Photo: KnowInsiders
Photo: KnowInsiders

This molletes is really more something you commit to memory than it is a recipe. It’s just refried beans on toast smothered with cheese and broiled until bubbly. Essentially Mexican grilled cheese.

What are Molletes?

These are simply made using refried or mashed beans, cheese and pico de gallo served on bread. The bread typically used is called bolillo and can be found in most market’s bakery area, but any bread works for these really. Everything is baked to melt prior to topping with the fresh salsa.

They’re the Mexican equivalent of the American grilled cheese. Essentially, it’s stuff that you scrounge from the fridge, and in Mexico, that’s typically beans, cheese, and salsa. And it makes an insanely satiating comfort food fix any time of day. But lest you think this is a no-brainer, there’s an art to it, including properly toasting and buttering the bread, adding just the right amount of beans and cheese, and then carefully melting that queso under the broiler until golden and bubbly. And as you probably already surmised, although this recipe makes ample to serve you and a few others, it can easily be scaled down to make just one. You know, for emergencies. Renee Schettler

Most likely you already have everything you need to make a batch of these Molletes.

And that’s how they’ve become such a staple in Mexican cuisine — they use such common ingredients that you can always whip up a plate when you’re running on fumes and need food NOW.

Here is how to make Molletes with Easy Steps:


4 Servings


Photo: Life Made Simple
Photo: Life Made Simple

1 cup vegetable oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 15.5-oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt


Photo: Bon Appetit
Photo: Bon Appetit

1 medium tomato, halved crosswise, seeds removed, chopped

½ small red onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 Tbsp. chopped seeded jalapeño

Juice of ½ lime

Kosher salt


4 Tbsp. salted butter, room temperature

2 telera rolls, bolillos, birotes, or other crusty rolls, halved lengthwise

1 lb. Oaxaca cheese pulled into strings, or Monterey Jack, coarsely grated

4 large eggs, fried

1 avocado, thinly sliced

⅓ cup pickled or sliced red onion

Hot sauce (for serving)



Step 1

Photo: Mexican Please
Photo: Mexican Please

Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Add onions and cook, stirring, until just beginning to turn golden brown, 10–14 minutes. Stir in beans and add bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally until beans begin to soften and fall apart, 9–11 minutes. Season beans with salt and removes them from heat. Remove and discard bay leaf. Mash beans with a potato masher until smooth and spreadable.

Do Ahead: Beans can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.


Step 2

Photo: Mexican Please
Photo: Mexican Please

Toss tomato, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice in a small bowl to combine; season with salt.


Step 3

Heat broiler. Generously butter cut sides of rolls and place, buttered side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until butter is melted, about 1 minute. Remove from broiler; spread ⅓ cup refried beans over cut side of each roll half and arrange cheese down the center. Broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

Step 4

Photo: Mexican Please
Photo: Mexican Please

Top each mollete with a fried egg, then pico de gallo, avocado, and pickled onion. Serve with hot sauce.

* Tips and Tricks:

Remember to move the oven rack to the middle position before turning on the oven broiler. This will help the bread from browning too quickly.

Make sure to keep an eye on the molletes when they’re in the oven as the bread can quickly go from toasted to burned.

If you have a toaster oven, you can use that instead if you prefer!

What kind of beans do I use?

You could easily open a can of refried beans, heat them up and use as is, but we highly recommend making your own using canned black beans and some seasonings to bump up the flavor factor. Pinto beans work here as well.

It takes no time at all. Really.

To make the refried beans from scratch takes some planning because you’ll have to soak the dried pinto beans overnight then cook them for a few hours the next day.

A couple of different ways to get around this would be to cook the beans in an Instant Pot. You can do this from dried beans without soaking them first and they cook in about 30 minutes. I don’t have a recipe for this yet on my site, but this one from Everyday Latina is good.

The less tasty but quicker option would be to use canned refried beans. I’m not a huge fan of canned refried beans but these beans that come in a package instead of a can have less of a metallic taste.

What kind of cheese do I use?

For completely authentic Mexican molletes, only queso fresco and queso Oaxaca should be used. If you can’t find them, we prefer using shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese. Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses are not authentic to Mexican cooking, only Tex Mex. we also sprinkle some crumbled cotija cheese on top of the pico, which is like Mexican feta cheese. These are fantastic!

Serving: 1mollete

Calories: 279kcal (14%), Carbohydrates: 20g (7%), Protein: 15g (30%), Fat: 16g (25%), Saturated Fat: 9g (56%), Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 37mg (12%), Sodium: 843mg (37%), Potassium: 183mg (5%), Fiber: 2g (8%), Sugar: 2g (2%), Vitamin A: 635IU (13%), Vitamin C: 1mg (1%), Calcium: 364mg (36%), Iron: 1mg (6%)

Substitutions and Variations

Don’t quite have everything you need? Here are some options that may be helpful.

• Instead of shredded Monterey Jack cheese, you can use any other melty cheese you have on hand. Other classic Mexican cheeses that are often used are Chihuahua or Oaxaca cheese. You could also use Mozzarella.

• Can’t find bolillo bread rolls? You can use any French bread, Italian bread, or sub sandwich bread instead.

• Instead of traditional refried beans made with pinto beans, you could use refried black beans.

• Adding butter or margarine is completely optional. Feel free to leave that out if you prefer.

• To make the molletes a bit more filling, you could also add some sliced avocados, guacamole or even crumbled chorizo on top!

Storing and Reheating

Molletes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Over time, the refried beans can soak into the bread and make it a little soggier than I’d like so I don’t recommend storing it any longer than that.

To combat any sogginess that may happen after storing them in the fridge, I recommend reheating the molletes in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes to crisp and warm them up without risking burning the bread.

More easy Mexican recipes to try!

• Shredded Beef for Tacos

• Sheet Pan Flank Steak with Tomatoes

• Mexican Torta with Turkey and Black Beans

• Foolproof Scallop Ceviche with Avocado

• Chili Lime Chicken Tacos

• Pot Roast Chicken Mole and Veggies

• Caldo de Res {Mexican Beef and Vegetable Soup}

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