Chela’s Bakery: Riverside’s Mexican Sweet Bread Heaven

By Camila Rocha |

Conchas. Bolillos. Empanadas. All these Mexican sweet treats and more can be found at Chela’s Bakery! With three locations distributed throughout Riverside and Moreno Valley, this paradise of authentic sweet breads offers a taste of Michoacan-style pastries at an affordable price. Discover a diverse array of pan dulce and carb-loaded deliciousness at this local gem!

Pan Integral – Whole Wheat Bread

One of the main attractions of Chela’s Bakery is their whole wheat bread. While most modern Southern California bakeries rely on white bread for their pan dulce, this shop offers a wide variety of traditional recipes made from whole wheat, adding a unique  richness to the bread’s flavor and texture. In addition to added nutritional benefits like higher fiber and protein content, Chela’s bread is sure to pair perfectly with your morning coffee!

Pan Dulce – Sweet Bread

When you enter Chela’s Bakery, you are immediately confronted with the sweet, tempting scent of freshly-baked Mexican sweet bread. All of these mouth-watering pastries are baked on site and visitors can even sneak peeks at the bread rising in the ovens beyond the counters! Here are just a few of Chela’s sweet bread options: 

Conchas: A Mexican classic, these breads are covered with a sweet, crunchy paste topping resembling a seashell. 

Puerquitos: These flat breads stand out for their unique pig shape and rich piloncillo or Mexican brown sugar flavor. 

Empanadas: These pastries are made from a sweet dough with an infinite variety of fillings! The most common flavors at Chela’s Bakery are guava, pumpkin, pineapple, and cajeta or Mexican caramel. 

Engranilladas: At first sight, these fluffy sweet breads might resemble a concha! However, a layer of sprinkled sugar sets them apart! 

Orejas: The name of these cinnamon sugar puff pastries comes from their ear-like shape. Their light and crispy texture makes them stand out from your typical pan dulce!

Bolillos – Bread Rolls

Born in France but adopted by Latin America, bolillos are savory bread rolls with a fluffy interior. They have become a staple of Mexican cuisine and can be eaten alone, toasted, or incorporated in recipes. Among the most popular uses of bolillos are tortas: bolillo sandwiches with ingredients ranging from breaded chicken to guacamole. If you are looking for a quick grab-and-go meal, Chela’s bolillos stuffed with jalapeno and cheese are the perfect option!

Pasteles – Cakes

For those with a sweet tooth or an upcoming celebration, Chela’s cakes are lifesavers. Among the sweet bread and bolillos, customers can find single portion sheet cakes in flavors ranging from vanilla to carrot. Chela’s also offers custom cakes for any occasion from classic flavors like tres leches and chocolate to more exotic options like orange, mocha, pineapple with coconut, and even churro! 

For the Holidays

Food plays an important role in Mexican culture, especially during the holidays. Luckily, Chela’s Bakery offers traditional baked goods for special occasions. During October and November, the bakery’s shelves are lined with pan de muerto. These sweet bread rolls with patterns reminiscent of bones are traditionally used as altar offerings during Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday celebrating the lives of the deceased. 

On the 6th of January, families gather to celebrate Three Kings Day and commemorate the three wise men who brought gifts for baby Jesus according to Christian tradition. At the center of this celebration are the Roscas de Reyes—crown-shaped sweet breads topped with a sugar crust and dried fruit. According to tradition, whoever finds the plastic baby figurines hidden inside has to cook tamales for everyone on February 2nd, also known as Candelaria Day! Next time the holiday season rolls around, stop by Chela’s Bakery to order your Rosca de Reyes!

Location, Hours, and More

There are currently three Chela’s Bakery locations: two in Riverside and one in Moreno Valley. The Park Avenue location in Riverside opens at 7:00 a.m. and closes at 8:30 p.m. The Arlington Avenue location in Riverside is also open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekends. The Moreno Valley location is open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the exception of weekends which close at 6:00 p.m. 

For more information about Chela’s Bakery, call (951) 680-9983.