This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
Dec 6, 2023

Red, White, and Green Polvorones (Mexican Sugar Cookies)

These red, white, and green polvorones are crispy on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside. They are very similar to a cross between a shortbread cookie and a softer sugar cookie. 

Red, White, and Green Polvorones (Mexican Sugar Cookies) in a bowl.

Polvorón is a generic name for cookie also used in Spain, the Phillipines, and Latin America. The word in Spanish translates to "powder." It’s pretty much meant to describe the crumbly nature of the cookie!

These tricolor cookies are a version of the Mexican tricolor triangle-shaped cookie, the polvorón payaso, which is pink, chocolate, and yellow, enjoyed year round. 

This red, white, and green version is traditionally served on Mexican Independence Day in September (citation: Alex from Baking Evolution). However, with the colors of Christmas, there is no rule that it can't be served as a Christmas cookie! 

Red, White, and Green Polvorones (Mexican Sugar Cookies) in a bread pan and on a black plate.

They're part of the Mexican pan dulce (sweet bread) family, which includes both bread and cookies, that can be found in Mexican panaderías (bakeries).  

These cookies would be perfect adorning your cookie platter along with cinnamon spiral cookies, almond-spice wreath cookies, polvorones de naranja, and chocolate spritz Christmas tree cookies, to name a few. 

These cookies are softer than classic shortbread but still "sandy" like shortbread. 


There are just six ingredients in these cookies, along with both red and green food coloring and an optional sprinkling of sparkling sugar. 

I used all-purpose flour. I've also seen bakers combine both all purpose and cake flour to make them softer. 

I also used butter-flavored solid shortening. You could also use lard, butter, or a combination of butter and plain shortening. 

For the sugar, I used granulated. I've also seen bakers use a combination of granulated and confectioners' sugar. I also lightly sprinkled the tops of my cookies with sparkling sugar before baking. 

From your pantry and fridge, you'll need salt, an egg, and pure vanilla extract. 

For the coloring, I used Americolor gel paste food coloring. It's more concentrated for a deeper color. A little bit goes a long way. 

Red, White, and Green Polvorones (Mexican Sugar Cookies) in a bread pan.

Process for Making Red, White, and Green Polvorones: 

Start by beating the shortening to lighten it up, and then beat in the sugar, the eggs, and the vanilla. 

Next, whisk together the flour and salt, and add the mixture to the mixer in thirds, until just incorporated. 

After that, divide the dough into three equal parts. To make sure you've evenly divided the dough, I recommend using a kitchen scale. Weigh the dough in its entirety, divide that by three, and then weigh out each third. 

At this point, work some red food coloring into a third of the dough and green food coloring into a second third. Form all three pieces of dough into eleven inch long logs. Place two of the logs next to each other on wax or parchment paper, and lay the third log in the center indentation on top of the two side-by-side pieces. 

Using the wax or parchment paper, gently press the logs together and shape the entire piece into a triangle. Slice and bake. 

Red, White, and green polvorones shaped dough on a baking sheet.

Hints and Tips:

For more distinct edges on the final product, briefly freeze the dough before slicing and again before baking. I skipped these steps to save some time, so my final cookies have more rounded edges than you might desire. I'm looking forward to experimenting with different combinations of techniques and ingredient combinations. 

To slice the cookies, use a knife with a straight cutting edge so that a swift downward cut is all you need. A santuko-style or nakiri-style vegetable chopping knife works great. A sharp bench scraper is also good for this task, as long as your dough is chilled. 

Red, White, and Green Polvorones (Mexican Sugar Cookies) in a bread pan and on plates.

Recipe Variations:

You could add different flavorings to each colored dough along with the food coloring, such as peppermint extract for the green dough, and strawberry extract for the red dough. 

You could substitute lard, butter, standard shortening, or a combination for the butter-flavored shortening. 

You can also get creative with the colors for different holidays, or try sprinkles instead of the sparkling sugar on top. 

