Molletes, Mexico’s beloved open faced sandwiches, are quick, healthy and budget friendly meal perfect for everyone. You only need 4 ingredients and they can be ready in about 15 minutes.
What Are Molletes
Molletes are Mexican torta or sandwich rolls sliced in half, smeared with refried beans, topped with shredded cheese, then baked to melt the cheese and lastly topped with some salsa fresca.
They are a very common meal or snack for Mexicans. You’ll also find them at most restaurants and usually are on offer in the appetizers or snacks section.
Molletes Mexicanos are Traditionally Vegetarian
These refried beans crispy breads are a traditional or authentic Mexican vegetarian dish.
Believe it or not there are many traditionally meatless Mexican foods…So next time you hear someone say that we can’t be meatless and be Mexican, tell them they crazy! LOL
Ingredients for Molletes
The ingredients are incredibly simple and I bet you may always have them or something similar at home all the time.
- Bolillo bread rolls: This rustic bread rolls can be found at any Mexican food store. Check the tips section below for alternatives.
- Refried beans: You can use homemade or a good tasting and healthy store bought, your choice. Just make sure they’re not too runny, you should be able to spread them over the bread easily.
- Cheese: You can use shredded or sliced. Check the tips below for recommended types.
- Pico de gallo salsa: This is for topping them right before serving.
- Bolillo Alternatives: Try telera and if that’s not available then use French bread or a baguette.
- Cheese Alternatives: If you don’t have access to the previously mentioned Mexican ones, mozzarella or Monterrey Jack are great alternatives and they melt well.
- Salsas to Use: Pico de gallo or salsa verde or salsa molcajeteada. Or even just chopped jalapeños in a pinch.
- Beans Alternative: Instead of refried pinto beans you can use refried black beans, they are actually more common to use than the pintos.
What Bread to Use
Most people use bolillos, you could use a telera instead if you don’t happen to have bolillos.
In a pinch you could even use sliced baguettes. You want a rusty or crisp kind of bread roll. A soft textured one will be harder to spread with the beans.
What Cheese to Use
The best cheese to use is one that melts well.
I personally like to use Manchego cheese, queso Menonita, or Oaxaca cheese.
In the “Ingredient Variations” section I offer more alternatives for those that can’t find the 3 cheeses I listed above.
What Salsa to Use
The salsa used for topping molletes that you’ll see most commonly is pico de gallo salsa.
Some people will drizzle an additional blended salsa over the pico de gallo. Or in a pinch if you only have a blended salsa, like salsa verde, or a chunky tomato salsa, like molcajete salsa, either of those is also fine to use.
If you have none of the ones mentioned, well in a pinch you could top with some pickled jalapeños or hot sauce from a jar.
Should You Use Butter or Mayo
Some people like to spread butter onto the bolillo halves before spreading the refried beans over them. Sometimes these people will also toast the bolillo before topping with the beans.
I don’t personally do it but it is a popular option to try.
The traditional recipe is incredibly easy to veganize.
Make sure you make my homemade vegan refried beans, or buy them at the store just make sure they’re vegan.
The bolillos and teleras are vegan breads.
For the cheese just make sure to use your favorite melting vegan cheese.
The rest of the instructions are exactly the same.
Molletes Recipe | How to Make Authentic Mexican Molletes
Ok amigos below is the written recipes. Please make sure you leave me a comment with a rating to let me know how you liked this delectable and easy recipe. Enjoy!
- 2 bolillo bread rolls
- 2 cups refried beans
- 2 cups shredded manchego cheese
- 2 cups chunky pico de gallo salsa
- Preheat the oven to 400F and have a baking sheet ready. If you need to make the pico de gallo salsa do so now.
- Slice the bolillos in half going lengthwise. If you want you can remove a bit of the inside.
- Spread half a cup of refried beans over each bolillo halft.
- Sprinkle half a cup of shredded cheese over each half.
- Bake in center of oven until the cheese is melted.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Top with the pico de gallo salsa. Serve and enjoy.
Serving Suggestions | How to Serve Them
Molletes are traditionally simple served with just a bit of extra pico de gallo and maybe some blended salsa for more heat.
