Piloncillo Syrup is a delicious spin on simple syrup made using unrefined Mexican cane sugar known as piloncillo. This version is infused with cinnamon and orange peel and when added to coffee, it tastes like café de olla! It imparts a distinct depth of flavor with its notes of caramel and molasses. Drizzle it over pancakes, French toast, and desserts or use it to sweeten your coffee and other beverages.
If you’re looking for the perfect cold-weather simple syrup, look no further. This spiced miel de panela blends ingredients and flavors reminiscent of café de olla – piloncillo (Mexican cone sugar), cinnamon, and orange. Mix it into coffee, drizzled over strawberries or ice cream, and be sure to serve alongside buñuelos.
WHAT IS PILONCILLO?
Piloncillo, also known as panela in some parts of Mexico, is an unrefined Mexican brown sugar. It’s made by boiling and evaporating sugar cane juice, which results in a dark, solid piece of delicious sweetness. You can typically find it sold in cone (hence why it’s also called Mexican cone sugar), block, or wheel shapes. Piloncillo adds depth and sweetness to various dishes, desserts, and beverages in Mexican and Latin American cuisines.
WHAT DOES PILONCILLO TASTE LIKE?
Piloncillo has a bold, molasses flavor, sometimes described as tasting like burnt caramel, rum, maple syrup, or brown sugar. It imparts a rich and spicy sweetness to dishes with warm undertones. If piloncillo isn’t readily available near you, many recipes will substitute it with dark brown sugar.
WHY I LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Distinct flavor: This raw cane sugar offers a unique, rich taste with deep molasses undertones, much different from a simple syrup made with regular granulated sugar. In Mexico, it’s used to enhance the flavor of drinks such as café de olla and atole. Some people say it tastes like brown sugar or maple syrup.
- Versatility: Its liquid form allows for easy incorporation into various recipes, including coffee, drinks, and these easy cinnamon buñuelos.
- Great edible gift: Make this in larger batches and strain it into cute jars to give as gourmet gifts. Add baker’s twine with a festive tag for an extra festive twist!
- Piloncillo: You can find this raw Mexican sugar at your local Latin grocery store. The cones are usually sold individually wrapped near the dry goods (hibiscus and chiles). It’s also available online. I love buying the mini cones when I’m in Mexico.
- Mexican cinnamon stick: Or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
- Orange: I use only the peel for this recipe, which imparts a bright citrus flavor into the syrup.
RECOMMENDED FOR THIS RECIPE
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
Bring piloncillo and cinnamon to a boil with 16 ounces water for 10 minutes, over medium-high heat.
Break down any chunks of piloncillo if necessary while mixture is boiling.
Once the piloncillo dissolves and the mixture slightly thickens, remove the syrup from the heat. Next, add the orange peel and then cover until cool.
NOTE: Do not leave the orange zest in the syrup beyond the point of cooling because it can make the syrup bitter.
Strain syrup through a fine mesh sieve and discard cinnamon sticks and orange peel.
To store piloncillo syrup, refrigerate it in an airtight container to prevent crystallization. I like storing it in mason a mason jar. It will last at least one month when refrigerated. Warm slightly before using if it solidifies; add water if necessary.
LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION?
- Homemade Hibiscus Syrup
- Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Piloncillo Syrup
- Dressing Up Your Drinks: 16 Recipes and Ideas for Easy Rims and Garnishes
10-Minute Spiced Piloncillo Syrup
- 8 ounce piloncillo
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 16 ounces water
- 1 ribbon of orange peel 5 inches
- Bring piloncillo and cinnamon to a boil with 16 ounces of water for 10 minutes, over medium-high heat. Break down any chunks of piloncillo if necessary.
- Remove from heat, add orange peel, and cover until completely cool.
- Once cool, strain syrup through a fine mesh sieve and discard cinnamon sticks and orange peel.
A Note from Lola
Originally published on November 22, 2020 / Photography and styling by Cacey McReavy
Lola’s Cocina is a small business that earns various revenue streams. This includes sponsored posts and affiliate commissions from linked products, which I use and love. This commission is an agreement between Lola’s Cocina and retailers, with no extra cost to readers. This income helps sustains the site.
Lola Wiarco Dweck
Lola is a Mexican-American recipe developer, writer, and cooking instructor who loves sharing her culture with the world. Growing up in California and spending summers in Mexico, Lola celebrates her family’s Mexican recipes and vibrant culture through Lola’s Cocina.