Traditional Spanish Christmas Cookies – Polvorones

Posted · 29 Comments

Polvorones.  Beautiful, crumbly cookies that fall apart in your mouth.  These cookies are made with 5 simple ingredients, unbleached toasted flour, ground toasted almonds, pork lard, cinnamon, and powdered sugar.  Pork lard is an essential ingredient as it is what makes these cookies so crumbly.  Make sure to skip the lard that is sold at most grocery stores as it’s processed and hydrogenated.  Instead, ask your family farmer for rendered pork lard.

What makes these cookies so special is the memories it brings of my grandmother, Mama Sabe. Every Christmas my sisters and I would look forward for the box to arrive.  The box from Spain.  Mama Sabe and Papi Tian would send us this magical cardboard box filled with gifts and dolloped with love.  It contained homemade clothes that my Abuela would sew for us, pencil kits and thin rectangular packages of polvorones.

From the left: Abuela Rora, holding my youngest sister Lisa, Mama Sabe, me, my older sister Susie wearing handmade dresses. (My grandmother, Mama Isabel (right) passed of breast cancer when we were still young.  Although never to be replaced, my Abuela Rora has been there as a grandmother since)

Oh how we adored opening the packages of polvorones to find individually wrapped, almond crumb cookies.  We would squish them to keep them in one piece trying to avoid the inevitable crumbs lodged in the carpet.  Of course there were always fights as to who would get the last polvoron.  It usually went to my dad and our sights were then set on the new box that would arrive in the coming year. I can’t wait for that day in Heaven when I can sit with Mama Sabe once again.  Isn’t it funny how a simple cookie could mean so much.

Traditional Spanish Christmas Cookies – Polvorones
Makes about 14 cookies

This recipe is also a part of featured Holiday blogger recipes!  I have been invited to be a featured Holiday blogger over at Stop on by and check out my profile 😉


  • 1/2 lb of unbleached white flour
  • 4 oz pork lard, preferably from a family farmer
  • 3 oz organic powdered sugar
  • 2 oz ground toasted almonds
  • 1 tbls cinnamon
  • pinch of salt


  1. Heat oven to 300 F.  Put unbleached white flour in a bowl or pizza stone and toast in the oven for 15 minutes.  Do not let it brown.
  2. Toast the almonds in the oven for 15 minutes and grind to a powder in a food processor or blender.
  3. In a large bowl add the flour.  Make a hole and add the lard, powdered sugar, ground almonds, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Incorporate with your hands until it forms a smooth dough that can be rolled.  If the dough is too sticky, add some additional flour.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface.  Roll out to a 1″ thickness.
  6. You can either cut the dough into sliced squares or use a cookie cutter to cut out your cookies.
  7. Place onto a pizza stone or baking pan.
  8. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.
  9. Once it’s done baking, let them cool completely before moving as they will crumble especially when hot.
  10. Finish by sprinkling powdered sugar on each cookie and wrapping individually in wax paper.

Feliz Navidad!

29 Responses to "Traditional Spanish Christmas Cookies – Polvorones"
  1. jose manuel says:

    Si quieres alguna receta de mantecados, cuando quieras. Excelentes polovorones.

  2. Miriam says:

    Beautiful post!

  3. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction says:

    Beautiful cookies! Great post for the 12 Days of Sharing!

  4. Fuji Mama says:

    These look/sound delicious!! What a fun picture of you with your sisters and your abuelas!

  5. jose manuel says:

    Hola, en mi blog tienes hasta 4 recetas de mantecados que he puesto este año. Buscalas en Etiquetas en la sección Estepa, encontrarás, Mantecados de Gilena, Mantecados de Limón, Mantecados de Coco y Mantecados de Almendra. Ya iré poniendo más. Gracias. Un saludo

  6. jose manuel says:

    Otra cosa, por si tienes curiosidad. Se dice que en mi pueblo Estepa (Sevilla) inventaron los mantecados y polvorenos sobre 1839 una mujer llamada La Colchona. Existen unas 20 fábricas de mantecados en mi pueblo que producen miles de kilos ahora en esta temporada.

