How to Make Pan de Campo

The cuisine of King Ranch offers a harmonious blend of traditions, native South Texas ingredients, and regional flavors that preserve the spirit of the Kineño culture. Dishes range from the simple, hearty fare of la corrida (the cow camp) to the more continental, sophisticated offerings of the Casa Grande in the Main House. One irreplaceable menu item for King Ranch cuisine is the pan de campo, skillet-sized disks of bread that accompany any good cow camp meal, alongside hot, strong, black coffee and frijoles. Read below to learn how to recreate the Pan de Campo all on your own, courtesy of Laureles Ranch Cow Camp Cook Juan Torrez. Find 250 more regional recipes developed from over a century of ranching in the Wild Horse Desert in our King Ranch Cook Book, and find our selection of camp cookware and other dining essentials here.

Pour flour into large pan and make a well in the center, add milk and mix well with your hand.  Add water as needed.

When dough reaches a texture that it does not cling to your fingers, it will be ready to roll.  Divide into 10 or 12 balls and roll out to a thickness of about 1/2″ thick and 10″ in diameter.  Prick several times with a fork and place in a hot Dutch oven which has been wiped with oil.

The lid should be warmed in coals – not too hot but hot enough that you cannot hold your hand on the lid.  Place the lid on the oven and let cook for two or three minutes.

Check and if more heat is needed, apply coals to the lid.  As it is baking, place your hand on the bread and twist to the right and then to the left to make sure the bread is not sticking: if it is, lift the sides with fork.

Pan de Campo de Laureles Ingredients

To be cooked on open fire in a covered dutch oven.

  • 5       pounds tortilla flour mix
  • 1       can Pet Milk
  • 5 or 6 cups water

King Ranch Cooking Knives


  • My dad was Jesus (Chacho)Garcia who retired from the King Ranch. He along with a crew of men would clear land for the Ranch with caterpillars. They would make camp and stay at their camps. Their cook back then was Jacinto Rivas who would also also make the pan de campo, and cook the food for the crew. My dad would bring us some pan de campo when he came home.

    • Joe Buentello says:

      Great memories!

    • Mauricio Alvarez says:

      I am a King Ranch cook, because one just like my ancestors Alvarez Family,my name is Mauricio (Mice) Alvarez…

    • Linda Rodriguez says:

      My Uncle Lupe and Aunt Chepa lived on the King Ranch until they passed away their son “Tres” what I called him still lived there. I remember eating pan de campo all the time. I lived on the ranch until I was 5 and my dad Tony Rodriguez drove caterpillars for the ranch as well.

  • Ernesto Galvan says:

    We lived in Sarita from 1949-1953. My dad was the cook for one of the Kenedy’s Cowboy outfits. He made his pan de campo from scratch. Flour, baking powder, lard, salt and water were his ingredients and it was so good. Thanks for the memories.

    • Judith K. Sweatt says:

      Hello Ernesto:
      My name is Judith Sweatt. I left a comment underneath yours. I noticed that your dad’s version of “pan de campo” has different ingredients than the one from the Laureles Ranch. I would like to try to make both. I would deeply appreciate it if you could share his recipe and measurements for his ingredients with us…
      Thank you,

  • Rebeca Singleton says:

    I have been wanting this recipe for awhile. Cannot wait to make some!

  • Rolando says:

    Am going try it

  • Diana Gonzales says:

    My grandfather from falfurias would bake it outside on mesquite coals and his dutch oven

  • Clifford Marsters says:

    I had the best memories of pan de Campo on the Laureles being a guest of Bobby Cavazos,once manager on a overnight fishing and camping on Laguna Madre after a Hurricane,great memories riding around in pickup netting crabs ,fishing and eating best Chuck in world

  • Barbara Juarez says:

    Can’t wait to make it.

  • Elsie says:

    What size can of Pet milk??

  • James R Lafosse says:

    I’m going to use the recipe for Elk camp in the San Juan Range in southern Colorado.

  • Judith K. Sweatt says:

    My grandmother, Sarita Ibarra Gonzalez, a Mexican immigrant, from Cuidad Camargo, Tamps., (d.o.b. 12/17/1901) would tell me about when she worked on the King Ranch, as Sarita Kleberg’s housekeeper, during the Depression Era. She would recount how she and her two daughters (my mother and aunt) never wanted for anything; as their needs (eggs, meat, milk, good friends, etc.) were all taken care of, at the Ranch. I don’t remember her mentioning “pan de campo”. I’ll try my hand at Juan Torrez’ “Pan de Campo de Laureles” recipe. I would also enjoy making a batch of Mr. Ernesto Galvan’s version; if he would kindly supply me with measurements for his dad’s recipe…

  • Bill Thompson says:

    So glad to finally find this recipe. I grew up in Falfurrias and my dad would take me to barbeques at the Mills-Bennett hunting camp. Pan de campo was always served and I miss the texture and taste of the bread. Now I can recreate those memories!

    • Linda Alcott Maples says:

      Hi just curious about who the Mr. Bennett was in the Mills-Bennett hunting camp.

