My Three Little Piggies


My Three Little Piggies

Piggies can be found in many places under different names: marranitos, puerquitos, cerditos, cochinitos. All these words are used to describe a Piggie in endearing ways. In some places, they are given different animal shapes, but still called in one way or another “Piggie”. That may be because that was their original shape.

They really should be called Flying Piggies and have wings attached given how fast they fly away from my kitchen each time I make them.  Sometimes it is even hard to bake them, since my boys find the dough irresistible: its gooey, sticky, and deliciously sweet.

Piggies 1
Now, don’t think I didn’t see that little Piggie…

Piggies 2After they sneak away and find ways to eat some dough, they have a hard time waiting for it to harden in the refrigerator, so it can be easy to roll it out and give it fun shapes.

More often than not, the Piggies end up looking like fierce lions or magical dragons.

One of the reasons I love these cookies, is because my middle Piggie, my pickiest eater, loves them. He enjoys every part of the process to make them, except waiting for the dough to be ready.

Piggies 3
He takes brushing them with lightly beaten egg incredibly seriously.

Piggies 4
No easy task, you see?

And oops! There are some dinosaur shaped Piggies there too…

Piggies 5
He loves adding confectioners’ sugar. Especially after I have said, “I think that’s enough baby.”

Most of all, he loves eating them. Which makes me happy because I know all the good stuff that’s in them.

With firm and clean edges, Piggies are deceiving.  You can’t tell that their texture is so soft and almost bread-like until you take a bite. They also have a wholesome and small Pueblo flavor.  I think that’s because the main ingredient, Piloncillo is simply sugar cane juice, typically shaped into cones.  It’s easy to find, but you can also substitute it with brown sugar and get the same charming feeling.  Combine all the above characteristics and you get an incredibly comforting cookie.

Piggies 6
There goes my oldest Piggie, jumping in to get one, even before they have cooled down…

P.S. Piggies are perfect to accompany a hot cup of coffee or tea… Also, keep them covered, so they will remain soft and fluffy.


Chochinitos: Galletas de Piloncillo y Canela
30 medium-sized cookies
Pati Jinich
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ceylon, cinnamon, cookies, Dessert, honey, piloncillo, Recipe
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Piggies can be found in many places under different names: marranitos, puerquitos, cerditos, cochinitos. All these words are used to describe a Piggie in endearing ways. In some places, they are given different animal shapes, but still called in one way or another “Piggie”. That may be because that was their original shape.


  • 12 ounces piloncillo, chopped or grated, or substitute for 1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 true or ceylon cinnamon stick, about 2-inch to 3-inch length
  • 2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, may need a bit more
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • Butter to grease cookie/baking sheet
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, to roll out the dough
  • 1 egg lightly beaten, to be used as glaze
  • Confectioners' sugar to sprinkle on top, optional

To Prepare

  • In a saucepan, combine the grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar with the water and cinnamon. Heat over medium heat, once it simmers, adjust and lower heat to keep it at a low-medium simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it thickens to a light syrup consistency. Turn off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick. You should have now about 1 1/4 cups piloncillo liquid. Add the butter and the honey into the hot liquid, and stir until it dissolves.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a whole in the center and pour the piloncillo mixture. With a spatula mix it all together in a circular motion until it is well incorporated. Lightly beat 2 eggs and incorporate them into the dough. The dough will be sticky and gooey.
  • Place enough plastic wrap in the bottom of a mixing bowl to have wings on the sides. With a spatula, push the dough onto the plastic wrap, wrap the dough, and refrigerate anywhere from 3 hours to overnight.
  • When ready to make the cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a couple cookie/baking sheets with butter. If using one sheet you may need to do a couple batches.
  • Remove dough from the refrigerator. On a counter top, sprinkle a couple tablespoons of flour. Rub a bit of flour on the rolling pin as well. Roll dough until you have about 1/4" thickness. Using piggie cookie cutters (or other shapes, but then you may need to change the name!), press down on dough, moving a bit on the counter top, to make it easier to lift the shaped dough.
  • Place Piggies on the baking sheet as you shape them along. Gently brush cookie tops with the lightly beaten egg. Roll the extra already used dough, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before using again, or it will be too soft and sticky. Repeat to make remaining cookies.
  • Bake cookies in the middle rack of the oven anywhere from 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. You may sprinkle confectioner's sugar on top. Keep them covered so they remain soft.
  • Kids love to eat them with a tall glass of milk, I like them with a hot cup of coffee.

54 comments on “My Three Little Piggies

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  1. Thanks, Pati, for a great recipe!

    Puercitos are my favorite treat from the Mexican panaderias in Detroit. I’ve tried to make them before, but never found a good recipe…..until now. They don’t taste like the bakery version, but they’re close enough, and I’m going to play with the recipe a bit to try and make them taste a little bit more like the puercitos I buy. I think using part shortening and substituting molasses for the honey might do it.

    I also have to find a puercito cookie cutter. I made “florecitas” because I have a flower-shaped cookie cutter that was about the right size.

  2. Pati, Would a traditional Mexican recipe (from a few generations ago, perhaps) used lard for the shortening instead of butter? Seems to me since there are made in the shape of a pig, home cooks might have used pig fat… i.e., lard. Thoughts? Linda

  3. These look so wonderful – marranitos were my favorite pan dulces growing up. If I make them small, but the same thickness, would that change the length of time you bake them?

  4. I made these, only in round shape flattened with the end of a bottle. WOW! I will definitely make them again! I love this super easy recipe, and I’m so thankful to find it! These cookies are PERFECT with morning coffee, afternoon tea…..

  5. Hello Pati, I am excited to try this recipe can I sub coconut or almond flour? if so which flour do you suggest? And do I use more eggs because those flours absorb more and tend to dry out? Thanks so much looking forward to you coming to Boston Nov 4th!!

  6. Hi Pati! I am wondering if you can substitute molasses for the honey or will it need the sweet from the honey?

    1. I am not sure, because I haven’t seen the recipes you are comparing this one to… This one is very simple and traditional (but I absolutely adore it)

  7. Hola Pati from Texas…you inspire me and I cook and bake quite a bit…Do you have to wait 3 hours or more to attempt to bake them?…my hubby is bothering me and can’t wait…lol….I made him take a nap while I put the dough in the frig…lol…thank you and be safe…

  8. Patti,I Love your show.I Come from a family of fifteen. I have been making Marranitos for years. Your receipe is the best.I love your bubbly attitude,smile and your love of mexico.I would love meeting you in person.

    1. Hola Martha, Wow, big family! I’m glad you like my recipe. Thank you so much for your message & for watching!

  9. Hola Pati
    My grandchildren love your puerquito recipe, as I do. We have so much fun getting together as often as possible to bake this delicious recipe. This is better than going to the bakery. We spend a whole day baking, sharing stories, enjoying each others company. At the end of the day, after dinner we sit outside with a glass of milk, coffee or whatever and enjoy eating our puerqitos. I purchased your cookbook and we have cooked & baked several of your recipes. Delicioussss! Please continue providing us with great recipes. A Family that cook/bakes together stays together.

  10. Hi Pati, I want to make these so bad but I am low on butter. Can I add half butter and the rest vegetable shortening? If so, how much? I really don’t want to ruin a good recipe.Thank you so much I can’t wait to try them.

  11. Hi Pati,

    First of all I want to tell yout that my family and I love your show and your recipes, I have a question, can I substitute the all purpose flower for Rice flour to make the little piggies, would that make them taste too different? Thank you, greetings from Chicago.

    1. Go for it! Make them with rice flour: it will make them a bit grainier and coarser, but that will give it a really good texture. Let me know!

  12. Hola Pati!

    I loved the Conchitas!!! Very light and soft!! I followed your instructions and it was easy! Well…I did a minor alteration to the dough and sugar paste. I added vanilla bean seeds and a touch of cinnamon to the cocoa powder, turmeric for a natural yellow, and raspberry purée to make pink conchas!!

    I wrapped some on a cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer…I’ll let them thaw overnight and bake in the morning. I’m happy to offer my family a home made “Organic” version of conchitas!!

    I’m looking forward to the Pan Fino and Empanadas de Calabasa recipes! Super excited!!!!!! Muchas Gracias!

  13. Hola Pati!

    I loved the Puercito’s recipe and it was just like my favorite panaderia “El Nopal” in California. I’ll make the Conchita’s tonight and post my results…hoping they are the melt-in your mouth, soft and fluffy Conchita’s I’m used to from our favorite local panaderia…crossing my fingers!!! I’ve tried others and they don’t compare…

    Do you have a recipe for “Pan fino” to make the “cuernos”, “elotes”, “tostados” or “calamares” (aka, sugar pretzel?). But especially, the empanadas de calabasa with cinnamon in the dough? Not the white or yellow flaky kind…please help!! Muchas gracias!!

    1. Hola Isabel, I’m soooo happy you are going to try my Piggy Cookies recipe! Please let me know how they turn out, if they compare to your favorite Conchitas…

      I will try to post a recipe for pan fino soon. Thank you for writing to me.

  14. U love watching your show and have developed a taste for Mexican foods. These sound very good and easy. My question is about the 2 eggs lightly beaten and then the cookies are brushed with another lightly beaten egg(s)?

    1. Hi Laura, Thank you so much for watching! Yes, 2 eggs lightly beaten for the dough, and then 1 more egg at the end to brush the cookies right before they go in the oven.

  15. I have your cookbook and I tried out this recipe today and things went well, but I think I didn’t roll the dough out thin enough so the piggies were pretty puffy! They were still delicious, and by the last batch I had them thin enough and the texture was better. Thank you for the great recipes!

  16. These are my absolute favorite ! I live in Missouri and can’t find anything even close to Mexican food ! I’m so glad I saw your show and now your website !! I’m born and raised Texan I miss all the Mexican stores and food that were everywhere !

  17. HI Pati!
    This is the best recipe for “maranitos” that I have seen. Thank you so much.
    On another note….My friend and I each tried making the limes with coconut. We still cannot get the limes to work out. (I wrote you about this a few months ago) They either get way to tough or they do not cook enough.
    Work on a recipe for us 😉

    1. Hi Lucia, Thanks for trying the piggies recipe! I haven’t gotten a limes with coconut recipe up yet. Not to worry, I will try to post one soon! All the best to you.

  18. Dear Pati,
    We are getting your tv show here on our local PBS in New Mexico and I love it! I love all the information you talk about on ingredients, so not only delicious recipes but learning too!
    I made these cookies, and my family went nuts over them! They were DELICIOUS! I wanted to share with you some adjustments I made because I live at 5000+ feet and we deal with altitude issues, and these slight adjustments yielded a perfect cookie. The following adjustments would be suitable for people living between 5000 and 7000 feet:
    4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    Thank you so much for a delicious recipe!
    I have one question: the cones of piloncillo i had were very hard and i had to have my husband grate them, do you have any tricks for a stubborn cone!?

    1. Hola Kim, Thank you so much! Thank you for posting your altitude adjustments as well. One of my favorite things about cooking is taking a recipe or dish and making it your own! About the stubborn cone, yes, they are very stubborn indeed. You can grate it or chisel it with a knife. If that does not work or if you prefer, you can put the cone in a saucepan with a little bit of water (about 1/4) on low heat. As soon as the cone begins to melt remove it from the heat, and the cone should be easy to crumble at this point.

  19. I am your fan, although I live in Mexico, like you, was born and raised here. Every one of your recipes are so delicious and simple to make! I cannot imagine a better way to show what Mexico is about! our great food, thank you so much for sharing.

  20. I happened to catch you on your show that aired this recipe. It is hard to find one that tastes good. I made them over the weekend for a birthday party and everyone loved them. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Thank you!!!

  21. Pati, im just recently discovered your show on Create and im a huge fan now. I love these cookies and i must say all your cooking reminds me of my childhood as well.

  22. Estoy tan contenta que encontre tu blog! I have been looking for many of these recipies and until today i had not found them! Thanks so much! I can’t wait until I make these, they sound just like the ones from when I was a kid! Thanks again!

  23. Hola Pati !!!
    Feliz ano! Lo mejor para ti y tu familia en este 2010. No sabes cuanto me gustan estos cochinitos desde nina, asi es que tengo que hacerlos un dia de estos, y tambien el flan de coco que se ve delicioso a y la cochinita pibil claro…en cuanto haga algo te aviso como me fue… te mandamos muchos besos y abrazos

    1. Hola Amyris! Que bueno que te gustan, en esta casa también somos fans de los cochinitos. Sí¡ Cuéntame como te quedan… Abrazos!

  24. Hola Pati
    I saw you on Paula Deen’s show –you were phenomenal. You two had a special chemistry and affinity for wonderful and flavorful food. You have just made what are my very favorite pan dulces from when I was a kid. I have never been able to find a recipe for this, and maybe it’s because I didn’t think it even existed! I will definitely try these amazing powdered sugar panecitos!

    1. Hi Alfonso,
      Many thanks! I have gotten so many requests for a Piggies recipe, like you have no idea!! And all the requests said just what you said: they were favorite treats of people when they were growing up, and they miss them so!! So happy you like it and hope you try them…

    1. Hi Tino,
      Some people absolutely love the flavor of manteca/lard and think that its flavor is unmatchable. But you can substitute manteca with vegetable shortening, butter or sometimes oil, depending on what dish it is for… I know some cooks that add half manteca and half vegetable shortening to tamales for example, to still have the taste of lard, but make them lighter. These cookies are made with manteca in some regions of Mexico and with butter in others. I love them with the soft feel of the butter. But it depends on your preference!!