Other desserts

Most Typical Catalan Desserts

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. May 16, 2024
Most Typical Catalan Desserts

Catalan cuisine is recognized for its diversity and exquisiteness, with a healthy nod to tradition. Although some of the most cutting edge gastronomic pursuits are being carried out in Catalunya, many restaurants still have similar variations of the classics. There is a very good reason for this. Specifically, they are delicious. Fortunately, Catalan cuisine has a wide variety of sweets that will suit everyone's tastes. These provide some of the most beautifully delicious flavors and textures in the world of food.

At oneHOWTO, we discover the 10 most typical Catalan desserts. These tasty sweets are found in restaurants all over Barcelona and other cities, towns and villages of Catalonia.

You may also be interested in: How to Make Sesame Seeds Dessert
  1. Crema Catalan
  2. Mel i mató
  3. Coca de Sant Joan
  4. Carquinyolis
  5. Turrón de Agramunt
  6. Panellets
  7. Braç de gitano
  8. Xuxos
  9. Coca de llardons
  10. Pa amb oli i xocolata
See more >>

Crema Catalan

Translation directly as ‘Catalan cream’, crema catalana does as its name suggests by providing a rich creamy dessert which have become emblematic of the Spanish region. This delicious dessert is characterized by its soft and creamy texture, but that is finished with a crunchy caramelized top that is reminiscent of a crème brûlée.

The traditional recipe is made with basic ingredients such as egg yolks, milk, sugar and cornstarch. Some varieties include lemon or orange zest to enhance their flavor. These are on almost every menu del día (local set lunch menu) in the region and this is because they are both easy to prepare and supremely delicious.

See where this dessert ranks in our list of traditional Catalan dishes.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Crema Catalan

Mel i mató

Another traditional Catalan dessert with a very direct name mel i mató is Catalan for ‘honey and mató’, the latter of which is a type of cheese. It is usually made from cow or goat milk curds. The result is a soft and creamy texture similar to cottage cheer, but with a more delicate flavor. This delicate flavor and crumbly texture is less sweet than some of the most typical Catalan desserts, often a preference for those of us with less of a sweet tooth.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Mel i mató

Coca de Sant Joan

One of the most typical Catalan desserts, this is a traditional dish which is served specifically on the festival of Sant Joan on June 24. Although this is when it is most often consumed, it can be found year round in some bakeries. This sweet bread has multiple varieties, the ingredients often depending on the region of Catalonia. The most popular is one which is sold with candied fruits, although the one with pine nuts is perhaps most traditional. It can also be sold with pastry cream or chocolate, among others.

Coca de Sant Joan is not only an essential dessert, but it has a high cultural significance in Catalonia. It was originally made as an offering to celebrate the summer solstice and ask for good harvests for the coming year. The Sant Joan coca today mostly celebrates the arrival of summer.

Learn how to make easy desserts with puff pastry in our related guide.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Coca de Sant Joan


Delicious and crunchy, carquinyolis is another of the most recognized desserts in Catalan cuisine. Also popularly known as bescuit de mel or cruixent de mantega, carquinyolis are characterized by their elongated shape and sweet flavor that combine perfectly with a cup of coffee or a glass of sweet wine.

This sweet snack is prepared with basic ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, almonds and orange or lemon zest to enhance its flavor. Its texture and delicious flavor have made it one of the favorite options of baking lovers. It is somewhat reminiscent of a biscotti in Italian pastry traditions.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Carquinyolis

Turrón de Agramunt

Another of the Catalan sweet delights is turrón de Agramunt, a variety of traditional nougat that you can find on many tables in Catalonia at Christmas time. Although there are different types of turrón in Spain, Agramunt is especially popular for its quality and distinctive flavor.

This turrón is made mainly with toasted almonds and honey. It forms a compact and tasty nougat that delights any palate. In addition, it has a firm, but tender texture that provides a delicious experience. If you want to opt for a Catalan dessert at Christmas, turrón de Agramunt cannot be missing from your tray during these special times.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Turrón de Agramunt


Although they are typical during the All Saints festival that takes place on November 1, panellets are one of the most typical sweets in Catalan cuisine. These sweet snacks are mainly made from ground almonds, sugar and egg white. The recipe may vary in some areas of Catalonia, which may include orange or lemon zest, cocoa powder, coffee or even cooked potato.

Once the dough is ready, the panellets are covered with other ingredients. The most common toppings are pine nuts, almonds, grated coconut, chocolate or candied fruit, among others. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, panellets are a delicious snack loaded with cultural and traditional meaning, as they are a symbol of autumn in Catalan cuisine.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Panellets

Braç de gitano

Literally translated as ‘gypsy arm’, braç de gitano is another of the most popular Catalan desserts that has crossed borders. It is a type of sponge roll that is filled with cream, chocolate, custard or other ingredients. Its fillings depend only on the limitation of our imagination. The result is a spongy cylinder with a creamy and delicious interior. It is covered in powdered sugar, cocoa powder or fresh cream.

Braç de gitano is a very versatile dessert. There are many variants to satisfy the most demanding palates. This classic cannot be missed in celebrations or special dates.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Braç de gitano


And we cannot forget one of the most famous sweets in Catalan pastry tradition are xuxos (or chuchos). They are a real temptation for sweet lovers. It is a rolled puff pastry filled with pastry cream, although you can currently find other variants of its fillings such as chocolate, vanilla cream or jam.

To achieve the perfect texture, the puff pastry is fried until golden and crispy. This contrasts with the softness of the pastry cream inside. To finish, sprinkle it with sugar to give it an extra touch. Xuxos have become one of the jewels of Catalan pastries, as their irresistible, crunchy and creamy combination satisfy the cravings of sweet lovers.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Xuxos

Coca de llardons

Similar to coca de Sant Joan, this is another type of coca in Catalan cuisine which is used for celebrations. This time, it is a popular Barcelona dessert during the carnival season. It has an unlikely ingredient in the form of pork fat. This sweet is made from eggs, sugar, flour, chicharrones (llardons in Catalan) and pine nuts.

It is usually enjoyed throughout the year accompanied by sweet wine, muscatel, malvasia or cava. Its sweet and salty combination with a crunchy touch makes this typical Catalan dessert a true delight.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Coca de llardons

Pa amb oli i xocolata

And to finish this list, a classic of Catalan cuisine that has recently been reinvented in many restaurants. We are talking about pa amb oli i xocolata, an essential option for sweet lovers. Although the original idea is very simple, you just have to prepare a slice of bread with olive oil, a touch of salt and a little chocolate, today you can enjoy this dessert in many ways. These combines textures and creaminess with chocolate ice cream, rustic bread or maldon salt to give it a crunchy touch. This is most definitely one of the best desserts in Mediterranean gastronomy.

If you want to know some other recipes for desserts which are enjoyed in Spain, take a look at our guides on how to make sesame seed desserts and how to make pumpkin fritters.

Most Typical Catalan Desserts - Pa amb oli i xocolata

If you want to read similar articles to Most Typical Catalan Desserts, we recommend you visit our Recipes category.

Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
1 of 11
Most Typical Catalan Desserts