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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]

New Mexico[edit]

New Mexican natillas are derived directly from the recipes of Spain as a result of the Spanish Conquest and the existing Spanish descendents. Such natillas are custard-like in consistency and may, in some recipes, have flour in addition to egg whites. They are not to be confused with Mexican natillas.


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 cinnamon 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.


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 natilla except that it is somewhat thicker and has no eggs (and manjar blanco in Spain refers to yet another dish).


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

Cuba and Puerto Rico[edit]

Natilla in Cuba and 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. In Puerto Rico Natilla can be bought all year around in supermarkets and convenient stores as a prepackaged powder with just the requirement of heating with milk. A less sweet version, that is served for breakfast in Puerto Rico, is made with honey and more milk and, once done, is 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. ^