Pumpkin Spice Conchas

These light and fluffy Mexican pan dulce, great with a cup of coffee, are topped with a sugary pumpkin-spiced shell.

Pumpkin Spice Conchas
Pumpkin Spice Conchas. Photo:

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 25 mins

In chef Ellen Ramos’ festive recipe, a light and fluffy traditional Mexican concha is blanketed with a crunchy, pumpkin-spiced, seashell-shaped sugar crust. Served warm from the oven, these conchas can be enjoyed anytime, at breakfast with coffee or late at night with a glass of champurrado. The characteristic shell design on top can be imprinted with a specialty stamp or easily hand drawn using an offset spatula. Concha stamps or 4-inch round shell-pattern molds are available at most Mexican grocery stores or online at amazon.com.



  • 3/4 cup warm whole milk (about 110°F)

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (from 1 [1/4-ounce] envelope)

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

  • 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 20 1/4 ounces)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter (5 1/3 ounces), at room temperature

  • Cooking Spray

Pumpkin Spice Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/4 ounces)

  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice


Make the dough:

  1. Whisk together milk, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and yeast in bowl of a stand mixer. Let mixture rest at room temperature, uncovered, until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar to yeast mixture. Beat with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Whisk together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium-low, and gradually add flour mixture to yeast mixture in 3 additions, beating until dough begins to come together, 2 to 3 minutes. Add butter, and increase mixer speed to medium-high. Beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and is elastic and glossy, about 15 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Transfer dough to a lightly greased (with cooking spray) large bowl, and cover loosely with a clean towel or plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature until dough doubles in volume, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pumpkin spice topping:

  1. Beat flour, shortening, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and pumpkin pie spice with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until well combined and mixture holds its shape when squeezed, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide pumpkin-spiced topping mixture evenly into 12 (1 1/2-inch) balls. Place balls on a rimmed baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface, and divide evenly into 12 (3 3/8-ounce) pieces. Roll each piece into a taut ball by rolling against the work surface rapidly with the palm of your hand until dough feels tight and dense; transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 to 3 inches between dough balls. Working with 1 pumpkin-spiced topping ball at a time, use fingers of both hands to pass ball back and forth until it flattens into a 3-inch round. Top each dough ball with a pumpkin-spiced topping round, gently pressing until molded around top of dough ball. Score tops by gently pressing with a 4-inch round shell-pattern mold (or use a small offset spatula to make a shell pattern). Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until conchas have doubled in volume and are slightly wobbly, 45 minutes to 1 hour. After about 20 minutes of proofing time, preheat oven to 350°F with oven racks in top third and lower third positions.

  3. Bake in preheated oven until dough crevices are golden brown, 24 to 26 minutes, rotating baking sheets from front to back and between top and bottom racks halfway through baking time. Serve warm, or let cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

Make Ahead

Conchas are best served the day they are baked.


Concha stamps or 4-inch round shell-pattern molds are available at most Mexican grocery stores or online at amazon.com.

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