Tortas Ahogadas


Drowned Tortas

Drowned Tortas

Tortas Ahogadas

Recipe Yield

8 to 10 Servings

Cooking time

45 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.63 from 8 votes


To make the tomato salsa:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe Roma tomatoes coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water more or less to taste

To make the spicy salsa:

  • 5 to 8 chiles de arbol stemmed, more or less to taste
  • 1 pound ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

To assemble:

To Prepare

To make the tomato salsa:

  • Place all the tomatoes, garlic, onion, marjoram, oregano, cloves, salt, and pepper into the jar of a blender and puree until completely smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once very hot, but not smoking, pour in the tomato sauce. Cover partially with a lid and cook for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens and seasons. Add the chicken broth, stir, and cook a couple minutes more. Turn off the heat and set aside.

To make the spicy salsa:

  • Heat a comal or skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chiles de arbol, and toast for about 1 minute, flipping them around as they do. Remove and set aside.
  • Place the tomatoes and garlic in a saucepan, cover with water, and place over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are cooked and mushy. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the tomatoes and garlic to the jar of a blender, along with a cup of their cooking liquid, the toasted chiles de arbol (you can add gradually if you choose), onion, vinegar, cumin and salt. Puree until completely smooth. Taste for vinegar, salt and heat, and adjust accordingly.
  • Heat the oil in saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the pureed sauce, partially cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until thickened, darkened and seasoned.

To assemble the tortas ahogadas:

  • Have the warm carnitas shredded, the bread lightly toasted and the salsas heated.Slice the birotes to create a pocket for the filling, without cutting all the way through. One at a time, with the opening towards the ceiling, tuck in copious amounts of carnitas. Cut in half, place in a soup bowl or deep plate that can withhold sauces. Pour the tomato sauce on top first, and then ladle on as much spicy sauce as each guest desires.


64comments inDrowned Tortas

  1. Mike

    Oct 27

    Hola Pati!

    Where I live in New York the good tomatoes are (going) out of season. How can I substitute canned tomatoes for fresh in your recipes that call for fresh tomatoes. I just found your show and I LOVE it. I can’t wait to try my hand at all of the recipes.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 28

      Canned tomatoes are perfect for this recipe Mike, just buy the whole ones and use the same number or 1 and 1/2 times if they are on the small side 😉

      1. Mike

        Oct 31

        Thanks! It worked excellently. I’ve basically been eating that spicy salsa with everything I can put it on and even straight off the spoon. It’s so good.

  2. Jiulio Balzano

    Oct 15

    The first hot meal I made when the power came back on after Hurricane Ian was the Brown sugar carnitas withe these salsa. My daughter who does not eat much had 2 helpings. It was absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for offering this wonderful recipe.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 26

      So happy to read you guys enjoyed this recipe Jiulio, gracias!

  3. Woody

    Oct 13

    I dont see the meat recipe in this anywhere. Am i missing something? I just watched this on tv and the meat was in a milk .where is that recipe??

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 26

      Hi Woody! Tortas Ahogadas are filled with Brown Sugar Carnitas, here is the recipe for you 😉

  4. jackiej

    May 08

    hola! i haven’t tried this yet, but want to get as much info as possible before i try it, as my next door neighbor makes(and shares!) his homemade carnitas when he has a summer party. i’d love to surprise the party with homemade bread and the sauces to share with his family. thank you so much for setting this website with a comment section, it’s a perfect troubleshooter. i have a really good hearty baguette recipe, but i’m wondering how it would be with your recipe for bolillos? and one of the comments said one of the sauces was too strong with clove; could it be the whole clove didn’t get blended enough and they got a big chip of it? what are your thoughts on using ground cloves instead? i want to make the best possible sauce for the best next door neighbor ever!

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 15

      Hola Jackie, so happy you are planning to make the Tortas Ahogadas, my favorite. You can reduce a bit the amount of clove and of course ground works well. As for the bread, my bolillos may be a bit soft for this recipe that calls for crusty, harder bread that do not disintegrates with the sauces. A crusty baguette or hard artisanal rolls work well. Good luck!

