Oaxaca Tlayuda (Mexican Flat Tacos)

So "Flat Taco" is much easier to pronounce than "Oaxaca Tlayuda" but give [wa-HA-ka tlay-OO-da] a try, it's got a rhythm to it! And open-faced Tlayuda are super easy to make! All summer, I've been topping one crispy corn tortilla after another, each one different, each one decidedly delicious. Tlayuda are an excellent way to use up leftovers, the quick Black Bean Spread itself is not to be missed. Taco Tuesday, anyone? Enjoy!

Oaxaca Tlayuda (Mexican Flat Tacos) ♥ KitchenParade.com, easy, healthy build-your-own crispy baked tortillas.

Real Food, Fresh & Fast. Easily Veg(etari)an. Hearty & Filling. Low Cal. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Quick Supper.

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Thank You, Stupid Auto-Correct

Thank the iPhone’s wayward auto-correction practices for this recipe. And really, you will – thank it, I mean.

Tink, tink. Two messages from my sister arrived in quick succession.

Text #1. “Mark Buttman’s How to Cook Everything app is free today.”

Text #2: “Haha. Bitttman. LOL.”

Still chuckling a few hours later, I remembered to download Mark Bittman’s recipe app. This means that at midnight, there I was in bed cruising savory recipes instead of dreaming sweet dreams.

And It's Not Clayuda, It's Tlayuda.

Straight off, something what Mark Bittman called a “clayuda” jumped out, it’s a street food in the culinary town of Oaxaca [wa-HA-ka], Mexico where we spent a week in 2010.

Now it turns out that clayuda is a common misspelling – that the real spelling is tlayuda [pronounced tlay-OO-da]. So make that two spelling errors and you get [wrong] Buttman’s Clayudas instead of [right] Mark Bittman’s Tlayudas.

Enough talk.

But do make these. They’re cheap, easy and decidedly tasty. One would make a hearty breakfast but to my taste, a tlayuda is simple-supper food or late-night snack food.

What Is Oaxaca Tlayuda?

The first word is easy. "Oaxaca" nods to the inland city of Oaxaca in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Oaxaca is known for foods that are special and even unique to the region.

The second word invites comparisons to other cuisines and more-familiar similar dishes. "Tlayuda" are often compared to or called:

Oaxaca Tlayuda (Mexican Flat Tacos) ♥ KitchenParade.com, easy, healthy build-your-own crispy baked tortillas.

  • Flat Taco – This name is my favorite. Everybody knows what a taco is, right? Tacos are tortillas folded around taco fillings. Lay that same tortilla flat, layer good fillings on top, heat it up and you've got a Flat Taco aka Oaxaca Tlayuda!
  • Mexican Pizza or Oaxacan Pizza
  • Mexican Flatbread or Oaxacan Flatbread

What do you think? Does Flat Taco appeal to you? Or another name?

Or we could just remember Oaxaca Tlayuda because let me tell you, these crispy flat tacos are memorable. How do we pronounce it again? It's two words, [wa-HA-ka] and then [tlay-OO-da]. Got it? Got it!

What's In a Oaxaca Tlayuda? Just Think "Flat Taco".

Oaxaca Tlayuda (Mexican Flat Tacos) ♥ KitchenParade.com, easy, healthy build-your-own crispy baked tortillas.

A Tlayuda is super-easy to make, if only because the ingredients may well be on hand, already. No running to your neighborhood Mexican market!

An Aside: I always wonder, does everyone have a neighborhood Mexican grocery these days? Or it that an urban conceit? Hmmm. At least in my city, St. Louis, Walmart is an awesome source for Mexican ingredients, one of many lessons during the eye-opening food project we called Deep Mexico: Ingredient-Driven Mexican Meal Prep. I digress.

But here's what's in a Tlayuda, layer by layer, just like a flat taco or an individual pizza, say.

