Puerto Rican Cookie Recipes: Mantecaditos and Polvorones

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If you’re a fan of Puerto Rican cuisine, you’ve probably come across some delightful Puerto Rican cookie recipes.

Two popular ones that come to mind are Mantecaditos and Polvorones Shortbread.

These delicious treats are a staple during the holiday season and are cherished by many for their delightful flavors and unique textures.

Let’s dive into the journey of making these yummy treats, exploring their ingredients, techniques, and traditions.

Understanding Puerto Rican Cookies

Puerto Rican cookies, specifically Mantecaditos and Polvorones Shortbread, are more than just delicious cookies.

They are a part of the culture, often made for special occasions and passed down through generations.

Mantecaditos are little butter cookies, often topped with a maraschino cherry or guava jelly, while Polvorones are almond-flavored shortbread cookies, enjoyed with a cup of hot cocoa or café con leche.

A variety of Puerto Rican cookies on a cookie board, with a cup of café con leche on the side

Getting Started with the Cookie Dough

One of the first steps in making these cookies is preparing the cookie dough. Ingredients like unsalted butter, sugar, and purpose flour are combined in a large bowl.

The butter should be at room temperature for best results.

The dough is then mixed until it forms a light, fluffy texture.

Almond flour or ground almonds might be used in the Polvorones for that distinct flavor, while Mantecaditos might have a hint of almond or rum extract.

Ingredients for the cookie dough in a large bowl

The Role of Leavening Agents

Unlike most cookies, Puerto Rican cookie recipes often do not contain leavening agents.

This is because the desired texture is more dense and crumbly, rather than light and fluffy.

This can be a little tricky to achieve, especially if you’re used to making sugar cookies or other types of cookies that require a leavening agent.

Shaping the Cookies

Once your dough is ready, it’s time to shape these delicious cookies.

Using a small scoop or your hands, the dough is rolled into small balls and placed on an un-greased cookie sheet or a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

For the Mantecaditos, a small indentation is made in the center of each cookie, which will later be filled with guava paste or a maraschino cherry.

Dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet

Baking to Golden Brown Perfection

The cookies are then baked in a preheated oven until they’re golden brown.

It’s important to keep an eye on them as they bake, as the perfect cookies are not too soft and not too hard, but just right.

Once done, they are transferred to a wire rack to cool.

Adding the Toppings

Once the cookies have cooled, it’s time for the exciting part – adding the toppings!

A dollop of guava paste or a maraschino cherry is placed in the center of the cookie, adding a pop of color and a burst of flavor.

For the Polvorones, they are traditionally left plain but can be dusted with a little powdered sugar for added sweetness.

Cookies topped with guava paste and maraschino cherries

Storing and Serving

These cookies store well in an airtight container at room temperature.

Be sure to keep them in a single layer to prevent them from sticking together.

When it comes to serving, these cookies make a great addition to a cookie swap or as a yummy treat with your afternoon coffee.

Exploring Other Puerto Rican Cookie Recipes

While Mantecaditos and Polvorones are quite popular, there are other Puerto Rican cookie recipes worth exploring.

Coconut Macaroons, for example, are a delicious blend of coconut milk, sugar, and a few other ingredients baked until golden.

They can be drizzled with chocolate or left plain, depending on your preference.

A variety of Puerto Rican cookies, including coconut macaroons

Final Thoughts

Making Puerto Rican cookies is a wonderful way to explore the rich culinary culture of the island.

Whether you’re making them for a holiday season, a cookie swap, or just because, these delicious cookies are sure to bring a taste of Puerto Rico into your kitchen.

Happy baking!

Puerto Rican Mantecaditos (Butter Cookies) Recipe

Puerto Rican Mantecaditos (Butter Cookies) Recipe

Yield: 24 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Mantecaditos are traditional Puerto Rican cookies that melt in your mouth with a delightful crunch of almond and a hint of guava. These butter cookies are perfect for any occasion, from a holiday dinner to an afternoon snack with coffee.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • Guava paste, cut into small cubes
  • Maraschino cherries, halved
  • Powdered sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter, granulated sugar, and almond extract until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the all-purpose flour, salt, and almond meal until the dough comes together. It will be a bit crumbly, but it should hold together when pressed.
  4. Scoop out about a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and press down slightly to flatten it. Repeat this process until all the dough is used.
  5. Press a small cube of guava paste into the center of each cookie, then top it with a half maraschino cherry.
  6. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, dust the cookies with powdered sugar if desired.
  9. Enjoy these delightful Mantecaditos with a cup of coffee or tea!


The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 15gNet Carbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 2g
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