Panamanian Fry Bread (Hojaldras)

Northwestgal avatar
By Vickie Parks
from Renton, WA

(pronounced o-HALL-druhs) This is Panama's version of fried bread served for breakfast. It's somewhat like a beignet or a cross between a pancake and fritter. Most prefer to sprinkle the top with powdered sugar or with a cinnamon/sugar mix. They're also quite often served plain with a fried egg and a few slices of bacon on the side. It takes a little more than 2 hours total to prepare Hojaldras (though it's mostly waiting for the dough to be ready). For convenience, you can prepare the dough the night before and refrigerate it overnight. All that's left in the morning is the frying step.

serves 6
prep time 2 Hr 10 Min
cook time 10 Min
method Deep Fry


  •   3 cups
    all-purpose flour
  •   2 tsp
    baking powder
  •   1 tsp
  •   1 tsp
    granulated sugar
  •   3/4 cup
  •   3 Tbsp
    vegetable oil
  •   1 large
  •   2 cups
    vegetable oil, for frying
  •   1/2 cup
    powdered sugar or cinnamon/sugar mix (for dusting)

How To Make

  • 1
    Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well about the size of your fist in the flour mixture.
  • 2
    In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk together the milk, 3 Tbsp oil, and egg. With a wooden spoon, stir the milky mixture into the flour well, stirring until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  • 3
    Knead the dough in the bowl for about a minute or until it turns into a ball that doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. If it's too sticky, add more flour; if it's too crumbly, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it forms into a ball. Transfer to floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and elastic. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (To save time, you can can prepare the dough up to this step, and all that's left in the morning is frying the dough.)
  • 4
    Remove dough from refrigerator and pinch off pieces of dough about the size of a gold ball. Pinch and stretch the dough into 5-inch ovals. They should be roughly shaped and not necessarily even ovals all around.
  • 5
    Heat the 2 cups oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Drop the flattened dough pieces into the hot oil and wait for them to rise to the surface, about 2 minutes. Turn them over to allow the other side to brown for about 30 seconds.
  • 6
    Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to triple-layered paper towels to absorb excess oil. Let cool, then lightly dust with powdered sugar (or a cinnamon/sugar mix). Serve immediately.