Tlayuda Oaxaqueña (Mexican Pizza)


Tlayuda (CC photo by ikuya courtesy of Flickr)

The Tlayuda, (sometimes mistakenly called “Clayuda”) originates specifically in the central valley regions of Oaxaca State. An age-old local specialty, tlayuda refers to the large, unique type of corn tortilla that’s native to central Oaxaca as well as to the dish using this same type of tortilla but topping it off with various ingredients. We might loosely call this dish “Mexican Pizza”, for lack of a better expression. The most important component of this dish is the big tortilla, which sometimes has a diameter measuring more than 40 centimters (16 inches).

making tlayudas

Making Tlayudas (CC photo Paolita A courtesy of Flickr)

It’s baked on a clay skillet, grill, or directly over hot coals, then placed in a basket made of woven palm leaves in order to give it it’s characteristic texture – somewhat flexible, yet brittle, slightly moist, with unique smocky flavor. It’s smothered in refried beans, with additional toppings such as chorizo, tasajo (beef), shredded chicken, cecina (pork), asiento (unrefined pork lard), chicharron (fried pork rinds), lettuce, avocado, tomato, Oaxaca cheese (the Mexican version of string cheese), and salsa. However, there are no hard-and-fast rules about the toppings. And you can eat your tlayuda open faced or folded in half, almost like an empanada or Italian calzone.

Tlayuda with Chorizo

Tlayudas are very popular antojitos (snacks) in the delicious array of Oaxaca Food, especially late at night after parties. So, the next time you have a craving for some munchies, why not prepare your own version of tlayudas?


  • 2 Cups black beans (homemade or canned), drained with liquid reserved
  • 1 Clove garlic, minced*
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped*
  • Chile powder to taste
  • Cumin to taste*
  • Salt to taste*
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste*
  • 2 Large (12-inch or bigger) corn tortillas
  • 1 Cup shredded Oaxaca or Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Cup meat of your choice, like chorizo or shredded chicken, cooked, optional
  • 1 Cup chopped lettuce
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 Cup crumbly cheese of your choice, like queso fresco or farmer’s cheese, optional
  • Salsa to taste

*Note: If you’ve prepared black beans from scratch and already added seasonings, these additional spices might no be necessary. If using plain canned beans, it’s best to add these ingredients.


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Farenheit.

If using canned beans, put them in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, chile powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Warm the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Place the mixture (or your homemade beans) in a blender. Blend after adding just enough reserved liquid from the beans to achieve a chunky-style purée.

Place one tortilla on a baking sheet or pizza stone and spread half of the beans on it. Add 1/2 cup of the Oaxaca cheese and 1/2 cup of the meat. Bake for 5 minutes

Remove and sprinkle with 1/2 cup lettuce, half of the diced tomatoes, half of the sliced avocado, and 1/4 cup of the crumbly cheese. Bake another 3-5 minutes, until the toppings are hot and the tortilla is crispy around the edges.

Repeat procedure with the other tortilla.

Top them off with salsa to taste. Eat them open-face, fold them in half, or cut them into slices and serve.

Posted by Lindsay

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