These Ground Beef Tortas are cheesy Mexican sandwiches made with pieces of warm, crusty bread filled with lots of seasoned ground beef and topped with gooey, melted cheese. Served open-faced, these are a quick and mouthwatering treat that are great for a casual weeknight dinner or a weekend gathering.
I love cooking with ground beef. It is so versatile and goes great in so many delicious Mexican dishes such as Albóndigas in Chipotle Sauce, Ground Beef Tostadas, and Bacon and Ground Beef Chiles Rellenos.
Another perfect example is today's recipe for open-faced ground beef tortas. These are always a great choice whenever I need something quick, filling, and flavorful. I loved these growing up and now my kids and husband have become just as fond of them.
If you are looking for a simple, yet delicious, quick Mexican treat, these will definitely do the trick and keep everyone coming back for more.
What is a Torta?
A torta is a Mexican sandwich, similar to a sub sandwich. It is made with a warm fluffy bun, called a bolillo or telera, that is usually spread with butter or mayo and filled with different ingredients such as meats, beans, vegetables, eggs, and cheese.
Today's tortas have a unique twist that sets them apart from traditional ones. Instead of being served as a closed sandwich with a top bun covering the fillings, these tortas are served open-faced.
To do this, the bolillos are sliced in half horizontally, and the fillings are placed on each half of the bread. They are then topped with cheese and baked until the cheese is perfectly melted, similar to molletes.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Flavorful: Tender, seasoned beef, warm bread and melted cheese is an absolutely delicious combination, and even better if topped with homemade salsa.
- Easy to Make: The ground beef cooks quickly and then it is just a matter of assembling the tortas and melting the cheese.
- Filling: A well-rounded, hearty dish that will keep you full and satiated.
- Perfect for Sharing: These tortas can feed a lot of people and are great for gatherings or family meals.
- Traditional Mexican flavors: The recipe uses classic Mexican ingredients and flavors that are comforting and satisfying.
- Gluten-Free Option: If you cannot have gluten, it is easy to make this recipe gluten-free by just swapping out the bread for gluten-free buns.
- Ground Beef: I prefer to buy ground beef that is 80% lean so that it won't get dried out while cooking.
- Onion, Garlic and Tomato: The mix of these three ingredients adds great flavor to the beef.
- Jalapeño (optional): If you want your meat spicy from the get go, you can also add a diced jalapeño. It adds a great kick and flavor. I tend to omit it for my little ones and opt to make a salsa instead that each person can add (as you'll see below).
- Bolillos: You can use Mexican bolillos, also known as pan blanco in Northern Mexico, where I am from. Bolillos are small loaves of plain white bread that are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. They can be found in Latin American grocery stores and bakeries, as well as in some regular grocery stores.
- Cheese: Use white Mexican cheese that melts well such as asadero, Chihuahua, Oaxaca, or Mexican muenster. If you cannot find these, you can use Monterey Jack or mozzarella.
- Mayonnaise: Mayo is used to spread on the bread, adding great flavor and helping them toast up. Use your favorite brand of mayonnaise or make your own. Homemade Mayo is easy to make, plus it is creamy, healthy and delicious.
- Salsa: I always make some of my mom's Easy and Fast Jalapeño Salsa for each person to add to their own torta. Regardless of whether you add jalapeño or not, I think the salsa really complements the flavor of the tortas.
- Salt and Pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
Whenever I cannot make it to the Mexican grocery store to pick up some bolillos, I buy a fresh French bread loaf from my local grocery store.
You may find telera rolls instead of bolillos in some Latin American markets. Telera rolls are softer and rounder but are also a great choice when making these sandwiches.
How to Make a Mexican Beef Torta
1. Cook the Beef
- Brown the ground beef in a pan and add diced onion, garlic and jalapeño (if using). Let them cook until fragrant.
- Add diced tomato.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Take the meat off the heat and set aside.
2. Prepare Bread
- Cut the bolillos down the middle lengthwise.
- Carefully scoop out some of the soft white middle part (called crumb in English or migajón in Spanish) to create a gap to place the filling. (This step allows for more meat to be added to the bread and keeps the toppings from easily falling off.)
- Spread mayonnaise on the inside of each half.
3. Toast the Bread
- Place bread on a baking sheet and bake for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly toasted.
- If you prefer, you can instead lightly toast the bread on the stove on a comal or pan.
- Fill each bolillo half with the cooked ground beef.
- Top with shredded cheese.
- Place back in the oven until the cheese is melted, about 4-5 minutes.
- Serve topped with Easy and Fast Jalapeño Salsa
How to Serve
These open-faced sandwiches are best served hot, right out of the oven.
They are great served on their own for an easy lunch or dinner. Here are some other suggestions on how to serve them:
- Serve with a side salad
- Accompany with a bowl of soup such as Vegan Asparagus Soup, Sopa de Tortilla Azteca, or Sopa de Verduras
- Serve with some guacamole such as this 4-Ingredient Guacamole Recipe or Roasted Green Chile Guacamole
How to Store and Reheat
Store leftover tortas in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped individually in aluminum foil for up to 3 days.
To reheat, place in a 350ºF oven or toaster oven for 10 minutes until heated through. You could also reheat for 1-2 minutes in a microwave, however this tends to make the bread soggy.
Tips and Variations
- Toast the Bread: Be sure to toast the bread before adding the toppings, as indicated in the recipe. This is an essential step that will make the final result so much better.
- Prepare in Advance: You can prepare the meat ahead of time so it is easier to assemble the tortas when ready to eat.
- Season the Beef: I like to keep the seasoning of the beef simple, however feel free to add a pinch of cumin, garlic powder, or onion powder if you'd like.
- Serve a Crowd: I usually estimate 1 bolillo per person, which ends up being more than enough for dinner or lunch. However, you can also cut each half into smaller pieces and serve as an appetizer for a larger gathering.
- Serve as Traditional Tortas: If you'd rather these not be open-faced, simply add the beef and cheese to only the bottom bolillo halves. Bake so the cheese can melt and then close the tortas with the top bolillo halves. You could add shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, or sliced avocados like regular tortas too.
Yes, other bread options that work are French bread, hamburger buns, or hoagie rolls.
Ground turkey or ground pork could be used instead of the ground beef.
I do not recommend serving these tortas cold as the warm ground beef and melted cheese is what makes these delicious.
Yes, these are great for a crowd. My recommendation is to use French bread as it will be easier to make a larger quantity. See the notes in the recipe card for instructions when using French bread.
I hope you enjoy! If you try this recipe, please leave me a comment with a star rating below. Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest to stay in touch, and don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter.
Ground Beef Tortas
- cast-iron skillet or pan
- Baking Sheet
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 diced tomato
- ¼ diced onion
- 1-2 diced garlic cloves
- 1 diced jalapeño (optional)
- 4 Mexican bolillos (or French bread, see notes)
- 2 cups shredded cheese such as Mexican muenster, Chihuahua, asadero or Oaxaca
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Heat a medium cast-iron skillet or pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the ground beef and use the back of a wooden spoon to break up the meat.
- When almost completely browned, add the diced onions, garlic, and jalapeño (if using) and sauté until translucent and aromatic.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute.
- Season meat with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- Cut the bread down the middle lengthwise.
- Carefully scoop out some of the soft white middle part (crumb), without puncturing the bread, to create a gap along the middle for the filling.
- Spread mayo on the inside of each of the halves of bread.
- Place the bread on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
- Place the bread in the oven for 2-3 minutes, then take it out, flip it and let the other side toast for another 1-2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can lightly toast the bread on the stove on a comal or pan.)
- Remove the bread from the oven and spoon the ground beef onto each of the halves of bread. Top with shredded cheese.
- Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.
- Feel free to slice each torta into smaller pieces depending on the size of your bread. Top with jalapeño salsa for extra flavor and spice.
- If you cannot find bolillos, substitute French bread instead. Cut the French bread lengthwise down the middle. To make it easier, you can leave the bread halves whole and follow the same steps for the recipe. Then just slice each of the halves into about 4" to 6" pieces at the very end.
Originally published August 8, 2018. Updated post and photos August 2023.