While studying abroad in Spain this summer, I happily gave into my sweet-tooth and caved every time I saw a tempting dessert that I had yet to try. It was my version of learning about Spanish culture by eating my way through it, and I definitely have no regrets. With so many regionally-specific desserts throughout Spain, each city I visited seemed to be filled with a new sweet surprise, which is why I've compiled a comprehensive list of seven Spanish cities and their must-try desserts.

Alcalá de Henares 

While strolling through the beautiful streets of Alcalá de Henares, you don't have to walk far to have a dessert-marathon. These three very different desserts are all very close in proximity and are delicious, too. 

 1. Almendras de Alcalá

Zoe Engels

I usually hate candied almonds, but these (made and sold by the nuns at the the Convento de las Clarisas de San Diego) are definitely worth trying. They're not too sweet, and they're just delicious. And the most interesting part? You never see the nuns who selling them. When you enter the convent, you ring a doorbell, and the voice of a nun on the other side of the wall responds to take your order. You place money on an empty revolving shelf built into the wall, and the nun flips the shelf toward her, replacing the money with what you've bought. It's an adventure worth trying—regardless of whether or not you choose to eat the nuts. 

2. Rosquillas de Alcalá

Just like snowflakes, no two rosquillas are alike. These aniseed donuts seem to be prepared differently from shop to shop and city to city. They're often eaten during the Festival of San Isidro, but you can generally find them year-round. Some rosquillas have a lemon-y undertone, but look like standard fried balls of dough. The rosquillas from Alcalá de Henares are different because of their uniquely sweet egg-yolk glaze, making them stand out from the rest.

3. Costrada de Alcalá

These desserts really remind me of the traditional French mille-feuille or Napoleon pastries. With its flaky layers, cream filling, and merengue and almond top, the costrada is a deceivingly light and airy treat. And it's an irresistible treat that you won't be able to get enough of.


The people of Sevilla really don't mess around, especially when it comes to desserts. They take sweet treats to a whole new level. From cake to gelato to gelato with pieces of cake mixed in, you can't go wrong here. 

1. Tocino del Cielo

Zoe Engels

While it may look like flan, this dessert really puts flan to shame. So, what's the difference? Flan is made with whole eggs, sugar, milk, and cream, but tocino del cielo is usually only made with egg yolks, sugar, and water. While you can probably find tocino del cielo at most bakeries in Sevilla, the one at La Campana is just as amazing as their overall dessert selection.  

2. Gelato

Zoe Engels

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Sure, you can get gelato anywhere in Europe and anywhere in Spain, but it definitely doesn't always taste this good. There is an impressive supply of gelato shops throughout Sevilla, with some of the most amazing flavors I have ever tried. They bridge the gap between traditional Spanish desserts and gelato. For example, at La Abuela, which is my personal favorite, you can get tocino del cielo gelato—a vanilla base with actual pieces of tocino del cielo mixed in. It's the best of both worlds. La Fiorentina also has amazing, show-stopping flavors like orange blossom and torta de polvorón (aka Spanish shortbread). 


Not only is Valencia the birthplace of paella, but it is home to numerous unique desserts that I could not find elsewhere in Spain. If you're looking for a non-traditional dessert experience, this is the place to be.

1. Horchata con Fartons 

While you may be familiar with Mexican horchata, it is very different from the horchata of Valencia. The delicious Mexican horchata consists of a rice base, but the Valencia version is made from tiger nut. Valencians and tourists alike often dip fartons (a sweet pastry) into their horchata. While I didn't love the horchata-farton combo for its excessively-sweet nature, it was a unique dessert that I definitely think is worth trying.

2. Buñuelos 

Buñuelos are commonly found in March during the Las Fallas Festival in Valencia. They're usually made with pumpkin during the festival season, but it's possible to find various versions of buñuelos year-round in some of Valencia's pastry shops. The fried balls of dough often take on a golden color and have a small hole in their centers. When I stumbled upon non-traditional, chocolate-infused buñuelos in a pastry shop, I just had to try them. I'll admit that they looked and tasted more like Munchkins from Dunkin' Donuts than actual buñuelos, but I don't doubt that the hunt for authentic buñuelos would be worth it. 

