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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
4 molletes
279 kcal


  • 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


  • 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. 


*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.