Freeze the sliced cookies for 30 minutes before baking for more distinct and squared-off edges. 


Once the dough has been shaped into a "log," you can freeze it for up to three months before slicing and baking. 

These cookies, once baked, can be frozen for up to thirty days, perfect for Christmas gifts. They will also keep at room temperature in an airtight container for about five days. 

More Mexican-Style Cookies!:

Orange Biscochos

Polvorones de Naranja

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Orange-Scented Alfajores

Noche Buena Cookies (perfect for Christmas)

Christmas Cookies Week Logo.

  • Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Cookies by The Spiffy Cookie
  • Caramelitas by That Recipe
  • Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies by Palatable Pastime
  • Bourbon Toffee Pecan Cookies by Our Good Life
  • Gingerbread Cookie Cups by Jolene's Recipe Journal
  • Insomnia Snickerdoodle Cookies by Hezzi-D's Recipe Box
  • White Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
  • Christmas Fruitcake Biscotti by Blogghetti
  • Peppermint Palmiers by A Day in the Life on the Farm

  • Thank you to Jolene's Recipe Journal for organizing Christmas Cookies Week! 

    Polvorones in a bowl.

    Red, White, and Green Polvorones

    Red, White, and Green Polvorones
    Yield: 24 cookies
    Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
    Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 12 MinInactive time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 H & 12 M
    These red, white, and green polvorones are crispy on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside. They are very similar to a cross between a shorbread cookie and a softer sugar cookie.


    • 225 grams (1 cup) butter-flavored shortening
    • 198 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
    • 250 grams (2 cups) all purpose flour
    • Heaping 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • Red gel food coloring
    • Green gel food coloring
    • 1 tablespoon sparkling sugar


    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachement, or in a bowl using a hand mixer, beat the shortening at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the sugar at medium speed until fully combined. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the mixture, in thirds, beating on low until just combined.
    3. Weigh the dough and then divide into thirds. Work the green food coloring into one-third of the dough and the red food coloring into another third of the dough. Form each third of dough into an eleven inch long log.
    4. Place two of the logs next to each other on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Place the third log on top of the two logs in the center. Gently press the logs together and roll so that the three colors attach to each other and then press the combined log into a triangle. Lift the dough with the paper onto a place and refrigerate for 30 minutes before slicing. You can also wrap and freeze for later.
    5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the log into 1/4 inch thick slices (see notes above about a recommended knife) and place the slices onto the baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart (12 per half sheet pan). Sprinkle the tops lightly with sparkliing sugar. Optionally, freeze the sliced cookies for 30 minutes.
    6. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

    Nutrition Facts



    Fat (grams)

    10 g

    Sat. Fat (grams)

    2 g

    Carbs (grams)

    16 g

    Fiber (grams)

    0 g

    Net carbs

    16 g

    Sugar (grams)

    8 g

    Protein (grams)

    1 g

    Cholesterol (grams)

    8 mg
    cookies, polvorones,
    dessert, Christmas cookies
    Did you make this recipe?
    Tag on instagram and hashtag it #karenskitchenstories

    Recipe adapted from various sources, mostly Muy Bueno Fiestas

    Would you like to comment?

    1. Such colorful and festive cookies, and still easier than doing icing. I love them!

    2. What fun little cookies. I did Christmas cookies around the world one year and it was so much fun. These cookies make me want to do that again. Maybe next year's theme.

      1. That does sound fun. I love learning about foods from around the world.

    3. Festive, fun, and delicious! I love this one so much that it's going in my care packages this year to the airman on the base here.

    4. And I was just writing about how I needed to make more slice and bake cookies! I think I just found my next recipe!

    5. These are so pretty! I love all the bright colors.

    6. What a standout these would be on a cookie tray! Plus all the ways to change up the flavoring and colors is great!


    I would love to hear from you! If you comment anonymously, be sure to leave your name in your comment.