Tetelas are a traditional, pre-colonial recipe from the Oaxaca and Puebla regions. Originally stuffed with vegetables and beans, today's tetelas often include shredded Oaxacan cheese and a dollop of crema.  Try dunking your tetelas in a little Salsa Oaxaqueña for the full effect. 


  • 1½ cups masa harina
  • 1⅛ cups lukewarm water, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 cup black beans, drained 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-4 jalapeño peppers (depending on size and preference), chopped
  • 1 tbsp lard or olive oil
  • ⅔ cup Oaxacan cheese or mozzarella, shredded
  • ¾ cups Mexican crema, or sour cream, to serve
  • ¾ cups queso fresco crumbled, to serve
  • Salsa Oaxaqueña, to serve


  1. Purée the beans in a food processor.  Set aside.
  2. Heat the lard in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and jalapeños. Cook until soft and slightly translucent.
  3. Add the puréed beans to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the beans are dry but still creamy and spreadable.  Season with salt to taste and remove from the heat.
  4. To make the dough: in a bowl, combine the masa harina, salt, and water until you will have a soft dough that is similar in texture to play-dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 balls and keep them covered with a damp kitchen towel.
  6. Heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until smoky hot.  Make sure your pan is well-seasoned, or your tetelas may stick. 
  7. Place one masa ball between 2 sheets of plastic and then press with a heavy dish or tortilla press to make a tortilla about 6-inch in diameter.
  8. Remove the top plastic sheet and spread some of the puréed beans in the middle of the tortilla.  Sprinkled a little Oaxacan cheese or mozzarella over the beans.  
  9. Using the plastic sheet, fold over one side of the tortilla to partially cover the filling, then fold the other side partially over the remaining filling, patting it a little to seal it.  Fold up the bottom to form a triangle and gently press the tetela to flatten.  It should look like a small, flat, triangular hat. 
  10. Remove the tetela from the plastic and gently transfer it onto the hot pan.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  Carefully flip and keep cooking until your tetela is just browned.  
  11. Repeat this process with all of the dough balls. As they finish cooking, keep them warm by wrapping them with a tea towel.
  12. Serve with Salsa Oaxaqueña, Mexican crema, and queso fresco. 
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