The Washington Post

Molletes (Refried Bean and Cheese Melts)

Molletes (Refried Bean and Cheese Melts) 4.000

Scott Suchman for the Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Nov 23, 2021

Food writer Pati Jinich describes molletes (pronounced moh-YEH-tehs), open-face sandwiches of refried beans, melted cheese and pico de gallo, as “one of the most comforting foods I have eaten since I can remember.” In Mexico City, individual bolillos are commonly used. Here a loaf of French or Italian bread stands in. To get crispy bread, hollow out the loaf and toast it first before filling. Use one of the cheeses recommended, or queso fresco or cotija. Serve them as is, or dress them up as we suggest with a few extra toppings.

Active time: 15 mins; Total time: 25 mins


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 (16-inch) loaf French or Italian bread
  • 1 (15-ounce) can refried black or pinto beans
  • 2 scallions, white parts separated from green, thinly sliced and divided
  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated or crumbled Oaxaca, mozzarella or pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup pico de gallo, store-bought or homemade (see related recipes)
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced (optional)
  • Pickled jalapeño slices (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems (optional)
  • 1 lime, quartered (optional)

Related Recipes


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Halve the bread across the equator, then remove all but about 1/4 inch of its interior. Place cut side up on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. (If you place the bread removed from the interior of the loaf on the same baking sheet, you can toast, cool and then blitz it in a food processor to make breadcrumbs.)

In a medium bowl, combine the refried beans and scallion whites. Spread the refried bean mixture evenly inside the toasted bread. Top generously with the grated cheese. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is lightly toasted around the edges. (This is a good time to slice your avocado or make pico de gallo, if you choose to do so.)

Transfer the bread to a cutting board and slice crosswise into 4-inch lengths. Serve warm, topped with pico de gallo, and avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, scallions greens and lime wedges, if using, on the side.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from food writer Pati Jinich.

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (2 4-inch molletes with about 1/4 cup pico de gallo): 656

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 21g 32%

Saturated Fat: 11g 55%

Cholesterol: 50mg 17%

Sodium: 1267mg 53%

Total Carbohydrates: 81g 27%

Dietary Fiber: 9g 36%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 31g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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