Learn how to make the best homemade copycat PappaRoti Buns.
Also known as Mexican Coffee Buns and Rotiboy Buns, the sweet Malaysian pastry is a staple at bakeries throughout Asia.
Fluffy yeast-risen dough is stuffed with cold cubes of butter then swirled on the surface with a sweet coffee topping that gets crispy and crunchy after baking in an oven.
Serve the delicious sweet bread rolls in the morning with a mug of coffee for a quick and easy breakfast on the go.
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What Are Mexican Coffee Buns?
Mexican Coffee Buns are sweet bread rolls that are stuffed with cubes of cold butter and coated in a thin crispy coffee pastry topping.
The origins of the Mexican Coffee Bun are believed to have started in Hong Kong via Mexican immigrants and then spread in popularity throughout Asia.
Like the Russians who gave Hong Kong borscht and the fluffy sponge cakes that are also a local staple, Mexican Coffee Bun recipes trace their roots to a wave of migrants that passed through Hong Kong in the middle of the 20th century.
“The numbers were always really small,” says Julia María Schiavone Camacho, the author of Chinese Mexicans and professor of Latin American history at Antioch College in the United States. “The number of Chinese Mexicans in Hong Kong and Macau was never more than a few hundred, with several hundred more on the mainland,” she said.
A number of culinary historians claim the pastry was created by the Ng family, who were expelled from Mexico and settled in Hong Kong. In 1946, they opened a bing sutt (a Chinese drinking house) on Shanghai Street, where they sold Mexican Coffee Buns as a tribute to the concha, a traditional Mexican bun that features a sweet cookie crust.
In Southeast Asia the sweet pastries were made popular by Malaysian bakery chains Rotiboy and PappaRoti.
Rotiboy vs PappaRoti Bun
Rotiboy and PappaRoti are two Malaysian bakery chains that famously produce their own unique recipes for Mexican Coffee Buns.
Rotiboy Bakeshoppe opened its first bakery in Penang in 1998. It is the Malaysian bakery that is perhaps most associated with Mexican Coffee Buns as the pastry is frequently ordered simply as a “Rotiboy” or “Rotiboy Bun.” Rotiboy has sold over 600 million Mexican Coffee Buns worldwide!
In 2009 Al Danhani acquired the Kuala Lumpur based PappaRoti, which translates to ‘Father of the bun’ in Malaysian. PappaRoti launched in 2003, but Danhani turned it from a maker of buns and beverages into a coffee shop chain, with the addictive coffee-coated bun as its signature pastry.
Travel to Malaysia by Baking Mexican Coffee Buns at Home
I love traveling through Asia.
After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout Asia for 6 months, visiting the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, The Maldives, India and Malaysia.
In 2008 I spent a month backpacking through Malaysia, visiting wild Orangutans in Borneo, scuba diving Sipidan, exploring Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, eating my way through Penang, strolling the tea fields of the Cameron Highlands and wining and dining in cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur.
Later in 2018 as a travel journalist I had the opportunity to return to Malaysia to visit The Andaman Langkawi and Four Seasons Resort Langkawi. I discovered there are plenty of things to do on Langkawi. Malaysia’s famous tropical island offers museums, jaw-dropping lookouts, unique wildlife experiences and a bustling local food market.
What I found most fascinating is Malaysia’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in France, Germany, Italy or Spain, each destination in Malaysia had its own local speciality. Two of my favourite Malaysian dishes are Penang Prawn Noodle Soup Hokkien Mee and Roti Canai Curry.
I love visiting local bakeries when I travel and encountered Rotiboy and Papparoti shops in every city I visited in Malaysia. Locals love Mexican Coffee Buns for their thin and crunchy exterior and soft and buttery interior.
If you’re traveling through Malaysia one of the most affordable breakfast options is a PappaRoti Bun hot out of the oven. I like to savour it while sipping a cup of tea or espresso.
