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Bowl of natillas at Madrid.jpg
A bowl of natillas from Madrid
Place of origin Spain
Main ingredients milk and eggs
Cookbook: Natillas  Media: Natillas

Natillas (Spanish pronunciation: [naˈtiʎas]) is a term in Spanish for a variety of custards and similar delicacies in the Spanish-speaking world. In Spain, this term refers to a custard dish made with milk and eggs, similar to other European creams as crème anglaise. In Colombia, the delicacy does not include eggs, and is called natilla.


Natillas is a diminutive of nata ("cream", in English), that is, crema de leche (milk cream), referring to the consistency of the dish.



In Spain, natillas is a custard dish typically made with milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and cinnamon.[1] The dish is prepared by gently boiling the milk and slowly stirring in the eggs (often just the yolks) and other ingredients to create a sweet custard. The differences between Spanish natillas, English custard or French crème anglaise are vague, mainly related to their thickness.

This custard (though is a pouring thin cream and not a coagulated custard) is also similar to flan but is typically richer, makes generous use of cinnamon flavoring, and does not use caramel as flan normally does.[2]


Plate of Colombian natilla

In Colombia, natilla is the most popular Christmas dish and is eaten along with buñuelos and manjar blanco, and it resembles a flan or pudding. Some of the ingredients include milk, panela (blocks of brown sugar), cinnamon sticks, and flour or cornstarch. Occasionally people like to add grated coconut or raisins but these are optional ingredients. To garnish it, powdered cinammon is spread on top of the finished natilla. Natilla is found all throughout the Christmas season and usually stores sell pre-made natilla; but one of the best known Christmas traditions in Colombia is making natilla in an improvised campfire in the streets or home patios.


Main article: Dulce de leche

This term is used in Peru, especially the city of Piura, to refer to dulce de leche, a spread made of milk and sugar that is boiled until it is thick and the sugar has caramelized to a rich brown color. The Peruvian confection manjar blanco is arguably more similar to Spanish natillas except that it is somewhat thicker and has no eggs (and manjar blanco in Spain refers to yet another dish).

Mexico and New Mexico[edit]

In Mexico and New Mexico, Natillas are also found[3][4] and resemble a thicker version of the dessert drink called "Atole leche".[5]

Costa Rica[edit]

In Costa Rica, the term is used for a sour cream-like dairy product used as a condiment with a variety of dishes. The product is homogenized and pasteurized milk with a lower fat content (about 12%) than normal sour cream, some brands add salt to the cream.[6][7]

Puerto Rico[edit]

Natilla in Puerto Rico is classified as a cold custard dessert. Natilla is made with cornstarch, vanilla, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, cinnamon, milk, and evaporated milk. Typically served on Christmas in small cups with cinnamon sprinkled on top. Natilla can be brought all year around in supermarkets and convenient stores as a prepackaged powder with just the requirement of heating with milk. A less sweeter made with honey and more milk version in Puerto Rico is served for breakfast, once done its topped with fruit and cinnamon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Publiboda Espana: Natillas
  2. ^ "Natillas". Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Recetas mexicanas, Universidad de Guadalajara.
  4. ^ Desserts of New Mexico
  5. ^ astray recipes: Atole de leche (milk with masa drink)
  6. ^,M1_3
  7. ^