  5. Randy Foy

    Dec 07

    Watched the show with this recipe today. I had leftover carnitas and homemade adobo sauce in freezer. Had some bodillo rolls so, opened a can of beans and slapped this sandwich together for lunch.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 27

      Good job, glad you enjoyed it Randy!

  6. Justino

    Dec 06

    I’ll try this perfect recipe on the weekend.👌

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 28

      How did you like the tortas Justino_

  7. Elizabeth jaros.

    Sep 19

    I need the recipe for the salad dressing for cucumbers and avocado made with Mexican sour cream and yogart

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 04

      Of course Elizabeth, here is the full recipe for you: For the dressing just in a small bowl, whisk together the crema, yogurt, lime juice and zest, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, and salt. Enjoy!

  8. Junior

    Apr 13

    Cuando vas para Jalisco!? 😁😁

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 25

      Pronto! Estoy muy contenta 🙂

    2. Jer

      Nov 28

      I made the 2 sauces for tortas ahogadas. I needed to cook the sauces much longer so the spices and flavors would meld. Had to add dairy to the first sauce…too much clover.
      Love your show, just needed to comment on this.

      1. Pati Jinich

        Dec 28

        Thanks for the input Jer 🙂

  9. Rebecca A Ellertson

    Feb 28

    Miles de gracias, a ti, Pati. Como disfruto tu programa. Esta receta es muy bienvenida. !Ojalá que estes bien y estes gozando de una buena salud!



    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 07

      Mil gracias Rebecca, ojala te guste estas tortas! Saludos y un abrazo 🙂

  10. Renee

    Sep 26

    Just watched your show for the first time— just FABULOUS—

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 28

      Thanks so much Renee, so glad you found me. The New Season Premieres this Saturday October 3, so perfect timing 😉

  11. Mike

    May 31

    I just made this recipe today. Delicious! The carnitas were how i broke in my new Staub Dutch oven. The contrast between the sweet, fatty, meaty carnitas, the crunchy bread and the spicy and tomatoey sauces- superb! I would gladly make again when i can have a party after quarantine.

    I love your show, Pati. You seem like such a kind, genuine person and all of your food looks delicious. I look forward to trying more of your recipes. Salud!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 01

      Thanks so much Mike, glad to hear you enjoyed these tortas. Stay tuned because the new season will start airing this Fall 😉

  12. diana

    May 25

    Hola Pati! soy Diana de San Diego. en estos tiempos, acabo de descubrir tu show en Twitch, en el canal llamado Hungry. muchos de nosotros te queremos mucho y cuando empiezan tus episodios nos ponemos muy felices. we love your skills and your personality!
    hace unos dias, me toco ver el episodio de Tijuana! <3 yo nunca habia aprendido de carnitas hechas en leche. me quedé fascinada, porque mi familia (mis abuelos eran de Jalisco y Durango) jamás mencionaron algo sobre este estilo de carnitas. me encanta hacer carnitas en la casa, y ahora, no puedo esperar hasta que me toque prepararlas de esta manera.
    nunca me ha gustado el pan empapado, pero las tortas ahogadas se ven tan ricas, y las haces ver tan fáciles y exquisitas, que me atrevo a intentarlas. yo se que a mi viejo le van a encantar.
    nomas queria mandar saludos y mucho amor! gracias por enseñarnos a todos sobre la comida de nuestra gente! we love you! <3

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 28

      Muchisimas gracias Diana por tomarte el tiempo para escribir este mensaje tan lindo, te lo agradezo muchisimo! La cosa con las tortas ahogadas es que el birote tiene una costra dura que no se moja rapidamente con las salsas asi que te puedes comer la torta sin que el pan se ponga aguado. Muchas gracias de nuevo!

  13. Grant

    May 17

    Can something be substituted for orange juice and lime in the carnitas? My wife is allergic to citrus.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 20

      Of course Grant, here is another one of my Carnitas recipes, this one has no citrus at all, enjoy!

  14. John

    May 15

    Great carnitas !!! I made my salsa with beer instead of the water and not so much vinegar!!!

