Tlayuda is the authentic version of a Mexican pizza. It is a large crispy tortilla topped with refried beans, cheese, meats, and vegetables. It’s delicious and similar to a tostada but ten times better!
To make an authentic tlayuda you will need harina de maíz. However, I have seen many people use large flour tortillas for an easy and quick alternative and there is nothing wrong with that! If you want to use flour tortillas, skip to step 6 in the instructions. If you want to make the tlayuda from scratch, follow my lead!
The difficult part is transferring the flattened dough over to the griddle without breaking it too much. Small rips and tears are normal and typically seen even in Oaxaca when they make tlayudas at restaurants or in the street.
Masa harina – How to Make a Tlayuda
Harina de maíz (corn flour) – also known as masa harina and not to be confused with cornstarch. You can get this at any Mexican grocery store or large grocery such as Foodmaxx, Lucky’s, Albertson’s, Safeway, and Whole Foods. Brands that are Mexican-mom-approved include Maseca, Minsa, and Goya.
Harina de maiz (masa harina) is nixtamilized corn flour which is dried corn that has been cooked and soaked in an alkaline solution. This is a special process that was developed by the Mayan and Aztec people. The Nixtamalization makes the corn easier to digest and it also helps nutrients be more readily available. Many corn tortillas made in the United States do not use this process. Look for the word “nixtamalized” when buying corn tortillas or masa harina.
I love using blue harina de maiz for these I used white corn flour which is also very authentic. FUN FACT: blue corn tortillas turn pink if you add an acid such as lime! Super fun to play around with 🙂
Tips Make the best Tlayudas
- Use the right kind of corn flour. Look for the word “nixtamalized” when buying.
- Only use warm water to make these tortillas. Warm water is best used to rehydrate the flour, it helps activate the bits of corn skin, also known as pericarp.
- Keep warm water accessible to sprinkle on your hands when rolling into dough balls.
- Use parchment paper or plastic to press your tortillas on a tortilla press.
- Cook tortillas on medium heat on a griddle (also called comal in Spanish).
The toppings are what make the Tlayuda shine! I recommend making it your own because only you know your preferences. Here are some of my recommendations to make a delicious tlayuda.
- Refried beans. This is the base or the “sauce” for your pizza and helps keep all the toppings together so I don’t recommend skipping these. In Oaxaca they typically use black beans but feel free to use beans of choice. You can either make homemade beans or buy refried beans. I love Trader Joe’s refried beans as they are oil-free and made with only 3 ingredients: beans, water, and salt!
- Cheese: The cheese they use in Oaxaca is called “quesillo” and it’s like a Mexican version of a thick mozzarella cheese that does not get melty. You can use big chunks of mozzarella cheese for this recipe, I typically use Miyokos fresh mozzarella but this time I used Follow Your Heart mozzarella shreds which came out great!
- Cabbage: Shredded cabbage adds a perfect texture and color to the tlayuda making it even more desirable!
- Avocado: You need some healthy fats and what better way than avocado?
- Sour cream: I make my homemade dairy-free sour cream for this recipe and it makes it irresistible!
- Salsa: I like using a classic red salsa for this tlayuda recipe but feel free to make green salsa or salsa de molcajete.
- Meat alternatives: I would also recommend adding grilled mushrooms, soy chorizo, seitan, shredded tofu to get that meaty flavor and texture as well.
Other Mexican Recipes:
Salsa Macha (Mexican Chili Oil) – Pairs well with Tlayuda:Print