clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Back Table’s tres leches topped with an orange slice and a whiskey-soaked cherry.
Tres leches is one of Houston’s most iconic desserts.
Mario Santos

9 Houston Tres Leches Cakes to Add to Your Bucket List

Treat yourself to this delicious, iconic Latin American dessert

View as Map
Tres leches is one of Houston’s most iconic desserts.
| Mario Santos

In Houston, where Latin American cuisine reigns supreme, tres leches is a truly iconic dessert.

The history of tres leches is often debated, but whether it originated in Mexico or Nicaragua is a discussion for another day. One thing that most people can agree on is the dessert’s foundation. Translated in English to “three milks,” tres leches begins with a fluffy sponge cake that is then soaked in a sweet combination of evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk or heavy cream before being topped with a form of frosting or whipped cream.

The result? A creamy, milky sometimes slightly salty dish that has become a staple for many social gatherings in the region.

Still, several local bakeries and restaurants around the city take their own liberties with the classic. El Bolillo Bakery, which opened in 1998, and Treacherous Leches both offer original takes, but push the boundaries with more modern combinations like Oreo, red velvet and Reese’s Peanutbutter, while establishments like Churrascos and Phoenicia Specialty Foods use the tres leches blueprint to create new sweet dishes entirely. Regardless, the diversity within the tres leches is worth diving into, so treat yourself.

Here are 9 spots in Houston dishing out some of the best tres leches.

Don’t see your favorite spot on the list? Shout it out in the comments.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Back Table

Copy Link

Hailing most recently from New Orleans, Chef Jonathan Lestingi offers a boozy spin on the tres leches. Inspired by an Old Fashioned cocktail, this tantalizing tres leches is soaked in bourbon and then topped with orange bitters-infused whipped cream, orange slices, a whiskey-soaked cherry, and a dried orange peel. 

El Bolillo Bakery

Copy Link

A Houston institution, this Mexican bakery is a most-trusted site for its classic baked goods, including fresh pastries, flan, and you guessed it — tres leches. Offered by the slice or in whole cakes, El Bolillo offers more than a dozen flavors, including Oreo, strawberry, and chocolate, which are perfect go-to for local celebrations.

End your meal at this Mexican restaurant with a different take on the tres leches. Keeping to its theme of incorporating corn, a native staple, in many of its dishes, Maize soaks its corn sponge cake in a corn-infused three-milk combination for a unique texture and flavor.

Treacherous Leches

Copy Link

As the name suggests, this dessert shop is dedicated to the art that is tres leches with a boatload of impressive flavors. Venture out beyond the original but classic vanilla, and try the Reese’s Peanutbutter, red velvet, pina colada, caramel, chocolate, or the blue velvet — a blend of white chocolate, mocha, and vanilla flavors. If you’re celebrating another year around the sun, the birthday cake tres leches, which is soaked in “birthday milk” and well wishes, is more than appropriate and comes doused in whipped cream and sprinkles.

Phoenicia Specialty Foods

Copy Link

With cakes made to order, Phoenicia Specialty is a reliable spot to order a tres leches for any festivity, but for a rich and welcomed departure from the classic, go for their tres leches cheesecake. Offered to-go by the slice for $4.50, this is so good it might not make it to your final destination.

Churrascos

Copy Link

Though meat is obviously a focus at this Latin American steakhouse, it has developed a cult following solely for its creamy tres leches, which is topped with Italian meringue. Ask for the “flamado” version, during which a server sets the milk-soaked cake ablaze, or visit on Sundays, when from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Churrascos offers a brunch buffet that serves tres leches in pancake form.

Dessert Gallery Bakery & Cafe

Copy Link

Another Houston favorite, Dessert Gallery has created a reputation for its tres leches — a yellow sponge cake drenched in cream and evaporated and condensed milk for a richer, milkier texture. Available by the slice or in full cake form, Dessert Gallery also offers its tres leches in 8-ounce jars, making it not only easily transferable but more scoopable, too.

100% Taquito

Copy Link

Though known for its cheap but delicious and easy-to-devour street tacos, 100% Taquitos also brags about its desserts. Its tres leches cake is moist, smothered in whipped cream and topped with a generous pile of strawberries, with plenty of leche at the bottom of the to-go container to sop up with each bite.

Pappasito's Cantina

Copy Link

It’s likely you’re questioning how this local chain made the list for its tres leches of all things, but trust, it’s deserving. Bragged about by servers and bartenders as a favorite post-shift treat, this meringue-topped tres leches comes out delightfully cold, with a hypnotizing three-milk creamy concoction that you’ll want to slurp up with your spoon.

Back Table

Hailing most recently from New Orleans, Chef Jonathan Lestingi offers a boozy spin on the tres leches. Inspired by an Old Fashioned cocktail, this tantalizing tres leches is soaked in bourbon and then topped with orange bitters-infused whipped cream, orange slices, a whiskey-soaked cherry, and a dried orange peel. 

El Bolillo Bakery

A Houston institution, this Mexican bakery is a most-trusted site for its classic baked goods, including fresh pastries, flan, and you guessed it — tres leches. Offered by the slice or in whole cakes, El Bolillo offers more than a dozen flavors, including Oreo, strawberry, and chocolate, which are perfect go-to for local celebrations.

Maize

End your meal at this Mexican restaurant with a different take on the tres leches. Keeping to its theme of incorporating corn, a native staple, in many of its dishes, Maize soaks its corn sponge cake in a corn-infused three-milk combination for a unique texture and flavor.

Treacherous Leches

As the name suggests, this dessert shop is dedicated to the art that is tres leches with a boatload of impressive flavors. Venture out beyond the original but classic vanilla, and try the Reese’s Peanutbutter, red velvet, pina colada, caramel, chocolate, or the blue velvet — a blend of white chocolate, mocha, and vanilla flavors. If you’re celebrating another year around the sun, the birthday cake tres leches, which is soaked in “birthday milk” and well wishes, is more than appropriate and comes doused in whipped cream and sprinkles.

Phoenicia Specialty Foods

With cakes made to order, Phoenicia Specialty is a reliable spot to order a tres leches for any festivity, but for a rich and welcomed departure from the classic, go for their tres leches cheesecake. Offered to-go by the slice for $4.50, this is so good it might not make it to your final destination.

Churrascos

Though meat is obviously a focus at this Latin American steakhouse, it has developed a cult following solely for its creamy tres leches, which is topped with Italian meringue. Ask for the “flamado” version, during which a server sets the milk-soaked cake ablaze, or visit on Sundays, when from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Churrascos offers a brunch buffet that serves tres leches in pancake form.

Dessert Gallery Bakery & Cafe

Another Houston favorite, Dessert Gallery has created a reputation for its tres leches — a yellow sponge cake drenched in cream and evaporated and condensed milk for a richer, milkier texture. Available by the slice or in full cake form, Dessert Gallery also offers its tres leches in 8-ounce jars, making it not only easily transferable but more scoopable, too.

100% Taquito

Though known for its cheap but delicious and easy-to-devour street tacos, 100% Taquitos also brags about its desserts. Its tres leches cake is moist, smothered in whipped cream and topped with a generous pile of strawberries, with plenty of leche at the bottom of the to-go container to sop up with each bite.

Pappasito's Cantina

It’s likely you’re questioning how this local chain made the list for its tres leches of all things, but trust, it’s deserving. Bragged about by servers and bartenders as a favorite post-shift treat, this meringue-topped tres leches comes out delightfully cold, with a hypnotizing three-milk creamy concoction that you’ll want to slurp up with your spoon.

Related Maps