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Tlacoyos

Made with blue corn masa, these tlacoyos mexicanos are a heavenly soft bite filled with spicy refried beans. Top this homemade Mexican street food with crema, cotija, and lots of salsa.

Filled with spicy refried beans, these blue masa tlacoyos are literally pocketfuls of flavor. Earthy, creamy, tangy, crunchy, and slightly spicy — they’re everything you could want from Mexican street food and more.

Fortunately, this easy recipe packs all the flavor from traditional street markets without leaving your kitchen. There’s also plenty of room for substitutions, so don’t worry if you’ve run out of refried beans. You can just as easily fill them with mushrooms or taco meat.

Made with blue or yellow masa, these soft little packets are loaded with toppings like crema, cotija cheese, and avocado. Don’t forget the salsa and diced onions for a bit of heat and crunch! Served for lunch or dinner, they’ll be flavorful and colorful canvases on your plate.

Tlacoyos with crema, cotija, avocado, and salsa on top.

Why You’ll Love This Mexican Street Food Recipe

Here are the top 3 reasons you’ll love these tlacoyos:

  • Prep-friendly. Made ahead and stored for up to a week, you’ll love how easy it is to reheat them throughout the week for a quick meal.
  • Family-friendly. Served with all the toppings on the side, even the pickiest eaters at home will enjoy being able to prepare them to taste.
  • Healthy. Cooked on the griddle with barely any oil and packed with homemade refried beans, these tlacoyos are as healthy as Mexican street food gets.

If you love authentic Mexican cuisine, be sure to also try these Mexican recipes. 😋

What Are Tlacoyos?

Tlacoyos are typically found in Mexican street markets. They’re thick, oval-shaped pockets made with masa. The dough encloses a variety of fillings like cheese, mushrooms, potatoes, shredded beef, etc.

Cooked over a comal or deep fried depending on the region, they’re a popular street food that can never go without a mountain of crunchy and creamy toppings. While they’re usually considered breakfast food, they can be enjoyed any time of day.

Recipe Ingredients

It’s all about the filling, so make sure your beans are flavorful. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.

For the Masa

  • Blue corn masa-harina
  • Water
  • Salt

For the Filling

  • Cooked black beans – My frijoles de la olla are a yummy alternative.
  • Bean cooking liquid – You can also use water or chicken broth.
  • White onion – Yellow onion is a great substitute. Absolutely no red onion, please.
  • Chiles de arbol – Feel free to substitute it for chili powder to taste.
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil – Corn and canola oil also work. You can also use lard.
Close-up of tlacoyos with toppings.

How to Make Tlacoyos

As long as you don’t let the dough dry out, making these will be a breeze.

To Make the Masa

  • Mix the ingredients. Whisk the blue corn masa-harina and salt. Add the water and mix until a loose dough forms. Don’t set it aside once you’ve started or the dough will dry out.
  • Knead. Use your hands to knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth. If it’s too dry, add 1 tsp of water at a time until it becomes manageable. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll them into balls. Feel free to divide the dough into more pieces, but your tlacoyos will be smaller.
  • Let them rest. Cover the pieces of dough with a damp kitchen towel. Giving them a light spray of cooking oil can also help prevent them from drying out. Set them aside until your filling is ready.

To Make the Filling

  • Cook the beans. Add the oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and dried chile de arbol. Stir for 2 minutes. Add the beans and their cooking liquid into the pan. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Be careful when you add the beans to the pan because the hot oil will sizzle.
  • Mash the beans. Remove the chiles and onion from the pan. Lower the heat and use a potato masher to mash the beans until they’re creamy. If they dry out too much, add a bit more cooking liquid. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt to taste.
  • Cool the beans. Remove them from the heat and set them aside to cool.

Pro Tip: I made refried beans with canned black beans for this recipe in order to simplify it, but you can also use my frijoles de la olla recipe to make frijoles refritos with pinto beans.

To Make the Tlacoyos

  • Flatten the dough. Use your hands to carefully flatten the dough into a medium-sized oval, about the size of your hand or a little bit bigger. Repeat this for every piece of dough.
  • Fill the tlacoyos. Scoop 1-3 tbsp of refried beans into the center. Fold the sides of the dough in (enclosing the beans) and pinch the seams. Repeat for all the tlacoyos.
  • Shape the tlacoyos. Use your hands to shape the filled tlacoyos into a flattened diamond or oval with pointy tips. They should be about 1/4″ thick. Set them aside and cover them with a damp kitchen towel. Don’t make them any thicker because the cooking time will increase and it’s harder to cook them through.
  • Cook them. Grease a large pan or griddle with a little bit of cooking spray over medium-low heat. Cook them for 3 minutes on each side. Cooking time will depend on their actual thickness, so snap a piece off one and taste it. If the masa is still raw, let them cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove them from the heat and set them aside to cool.
  • Add toppings. Place the cooked tlacoyos on a plate and top them with Mexican crema, salsa, cotija cheese, onion, tomato, nopal salad, and avocado to taste. Enjoy!

