Paparajotes – Cinnamon Sugar Lemon Leaves


Papajarotes are the defining recipe of the summers of my childhood. A lemon leaf, covered in doughnut batter, fried and dusted with cinammon and sugar. In every bite, mixed in with the cinammon, there’s a hint of lemon that’s at once both strong and subtle. It’s incredible to have so much citrusy flavour impregnated in the dough, all thanks to the leaf  (which of course you don’t eat!)

This delicacy comes to us straight from Spain, more specifically from Murcia. Every summer, my family used to go to Spain for our family holidays, and our neighbours there, who come from the city of Murcia, introduced us to this delicious treat. Usually we’d meet for lunch after spending the morning at the beach. My parents would prepare a big paella and the neighbours would bring the paparajotes for dessert. We’d end up spending five hours at the table, eating, drinking and talking. I must have been just a little girl the first time I tasted paparajotes, and I loved them so much that I’d beg our neighbours to make them again every summer after that.


Later on, they taught me the recipe. It’s not hard, but it’s one of those tricky kinds of recipes that requires access to a particular ingredient – namely the lemon leaves, which are not always the easiest to find. At my parent’s house in Spain I’m lucky to have a garden with a lemon tree, so whenever I’m there it’s no problem. Otherwise, I need to ask my parents to send me some leaves from the tree when they can. I know, it’s a little bizarre but they fit fine in an envelope!

Speaking of which, consider this an open call to any and all who live in a sunny region with lemon trees and want to send me a few. It would be VERY appreciated! It’s not something I seem to find anywhere around Berlin. I had the idea to get a little lemon tree in a pot, but I don’t think it’d do very well living indoors in our flat, and certainly wouldn’t survive the german winter outdoors. I’ve definitely got a need to fill, so… I’m counting on you!

I hope that you’ll appreciate this recipe as much as I do – it’s one of my faves, and for me, pretty-much guaranteed to be a lemony, sugary, success.

If you make my paparajotes, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @berlinandcoconuts  I love seeing your recreations!


Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
Total time: 15 min


  • 20 lemon leaves, cleaned and dry*
  • 1 egg or vegan substitute like flax egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar of choice, 100 g
  • zest of one small lemon, optional
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp plant based milk (I like to use oat milk), 250 ml
  • 2 cups of flour, 250 g
  • some neutral oil to fry
  • sugar and cinnamon, to serve


  1. Rinse all your lemon leaves to clean them and make sure they are dry when you start cooking.

  2. In a plate, mix around 1 tbsp of sugar with some cinnamon. Set aside.

  3. In a mixing bowl, beat your egg. Then add the sugar and the lemon zest is using. Mix well.

  4. Add the plant based mylk of choice, mix again.

  5. Add your flour gradually.

    Depending on the flour you're using, you might need more or less. I usually end up using my 2 cups (250g) but this might vary. Just make sure the batter is smooth and thick enough to stick on the leaves when you dip them in it. 

  6. Add oil to a sauce pan (enough to fry the leaves)

    Once hot, start dipping your leaves in the batter, they need to be fully covered. Let the excess batter drip off and add to the sauce pan. Fry both sides until nice and golden.

  7. When ready, remove from saucepan and lay on top of absorbing paper to absorb excess of oil. 

  8. Repeat until all your leaves are done.

  9. Before serving, sprinkle each side with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

    Although I think this recipe stays good a few days, I think it's better when serves fresh. 


*If you don't have access to lemon leaves, you can still make the recipe and add more lemon for a stronger flavor! I know some people do it this way when they don't have the leaves. 

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