Every once in a while a photo makes no justice to the dish. Case in point: tlayuda. But this recipe turned out soooo delicious that I must share right now, I don’t want to wait until I make it again.  It is tastier than you would imagine from its simple ingredients put together. Very quick to prepare, perfect to make a weeknight feel special…  The recipe was recently featured by Marcela Valladolid in her show Mexican Made Easy.  It comes from the Oaxaca region in Mexico and her description of the place made me want to buy a ticket and fly there.  Tlayudas are a typical street food, and everybody loves them.   I can tell you, the combination of refried beans with the Oaxaca cheese, the lettuce and Mexican crema is spectacular!  The chorizo adds a lot to it, but if you are vegetarian, simply omit it, the tlayuda can shine on its own without it. Avocados on the side (or sliced on top) would be amazing too…


(adapted from Marcela Valladolid)

 for topping:
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 ounces raw pork chorizo
One 16-ounce canned refried pinto beans

for tortilla base:
2 cups instant corn masa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 + ¼ cup water
1 tablespoons vegetable oil

for final assembly:
1/2 cup Oaxaca cheese
Iceberg lettuce, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crumbled queso fresco
Mexican crema

For the chorizo and bean topping: In a large heavy saute pan, heat 1 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve. Heat the beans on low heat or in a microwave until very hot and easy to spread.  Reserve, keeping warm.

For the tortillas: Combine the corn masa, 1 cup of water and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly by hand to form a soft dough, about 2 minutes. If the dough feels dry, add more water (one tablespoon at a time).  You may not need to use the full amount of water left.

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron or heavy skillet. Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface. Put half of the dough onto the parchment paper and place another piece of parchment paper on top. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough until it is 1/4-inch thick and 10 inches in diameter.  Drizzle the oil into the hot skillet and place the rolled out masa dough into the skillet to cook for about 2 minutes. Turn over to cook on the other side.

Spread 1/2 cup of the warm refried beans onto the cooked side of dough. Add 1/4 cup Oaxaca cheese and 1/2 cup cooked chorizo. Continue to cook for until the cheese is melted, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pizza from the pan onto a round serving platter. Top with the iceberg lettuce. Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco and a drizzle of Mexican crema. Cut into wedges and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining half of dough and toppings.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The recipe makes two 10-inch discs. I did not use the full amount of the dough, and instead  made two 8-inch discs. They were perfect for our dinner, with a little slice leftover.  If you make the full recipe, it could be a wonderful appetizer for a get-together, cutting each tlayuda in squares.  That is exactly the suggestion for serving as published in the FoodTV website, by the way.

The only challenging part of making tlayuda is transferring the rolled out dough to the hot skillet.  My first production reminded me of a book I was quite fond of growing up, Le Petit Prince, by Saint-Exupéry.  Quite a popular book in Brazil at the time. Yes, that was more or less the shape of my first tlayuda.


Undeterred, I moved on to the second pizza, and managed to get a round enough shape to justify the name.  Oh, well. Taste is more important than looks, and even the elephant-shaped concoction was devoured with gusto. Plus, cutting the odd-shaped tlayuda in 4 pieces is a nice way to exercise your brains. And knife skills.

The dough is of course quite similar to a tortilla, but thicker and absolutely perfect for a pizza-like base.  I will definitely keep this recipe in mind to improvise with other types of toppings, including options traditionally associated with Italian pizza.


“Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur.

L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince


ONE YEAR AGO: Paradise Revisited

TWO YEARS AGO: Feijoada, the Ultimate Brazilian Feast

THREE YEARS AGO: Vegetable Milhojas

FOUR YEARS AGO: Italian Bread

22 thoughts on “TLAYUDA, A MEXICAN PIZZA

  1. Sally, when I saw this in my reader, I had to click on it straight away, probably for the same reason that you had to post it straight away! All the flavours sound irresistible, especially when combined in the one dish! And I LOVE the Little Prince, my new blogbuddy Fig and Quince mentioned it in one of her recent posts as well!


    • Saint Exupery had a very interesting life, and a tragic death, although his body was never found, as far as I know.

      Hope you try this tlayuda, Celia, it was absolutely wonderful, but definitely not that light – portion control required 😉


  2. I have a large bag of masa in my pantry from making pupusas and tamales. And some home made chorizo sausage in my freezer. I would have to substitute Monterey Jack for the Oxaca and feta for the queso fresco and combine creme fraiche with some sour cream to sub for the cream… next weekend when I’m not out of town for the day and have beef fajitas marinating ready for when I get home. 🙂

    Great flavours but then I love all the Mexican dishes I’ve made.


      • I finally got around to making the pizzas today. I have to fiddle with the temperature a bit to cook the inside while not charring the underside but I’m sure my second batch will be even better. Of course, you can always just fry them in the cast iron pan long enough to brown and then finish them in the oven at 400-450 deg F before putting on the toppings. 🙂


  3. This looks like what a tostada hopes to be when it grows up, Sally, and I love it! You may even have convinced me to break out the rolling pin and make the tortilla base. (My rolling pin skills are virtually non-existent.) None of the ingredients will be hard to find and I really want to give these a try. Lately I’ve been on a homemade pizza kick and this will be a welcome variation on the theme. I’ve pinned it so I can find it. Thanks for sharing.


    • The use of the parchment paper to roll out this “pizza” is a nice twist – makes it much easier, for those of us who have issues with the rolling pin. I also tend to have serious problems… 🙂


  4. Hi sweet Sally! I love the Little Prince…we read it as children and then again in French class. And this pizza? Well, it looks mighty delicious to me! Thank you for sharing! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and I hope you have an even better start to your week.


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