I have a confession to make: I undoubtedly, hands downs, love sweets. That is why I absolutely love Peruvian desserts. From the manjar blanco to the exotic jungle fruit medleys, I love it all. Peruvians take so much pride in their cuisine and love to put their own special spin on old favorites. So, if you are anything like me and need your sweets fix daily, check out the 15 most popular desserts in Peru that will definitely leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
Popular Peruvian Desserts
- Alfajores Made with Manjar Blanco
- Turron de Doña Pepa
- Suspiro de Limeña
- Crema Volteada
- Lucuma Ice Cream
- Mazamorra Morada
- Frejol Colado
- Arroz con Leche
- Pie de Limon
- Torta de Chocolate
*This article last updated by Gina Cronin April 2020.
Picarones are a popular street vendor treat in Peru. It resembles a sweet, sticky, dripping doughnut. The dough is prepared from sweet potato flour and tossed into a fryer for about 2 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Top them with honey mixed with cinnamon, essence of orange, and other spices. Picarones make for the perfect indulgence while exploring Lima or Cusco on a cool evening, but they also are delicious after a big hearty Peruvian dinner. Yum!
Check out this Picarones recipe by the Eat Peru blog.
Alfajores Made with Manjar Blanco
This is probably the most popular Latin American cookie, made differently in various parts of the continent. In Peru, alfajores are in markets, grocery stores, bakeries, and even street carts. To make, stick two soft cookie rounds together with manjar blanco and sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Manjar blanco is essentially a Peruvian dulce de leche (sweet caramel cream). The cookie rounds are made from corn flour, making them very delicate and crumbly that is similar to the consistency of buttermilk cookies. Alfajores are dry, yet sweet, and go great with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
Check out this Alfajores recipe by Stephanie of the Somewhat Simple blog.
Turrón de Doña Pepa
This is a Peruvian dessert that is most popularly prepared during the month of October for celebrations of the Lord of Miracles (el Señor de Milagros), but in reality you can buy it all year round in the grocery stores. To make turron de dona pepa, you layer cookies with anise and stick them together with chancaca, a very thick and sweet syrup made from cane sugar. Then the sticky cookie delight is topped with candies that resemble sprinkles.
Check out this Turron de Dona Pepa recipe by Taste of Peru blog.
Suspiro de Limeña
This classic Peruvian dessert finds its origins in nineteenth-century Lima. The name Suspiro de Limeña actually translates to “sigh of the lady from Lima” in English. The base of the dessert is a custard-like manjar blanco – a caramel cream called dulce de leche in many other South American regions. It is then topped off with a light port meringue and dusted with cinnamon. Grab your spoon and enjoy.
Check out this Suspiro de Limena recipe by Chipa by the Dozen blog.
Crema volteada – sometimes referred to as Peruvian flan – is not 100% authentic Peruvian but it is one of the most popular desserts in the country. Really, it is the Peruvian version of caramel custard. It is light and sweet, kind of like a cross between a gelatin and a cheesecake, and it is surprisingly simple to make. All you need is a little whole milk, some eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
Check out this Crema Volteada recipe by Lima Easy.
The Peruvian pionono is another manjar blanco decadent dessert, which is also called a jelly roll in other parts of the world. This treat is not native to Peru (lots of countries have their own version), but the fact that it is filled with manjar blanco is what gives it its Peruvian flair. Have a slice for a sweet snack with coffee or serve it as a cake dessert for the whole party.
Check out this Pionono recipe by El Mejor Nido.
Lucuma Ice Cream
This exotic fruit grown in the highland jungle in Peru, and it is the perfect flavor for ice cream, cakes and candies. Lucuma ice cream is a favorite among Peruvian desserts for its oddly sweet aroma and kind of maple-y flavor. Honestly the flavor is somewhat difficult to describe. My best attempt would be to say that it taste like a mix between a snickerdoodle cookie and a pumpkin spice latte, but the texture is completely different, like starchy, yet creamy. Sounds unusual, I know, but it is absolutely delicious. Trust me.
Check out this Lucuma Ice Cream recipe by Marian Blazes of The Spruce Eats blog.
Mazamorra Morada is a Peruvian purple pudding with a fruity, cinnamon flavor. The main ingredient is Peruvian purple corn, or maiz morada, and has a jelly-like consistency. This popular street cart dessert is made from a base-brew of water, purple corn, lemon, apples, pineapple, prunes, apricots and cherries – although the exact combination may vary depending on what’s on hand. It is then thickened with sweet potato flour and dusted with cinnamon. There’s nothing quite like it, and it’s super delicious.