3. Gelato at Véneta

Zoe Engels

Véneta is located by the main cathedral of Valencia, so you really can't miss it. And you wouldn't want to. They've previously won the award for the best gelato in Spain, and their Galleta de la Abuela flavor was also previously ranked among the top seven flavors in the world by the Gelato World Tour. The award-winning flavor offers the perfect chocolate-vanilla balance with pieces of cookie incorporated throughout—it's just heaven. 


Toledo itself may be structured like a labyrinth, but no matter how lost you find yourself and no matter where you are, you can be sure that there will always be a shop selling Marzipan nearby.

1. Mazapán

This one honestly surprised me. Marzipan, which is sometimes called almond paste, is a blend of blanched or ground almonds, sugar, and just a few other ingredients. The result is a pretty interesting texture and flavor that can often be too sweet or too sticky. However, Toledo has a long history of Marzipan-making. It is said that nuns at a convent in Toledo invented Marzipan in the year 1212. Over time, it's clear that the people of Toledo have perfected the Marzipan craft. I'll admit it—I never imagined that Marzipan could taste so great.


Granada is full of history and beauty with so many sights to see. After a long day of exploring and visiting places like the Alhambra palace, you may as well treat yourself like royalty and end the day with dessert. 

1. Turrón

Zoe Engels

Sure, you can find a bunch of varieties of turrón all over Spain. It is a type of nougat that's usually made with honey, eggs, sugar, and toasted nuts. Turrón can be soft and chewy like fudge or much tougher—and turrón shops all across Spain selling the full-spectrum of texture options. Honestly, it's everywhere. But I personally didn't love the taste of turrón in its natural form. Instead, I enjoyed its most icy form: gelato. The turrón flavor is a common ice cream and gelato flavor in Spain, but the one at Heladería los Italianos in Granada is one that locals and tourists highly recommend along with their many other unique flavors. 


What could make a city with a rich history even more amazing than it already is? That's an easy question to answer: a rich dessert with its own rich history.

1. Ponche

Segovia's ponche essentially consists of a layer-cake with marzipan, custard, and burnt sugar. It was invented in 1926 by a confectioner at El Alcázar. The Spanish King Alfonso XIII fell in love with the cake, and the rest of Spain quickly followed suit. Ponche segoviano is now made in a variety of ways by bakeries and locals, but the main concept still stands: you must have the three basic components: cake, marzipan, and custard. I tried ponche at La Pastelería Limón y Menta and can attest to the fact that most people went back for seconds (and even thirds).


You can probably find anything in this capital city. After all, with such a wide array of foods to choose from, its clear that influences from all across Spain collide in Madrid. That being said, it's easy to get lost in its foodie environment of savory and sweet.

1. Churros at Chocolatería San Ginés

Zoe Engels

You just can't forget about the churros. But, I think it can be difficult to find a truly delicious churro. They can often be overly sweet, covered in powdered sugar and cinnamon. However, the churros at Chocolatería San Ginés are perfect for dipping into the restaurant's cups of melted chocolate. They're famous for their chocolate and churros, and it's easy to see why. You really only need to have one or two churros. After that, the chocolate steals the show, and you'll be too obsessed with it to actually remember the churros sitting on the plate next to you. Nonetheless, the combination is definitely worth trying and enjoying. 

2. Natilla

In Spain, a natilla is a type of custard made with milk and eggs. Its served in restaurants across the country. While it is quite eggy, it's also perfectly creamy and smooth. I did not try a natilla in a restaurant, but I did taste a homemade natilla and I could not believe how deicious the homemade dessert actually was. My only regret: not getting the exact recipe.

So whether you're eating a homemade dessert, stopping at a gelato shop, or venturing out of your comfort zone to try an entirely new dessert, you can definitely find a Spanish dessert option that will satisfy your sweet tooth. If ever you find yourself in Spain, I definitely recommend any of these desserts—just not all in one day, as tempting as it might be. For the time being, you could always find a recipe and try making these in the comfort of your own home. Now's your chance to whip out the whisk and bring Spain to your kitchen. You definitely won't regret it.