Tlacoyos are a traditional Mexican dish made of a thick corn masa harina dough that’s stuffed with mashed beans and topped with delicious toppings like pico de gallo, queso fresco, avocado, and salsa. It’s an authentic staple the whole family will enjoy!
Like sopes, huaraches, gorditas, and tetelas, tlacoyos are a Mexican dish made from masa harina and served with your desired toppings. However, although similar, they stand out for their long, oblong shape and traditional filling of refried beans.
You can typically find this dish served by street food vendors along the roads of central and southern Mexico. It’s one of many Mexican antojitos (snacks) and I’m so glad to share an authentic dish that has been made and enjoyed for many years!
What Are Tlacoyos?
Tlacoyos are a delicious Mexican dish made from thick corn masa harina dough that’s stuffed with refried beans, cheese, fava beans, chicharron, or other fillings, shaped like a long oval or football, and cooked on a comal or fried. They can be enjoyed as a snack (antojito) or as a meal.
My favorite part is getting to add all the toppings! The most popular are queso fresco, salsas, drizzle of crema, or ensalada de nopales (cactus salad). You can add anything you like, and it will be delicious!
- Masa harina: I used white corn masa harina, but you could use blue, yellow, or even red masa harina. My favorite brand of masa harina is Masienda, but any brand will work.
- Water: A little warm water helps form the tlacoyos dough.
- Salt: A touch of fine salt for flavor and balance in the dough.
- Beans: Canned black beans work great for this recipe’s filling, but you could also use homemade black beans. You would need about 1 ½ cups cooked black beans with ⅓ cup cooking liquid.
- Oil: You’ll need a little vegetable oil to cook the beans, plus more if you plan on frying the tlacoyos.
How to Make Tlacoyos
Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine the masa harina, salt, and water until a dough forms. Knead it until it is soft and spongy and all the water is absorbed. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions, then roll each into a ball. Cover them with a clean and damp cloth to keep them moist.
Prepare beans: Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a medium skillet over medium heat, add the black beans, and bring to a simmer. Mash the beans until they are mostly mashed, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Press out the dough: Lay a piece of parchment paper on an open tortilla press and place 1 dough ball on the bottom half. Fold another piece of parchment paper over the other side of the dough, and gently close and press the upper portion of the tortilla press to flatten it out.
Shape and fill tlacoyos: Open the tortilla press and carefully place 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of black beans on one side of the masa. Fold the other side of the masa over the beans to form a crescent shape, and press and pinch the masa together to seal in the filling. Lightly flatten the tlacoyo in the palms of your hands until it’s about 10 inches long from top to bottom and in the shape of a football.
Cook and serve: Heat a comal, nonstick skillet, or griddle over medium-high heat. Place the tlacoyo on the hot surface and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer it to a plate and cover it with a kitchen towel to keep it soft. Repeat this process until all the tlacoyos are cooked.
Top with your favorite salsa or hot sauce, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, avocado, and queso fresco!
Tlacoyos are traditionally served with a nopales salad (not pictured in these photos). To make, mix together 15 ounces of trimmed, diced, and cooked nopales, ½ diced onion, 1 diced Roma tomato, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, and salt and black pepper to taste. You can also use my pico de gallo recipe instead.
- For an extra special treat, try frying your tlacoyos to give them extra flavor and help give them a more sturdy structure.
- While handling the masa dough, make sure your hands stay moist to help it not dry out. Keep a small bowl of warm water handy to dip your hands in before rolling and shaping the tlacoyos.
- Add cheese to the filling! Shredded Oaxaca, Chihuahua, or Monterey jack cheese goes perfectly with the the bean mixture. It will add extra flavor and melted cheesy goodness.
- Masher. This handheld stainless steel masher is perfect for mashing beans and potatoes.
- Tortilla press. Such a helpful tool in the kitchen when working with masa harina! Great for tortillas, gorditas, and tlacoyos.
- Tortilla warmer. A must-have in any Mexican kitchen!
Storing and Reheating
To store, keep the cooked tlacoyos in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
To reheat, pan-fry the tlacoyos for a few minutes or until they’re back at the desired level of crispiness. Cover them with a lid to keep a bit of the moisture if they feel dry.
- In a large bowl, combine the masa harina and salt. Stir in the water until a dough forms. Using your hands, knead the dough until it fully comes together and all the water is absorbed, about 3 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal portions, then roll each into a ball. Cover them with a clean damp cloth or plastic wrap to keep the dough moist while you prepare the black beans.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the black beans and bring to a simmer.
- Mash the beans with a potato masher until they are mostly mashed, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. While the griddle is heating up, lay a piece parchment paper on an open tortilla press and place 1 dough ball on the bottom half. Fold the other side of the parchment paper over the dough and gently close and press the upper portion of the tortilla press to flatten it out.
- Open the tortilla press and carefully place 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of black beans on one side of the masa, spreading evenly. Fold over the other side of the masa and press down to seal the beans inside the dough.
- Lightly flatten the tlacoyo in the palms of your hands until it’s about 10 inches long from top to bottom and in the shape of an oval or a football.
- Place the tlacoyo on the hot skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer it to a plate and cover it with a kitchen towel to keep it soft. Repeat this process until all the tlacoyos are cooked.
- *Optional* To fry, heat ¼ cup of vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, lightly fry each tlocayo until lightly toasted on each side, about 2 minutes.
- Serve the tlacoyos by topping with pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, queso fresco, your favorite salsa, avocado, or a nopales slaw (see notes).
- Black beans: You can use a can of black beans or about 1 ½ cups cooked black beans with ⅓ cup cooking liquid. You can also use any other type of beans you prefer.
- Tlacoyos are traditionally served with a nopales salad. To make this, mix together 15 ounces trimmed, chopped, and cooked nopales, ½ diced onion, 1 diced Roma tomato, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.