria de San Juan that made it first in 1935.
Since then, Ecuadorian quesadillas have been served as a dessert or breakfast all over Ecuador.
This Ecuadorian dessert is unique in that it’s a mix between a drink and dessert.
Morocho is the ultimate sweet comfort food for most Ecuadorians because it’s warm, milky, sweet and absolutely delicious.
This popular street food is basically a corn pudding made with morocho or dried cracked corn, milk, cinnamon and sugar.
Morocho is usually served in a cup as a drink, but it can also be eaten with a spoon.
It is common to have a cup of morocho, especially during the cooler mornings and evenings in the Andes. It offers that warmth and comfort with its sweet and savory flavor profile.
Although their name means ears, orejas are sweet pastries that look like hearts.
You’ll find this sweet Ecuadorian dessert in a lot of panaderias and pastelerias in Ecuador where the dessert recipes are usually covered in icing sugar or dipped in rich milk chocolate.
Orejas are best enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, especially during the cooler months of the year.
Arroz con Leche
Another famous comfort food in Ecuador is the arroz con leche. It is a sweet rice pudding served with raisins and cinnamon.
It is very similar to arroz en leche, one of the most common Guatemalan desserts.
From the name meaning rice with milk, arroz con leche is made with milk, rice, cinnamon and sugar. It gives it a sweet and comforting taste that is eaten all year round.
In fact, this dessert is so popular that you’ll find it in almost every cafe or restaurant in Ecuador.
Mil hojas is more popularly known as the Napoleon cake or millefeuille in French.
This is one of the sweet dessert recipes in Ecuador that originated in France, but is absolutely loved by Ecuadorians.
Mil hojas means “thousand pages” to represent the layers of light, flaky pastry that makes up this delicious cake.
Dulce de leche is usually spread in between layers and a generous sprinkling of icing sugar completes the mil hojas.
You can find mil hojas in almost every bakery and restaurant in Ecuador. This cake is one of the most unique Ecuadorian desserts. It uses sheets of pastry rather than the typical sponge cake.
Chocolate con Queso
It might sound like a weird combination, but chocolate and cheese actually tastes really good.
Ecuadorians have a love affair with their hot chocolate. And they don’t want their cup of dark cocoa with marshmallows floating on them, but fresh chunks of cheese.
Chocolate con queso is such a staple in Ecuadorian culture. Most cafes will serve any dark chocolate drink with a slice of mozzarella or fresh farmer’s cheese on the side.
It’s also one of the most common drinks in Colombia.
Drink it the local way and allow the cheese to settle at the bottom of the cup to melt. It adds that a salty and sweet note to your hot chocolate.
When you’re done with the drink, you can easily enjoy the melted cheese left at the bottom. It is a truly hearty experience.
Helados de Paila
Ecuadorians love their helados de paila or traditional ice cream that’s made only with all-natural ingredients. The process of making helados de paila is an experience in itself.
Locals use a traditional bronze pail or bucket, hence the name paila. Here juice and ice are added to make the ice cream.
Once all the ingredients are in, the pail is spun around until the mixture on the sides of the pail become completely frozen.
They are then scraped out until the entire mixture is completely frozen and ready to eat.
Helados de paila is traditionally made only with natural fruit juices and sugar. However, some now add milk to the concoction.
This is why it’s very important to ask the vendor if milk was used if you’re lactose-intolerant.
Another traditional Ecuadorian dessert offering is the quimbolito or steamed cake made with wheat flour, corn flour, butter, sugar, eggs and milk.
Quimbolitos are cooked inside plantain leaves that add to their flavor and uniqueness, and they are enjoyed by locals all year-round.
One of the easiest Peruvian desserts to make, and similar to cherry balls, cocadas are simple coconut macaroons.
This dessert in Ecuador may be simple and unassuming, but it’s very enjoyable to eat, especially during the summer months.
Cocadas or coconut sweets are a coastal dessert made with grated coconut and traditional warmed panela or dark cane sugar.
It is considered one of the easiest Ecuadorian desserts to make. You simply need to melt the panela over the fire until it begins to thicken, after which you can add the grated coconut and mix them altogether.
Once the mixture cools, it is rolled out, pressed and cut to be wrapped as candies.
Cocadas is very similar to a traditional fudge. You can find it mostly on the coastal towns of Ecuador like Esmeraldas or Canoa, where there is an abundance of coconuts.
Empanadas de Viento
Empanadas may be considered savory, but in Ecuador they make it with a twist.
These beautiful pockets of pastry are filled with lots of mozzarella cheese and fried until they are golden brown then tossed in sugar.
Empanadas de viento means wind empanadas because of the light and airy texture of the pastry and the salty and sweet filling inside.
Flan de Piña
Celebrating one of the most abundant fruits on the coastal areas of Ecuador, delicious pineapple.
Flan de piña is simply a custard-like dessert made with fresh pineapples, pineapple juice, sugar, eggs, milk, rum and vanilla.
This flan is usually topped with a sweet caramel sauce. It adds a glossy shine to its exterior, and it can be eaten alone or as part of another dessert.
Ecuadorians sure love their sweet breads that you will find an abundance of them in local street markets.
One of the most popular treats in Ecuador has to be the bocadillos. These small squares of panela or traditional dark cane sugar or piloncillo melted with peanuts are delicious.
Dulce de Guayaba
With the abundance of guavas, Ecuadorians use them in many dishes, including the famous dulce de guayaba or guava jam.
This sweet treat is easy to prepare where you only need fresh guavas, cinnamon sticks, water and sugar. Once cooked at the right consistency, guava jam is then placed in a jar and used as a spread.
This is also one of the most common Honduran desserts.
Some also cook it further until it is thick enough that when cooled it hardens into candies.
Quesillo con Miel
Capping this list of desserts in Ecuador is quesillo con miel. One of the simple yet very tasty desserts in Ecuador, from the Loja region.
It is simply made with some slices of fresh local cheese called quesillo, which has a soft and crumbly texture.
It is then drizzled with traditional chancaca syrup that’s made with local sugar cane. You can find quesillo con miel and gluten free versions in local stores and restaurants throughout Ecuador.