Tortas Ahogadas

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This tortas ahogadas recipe = the ultimate Mexican sandwich bliss. Crusty bolillo bread rolls are stuffed with pork carnitas, then smothered in a red chili sauce. Top with guacamole, pickled red onions, and cotija cheese, then finish it all off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.


For the Chili Sauce

  • 68 large roma tomatoes, cut in half
  • 45 dried chili de arbol peppers, deseeded and stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For Serving


Gather your ingredients. Make the bolillos or get some crusty bread rolls. Make the pork carnitas. Get out your guacamole and pickled red onions if using. (See recipes linked above.)

Make the chili sauce

Rehydrate the chilis. In a shallow saucepan, bring 1-2 cups of water to a low boil, add the chili peppers and remove from heat to allow the peppers to soak and rehydrate. Once soft in texture, remove the stems and interior seeds.

Roast the tomatoes. On a medium-sized baking sheet. Place the halved tomatoes face side up on the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and place under the broiler for about 10 minutes on low, or until they are soft in the middle and the skin is slightly roasted.

Blend everything together. In a blender or food mixer, place the roasted tomatoes, softened chilis, garlic, onion, vinegar, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Blend until desired texture.

Simmer the sauce. Pour in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.

Assemble the Tortas Ahogadas

Assemble the sandwiches. Slice the bolillo rolls lengthwise and top with the generous helping of pork carnitas meat. Slather with the desired amount of chili sauce and then top the sandwich off with pickled red onions, homemade guacamole, and fresh cotija cheese. (Plus whatever other fixings you want.) Spoon sauce onto your plate and place the sandwich on top of the sauce. Serve with a few lime wedges.

Keywords: Mexican sandwiches, tortas ahogadas, bolillo sandwich, carnitas sandwich, red chili sauce