Check out this Mazamorra Morada recipe by Peruvian chef Nico Vera of the Pisco Trail blog.
No, we don’t mean “shampoo.” Champus are fruity, porridge-like desserts served up in street carts throughout Lima. Mote (dried, shelled corn), fruit, corn flour and water make the base. The fruits can vary, but is traditionally a refreshing variety of fresh guanabana (you may know it as soursop), apple, quince and pineapple. The name actually comes from the Quechua word chapusca, which means mixture. Not too sweet, this nourishing dessert is served warm and is excellent for chilly days.
Check out this Champus recipe by Tastemade.
This is an afro-Peruvian, sweet bean confection from the Cañete and Chincha valleys. Frejol colado means strained beans in English. Okay, so strained beans might not sound so delicious but it really is a rich, yummy, almost toffee-like dessert! Ingredients are quite simple, just black beans, sugar, cloves, anise and milk! The consistency is like a puree or pudding.
Check out this Frejol Colado recipe by Peruvian chef Nico Vera of the Pisco Trails blog.
Tejas are traditional Peruvian truffles, born out of Ica – the desert region of the country. Traditionally they have a white sugar fondant exterior, however chocotejas are also extremely popular, and have a chocolate exteriors. Under the coating is a layer of pecan followed by a manjar blanco or dried fruit filling. These decadent confections are dumpling shaped, wrapped in paper, and actually make great souvenirs for lucky friends back home (if you can resist eating all of them during your trip).
Check out this chocotejas recipe from Tastemade.
Arroz con Leche
Arroz con leche, or rice with milk in English, is actually just a good old fashioned bowl of rice pudding. The Peruvian preparation isn’t too different either, but it sure is popular throughout the country. It is typically found in street carts, often alongside mazamorra morada. To make, simmer rice, condensed milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg until it becomes a creamy, pudding-like consistency.
Check out this arroz con leche recipe by Amigo Foods.
Cochinito, also known as marranitos and puerquitos (all translate to little pigs in english) are as cute as they are delicious. These piggie-shaped sweet breads actually originated in Mexico, but have found their way to many bakeries in Peru (and the USA) as well. Sometimes referred to as gingerbread pigs, the flavor of these yummy treats is a sweet cinnamon molasses. Traditionally these should be soft in texture, so more like mini bread than a cookie.
Check out this cochinito recipe by Chicano Eats.
Pie de Limon
Popular worldwide, pie de limon – more commonly lemon meringue – is that refreshing summer treat you look forward to. In Peru, there is a distinct twist that makes it unique. Instead of using lemons, locals use the small tart Peruvian limes to make their filling. The crumbly crust with the rush of lime custard soothed by the fluffy meringue is quite the delight indeed. Give it a try while you’re visiting, or make it at home!
Check out this Pie de Limon recipe by Lima Easy.
Torte de Chocolate
Okay, I know this one you can find anywhere, but if you’re a chocoholic like me, you can totally indulge in the perfect slice of chocolate cake, or torta de chocolate, while in Peru. Peruvian bakers have the chocolate cake thing down to a science, with the perfect moist, fluffy, chocolatey cake topped with a luscious chocolate frosting. To give a Peruvian touch, some bakeries top it off with a fresh aguaymanto (Peruvian goldenberry).
Check out this Chocolate Cake recipe by Peru Delights.
For advice on where to dine out and order Peruvian dessert in Lima, check out this edition of Sense Peru and download a free Lima Restaurant Guide.
Here’s a sneak peak of some of our favorite spots in Lima to grab a sweet treat:
- Ana Avellana Pasterleria – cakes, pies, cookies, and more
- Blu – ice cream shop in Lima’s Barranco district
- Manolo – churros filled with manjar blanco or chocolate
- La Fiorentina Gelateria – old school ice cream shop
Are you gearing up for a food-filled vacation to Peru? Let our team of travel experts help you out! Peru for Less helps travelers like you plan customized trips throughout Argentina, Peru, Chile, Brazil, and beyond. Contact us today.
Katy is no stranger to the life of an international traveler. After graduate school, Kathleen worked in California in the legal field, but later realized that life was calling her in a different direction. After a short time in Peru, she fell in love with the culture, the people, the food, and the way of life. Now Kathleen calls Lima her “home away from home,” although she frequently visits the warm, sunny northern Peru to see friends and surf.