Spanish Easter gastronomy

Buñuelos / andaspain

There is very little time left to enjoy Easter, and with it, the gastronomy that this special time of the year offers us.

In addition, given the Spanish Catholic tradition, the religious imprint of Holy Week has given rise to a multitude of specialties that are reflected in art, music and, of course, gastronomy. Spanish Easter recipes vary across the different parts of the territory, but it is certain that the ingredients used observe the Catholic tradition, which is why none of them incorporates meat.

Torrijas (French toast), buñuelos (fritters) and potaje de vigilia (stew) are the best-known dishes, but beyond that, there is a wide variety of dishes specific to each Spanish region. We take a look at some of them.

Valencian titaina

The origin of this dish is to be found in the maritime neighbourhoods of Valencia, specifically the Cabanyal, and its recipe has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a kind of stir-fry made with tomato, roasted red pepper, pine nuts, garlic and salted tuna belly (tonyina de sorra). It can be served hot or cold.

At first glance it may resemble ratatouille, but it contains certain key ingredients that distinguish titaina as a unique dish: it has no onion, pine nuts are added and its main ingredient is “tonyina de sorra” or salted tuna belly. The absence of meat makes this dish even more fervent during Holy Week.

Sancocho, in the Canary Islands

This dish is based on salted fish, boiled potatoes, sweet potato and mojo (red or green). It is one of the most popular dishes in Canarian cuisine and in times of economic difficulty the most popular, as the raw materials are easily available on the island.

It is usually eaten during Holy Week, especially on Good Friday.

La Aceitada, in Zamora

Aceitadas are traditional Easter Week pastries from Zamora that do without any animal fat, that is to say, they only use oil as fat. By avoiding the use of butter or lard, products of animal origin, they are ideal for these dates.

They have a circular, compact shape and a toasted colour due to the egg bath, and have a characteristic aniseed flavour.

Mona de Pascua

This dessert is reminiscent of the roscón de Reyes because it contains orange blossom water and is very popular in Valencia, Murcia, Catalonia, Aragon and some regions of Castile-La Mancha, which is why each area has its own variant, as it is so widespread. However, the tradition remains the same, and consists of the godparents giving their godchildren a mona mona on Easter Monday

The word comes from “munna”, an Arabic term meaning “provision of the mouth”, which was a gift that Muslims gave to their lords centuries ago.

Hornazo, in Jaen

This dessert is similar to the Mona de Pascua. It is a pastry of dough made with extra virgin olive oil, flavoured with aniseed, topped with an egg and dough in the shape of a cross. Hornazos are made and eaten throughout Holy Week, particularly on Easter Sunday in the city of Jaén.


Originally from the Basque Country, it has become a very typical Easter and Lenten recipe. This stew is characterised by its simple preparation and its humble ingredients.

Its name means “leek broth” and although leek is its main ingredient, potatoes, onion and even carrot or pumpkin can be added. In areas such as Vizcaya, pieces of desalted and crumbled cod are included in the recipe. It is an easy and economical recipe that used to be prepared in coastal villages with leftover fish.

Vigil stew /

Vigil stew

This spoon dish is made with cod instead of pork, so it is suitable for observing religious precepts that call for no meat to be eaten at this time of year. For this reason, it is one of the main dishes in Spanish homes on Good Friday.

This stew made with chickpeas, spinach and cod has its origins in the late Middle Ages, when the consumption of salted fish, i.e. dried with salt, became widespread in Spain, especially in convents and abbeys, a technique that allowed it to be preserved for several months in a dry place.

Torrijas /Thorny Issues


There is no Easter Week without torrijas. This dessert is part of Spanish gastronomy and consists of a slice of bread (usually not of the day, as it is somewhat hard) that is soaked in milk or wine and, after being coated in egg batter, is fried in a frying pan with oil. It is sweetened with honey, treacle or sugar and flavoured with cinnamon. It is similar to French toast.

Garlic soup

Garlic soup, also known as sopa castellana, is a humble recipe, which is traditionally eaten in Castile and Leon all year round, but especially at Easter.

The ingredients are: water or broth, bread (usually stale bread left over from previous days), paprika, bay leaf, garlic, olive oil and poached egg.

This dish is usually eaten in Zamora as breakfast after the night processions.


Of course, fritters are a must in this list. This buñuelos are  fritters that differ from the rest in that the dough is flavoured with white wine, the zest of a citrus fruit and aniseed.

The recipe is very simple: a paste of flour, water, oil, milk, eggs and yeast is prepared and fried in the form of small balls that inflate due to the heat, making them very, very fluffy.

Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Spanish food at this special time of year, you won’t be disappointed.

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Written by

Marina Lorente

A Spanish woman who has returned to her motherland after 6 years living in London. She is passionate about nature, animals and yoga.


    • Alan Bowman

      19 March 2024 • 12:06

      Buñuelos are not fritters – they are more akin to doughnuts

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