Tips for the Best Tlacoyos

Follow these tips for the easiest tlacoyos ever:

  • Use leftover refried beans. This saves a lot of time and helps you use leftover beans.
  • Use store-bought masa. Mexican grocery stores that make their own corn tortillas usually also sell the masa. Buy it and save yourself a lot of time and effort.
  • Add different fillings. Play around with the fillings. You can add mushrooms and cheese, shredded beef or chicken, chicharron, potatoes, etc.
  • Use white masa-harina. The taste won’t be as earthy, but it’ll still be delicious.
  • Moisten your hands. Keep a small bowl of water nearby so you can moisten your hands at all times and keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
Cutting into a tlacoyo with a fork.

Topping Ideas

One of the best things about tlacoyos is how you can completely customize the toppings. Here are the most traditional toppings:

  • Mexican crema – Use sour cream if you’re in a pinch or even ranch taco sauce.
  • Salsa – Use your favorite red or green Mexican salsa. Try to avoid Tabasco sauce.
  • Cotija cheese – Queso fresco works too.
  • Diced onion – Feel free to substitute the chopped veggies for homemade pico de gallo.
  • Diced tomato
  • Sliced avocado – Or homemade guacamole.
  • Salsa macha – If you want an extra spicy kick drizzle some salsa macha on top.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Refrigerate any cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week. After the fourth day, they might turn a little stale but don’t worry. Sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon of water and then microwave them for up to a minute or until warm.

You can also reheat them in a comal or griddle over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Tlacoyos with toppings.

Can I Freeze These?

Yes, but they’ll need to be cooked first because raw masa doesn’t freeze well.

Once they’re fully cooled, wrap 1-2 of them together in plastic wrap twice. Do this for all the tlacoyos. Then transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag or container. Transfer the individual packages to the fridge a day before serving and reheat them as usual.

More Authentic Mexican Recipes

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Tlacoyos

Tlacoyos with toppings on a serving plate.
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Tlacoyos mexicanos are earthy masa-pockets filled with spicy refried beans. With crunchy and creamy toppings, they’re the perfect bite.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 tlacoyos
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Stove-top
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

For the masa:

  • 2 cups blue corn masa-harina (corn tortilla flour)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup bean’s cooking liquid or water
  • 1/4 small onion
  • 34 dried chiles de árbol
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the toppings:

  • Mexican crema
  • Salsa
  • Cotija cheese
  • Diced onion
  • Diced tomato
  • Sliced avocado

Instructions

To Make the Masa:

  • Mix the ingredients. Whisk the blue corn masa-harina and salt. Add the water and mix until a loose dough forms.
  • Knead. Use your hands to knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth. If it’s too dry, add 1 tsp of water at a time until it becomes manageable. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll them into balls.
  • Let them rest. Cover the pieces of dough with a damp kitchen towel. Giving them a light spray of cooking oil can also help prevent them from drying out. Set them aside until your filling is ready.

To Make the Filling:

  • Cook the beans. Add the oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and dried chile de árbol. Stir for 2 minutes. Add the beans and their cooking liquid into the pan. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Mash the beans. Remove the chiles and onion from the pan. Lower the heat and use a potato masher to mash the beans until they’re creamy. If they dry out too much, add a bit more cooking liquid. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt to taste.
  • Cool the beans. Remove them from the heat and set them aside to cool.

To Make the Tlacoyos:

  • Flatten the dough. Use your hands to carefully flatten the dough into a medium-sized oval, about the size of your hand or a little bit bigger. Repeat this for every piece of dough.
  • Fill the tlacoyos. Scoop 1-3 tbsp of refried beans into the center. Fold the sides of the dough in (enclosing the beans) and pinch the seams. Repeat for all the tlacoyos.
  • Shape the tlacoyos. Use your hands to shape the filled tlacoyos into a flattened diamond or oval with pointy tips. They should be about 1/4″ thick. Set them aside and cover with a damp kitchen towel.
  • Cook them. Grease a large pan or griddle with a little bit of cooking spray over medium-low heat. Cook them for 3 minutes on each side. Cooking time will depend on their actual thickness, so snap a piece off one and taste it. If the masa is still raw, let them cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Cool. Remove them from the heat and set them aside to cool.

To Serve the Tlacoyos:

  • Add toppings. Place the cooked tlacoyos on a plate and top them with Mexican crema, salsa, cotija cheese, onion, tomato, nopal salad, and avocado to taste. Enjoy!

Keywords: tlacoyos Mexicanos, Mexican street food recipes, authentic Mexican recipes

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