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.

tlayuda recipe from Oaxaca vegan.

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 🙂

maseca masa harina for tortillas.

Tips Make the best Tlayudas

  1. Use the right kind of corn flour. Look for the word “nixtamalized” when buying.
  2. 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.
  3. Keep warm water accessible to sprinkle on your hands when rolling into dough balls.
  4. Use parchment paper or plastic to press your tortillas on a tortilla press.
  5. Cook tortillas on medium heat on a griddle (also called comal in Spanish).

Tlayuda Toppings:

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. 

tlayuda mexican pizza.
  • 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:

salsa macha recipe mexican chili oil in a jar.

Frijoles Charros

Enchiladas Verdes

Corundas (tamales nejos)

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tlayuda mexican pizza oaxaca recipe.


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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Anna Rios
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Tlayudas 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


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!


Units Scale
  • 2 cups masa harina (see above)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil (optional)
  • 2 cups refried beans of choice, canned or homemade
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • Salsa of choice
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Cilantro for garnish


  1. Add masa harina to a mixing bowl. Slowly add warm water while mixing with your hand until you get a dough that is slightly sticky but holds together well.
  2. Lightly wet your hands with a bit of warm water to prevent dough from sticking to your hands. Keep a small bowl of warm water nearby to repeat as needed.
  3. Using your hands, grab about a 3/4 cup size of dough and roll it into a ball. Use the palm of your hands to smash it a little so it’s a flat ball of dough.
  4. Cut 2 pieces of plastic the size of 15” by 15” or larger. I use the thin plastic bags that you get when buying produce for this.
  5. Place the dough ball on top of the plastic (on the tortilla press), place the other plastic bag over it to fully cover the dough, and flatten it as much as the tortilla press will allow you to. Next, without removing the plastic sheets, transfer it to a flat surface and place a heavy book over it to press it to flatten it even more. You can also use a rolling pin to get it as thin as a regular tortilla.
  6. Turn a griddle (comal) on high heat and wait 5 minutes for it to fully heat up.
  7. Wet your hands a bit and carefully remove the top sheet of plastic to expose the masa. Use both of your hands to slowly transfer it over to a large griddle. Flip it over so that the bottom side is the one exposed and the plastic remains on the top and slowly but swiftly peel it off and immediately transfer it to the griddle.
  8. Cook on the griddle on medium-high for about 4-5 minutes on the first side, and the same on the other. Finally, flip tlayuda again for another 2 minutes and add a splash of oil if you’d like. The oil can help the tlayuda get crispy.
  9. Remove tlayuda from the heat and place it directly on a baking tray. Repeat until all 4 tlayudas are made.
  10. Spread 1/2 cup of refried beans on each tlayuda, followed by 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, and bake at 400 F for 7-10 minutes or until cheese is melty.
  11. Finally, add shredded cabbage, sliced avocado, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro on top. Slice into 4 pieces like a pizza and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Oven, stove
  • Cuisine: Mexican

5 thoughts on “Tlayuda

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