Cemita, a Pueblan-Style Mexican Sandwich

Cemita Mexican pulled pork sandwich recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 sandwich
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1225 Calories
77g Fat
104g Carbs
40g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 1225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 77g 99%
Saturated Fat 23g 117%
Cholesterol 176mg 59%
Sodium 1433mg 62%
Total Carbohydrate 104g 38%
Dietary Fiber 26g 93%
Total Sugars 24g
Protein 40g
Vitamin C 50mg 251%
Calcium 480mg 37%
Iron 7mg 42%
Potassium 2204mg 47%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Similar to the torta, the cemita is a Mexican sandwich that comes from the Puebla region of Mexico. Typically stuffed with fried meat, avocado, queso, chipotles, and papalo (a fragrant Mexican herb), this sandwich is quite versatile. Instead of crispy breaded chicken, beef, or pork, a cemita can be stuffed with shredded meat, as in this recipe.

The cemita gets its name from the type of bun that this sandwich is served on. A cemita is typically made from an eggy batter and is topped with sesame seeds when baked. Some people scoop out the bread to better hold the ingredients, but you can also smoosh the bread down, creating a thicker surface so the sandwich can stay together better. 

This sandwich is a meal within itself and typically is eaten alone. If you think you have enough room for a side, grab some chips or fries to go along with it.

1:08

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Ingredients

  • 1 cemita bun, or other round sesame seed or high-fat bun

  • 1 tablespoon canned adobo sauce

  • 2 canned chipotle peppers, sliced into strips

  • 1/4 cup cooked Mexican pulled pork

  • 1 tablespoon chopped papalo or cilantro

  • 1/4 cup queso Oaxaca, shredded Mexican string cheese

  • 4 slices tomato

  • 1/2 small avocado, sliced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cemita Mexican pulled pork sandwich
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2.  Split the cemita in half with a serrated knife.

    Split cemita
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Using the back of a spoon, press down on the interior sides of the bun so little indented pockets form to hold in all the sandwich ingredients.

    Press down on sandwich bread
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of adobo sauce to each side of the bun and then divide the chipotle peppers between each side.

    Add half tablespoon of adobo sauce
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Add the pork to the bottom half of the bun and then add the papalo (or cilantro), queso Oaxaca, tomato, and avocado to the top half.

    Add pork and avocado
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Close the sandwich and wrap tightly in butcher paper.

    Close sandwich
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Slice it down the middle and serve. 

    Slice it down middle
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Enjoy.

    Mexican cemita
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Recipe Variation

  • If you'd like to make this Pueblan cemita more traditional, instead of the pulled pork, fill the sandwich with a breaded and fried pork cutlet, or pork Milanese. You can also use chicken or beef.
  • Mozzarella cheese is a good substitute for Queso Oaxaca if this cheese isn't available in your store.

What Is Papalo?

Papalo is a Mexican herb with a distinctive flavor. It is floral, with what some describe as a soapy taste. If this sounds unappealing, or you can't find papalo, substitute with cilantro.