Tlayuda (Oaxacan Pizza) Recipe

A Must-Try Oaxacan Street Food

Tlayuda (Oaxacan Pizza) on plates

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 65 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 tlayudas
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1363 Calories
82g Fat
115g Carbs
43g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1363
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 82g 104%
Saturated Fat 26g 129%
Cholesterol 120mg 40%
Sodium 2270mg 99%
Total Carbohydrate 115g 42%
Dietary Fiber 11g 39%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 43g
Vitamin C 21mg 106%
Calcium 375mg 29%
Iron 8mg 46%
Potassium 957mg 20%
*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.)

A tlayuda (pronounced ("tla-u-da") is an iconic street food from Oaxaca, Mexico. It's made with a giant tortilla (which is also referred to as a tlayuda) topped with asiento, refried beans, and ribbons of quesillo.

Asiento is a uniquely Oaxacan ingredient. It is made from the bits of meat and fat leftover from making chicharrón (fried pork belly or rinds)—you can find an easy substitute for asiento at the end of this recipe. Similarly, quesillo is a distinctively Oaxacan ingredient that is a stretchy, mild cheese comparable to mozzarella. Ingredients like shredded cabbage, sliced avocado, and tomato are optional, however, we particularly love cabbage for the crunch it adds to the dish. You can add steak, Mexican chorizo, beef, chicken for a protein boost, or pile on the veggies.

This recipe is an adaptation from a popular dish made by Chef Mica Ruiz of Luz de Luna in Huayapam, Oaxaca. We developed this to fit the ingredients and tools available to most people in the U.S., while maintaining the authentic flavors of a tlayuda. Typically it is made with corn tortillas but for this recipe we use flour tortillas to give more structure to the dish. That said, you can make large corn tortillas if you have time. If you cannot find quesillo, substitute mozzarella for a similar flavor.

You can make the asiento ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. To serve, we suggest a red salsa like Oaxacan Pasilla Salsa, but you could use adobo sauce, salsa verde, salsa ranchera, or any other salsa you love.

"Asiento is key in Oaxacan cooking, if you have the time you should make it. Although it might be tempting to use the substitute instead, it does not have the same flavor complexity as asiento. Using a skillet instead of the oven will help you get the perfect crunch and melt on your tlayuda." —Jacqueline Tris

Tlayuda/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Asiento:

  • 8 ounces falda de costilla (pork rib skirt), cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Tlayuda

  • 1/2 cup asiento

  • 4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

  • 1 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade refried beans

  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage

  • 1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella

To Serve

  • Cooked chopped steak, chorizo, or chicken, optional

  • Chopped fresh vegetables, optional

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, optional

  • 1 cup salsa, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    If using a pizza stone, position the stone on the lowest rack in the oven and heat to 375 F. Let the stone heat for at least 45 minutes before baking the tlayuda. If using a baking sheet, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 F.

    Tlayuda (Oaxacan Pizza) ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Place the pork in a heavy-duty skillet. Sauté over low heat until the fat is completely rendered and the pork is crispy, about 1 hour.

    Pork in a heavy skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the meat and rendered fat cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

    Pork cooking in a heavy skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Separate the meat from any bone (you can freeze or save the bones and make a stock).

    Meat separated from bone a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Transfer the rib meat with the rendered fat to a high-speed blender. Add 2 tablespoons of the neutral oil and the salt. Blend, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, more as needed, until the mixture is a smooth paste. You should have about 1/2 cup of asiento.

    Meat paste in a food processor

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Divide the asiento between the tortillas, spreading in an even layer.

    Asiento spread on tortillas on plates

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Make sure the refried beans are thin and spreadable. If they are too chunky, blend with a bit of water as needed. Divide the refried beans between the tortillas, spreading in an even layer over the asiento.

    Refried means spread on tortillas on plates

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Layer the tortillas evenly with shredded cabbage and mozzarella.

    Tortillas with asiento, refried beans and shredded cabbage and mozzarella on plates

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Add any additional meat or veggie toppings. Place the tlayuda directly on the pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake until the tortilla is crispy, about 5 minutes.

    Tlayuda (Oaxacan Pizza) with veggies on top

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with the salsa, if desired.

    Tlayuda (Oaxacan Pizza) on plates

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Recipe Variations

  • If you prefer to cook your tlayuda on the stove top rather than oven, use a large heavy-duty skillet, preferably cast-iron. Heat the skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the tlayuda and cook until the tortilla begins to brown and the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.
  • You can top your tlayuda with various ingredients, including lime, cilantro, white onion, avocado, tomato, and more.
  • Flank steak can either be cooked, chopped, and served on the tlayuda or served on the side. If using chorizo, cook and crumble it on the tlayuda.

Is There a Substitute for Asiento?

Combine 2 1/2 ounces of finely chopped, cooked pork belly with 1/4 cup lard in a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy and use in place of the homemade asiento recipe provided. Keep in mind that asiento packs much more flavor and is worth the effort. It's also what's traditionally used in Oaxaca, so if you're curious to get as close to an authentic tlayuda as you can, put some time aside to make the asiento.

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