Pueblan-Style Cemita Sandwiches Recipe

A cemita sandwich, as made in Puebla, Mexico. . Vicky Wasik

Why This Recipe Works

  • Pulling some bread from the top buns helps make a slightly more compact (though still gloriously overstuffed) sandwich.
  • Pulling the cheese into hair-thin strands creates a texture in each bite that can't be beat.

Cemitas are a Mexican sandwich that originally hails from the State of Puebla and gets its name from the bun itself, also known as a cemita. This recipe shows you how to make a Pueblan-style cemita with a fried milanesa beef, chicken, or pork cutlet filling. Loaded with fine strands of shredded Oaxacan cheese, plenty of ripe avocado, chipotles or pickled jalapeños, and papalo, a fragrant Mexican herb with a flavor all its own, it's a masterpiece of sandwich construction.

Recipe Details

Pueblan-Style Cemita Sandwiches Recipe

Active 45 mins
Total 45 mins
Serves 4 servings


  • 4 (6-ounce) pieces beef, pork, or chicken cutlets, very thinly pounded

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup bread crumbs

  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 ripe medium Hass avocados, halved, pitted, and sliced

  • 4 homemade or store-bought cemita buns (see note), sesame seed buns, or brioche buns, halved

  • 2 cups shredded Queso Oaxaca from 1 (14-ounce) ball of cheese (see note), or fresh mozzarella or string cheese, divided

  • 12 raw onion rings (about 1/4 inch thick)

  • 4 chipotle chiles from 1 (7-ounce) can whole chipotle chiles in adobo, or pickled jalapeños from 1 (12-ounce) can

  • 20 leaves papalo (see note), or fresh cilantro leaves

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Set wire rack on a sheet pan. Place milk in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish. Place bread crumbs in third shallow dish. Working one at a time, dip cutlets in milk, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Return to milk, then dredge in bread crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place breaded cutlets on a baking sheet.

  2. Heat about 1/2 inch oil in a cast-iron skillet to 375°F. Working in batches and adding oil as needed to maintain level, fry cutlets, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper when still hot.

  3. Spread avocado on bottom bun halves. Top with fried cutlets. Mound half of the cheese on the cutlets.

  4. Arrange onion rings on top of cheese. If using chipotles, tear into pieces and arrange on onion rings; alternatively, arrange pickled jalapeños on top of onion rings. Top with papalo and mound the remaining cheese on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

  5. Scoop some bread from each of the top buns and discard. Close sandwiches and serve right away.

Special equipment

1 large cast iron skillet; 2 baking sheets


Cemita buns, papalo, and Queso Oaxaca can be found at well-stocked Mexican and Latin American bakeries and grocers. Queso Oaxaca should be shredded by hand into very thin strands, just like string cheese.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1008 Calories
50g Fat
64g Carbs
75g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1008
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 65%
Saturated Fat 15g 77%
Cholesterol 202mg 67%
Sodium 1129mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 64g 23%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 75g
Vitamin C 46mg 231%
Calcium 555mg 43%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 1139mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)