Pambazos

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.

Pambazos.

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.

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.

A woman preparing and selling various Mexican antojitos in the street.
A woman selling pambazos, enchiladas and other “antojitos”.

Origin

Pambazos gets its name from the bread from which it was originally made during colonial times.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 not of the high quality bread available to the nobility.

Nowadays, the quality of bread used to make pambazos is comparable to other types of breads and modern recipes uses also bolillos or teleras. Nevertheless, its name remained associated with the delicious, mouth watering sandwich.

When and how is consumed?

A Pambazo 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 central Mexico.

Close up to the filling.

Versions

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, Veracruz pambazo is completely white thus representing the snow of the volcano, its filling is usually made with refried beans, chorizo and queso fresco.
Traditional pambazos.

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 chilies, cut them longwise and discard seeds and membranes. Place them in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let them soak for 10 minutes.

Adding hot water over chilies on a bowl.

Drain chilies 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.

The chili sauce in a blender, seen from above.

Using a fine sieve, strain the sauce on a bowl and set aside. Some people like to cook 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 tender. Drain potatoes and set aside.
  • Remove the casings from chorizo. In a frying pan 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 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.
A collage showing chorizo and potatoes preparation.

Prepare the bread

In a non-sticking pan, heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Now, take the bread and dip it into the guajillo sauce, making sure it coats well the crust sides.

Dipping the bread into the guajillo sauce.

Place the bread still closed on the pan and allow to fry for about one minute per side or until slightly crispy.

Bread fried on a flat skillet.

Open the bread and slightly brush the crumb (don’t add too much sauce or it will become soggy).

Brushing bread with guajillo sauce.

Flip the bread and allow to fry the crumb side until browned and slightly crispy. You don’t really need to add more oil as the one left in the pan should be enough to “fry” the crumb. Just take care of the heat as you don’t want a burned but a toasted, and slightly crispy bread.

Assemble

  1. Place bread in a serving plate. Add first the potato filling in the bottom piece.
  2. 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.
Collage for assembling pambazos.

Recommended salsas

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 or bolillos, or using a 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 for 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 in Italy.

Tartarughe bread in a cutting board.

Other fillings

Bring your pambazos to the next level by using other types of fillings, here are our recommendations:

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.

Pambazos recipe.

Pambazos

Pambazos are a flavorful Mexican dish featuring a sandwich coated with a mild spicy guajillo sauce and stuffed with Mexican chorizo and potatoes.
PREP 15 minutes
COOK 20 minutes
TOTAL 35 minutes
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 6
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

For pambazos

  • 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

Instructions

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 slightly 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.

Assemble

  • 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.

NOTES

You can use Kaiser rolls instead bolillos or teleras.
Recommended salsas:
Nutrition
Calories: 640kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 1739mg | Potassium: 603mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1513IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 5mg
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Recipe Rating




9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I never heard about pambazo before but as soon as I saw your recipe I knew I should make it. I used a baguette because I couldn’t find bolillos or Kaiser rolls at my local store. My husband loved them, I loved them and my daughter LOVED them!

  2. 5 stars
    Never heard of pambazos before, I am going to give a try as I have almost all ingredients (need to find a good bread to hold that sauce tho). I let you know who it turned.

  3. 5 stars
    I just bookmarked this for my family because WOW, what a great recipe and so unusual. My son is vegetarian so I’m going to half to use plant-based meat but with the great seasonings I’m confident we’re all going to love it! Thanks for sharing.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Maricruz, I loved these pambazos so much! I also live in Italy now with my husband but lived in Mexico for 8 years until 2019. I missed the pambazos so much and got to taste them again with your recipe! They were delicious! So much nostalgia… I loved that you explained the differences between the pambazos in the different Mexican states! Thanks for bringing so many memories back!

    1. Hi Gustavo, how nice! Hope you guys love living here :) let me know if you need any info about where to find Latin American ingredients, I’d be glad to help.