Tortas al pastor are made with al pastor pork which is marinated first in an adobo sauce prepared with chilies and spices then cooked and packed in bolillo rolls with crispy veggies, pineapple, avocado, and jalapeno chilies.
If you have a taste for tacos al pastor, you’re in for a treat with these delicious tortas al pastor! What’s fantastic about the taquerias I love in Mexico is their inclusion of tortas on the menu —scrumptious sandwiches filled with the same beloved ingredients and toppings found in your favorite tacos.
They’re a delightful twist, offering the same flavorful experience but in a satisfying sandwich form.
At home, I love making al pastor tortas because they are great for gatherings or parties. You can make a larger batch of marinated pork and customize your torta with various toppings and condiments according to your preferences. They truly are a crowd-pleaser!
- Pork: Typically, sliced pork shoulder or pork butt is used. It’s marinated and cooked on a vertical rotisserie or a pan.
- Al pastor sauce: To marinate the pork, I used traditional adobo sauce which is made with chilies and spices.
- Bread: Traditionally, tortas are made with bolillos or telera rolls, but you can substitute them with any sandwich roll you prefer.
- Veggies: Tomatoes, onion, and lettuce are a must for Mexican tortas al pastor.
- Avocado: It adds creaminess and balances the slightly spiciness of the al pastor meat.
- Pineapple: A bit of pineapple juice to marinate the meat and some diced as garnish.
- Chilies: Pickled jalapeños are a must!
- Spreads & Seasonings: Mayonnaise, mustard, and a pinch of salt.
- Oil: I used olive oil to cook the meat, feel free to use your favorite cooking oil.
How to Make Tortas al Pastor
The night before you intend to eat your sandwiches, place the meat in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce per each slice of meat you want to cook.
Add about 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice and turn the meat to coat on all sides. Cover the bowl and leave the meat to marinate overnight.
Next day, heat the oil in a no-sticking pan over medium heat. Place the marinated pork slices on a single layer and pan fry on all sides until cooked through and the meat is slightly charred on the sides.
This usually takes 2-3 minutes per side, but it depends on the thickness of the pork slices.
Cut the bolillo rolls in half and spread each piece with mayonnaise and mustard.
Arrange one slice of cooked al pastor pork on each bottom side of the bolillos.
Next, arrange a few slices of avocado and onions. I love avocado, so I add about 1/4 of a large avocado per sandwich.
Add two or three slices of tomatoes and season with a pinch of salt. Then top with a handful of shredded lettuce.
Finish with some diced pineapple and pickled jalapeños on top.
Close each torta with the other half of the bolillo rolls. You can also cut the sandwich in half so it will be easier to eat, then serve or pack for later.
Tips & Notes
- You can also lightly toast the bread before putting together the sandwich to avoid excessive sogginess.
- Feel free to add other ingredients to make your tortas more fulfilling. For example, slices of your favorite cheese like queso fresco, Monterey Jack, or cheddar cheese. You can also spread some refried beans or guacamole on the bread for another layer of flavor.
- To prevent the avocado from turning brown, especially if you intend to pack the tortas for later, you can add a few drops of lemon juice.
- Al pastor is a cooking method that involves marinating the meat with achiote, chilies, and other spices; then the meat is slow-roasted in a vertical rotisserie. Many other recipes can be made with al pastor meat such as tacos, nachos, and burritos.
I love pairing tortas al pastor with sides and beverages that complement the savory, tangy, and spicy flavors of the dish to enhance the overall dining experience. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Agua de Jamaica (hibiscus water).
- Agua de guayaba (guava fruit water).
- Strawberry agua fresca.
- Sopa de fideo.
- Mexican pickled carrots.
- Grilled elote salad.
How to Pack Al Pastor Tortas
Wrap up those tasty Mexican sandwiches snugly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to keep everything inside. You can also use airtight containers, but make sure they’re sealed tight to keep the ingredients nice and fresh.
If you’re making tortas al pastor for a picnic or work lunch, put them together right before packing so the bread stays fresh and doesn’t get soggy.
These sandwiches can be stored in the fridge for about 24 hours. If you’re thinking of storing them longer, it’s better to keep the bread and fillings separate until just before eating.
More Tortas Recipes
I hope you love these tortas al pastor as much as I do! Here are more recipes to inspire you!
Tortas al Pastor
For al pastor meat
- 4 slices pork loin (about 3oz each)
- ¼ cup adobo sauce (read notes)
- 2 Tablespoons pineapple juice
- pinch of salt
- Place the meat in a bowl. Add the adobo sauce, pineapple juice, and a pinch of salt. Mix to coat on all sides, cover the bowl, and leave the meat marinating overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- Heat the oil in a no-sticking pan over medium heat. Place the marinated pork slices on a single layer and pan fry on all sides until cooked through and the meat is slightly charred on the sides (read note 1).
- Cut the bolillo rolls in half and spread each piece with mayonnaise and mustard.
- Arrange one slice of cooked al pastor pork on each bottom side of the bolillos.
- Then add a few slices of avocado, sliced onion, and tomato slices.
- Season with a pinch of salt then top with a handful of shredded lettuce.
- Finish with some diced pineapple and pickled jalapeños on top.
- Close each torta with the other half of the bolillo rolls. You can also cut the sandwich in half so it will be easier to eat, then serve or pack for later.
- Cooking the meat usually takes 2-3 minutes per side, but it depends on the thickness of the pork slices.
- You can use homemade adobo sauce or store-bought if you prefer.
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.