      I have an indirect Bennett line (plus lots of other lines) which ended up in Nueces Co., TX in the mid-1850’s. My direct Bennett line ended up in
      Johnson Co., TX and then on to Callahan/Eastland Counties by the early 1880’s.

      Thanks for any info.

  • Margaritas Silvas Sanchez says:

    My great uncle Don Chon Silvas & great aunt Doña Ines Silvas worked on the King Ranch. I believe some of my family still does. I’m going to definitely have to try this pan de campo.

  • Kerry kimbro says:

    Would like to try the recipe if you could send ingredient amounts

    • krsaddleshop says:

      The ingredient amounts are listed at the top of the article, but here they are in case you couldn’t see them!

      To be cooked on open fire in a covered dutch oven.

      5 pounds tortilla flour mix
      1 can Pet Milk
      5 or 6 cups water

  • Antinio O.Rosas says:

    I was born in Falfurrias Texas in 1954 at the now gone Brooks co. Hospital. My uncle Olivero Rosas a long time resident of Falfurrias was very active in the city and owner of Rosas’ Old Fashion Hamburger Resturant on St. Mary St. Mr.Rosas and his wife Eva every morning at 5:00am would open their place and one the staples was Pan De Campo,they had one of the most tasty items they called cunyas ,they were the pan cut in triangles opened in the middle and filled with breakfast foods and at lunch they offered Barbcoa ,Carne Qiesada and many other wonderful makeins all made by hand. My uncle passed away many years ago,but he is still remembered in Falfurrias for his service to the city and all the wonderful and tasty offerings at Rosas’ Old Fashion Hambugers.My Aunt Eva and my Uncle Olivero Rosas will always be remembered in that small south Texas town.
    From a greatful nephew !
    Antonio O.Rosas


  • Rosario Garcia Vela says:

    All awesome responses. I will most definitely make that pan de campo.

  • Felipe Garcia Jr says:

    I read ,I read , I read how so many seem to get Pan De Campo Recipes from past generations of Ex King Ranch Cookies that are now in Heaven,, I as a young buck had the opportunity to learn from the BEST My Father was Felipe E. Garcia i say the BEST Because I put out this CHALLENGE, As the BEST COOK for the King Ranch for years and years and years he was thought how to cook and make all kinds of meal at different out pastures locations by different generations of former king ranch cooks himself (Boy that’s a lot of years) all untill his retirement He thought me the King Ranch Cooks way of how to make the MOST Delicious Appealing and just the correct moisture that Pan De Campo should have ,, HERES THE CHALLENGE DUTCH OVEN COOKING ONLY,, BUT I must WARN you J Continue to cook Pan De Campo n cook different old recipes that were mentally handed down to me each day,, Who ami you say, The Best,,, Lol anyone up for the challenge of this AWESOME bread that has been around for Generations that All I read is talk,,,,

    • Mauricio Alvarez says:

      I like your attitude,but you are not the only cook in this area I’m from King Ranch too the big L Laureles .so whenever you want to test your skills let me know…my name is Mauricio Mice Alvarez…my last name speaks for It’s self my friend…CHALLENGE ACCEPTED……

  • Felipe Garcia Jr says:

    Oh and just like the Colonel’s Kentucky fried chicken I do not share this receipt ,,,,, SORRY

  • Teresa says:

    My grandfather used to make Cowboy Bread in the dutch oven over coals and when he died no one knew his recipe. A few months ago a long time family friend said she had the recipe as told to her by my grandfather as he was making it one day. She pulled that recipe out of her wallet where she said she’s had it all these years. Our family decided to have a Garcia Cowboy Bread Cookoff this Christmas 2020. It was so much fun and so many different flavors. We’re doing it again next year.

  • Emma A says:

    My grandfather was Arcadio Aleman . He used to work at the King Ranch and would make the Pan de campo open fire in an iron skillet. So good !!

  • Hector vela says:

    I know that was the good last year but I used to make the pan del campo in one of camp side back in the year 1982/1983/1984 the year go by I had a Tx Ranger by name of L S All he had wan a pice of bread (He always said this pice go a long way) Thank you My name HRVela

  • Mauricio Alvarez says:

    One think I know is that some people try to make pan de campo and think they got it figured out, but its not that easy to make right, yes it may look good or taste decent but as soon it gets cold its gets hard as a rock. I Learned from my father Enrique blackie Alvarez Jr, and he learned from his father my grandfather Enrique Alvarez Sr .and so on….I say one last thing I make pan de campo on a regular basis and I don’t have it all figure either, best I can do try my best and roll with that….thanks everyone for your time.

    • Jefferson Davis says:

      Hey Mr. Mice Alvarez! I love how you are continuing to keep these traditions going! My neighbor taught me how to make pan de campo last year. He was born in 1939 and worked all over The King Ranch as a contract surveyor. He has some awesome stories about THE one and only King Ranch! He and I plan to make some more when the weather turns cooler in a couple weeks!