  • Corn Tortillas – We love the El Milagro brand but Trader Joe's corn tortillas are also good. These will get crispy in the oven! Sorry, flour tortillas just don't work here.
  • Black Bean Spread – Start with a can of beans, add garlic and a few spices and cook/mash a bit in a skillet. The bean spread can be made ahead of time! In fact, I make this black bean mix in other dishes all the time, so much flavor, spreadable but not at all dry.
  • Cooked Onion – I often use Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions (more meal prep for the win) but you can also just cook some onions (and maybe some peppers too) in a skillet until soft.
  • Cooked Meat – Leftovers work great here. I use leftover chicken, leftover pork roast or tenderloin, leftover steak. Would a little grilled fish work? Sure!
  • Cheese – Not too much, we're big on the dry and crumbly Mexican cheese called cotija but really, whatever you've got.
  • Hit the Oven – Pop these babies in the oven for just a few minutes, the cheese!
  • Cabbage – Believe it or not, aside from the crispy corn tortillas, it's cabbage that just makes Tlayuda so good, it's the yin-yang of hot cooked ingredients with the cool freshness of barely cooked cabbage. The cabbage "cooking" is done in the oven too, just a few minutes.
  • Garnishes – Like every good taco, Tlayuda love a good finish. Think cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, a drizzle of crema, etc.

Flat Taco Party – Build Your Own!

Make a party out of Tlayuda! Set out all the toppings and let everyone build their own flat tacos. Use a heavy skillet (ridged if you have one) or a baking sheet to get the crispy tortillas.

Oaxaca Street Food

The "Oaxaca" in Oaxaca Tlayuda is the city (and state) in southern Mexico. Have you visited the city of Oaxaca? What an inspiring place to visit, especially for food lovers.

Boys sharing a tortilla in the central square (Zocalo) in Oaxaca, Mexico ♥ KitchenParade.com

That's because Oaxaca, Mexico is a foodie paradise!

It's the restaurants, sure, but it's also the central market and the street food.

The central market is a cacophony of color and sound and aroma, booth after booth of homemade moles, fried grasshoppers (no kidding! and they're not bad!), cured meats, gorgeous fruits and vegetables.

In Oaxaca, street food is everywhere! I was taken by these two young boys sharing tortillas and couldn't help but grab a quick photo.


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  • A visit to Oaxaca, Mexico isn't only about food. Be sure to see the nearby archeological ruins of Mitla and Monte Alban, a UNESCO site; visit a small-batch mescal producer; spend time with a rug weaver, especially one who uses natural dyes. And yes, do try the chapulines, the fried grasshoppers! More ideas? This page from National Geographic just might inspire you!
  • Seasons of My Heart Cooking School near Oaxaca, Mexico, hosted by Susana Trilling. Much recommended! You may remember Susana from her cooking program on PBS. Even before we took a day-long class at her cooking school, we were already cooking from Susana's 1999 cookbook Seasons of My Heart: A Culinary Journey Through Oaxaca, Mexico (affiliate link).
  • We use a cast iron griddle (affiliate link) when we're cooking Tlayuda in the oven, also for eggs and bacon and vegetables and burgers. It's a real workhorse in our kitchen.
  • But for a crowd or when it's too hot for the oven, we use this electric griddle (affiliate link) for Tlayuda. It's also the very best for pancakes! The large, evenly heated surface is really something.
  • Interested in Mark Bittman's app? Sorry, the app is no longer free but here's the information. I do recommend checking the comments on the app to make sure you know what you're getting.
Oaxaca Tlayuda (Mexican Flat Tacos) ♥ KitchenParade.com, easy, healthy build-your-own crispy baked tortillas.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 1 – 12
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, including liquid
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste (probably minimal)
  • Pepper to taste (be generous)
  • 12 good-quality small corn tortillas
  • Black Bean Spread
  • Caramelized onions (try my Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions)
  • Leftover cooked meat or grilled vegetables
  • Grated cheese (our favorite is a slightly sour Mexican cheese called “cotija”)
  • Thin-sliced cabbage (don't skip)
  • Chopped cilantro, to garnish (don't skip)
  • 8 lime wedges (don't skip)
  • Crema (we love our Lime Crema) (optional but delicious)
  • Best Quick Tomato Salsa (Red Salsa) (optional)

Heat oven to 425F/220C. Place a cast iron skillet, griddle or a heavy baking sheet in the oven to heat.

