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Polvorones: Puerto Rican Shortbread Cookies

Island Bites is a Puerto Rican cook with decades of experience in the kitchen. She's an expert in Latin American cuisine.

Polvorones are popular all over the world.

Polvorones are popular all over the world.

What Is a Polvorón?

A polvorón is a soft, dense, and crumbly (shortbread-type) cookie that is popular in Latin America, Spain, and also the Philippines. The main ingredients are flour, sugar, and lard. It is a type of mantecado, Spanish shortbreads made with manteca (lard).

Each of these countries has its own version of polvorones. The Puerto Rican version of this treat is almond flavored. It is simple, yet delicious.

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  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract


  1. Cream together butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add salt and extracts. Mix until combined.
  2. Add the flour slowly and mix until incorporated. The dough must be thick and manageable.
  3. With a scoop or your hands, form small balls (about 1 tbs each). Place in a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375ºF for 15 to 20 minutes or until completely baked (bottom must be golden but top must be pale). Let cool at least 10 minutes.

Other Variations:

  • Press your thumb to make an indent in each cookie before baking them, and fill with any fruit jam. Guava paste is the favorite here in the Island.
  • After cooling completely, roll them in powdered sugar.

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