You can share your love for the popular Malaysian bread roll with friends and family at home by baking our homemade PappatRoti Bun recipe!
My Family Loves PappaRoti Buns
After traveling to Malaysia I wanted to share my love for Mexican Coffee Buns by recreating my own recipe at home for friends and family.
I prepared this copycat Rotiboy recipe at our family cottage in Muskoka one summer morning to pair with a hot pot of coffee.
I knew my parents would love PappaRoti Buns as they enjoy coffee flavoured desserts, soft bread rolls and creamy butter.
My mom loved the surprise inside. I instructed her to tear the bun in half so she could see the interior, which featured a decadent soft pillowy dough where the cube of butter had melted in the oven.
My dad loved the crunchy and crispy coffee topping, which pairs perfectly with any espresso coffee beverage.
Homemade Rotiboy Recipe Tips
This PappaRoti Buns recipe is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time bakers.
- You can knead the dough with your hands or prepare the recipe in a Stand Mixer using a dough hook attachment.
- When dividing the dough into portions use a weigh scale to ensure each roll is approximately 60 g. This will ensure the Mexican Coffee Buns come out of the oven in uniform sizes.
- Use a pastry bag (the kind you use to decorate cakes with icing) to swirl the surface of each dough ball with the coffee topping.
What To Serve with PappaRoti Buns
PappaRoti Buns can be enjoyed all on their own as a grab and go breakfast or sweet afternoon snack.
In the morning we like to serve Mexican Coffee Buns as a simple breakfast pastry with a pot of coffee or cup of tea.
If you’re hosting brunch for friends or family serving our easy Rotiboy recipe as a sweet pastry with other breakfast dishes like:
- Air Fryer Breakfast Sausage
- Air Fryer Eggo Waffles
- Chao Ga Vietnamese Rice Porridge
- Kanom Jeeb Thai Steamed Dumplings
- Ejjeh Vegetarian Lebanese Herb Omelette
- Salsa de Huevo Mexican Scrambled Eggs
- Pork Sausage Stuffed Apples
- Southern Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon
- Blueberry Lemon Muffin Tops
- Buckwheat Gluten Free Porridge
- Mihlama Kuymak Turkish Melted Cheese and Cornmeal
- Sourdough French Toast or Baileys French Toast
- Healthy Breakfast Polenta Bowl
- Blueberry Mango Crepes with Coconut Flour
- Banana Oat Flour Pancakes
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Storing PappaRoti Buns
If you have leftover PappaRoti Buns you can store them in the fridge in a ziplock bag for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat, quickly warm in a 300 F oven, toaster oven or air fryer for 2-3 minutes. Avoid using a microwave as it will cause the crispy topping to lose it’s desired crunchy texture.
How To Make Homemade Mexican Coffee PappaRoti Buns
Rotiboy PappaRoti Mexican Coffee Buns
- Mixing bowls
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- baking sheet
- Pastry Bag
- 325 g All Purpose Flour
- 150 ml Milk
- 1 Egg
- 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1.5 tsp Yeast
- 3 tbsp White Sugar
- 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter divided into 10 cubes and frozen
- 5 tbsp Instant Coffee Powder
- 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 50 g All Purpose Flour
- 2 tbsp Powdered Sugar
- Pinch Kosher Salt
- 1 Egg
- 10 ml Warm Water
- Add in the milk, sugar, salt, yeast, egg, butter and flour into a large bowl. Mix everything together to form a shaggy dough. Knead the dough until you achieve a soft, smooth, elastic dough.
- Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces approximately 60g each. Roll each portion into small round balls. Flatten the balls and stuff with a frozen butter cube and then wrap it with the dough. Place rolls onto a nonstick baking tray or on to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough balls sit and rest for 80-90 minutes.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the topping ingredients until smooth.
- Pipe the prepared coffee topping onto the risen buns in a tight circular pattern.
- Bake the Mexican Coffee Buns in a 350F preheated oven for 20-22 minutes. Rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before serving.
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