Pambazos are a flavorful Mexican dish featuring a sandwich coated with a mild spicy guajillo sauce and stuffed with Mexican chorizo and potatoes. Our easy recipe is the perfect choice for an introduction to this traditional Mexican meal.
What are pambazos?
Picture, if you will, a sandwich. Two pieces of bread, and in between various fillings and spreads. Now, imagine this simple sandwich transformed into a delicious, mouth-watering creation full of bold flavors, aromas, and textures that are uniquely Mexican. That’s is a pambazo Mexicano.
The bread, from which it derives the name of this sandwich, is made with wheat flour and it can be coated with guajillo sauce or simply dusted with flour. The filling variates depending on the region where it is consumed. The sauce is the same used to make enchiladas, so you’ll find those pretty much in the stalls where antojitos are sold.
Pambazos gets its name from the bread from which it was originally made during colonial times. During those times the lower classes would consume the “basso” bread, which means “low bread”. It was a type of cheap bread and not of the high-quality bread available to the nobility.
Nowadays, the quality of bread used to make this snack is comparable to other types of bread and modern recipes use also bolillos or teleras. Nevertheless, its name remained associated with the delicious, mouth-watering sandwich.
When and how are consumed?
A Pambazo Mexicano can be taken as a full meal and are available all year round. Among Mexicans, it is a popular dish especially during celebrations like Mexican Independence Day (Sep 16th) and Mexican Revolution Day (Nov 20th). Being so popular, they are easy to find among the street stalls of Mexico City.
Depending on the region, different versions are consumed. Those are some of the most popular:
- Pambazo de Puebla: Stuffed with shredded beef, this Pambazo is a delight. You may even find it filled with the famous mole poblano! This pambazo can be found with the bread dusted with flour -like the one from Veracruz- or coated with sauce – like the one from el Bajio.
- Pambazo del Bajío: This pambazo is the star of today’s recipe. Stuffed with potato and chorizo or longaniza, the bread is coated with guajillo chili sauce and topped with lettuce, cream and queso fresco.
- Pambazo de Veracruz: One of the greatest references in the Veracruz cuisine. Legend has it, that the Empress Carlota, spouse of Maximilian of Habsburg, asked her chef Josef Tüdös to create a dish inspired by one of the most famous volcanoes in Mexico, the “Pico de Orizaba”, giving birth to the Pambazo Veracruzano.
Unlike the Pambazos of other regions, the one from Veracruz is completely white thus representing the snow of the Pico de Orizaba volcano, its filling is usually made with refried beans, chorizo and queso fresco.
The step by step recipe
Some people believe that this dish contains a lot of calories due to the amount of oil used. A well-prepared pambazo recipe requires just the right amount of oil to prevent the bread from being too greasy and soft. Our recipe will guide you to avoid the most common mistakes when cooking it.
Start by making the sauce
Discard the stems of guajillo chiles, cut them longwise, and discard seeds and membranes. Place them in a bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them soak for 10 minutes.
Drain guajillo chiles and place them in a blender with onion, garlic, oregano, and salt. Add 1 cup of water and blend for 2 minutes or until you’ll have a smooth sauce.
Using a fine sieve, strain the sauce on a bowl or small pot and set aside. Some people like to simmer this sauce, but I don’t really find it necessary as it will cook anyway when you’ll fry the bread.
Make the filling
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Boil them in salted water until fork tender. Drain potatoes and set aside.
- Remove the casings from chorizo. In a frying pan or skillet heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add chorizo, break it with the back of a spoon and fry for about 5 minutes or until slightly crispy.
- Add the diced potatoes to the pan and mix well, adjust salt to taste and set aside. You can also smash some potatoes, it helps to keep the filling together when eating your pambazo.
Prepare the bread
In a non-sticking pan or cast-iron skillet, heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Now, take the bread and dip it into the guajillo sauce, making sure it coats well the crust sides.
Place the bread still closed on the pan and allow to fry for about one minute per side or until slightly crispy.
