Piloncillo: All You Should Know About The Mexican Brown Sugar

In Mexican cooking and baking, piloncillo is a common ingredient. What it is and how to use it into your favourite dishes, baked products, and other sweet delicacies will be covered. Unrefined whole cane sugar known as piloncillo is mostly produced in Mexico and has been consumed there for at least 500 years. It tastes earthy and caramel-like. Some compare it to molasses or brown sugar that is extremely potent. It is typically sold as blocks, cones, or loaves at Mexican markets. It is often affordable and very convenient to store and transport. 

Although piloncillo is commonly referred to as Mexican brown sugar and resembles brown sugar in appearance and flavour, it is not the same. Piloncillo is raw cane sugar, unlike brown sugar, which is typically just white sugar with a tiny quantity of molasses added. As a result, it doesn't contain any molasses and has a true golden-brown hue. 

How it is made 

The liquid from crushed sugar cane is collected to make piloncillo. The juice from the sugar cane is then cooked and reduced until it is thick like syrup (similar to molasses). The syrup is then put into moulds to dry. The shape that sugar is traditionally fashioned into is called a small loaf, hence the name piloncillo. Piloncillo can frequently be seen in cone shapes in the US. 

Popular in Central and Latin America, panela, often referred to as rapadura, is known by a variety of names depending on the region. Panela is most frequently referred to as piloncillo in Mexico. Panela is available in a variety of forms, such as liquid, granular, and solid blocks. 


Both as a spice and a sweetener, piloncillo is widely used. It is simple to include into beverages, baking, and cooking because it melts quite easily when heated. 

When baking, making pastries, or making ice cream at home, you can use it in place of white or brown sugar. It is used in a lot of Mexican cuisine, even drinks. In Mexico, it is also frequently found combined with flavours like anise or pepper or added to chocolate. Piloncillo is a commercial ingredient used to make candies, soft drinks, and baked goods. 

Cones made of piloncillo are incredibly sturdy and robust. Therefore, before using it, you will need to disassemble it. Depending on how fine you want your sugar, there are a number different ways to break down a cone: 

A Knife: Piloncillo should be cut into little pieces or slivers. The simplest method for adding it to coffee, hot chocolate, or other hot beverages is in this fashion. 

A Large Cheese Grater: Used to quickly transform sugar into a consistency resembling brown sugar. 

A Grated Microplane: Used to make sugar that is extremely fine. 

Alternately, you might reheat the piloncillo for ten to fifteen seconds in the microwave. This will somewhat soften the cone and make it easier for you to break off pieces with your hands. For a year, piloncillo can be kept in a cool, dry place.