You could also serve some pickled carrots on the side, if desired. I have easy and delicious recipe already here on the blog, zanahorias en escabeche.
If you’d like to make this a bigger meal you could serve a small bowl of soup like my fideo soup. But quite honestly the molletes are a meal all their own.
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…
I love how simple and tasty this is ! Thank you for sharing!
Yes super simple, but so packed with yumminess. Thank you!
I love how simple and tasty this is! Thank you for sharing!
My pleasure, enjoy 🙂
I will try them today!.. Those pictures of the molletes make them so tempting…
Thank you Dave and enjoy!
Molletes is one of my favorite antojitos mexicanos ever. I usually make them with queso fresco but they are delicious with manchego.
Oh queso fresco would be amazing, I need to try this next time. Thank you Silvia!
Now I know what we are making to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. These molletes are so simple but they look delicious!
Yes this would be excellent for Cinco de Mayo. Thank you Collen 🙂
With only 4 ingredients, you’ve got a hearty meal for any night of the week. I love the fresh pico de gallo.
Yes, exactly. Thanks so much Sharon 🙂
I have been making something like this with flour tortillas. I love your site! Years ago I went to a nutritionist because of health issues. I spoke to her about my Latin heritage and asked about modifying some of our family favorites. She told me to forget about it. She said there is no healthy Mexican food. I ignored her, of course, but your recipes have been a great help to me. I thank you.
I’m so glad you ignored her Carissa. That is a big misconception about Mexican food, but in reality our food is filled with fresh and seasonal ingredients. For fried foods we have options to bake or even better, air fry. There’s no reason to miss out on our culture’s flavors. Thank you so much, I’m so happy that I could help a little bit in your journey. Hugs!
This molletes made the easiest lunch for me and my kiddos. It was so delicious topped with pico de gallo!
This meal is super family friendly, that’s one of the reasons I love it so much. Thank you Tristin 🙂
Such a hearty meal with tons of flavoring! Will definitely be making for cinco de Mayo!
Perfect and easy meal for Cinco de Mayo, enjoy!
Would love to try the recipe. Thanks for sharing ❤️.This has my name written all over it.
I hope you do and enjoy!
I’ve never heard of these but so keeping this recipe on file for a perfect easy weeknight dinner! Thanks!
Thank you Heather, I hope you enjoy them!
I love how easy the molletes come together. The beans and salsa are definitely my favorite part!
It’ such a simple meal and always loved by everyone…I think it’s definitely the beans and salsa. 🙂
These are amazing !b they were an instant hit at our party!
Yes molletes are definitely a cloud pleaser. Thank you, Nancy!
Open face sandwiches are my favorite and this one was super easy to make! Refried beans and pico de gallo go great together and make a delicious snack!
Thank you Veronika, so glad you enjoyed them.
I know what I’m making for lunch this weekend! Molletes, these look easy and fun to make!
These molletes are like the mexican version of Italian bruschetta ( We live in Italy) but definitely tastier! I had to promise my husband I’d make more next time!
Yes, that’s a good comparison. Enjoy!
These are terrific! I love that they are vegetarian and the bread makes it do delicious!
Thank you Lisa!
I made this for lunch today and my boys loved it. It was so easy specially with the can of beans I already had. For salsa I used one from the store. Thank you they requested I make it again.
So happy to hear it, Angie. Thank you!
What I love about the Mexican food recipe is the color it gives, which makes any dish looks absolutely delicious. Plus the dish is a complete meal and healthy too.
Yes our food is very colourful. Thank you!
This recipe was so fabulous! I sincerely am glad I found it on Pinterest. We made it for our friends on Friday, and they even said it was awesome. I love when guests are happy! Have a great day.
Thank you so much Heidy, so happy to hear it.
I just had these for lunch and live how easy they are to make. So good too
They are so easy, aren’t they?! Thank you
Made this with what I had on hand. Did not have the rolls but used a good whole wheat sourdough, It tasted great, was satisfying and made for a very nice lunch.
Thank you Brook, your bread substitute is perfect. Thanks for the feedback.