Molotes poblanos are a crispy, crunchy antojito that start with a masa harina and wheat flour base. Fill them with mouthwatering fillings like cheese and poblano peppers for an ultra-satisfying snack.
Just don't forget the crema and salsa verde!
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Fun to make, easy to customize, and a real crowd-pleaser, molotes are an ideal choice for any occasion. Try making them with plant-based ingredients to find out how easy it is to transform all your favorite Mexican foods.
What are molotes poblanos?
Popular in the state of Puebla, "molotes poblanos" are masa-based antojitos. Similar to empanadas, they're filled with meat, potatoes, beans, vegetables, or cheese before being fried to crisp-fection (yes, we just made that up).
Depending on the area you're in, your molote may be moon-shaped (like an empanada), thin, or cigar-shaped. You can find them sold in the streets of Puebla by street vendors, who usually have a green salsa and crema garnish at the ready.
We decided to use one of our favorite combos today — roasted poblano peppers and vegan mozzarella. We love these two together because the mild chile heat and melty cheese complement each other so well. Plus, it feels fitting to use poblanos.
Not only are molotes fun to make, but the taste is out of this world! Try making some for your next dinner party to see what we mean.
Molotes are said to come from either Oaxaca or Puebla, but it's a little tricky to pinpoint where the original recipe was actually created.
One thing is for sure — the molotes from Puebla look very different from the molotes in Oaxaca (thin and long vs. cigar-like).
This antojito really showcases the eclectic mix between Spain and Mexico in the culinary world. The Spanish introduced the concept of frying foods, but people in Mexico have been cooking with masa harina for hundreds of years.
As far as fillings go, chicken tinga is a popular choice (but jackfruit tinga is very tasty too). Other options include potatoes, chorizo, or cheese.
Are molotes vegan?
Although the dough for molotes can be made plant-based, some recipes call for lard. In addition, the meat and cheese fillings make a typical recipe non-vegan.
This is why we were inspired to share this recipe for molotes! We use shortening (or vegan butter) in the dough and nut-based cheese in place of cheese made from dairy.
Play around with all of the above and decide which way you prefer to serve your own molotes poblanos!
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
What it is: this special type of flour is made entirely from corn and utilized in a large majority of Mexican recipes. It's created by soaking corn in an alkaline solution, then grinding and drying it out. This process is called nixtamalization, which makes vitamins and minerals more bioavailable to humans.
Taste: once fried, masa carries a slightly sweet corn flavor and crisps up to make delicious molotes. It's a flavor that can't be matched with any other ingredient in Mexican cuisine.
Health: naturally gluten-free and filled with vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin B, and zinc, masa harina is an extremely healthy ingredient to form the base of many recipes.
Where to buy: most large grocery stores will sell masa harina. But, if you're lucky enough to live by a Latin or Mexican food market, they will most certainly carry it. If you still can't find any, check for masa harina online.
For more information, check out our detailed guide on masa harina.
Taste: with a mild, almost nutty flavor, all-purpose flour adds a delicate texture and allows more pliability in the molotes. This definitely helps with filling and closing!
Health: often considered an "unhealthy" flour due to the processing it undergoes, all-purpose flour is enriched with the vitamins and minerals that are lost during its preparation (like B vitamins, iron, and fiber).
Taste: you won't taste it in the flavor, but you can thank baking powder for helping these molotes puff up to form a light, airy texture.
Fun fact: baking powder is made from a mixture of carbonate, a weak acid, and a filler. When it becomes wet, an acid-base reaction is activated that releases carbon dioxide into the dough. The bubbles cause the dough to expand making it fluffy!
We've tested molotes with different fillings, but our absolute favorites are vegan mozzarella and roasted poblano peppers. If those aren't for you, here are a few more ideas to take your crispy treats to new heights:
Let us know in the comments if you have any special combos because we love trying new foods!