Open the bread and lightly brush the crumb (don’t add too much sauce or it will become soggy).
Flip the bread and allow to fry the crumb side until browned and slightly crispy. You don’t really need to add more oil because the one left in the pan should be enough to “fry” the crumb. Just take care of the heat as you don’t want burned but toasted, and slightly crispy bread.
- Place bread in a serving plate. Add first the potato-chorizo mixture in the bottom piece.
- Add some lettuce and onions, then top with lots of queso fresco cheese and cream. Close the pambazo with the top piece of bread and serve with your favorite Mexican salsa.
What bread to use
As you can guess by now, finding the authentic bread for pambazos is not easy as it sounds. So, your options are either making your own pan basso, teleras, bolillos, or using a type of bread with a similar texture. For a quick recipe, we recommend the second option.
So find a bread with a nice crumb that can hold nicely the sauce and won’t fall apart. Stay away from soft dinner rolls as they will get too soggy. Kaiser rolls are a wonderful option, so french bread or baguette. In this recipe, I am using tartarughe, a type of bread that I can find here where I live.
Bring your recipe to the next level by using other types of fillings, here are our recommendations:
- Tinga: Chicken shredded and simmered in a mild chipotle sauce.
- Refried beans: Use classic refried beans or chorizo refried beans.
- Chilorio: Traditional pulled pork marinated and cooked in an aromatic chili sauce.
- Picadillo: Another Mexican classic, make sure to drain it well before using, to prevent your bread from becoming soggy.
- Chicharron verde: Pork cracklings simmered in a tomatillo sauce.
- Vegetarian: For meatless versions, you can use either calabacitas or champiñones.
Watch How To Make It
Thank you for watching this video and post, hope you liked the recipe and let us know if you made it.
- 6 teleras or bolillo bread (halved, read notes)
- 1 cup queso fresco (crumbled )
- ½ cup red onions (sliced)
- 1 ½ cup lettuce (shredded)
- ½ cup Mexican crema ( or sour cream)
- oil for frying
- your favorite Mexican salsa (read notes)
For the guajillo sauce
- 6 guajillo peppers (steams, seeds and veins removed)
- 1 garlic clove (peeled)
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp salt
For the filling
- 2 Mexican chorizo sausages (casing removed)
- 2 ½ cups potatoes (peeled and diced)
- 2 Tbsp oil
Make the guajillo sauce
- Place guajillo peppers in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 10 minutes.
- Drain and place chili peppers in a blender with garlic, oregano, and salt. Add 1 cup of water and blend for 2 minutes or until smooth.
- Using a fine sieve, strain the sauce on a bowl and set aside.
Make the filling
- Boil potatoes in salted water until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
- Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a non-stick pan. Add chorizo and fry for about 5 minutes or until lightly crispy.
- Add potatoes and mix well, adjust salt to taste and set aside.
Fry the bread
- In a non-sticking pan or comal, heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.
- Dip the bread into the guajillo sauce, making sure it coats well the crust sides.
- Place the bread on the pan and fry for about one minute per side or until slightly crispy.
- Open the bread and slightly brush the crumb (don’t add too much sauce or it will become soggy).
- Flip the bread and allow to fry the crumb side until browned and slightly crispy. Add more oil if necessary.
- Place bread in a serving plate. Add first the potato filling in the bottom piece.
- Add some lettuce and onions, then top with lots of queso fresco and cream.
- Close the pambazo with the top piece of bread and serve with your favorite Mexican salsa.
What are pambazos made of?
A pambazo Mexicano is made of bread dipped in a guajillo chile sauce, stuffed with a potato-chorizo mixture, and lightly fried.
What part of Mexico is this recipe from?
It is believed the original recipe is from Mexico City.
Are pambazos spicy?
Not really. Guajillo chiles max out at 5,000 Scoville Heat Units, to easily compare, a jalapeño pepper reaches 8,000 SHU.
Is a Pambazo a torta?
No. Even though there are similarities, in Mexico this snack is not considered a torta and they aren’t found as such.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.