Piloncillo is the rawest form of sugar cane. The same thing as cane juice but in a solid form. It typically comes in a block, with the shape of a cone, square or round.

It can be substituted for brown sugar. However, the flavor of piloncillo is more rustic. Reminds me of foods eaten in small villages or pueblos, it is homey. It adds that extra “something,” be it depth, color, aroma, that is hard to define but amazing to taste.

It can be grated or dissolved in hot or simmering liquid.

25 comments on “Piloncillo

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  1. Hi pretty Pati,

    I have noticed that some sweet things are better when they are either hot or cold. Do you know if this is the same with this type of sugar?


  2. I had the most delicious butternut squash soup with piloncillo in Chicago at Latinicity. Would you happen to have a recipe for a Mexican cream of butternut squash soup with piloncillo?

  3. Hello Pati,
    Does piloncillo go bad? I usually use it as soon as I get it but this time I got a bunch and stored it in Mason jar. It looks a little dry with white patches. Who better to ask than you!

  4. Hello, I made a dish last night that called for 3/4 cup grated piloncillo but I think I put too much because I didn’t know what the weight is supposed to be. Do you know how much 1 cup of piloncillo in grams or ounces will weigh? If not, when you measure the grated piloncillo, do you pack the sugar or is it loose in the measuring spoon or cup. Thank you for you help.

  5. Thank you for clearing up this mystery. Since I was a kid, we bought these sugary ‘dolce’ cones at Mexican candy stores, and boy, were they rich! And perfect, to munch on for awhile and come back to many times. Candy isn’t like that in the States. But I always wondered why it was called brown sugar here, and tasted distinctly different. It is different!

  6. Thank you for the information. I guess I will have to use regular sugar and then piloncillo instead of brown sugar. I assume it is 1 cup to 1 cup in a receipe. I have found what looks like piloncillo but is actually brown sugar and molasses in a cone shape and labeled piloncillo. Need to look at the ingredient list.

    Thank you again.


  7. I can’t wait to use piloncillo to make cafe de olla! Thank you for teaching us how to use it. I too have seen it in the grocery store but never knew exactly what it was or how it was used. I must admit that I am ashamed that as a Mexican American living in Texas, I am still very unfamiliar with many Mexican ingredients. Because my mother is American and the cook when i was growing up, my sisters and I really missed out on learning to cook traditional Mexican food. I can’t wait to buy your new cook book so that I can start learning!

    I love watching the show on PBS and I think this blog is awesome! Thank you.

  8. Cool! I have seen this numerous times in the Mexican stores but was too freaked out. Will definately be using it now. I have been to some small mountain villages near Casa Grandes and will imagine myself back there as I cook with piloncillo. Thank you!