If you have questions about these molotes poblanos, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add the shortening and water and knead into a uniform ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2: preheat your oven and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place both poblanos on the foil and roast until the skins are blackened. Make sure you turn the peppers 1-2 times throughout roasting.
Step 3: transfer the poblanos to a bag or bowl with plastic wrap over top and let them steam for a few minutes, then peel the skins off. Open and remove the seeds and veins, then slice the poblanos into strips.
Step 4: flatten each ball of dough between 2 sheets of plastic, then roll it out into a thin oval shape using a rolling pin. Remove the top piece of plastic, then add a strip of poblano and cheese to the center.
Step 5: keeping the dough on the bottom piece of plastic, fold it over and pinch the edges together, making sure there is a good seal. Fry them a few at a time in a large skillet until golden brown.
Molotes usually go quick in our house, but they do make excellent leftovers as well. Follow these storage tips to keep them tasting fresh for longer.
Let your molotes cool completely, then store them in the fridge for up to 4-5 days in airtight containers.
Molotes will keep in the freezer for about 3 months. Just remember to keep them in a freezer-safe bag or container.
You can reheat your molotes in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until they are warmed to your liking.
💭 Tips & variations
We'd like to share some tips and variations we learned while experimenting with this molotes poblanos recipe:
- Use a plastic bag. Molotes are easier to roll out and fold between two pieces of a reusable plastic bag (like a Zip-Loc).
- Don't overdo the fillings. If you over-stuff the molotes, you run the risk of breaking or cracking them! Start small and work your way up from there.
- Use dry fillings. To avoid a soggy molote, use fillings that are on the drier side.
- Save your oil. Make sure you save your oil for next time. Your wallet will thank you!
🍴 Tasting notes
You are not going to regret making a double batch of molotes. They're:
If you try these molotes poblanos, please rate the recipe and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
- Large skillet
- Mixing bowl
- Freezer bags
- ½ cup all-purpose flour ($0.04)
- 1 ½ cups masa harina ($0.19)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder ($0.01)
- ½ teaspoon salt ($0.01)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening or vegan butter ($0.28)
- 1 ½ cups warm water ($0.01)
- 2 poblano peppers ($0.24)
- 3-4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded ($0.93)
- 1-2 cups neutral vegetable oil ($0.32)
- Preheat your oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Combine both flours, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the shortening and water and knead into a uniform ball, about 5-6 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Place both whole poblanos on the foil and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the skins are blackened. Make sure to turn the peppers 1-2 times throughout roasting.
- Transfer the poblanos to a Ziplock bag or bowl with plastic wrap overtop to help loosen the skins. Let them steam for a few minutes, then peel the skins off. Open and remove the seeds and veins, then slice the poblanos into strips.
- Flatten each ball of dough between 2 sheets of plastic, then roll it out into a thin oval shape using a rolling pin. Remove the top piece of plastic, add a strip of poblano and cheese to the center.
- Keeping the dough on the bottom piece of plastic, fold it over and pinch the edges together, making sure there is a good seal.
- Carefully cook 1-2 at a time in a large skillet filled with ~1 inch of oil. Fry on each side for 1-3 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and keep warm in your oven at 250°F while you cook the rest. Serve with salsa verde and Mexican crema. Happy eating!
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more crispy, crunchy, and comforting antojitos, check out our:
- Mulitas to test out jackfruit carnitas, dairy-free cheese, guacamole, and salsa sandwiched between two homemade tortillas.
- Picaditas for warm and delicious corn cakes topped with green or red salsa, fresh onion, and creamy vegan queso.
- Empanadas for pastries made with masa and filled with tasty plant-based meats and cheese.
- Sopes if you think you'll enjoy crispy corn cakes topped with refried beans, queso fresco, and pico de gallo.
We don't recommend baking them because the dough is more likely to crack as corn masa dries out quickly. If you do bake them, brush the tops with oil.
To make molotes gluten-free, substitute your favorite gluten-free flour or omit the wheat flour completely. Note: they may be more prone to cracking depending on the flour you choose.