Copycat Papparoti Buns

Got the papparoti craving after your flight to Dubai was cancelled and probably will be for a long time? Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Here is my take on the famous Papparoti buns aka Mexican coffee buns. It isn’t 100% what you get in the Papparoti shop themselves but it’s pretty darn close. 

A papparoti bun is basically a bun which has had a sweet mocha icing piped on top before being baked in the oven for a few minutes. It is usually served warm and you have a choice from an array of toppings such as condensed milk, pistachio, nutella, lotus etc. In other words, it is the perfect accompaniment to your post iftar chai. 

It does require some work and isn’t something you can make in less than an hour, but trust me, all the labour and love that went into it will be worth it.

Just be sure to give this recipe a good read before you get cracking as you want to make sure you get the dough just right. No one likes a tough set of buns 😉 



50g salted butter, cut into 8 cubes and frozen

150ml warm milk

1 tsp yeast

1tsp sugar

250g plain flour

1 tbsp sugar 

½ tsp salt 

1 beaten egg

30g unsalted butter, room temperature 

Mocha mixture:

3tsp instant coffee

2 tsp water 

50g unsalted butter, room temperature

50g icing sugar

50g plain flour

1 egg


  1. Cut 50g of salted butter into 8 cubes and place in the freezer. 
  2. Add 1tsp yeast and 1tsp sugar into 150ml of warm milk and mix. Leave aside for the yeast to activate. 
  3. In a big bowl, add flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt, and mix with a spoon. Add in the beaten egg and stir. Pour in the yeast-milk mixture and mix lightly until the dough has come together.
  4. Using your hands, lightly knead the sticky dough in the bowl for a few minutes and then cover and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes. 
  5. The dough should be less sticky to handle at this point. If you find it is still sticky, add in 1tbsp of flour and keep kneading. Spread the dough out lightly and rub in 30g of the softened unsalted butter. Knead the dough until the butter has been fully absorbed and the dough is soft and elastic. 
  6. Form the dough into a ball, place into the bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Leave this to rise for an hour or two, or until the dough has doubled in size. A dark, warm place is ideal for a good rise. 
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size, form 7-8 equal-sized balls from this, place on a chopping board, and cover for 15 minutes. 
  8. Take one dough ball, flatten it out, place a cube of frozen butter in the middle and seal it into a ball. Roll the ball around to ensure there are no seals open. Repeat for all dough balls and place back on the board. 
  9. Cover in cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 40 minutes to 1 hour. They should double in size. 
  10. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. 
  11. For the mocha icing: Dissolve the instant coffee with water. In a separate bowl, beat the softened unsalted butter and sift in the icing sugar. Cream this together before sifting in the flour and then mixing. Add in the egg and the coffee mixture and combine well until a light brown paste is reached. Place the mocha icing into a piping bag. 
  12. Place the dough balls onto a parchment-lined tray and pipe on the coffee icing using a spiral pattern on each ball. 
  13. Place the tray in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the icing has melted all over the buns and darkened slightly in colour. The top should be slightly crispy.
  14. Serve immediately with topping of your choice. If not serving immediately, you can reheat these in the oven on a very low heat for a few minutes until they have warmed up. 

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