Classic Biscochitos

published Oct 4, 2021
Biscochitos Recipe

These festive cookies are flavored with anise seed, orange zest, and cinnamon sugar.

Serves30 to 36

Prep30 minutes

Cook30 minutes to 40 minutes

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Biscochitos (Mexican biscuits or cookies) cut into circle and star shapes, spread across a white plate and also across a marble countertop, with bakery string laying nearby
Credit: Olivia Mack McCool

Biscochitos, the classic New Mexican cookies, are a mainstay during the holidays and special occasions like weddings or anniversaries. Fun fact: They’re also the official state cookie. Biscochitos are flavored with anise seed, orange zest and cinnamon sugar, and what makes them extra special is their melt-in-your mouth texture, which comes from the use of lard rather than butter.

While lard might not be a common ingredient in your baking (aside from maybe pie crust), it’s traditional and key in this recipe. It’s also relatively easy to find in a supermarket or butcher, and I promise you, after one bite, you’ll be glad you sought it out. For a tasty exterior crunch to contrast the sandy crumb, the cookies take a quick bath in cinnamon sugar before they go in the oven. 

Substitutes for Lard in Biscochitos

You can of course use butter instead of the lard. But you won’t have the same delicate crumb to your cookies. The cookie will be more dense like a traditional shortbread. Shortening is a good substitute for lard because they have very similar fat contents. Although you’ll be lacking in the rich flavor lard or butter lend. 

How to Store Biscochitos

A great feature of these delicious cookies is that they store beautifully, making it very convenient to bake them ahead of time. Once your cookies have completely cooled, place them in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to five days. 

Credit: Olivia Mack McCool

Wine or No Wine?

Some recipes for biscochitos call for a few tablespoons of wine or brandy in the dough. It’s said that New Mexico is one of the oldest sites of wine production in North America. So it would make sense that they would incorporate it into their most beloved cookie. This recipe has no alcohol in it because it’s not completely necessary for the recipe. However, if the dough seems dry and is not coming together in the mixer, you can add a little wine (or water!) to help.

Biscochitos Recipe

These festive cookies are flavored with anise seed, orange zest, and cinnamon sugar.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 30 to 36

Nutritional Info


  • 3 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1

    medium orange

  • 1 1/4 cups

    rendered pork lard

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon

    anise seeds

  • 1

    large egg

For the cinnamon sugar coating:

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon


  1. Place 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium orange (about 1 teaspoon) into a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Add 1 1/4 cups lard, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Lightly crush 1 tablespoon anise seeds with a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin. Add to the lard mixture and beat until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1 large egg and beat until on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.

  4. With the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until the dough is smooth and forms a ball. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

  5. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  6. Place one piece of dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a round about 11 inches wide and 1/4-inch thick. Cut cookies out with a round cutter or with a different-shaped cutter. Reserve the scraps.

  7. Lay each cookie in the cinnamon sugar and gently press to coat the underside. Gently transfer, cinnamon-sugar side up, to the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart.

  8. Bake until the bottoms are just golden-brown, 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking the remaining dough, including the scraps.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dough can be frozen and double-wrapped with plastic wrap for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before rolling out and baking.

Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.