Traditional Molletes

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.

Two people reaching for traditional molletes on a platter with a bowl of salsa in the middle.

Molletes. 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

Traditional Molletes

Two people reaching for traditional molletes on a platter with a bowl of salsa in the middle.
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.
Roberto Santibañez

Prep 10 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 15 mins
Entrees
Mexican
4 molletes
279 kcal
5 / 3 votes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 large rolls, preferably teleras, Portuguese, kaiser, or ciabatta split
  • 1/4 cup (or a little more) refried beans either pinto or black
  • 6 ounces Chihuahua cheese or provolone cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup Pico de Gallo or salsa

Directions
 

  • Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 500°F (260°C).
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat until it’s nice and hot. Spread the butter over the cut sides of the roll halves. Place the rolls, cut sides down, in the skillet and let them go, untouched, until lightly golden brown and crisp, which ought to take just a minute or so.
  • Spread a thin layer of beans over the toasted side of each roll. Top with a thin layer of cheese. Place the molletes in the oven just until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown in a few spots, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Serve the molletes immediately and pass the Pico de Gallo or salsa on the side. 
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Notes

*What is chihuahua cheese?

A Mexican semi-soft cheese made from cow's milk, queso Chihuahua has a semi-firm texture with a pale yellow color. Its mild, buttery taste and meltability make it perfect for use in molletes. The author recommends substituting provolone if you can't find Chihuahua. A mix of mozzarella and white cheddar will also give you a good approximation of meltiness and flavor.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1molleteCalories: 279kcal (14%)Carbohydrates: 20g (7%)Protein: 15g (30%)Fat: 16g (25%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 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%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

There are times when you need something more than a grilled cheese sandwich. A mollete is what you eat during those times. With a fried egg, this’d be the perfect breakfast antidote to cure your ails from the night before (you know where I’m going, don’t you?). I’ve made these a few times and found that toasting the rolls until they’re lightly golden brown is key–any darker and they just get too crispy from their time in the broiler, so keep a close eye on them. Chihuahua cheese can be difficult to find in my area so I used a shredded Mexican blend and it worked nicely.

Delicious, very simple, and comforting snack or lunch. I really like the combination of beans and cheese with the salsa. Would be nice with some sliced avocado on top as well. As much as I love butter, I’m not sure it was necessary here and would’ve been okay with just the beans, cheese, and salsa. Quick and very satisfying! I used provolone, which was tasty, but I’d try experimenting with different cheese next time.


Originally published January 16, 2013

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Comments

  1. How interesting!

    I have yet to encounter this in SoCal where Mexican has risen to the status of just “food”.

    I’ve always thought of quesadillas — with whatever’s on hand to add — as Mexican grilled cheese.

    I look forward to trying this and discovering queso Chihuahua one day when I take a break from no-carbing.

    1. Do let us know what you think when you try it, Rainey! It’s one of my faves!

  2. 5 stars
    I grew up eating these on leftover hamburger buns as a snack or quick lunch. My kids get a more sophisticated version but honestly, I’ll eat them any way you give them to me. Thank you so much for posting!

    1. You’re quite welcome, Jennifer! These certainly have brought back a lot of memories for a lot of folks. Love those kinds of recipes. Just love them. Many thanks for taking the time to share your story….

  3. 5 stars
    Yum! I love the new site, and was wondering if there is a “Save Recipe” button on the mobile (iPhone) version? I’d love to add this one to my Zip list, but might be missing the button or ‘full page’ option? Thanks for the IT help, LC!

  4. 5 stars
    When I studied abroad in Mexico, these were my absolute favorite! I completely forgot about them over the years until I got this email in my inbox this morning. Thank you for the reminder and recipe!! I can’t wait to make them and share them with my family.

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