Alternative names Pan francés (El Salvador)
Type Bread
Place of origin Mexico
Cookbook: Bolillo  Media: Bolillo

A bolillo (Spanish pronunciation: [boˈliʝo]) or pan francés (meaning "French bread") is a type of savory bread traditionally made in Mexico but also made in Central America. It is a variation of the baguette, but shorter in length and is often baked in a stone oven. Brought to Mexico City in the 1860s by Emperor Maximilian's troupe of cooks, its use quickly spread throughout the country.[1]

It is about 15 cm (six inches) long, in the shape of an ovoid, with a crunchy crust and a soft inside known as migajón (Spanish pronunciation: [miɣaˈxon]). It is the main ingredient for tortas and molletes. A variation of the bolillo is the telera, which is very similar, though it has a more rounded shape, is divided into three sections, and is usually softer. Other variations include bolillos made of alternate ingredients such as whole wheat, wheat germ, or flax.


The bolillo is a variation of the baguette, and thus often has names in the local language reflecting this. In Yucatán, they are known as barras. In Guadalajara and Sonora, they are called birotes which are often made with sourdough. In northern Mexico, they are known both as bolillos and pan blanco, whereas in northeast Mexico it is known as pan francés. In Sinaloa, they are called torcido and birote. In Central America, especially in El Salvador, it is also known as pan francés. In Panama, a similar but longer type of bread is known as flauta (flute) while pan francés refers to the thinner, crustier French baguette. In Brazil, a similar bread is made and known as pão francês or pão de sal ("bread of salt"). In the Philippines, another similar baguette-derived bread is known as pan de sal (also "bread of salt").


Bolillo is a slang term used in some parts of Mexico and the United States to refer to Anglos or, more generally, any pale-skinned person.[2][3][4] The usage is similar to the word gringo or gabacho and may or may not be a pejorative slur depending on the region and social context.

A more common meaning is used when a person says the expression "puro bolillo" (lit. only french bread), which is equivalent with the English slang word zilch.[5]


  1. "I am packing my own Torta…". Pati Jinich. June 11, 2009. Archived from the original on 2016-04-19.
  2. Gonzalez, Alicia Maria (1981). "'Guess How Doughnuts Are Made': Verbal and Non-Verbal Aspects of the Panadero and His Stereotype.". In Bauman, Abrahams. "And Other Neighborly Names": Social Process and Cultural Image in Texas Folklore. University of Texas Press. pp. 114–115.
  3. Paredes, Am (1995). Folklore and Culture on the Texas-Mexican Border. University of Texas Press. p. 36. ISBN 9780292765641.
  4. Richardson, Chad (1999). Batos, Bolillos, Pochos, & Pelados: Class & Culture on the South Texas Border. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292770911.
  5. "PURO+BOLILLO - Diccionario Abierto de Español".
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