  7. jose manuel says:

    Mantecado de Coco

    350 gramos de Harina.
    175 gramos de manteca de cerdo
    250 gramos de azúcar glass
    125 gramos de coco rallado y después triturado hasta conseguir una pasta.


    1º Tostamos la harina a 150 grados durante media hora.
    2º Dejamos enfriar la harina.
    3º Trituramos el coco rallado hasta conseguir una pasta cremosa.
    4º Mezclamos todos los ingredientes.
    5º Vamos formando los mantecados.
    6º Horno 180 grados durante unos 20 minutos.

    Este lo puedes encontrar en mi blog. Ya no soy más pesado. Un saludo

  8. Daydreamer Desserts says:

    Una de mis galletas favoritas, Bien hecho!

  9. Cajun Chef Ryan says:

    Great cookie and wonderful cause!

  10. Maria says:

    Love the cookies. Such a great cause too!

  11. Tasty Eats At Home says:

    Yum! These remind me of Mexican Wedding Cookies – are they similar? Lard gets a bad rap, but it's wonderful in baked goods such as this. And it's not bad for you, in moderation!

  12. Amber @ Native Food and Wine says:

    These sound great. A friend's grandmother who was English always made shortbread with beef tallow for the holidays and I remember fondly the smell of her baking them in the kitchen.

    I put up the Share Our Strength badge on my site a while ago too. It's such a great program. It is shocking to know how much hunger there is in the US. I think about all the food so many of us throw away.

  13. Brie: Le Grand Fromage says:

    congrats on being a featured holiday blogger! that's awesome! this is a fabulous recipe you're sharing, too. i can never get enough of these types of cookies :)

  14. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite says:

    Boo to the Spam commenter….

    I love this post – such a lovely story and a wonderful cause!

  15. Velva says:

    This was a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing this with your readers.

    Happy holidays to you and your family.

  16. Crail Cakes says:

    You nailed it girl! They were awsome:)

  17. Divina Pe says:

    Hi Diana, this looks awesome. We also have a similar recipe and we also call it Polvoron. Slight difference with the spelling. But it's made with powdered milk, sugar and butter with added flavors such as cashew nuts. And congrats for your featured recipe on the Oprah site. 😀

  18. Ella says:

    i have a whole jar full of bacon fat in my fridge and i just found out i'm NOT allergic to almonds- talk about the perfect christmas cookie for me to try!

  19. Arabic Bites says:

    Oprah …. that's amazing diana … I am so happy for you 😀
    I love this post … & these cookies sound so yummy with sugar coating :)
    Happy holidays :)

  20. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Beautiful special cookies and a wonderful cause! Happy upcoming holidays!

  21. Memória says:

    Yo probé mi primer polvorÓn la semana pasada y me gustó. Desafortunadamente, los polvorones que trajo mi supervisora vinieron del supermercado. Voy a usar esta receta para preparar unos polvorones hechos en casa. Gracias. Me gusta la foto con tu familia. :)

  22. Kelly the Kitchen Kop says:

    Your cookies look crazy delicious! Thanks for joining in on Real Food Wednesday, Diana!

  23. My Little Space says:

    Oh, what an interesting spanish recipe! Must try it out later! Btw, can you mail me your home add? At

  24. heidi leon says:

    cuantos recuerdos estoy teniendo gracias a tus polvorones; unas de las galletas favoritas de mi Mama!


  25. Merche says:

    Gorgeous polvorones, can't imagine american people's faces when they first try them. Yo los hice hace un par de años en casa y tuvieron un éxito bárbaro, mis fans los reclaman estas navidades jejeje. Buenas fiestas!

  26. alisia says:

    I just turned 64 & remember my mother making polvorones on Christmas. My 9 yr. granddaughter says these are the best cookies I make. My receipe is 4C. flour, 3C. crisco, warm water to keep it from sticking. Bake at 350-soon as they come out, imerge them in cinnamon/sugar.

  27. Denise @ Creative Kitchen says:

    Diana…these look delicous!! I would love to make them. Can I just use the fat from bacon once it solidifies or is pork lard quite different from that.

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