BLACK BEAN SPREAD Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the beans, bean liquid, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes, until beans taste slightly more “cooked” than they do straight out of the can. With the tip of a spatula, mash the beans right in the skillet until a chunky paste. Makes 1-1/4 cups, enough for at least 12 tortillas. Can be made ahead, keeps in the refrigerator for several days.

ASSEMBLE Set up an assembly line with tortillas all in a row. Spread with Black Bean Spread, a few caramelized onions, meat and cheese. Don't overload, just a little bit of everything!

BAKE With a spatula, transfer the tortillas onto the hot pan and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover each tortilla with cabbage and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cabbage softens and browns on the edges.

SERVE Sprinkle each tortilla with cilantro and drizzle with a squeeze of lime. Serve hot!

ALANNA’s TIPS In my experience, women and light eaters eat just one Oaxaca Tlayuda, men and hungry teens eat two. We especially like the crispness of the tortillas when the tlayuda are baked on a hot cast iron skillet or griddle. If you have a ridged skillet or griddle, use it: the tortillas stay just a little bit softer and are easier to eat. An electric skillet works beautifully too, especially to make a bunch at a time, especially when it's really too hot to turn on an oven. The Black Bean Spread itself is fantastic, it would be a great thing to make for a Mexican “meze” of some sort. FYI, we're not keen on the black beans from Trader Joe's but if that's what we've got, that's what we've got. Corn tortillas are a must for Tlayuda, flour tortillas are just too soft and frankly, the corn flavor is missed. I love the corn tortillas from Trader Joe’s, you can actually taste the corn. Harder to find but better still are El Milagro corn tortillas, only 50 calories each and very good. (St. Louisans, find them in a refrigerator endcap at Global Foods in Kirkwood.) Whatever brand you choose, look for corn tortillas with just a couple of ingredients and without preservatives. No time for caramelized onions? Just fry up some onion slices until soft and golden, super easy, no planning ahead. No cabbage? A crisp lettuce is a good substitute, think iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, even bok choy.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Tortilla (this is a good estimate based on our most recent supper but of course will vary with your own choices; it assumes El Milagro corn tortillas, low-sodium black beans and roasted chicken breast for meat): 177 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 29mg Cholesterol; 182mg Sodium; 23g Carb; 3g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 13g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 5 & Freestyle 2 & myWW green 4 & blue 2 & purple 2 CALORIE COUNTERS for a 100-calorie serving, eat about half.

More Recipe Inspiration from South-of-the-Border

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Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole Ten-Minute Enchiladas
~ more Mexican recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ canned & dried bean recipes ~
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~ cabbage recipes ~

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Catherine9/18/2013

    These look amazing. There is now a chain of Mexican restaurants in London called Wahaca, named after this area.

  2. Alanna,
    I've got a couple of Bittman apps (everything and vegetarian) and while perusing in the car one day, waiting for a kid, the clayuda jumped out at me.
    Yours looks terrific--but I'd want to try it with Oaxaca cheese!

  3. Anonymous5/01/2023

    Can you say how much meat per tlayuda?

    1. Alanna6/01/2023

      Hey! Sorry for late reply, so many spam comments to wade through every so often, only to find a real note from a real person. Dang spammers. Tlayuda are by design very flexible. Want a little meat or no meat? Just do that. Want lots of meat? Sure but you really don't want to overload the tortilla either, at least if you're going to eat with your hands. I hope this helps! ~Alanna


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna