The Spanish brought ensaïmadas—rich, tender rolls originally from Mallorca—to the Philippines. The spelling morphed into ensaymada, and what had been bread dough heavily enriched with pork lard became buttery rolls crowned with grated cheese and sprinkled with sugar. We slashed the prep time by starting with store-bought pizza dough. They end up chewier and a bit more rugged than classic brioche-based ensaymadas, but what you lose in tenderness you make up for in prep time.

What to buy: We designed these around premade pizza dough, available in 14- or 16-ounce bags at well-stocked groceries. If you’d like to make your own, you’ll need two-thirds of our recipe for Basic Pizza Dough.

This recipe was featured as part of our project to Turn Store-Bought Pizza Dough Into Sweet Treats!

  • Yield: 6 ensaymadas
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 mins
  • Active: 15 mins

Ingredients (4)

  • 1 pound store-bought pizza dough
  • Salted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated medium cheddar cheese


  1. Cut the pizza dough into 6 pieces. Roll each by hand into a thick cylinder, then curl into a spiral-shaped roll.
  2. Let rise 1 hour, then brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with the sugar, and top with a large pinch of the grated cheddar.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until risen and light brown, about 30 minutes.