    Hit the spot just like Monterrey !!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 16

      Great idea John! Thanks for sharing 😉

  15. Emily

    May 04

    I was able to pick up Chile de Arbol Molido. How much should I use in this recipe ? Thank you.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 04

      Hi Emily, chile de arbol can be very spicy, so start with half a teaspoon, taste and add a bit more if needed 😉

  16. Michele

    Jul 21

    I loved watching your show! I live in the Southeast, but recently visited San Diego in May, and just love the authentic Mexican cuisine. Since I mainly cook for one, can you tell me if the sauces will keep well in the fridge and for how long?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 09

      It will be good for at least two weeks in a sealed container in the fridge, Michele.

  17. KStarr

    Jul 11

    I just love your recipes, and Mexican cuisine is my absolute favorite having lived most of my life in the southwest. BUT….. I was recently diagnosed with “fructose malabsorbtion” which means I have to follow what is called a FODMOP diet – this means no onions or garlic! And I have multiple other allergies. I have been starving now for months. But having seen you cook this on TV, I got inspired.

    I tried this recipe with some major modifications, but it worked, and was deeeeelicious. So for any of your fans who face the food allergy challenges like I do, perhaps this might inspire them as well. Hhere is what I did.
    –I combined the two sauces into one modified version.
    –I started with the tomato salsa – but eliminated the garlic, onion and cloves.
    –I added one jalapeno (stemmed and seed) chopped
    –I used lime juice instead of vinegar
    –I added the cumin (I like to grind whole cumin)
    –I added a garlic infused oil to a pan, and sautéed 1 tsp of asafoetida spice
    –I then added the salsa to the hot pan
    –I did not add the chicken broth (store bought includes onions and garlic, can’t have that)
    –I cooked for about 10 minutes, and it was great.

    It’s not quite the two sauce recipe you present, but for we with severe allergies, this was sheer heaven.

    Thanks so much.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 12

      I’m beyond happy to hear that you could adapt the recipe for your needs and loved it, K!

    2. Jeanene

      Sep 21

      KStarr that is amazing that you did that! I am so glad that you can enjoy Pati’s great recipes and be creative enough to figure out the changes that are as close to Pati’s as possible. Way to go!! Wishing all the best in your health and healing!

  18. Vicky

    Jul 10

    This looked so delicious! Trying it this weekend!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 10

      Have great weekend, Vicky!

  19. Arleen

    Jun 12

    Your tortas were amazing. But when you cook you make it look so easy. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 17

      Thank you, Arleen!

  20. Stefaney

    Jun 12

    Tortas ahogadas are one of my husbands favorite foods And I love that I am able to spoil him with these! This recipe turned out great and everyone loved them.
    My husband is a first generation Mexican immigrant so discovering your show and website has been amazing for our family. I am now able to confidently cook some of his favorite foods from childhood which also gives us more opportunities to immerse our children in that part of their heritage.
    Thank you so much for everything you do.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 23

      I’m beyond happy to hear this, Stefaney. I hope you guys love lots more recipes and enjoy exploring your heritage through food.

  21. Stephanie

    May 22

    I can only find the dry Arbol Chiles. Is that ok to use?

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 23

      Oh yes! They are a dried chile:

  22. Tim

    May 20

    Looks Awesome!!! I’m gonna try it.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 21


  23. Anonymous

    Feb 02

    Hola hermosa Pati, hoy he mirado tu programa en el restaurante Tio Pepe y como preparaste las carnitas ademas del todo el proceso para las tortas ahogadas.. Me he inscrito en tu página para aprender y satisfacer a mi familia.. Pero no he encontrado como preparaste la carne.. Me ayudas con esa parte? Gracias mi admiración y respeto para ti.. Felicidades por todo tu trabajo. DTB

  24. Rebecca Barrera

    Oct 21

    I am wondering if you think this could be done with smoked turkey for Thanksgiving?

    1. Pati

      Oct 23

      Should be super yum, Rebecca!

  25. Sandra

    Oct 16


    1. Pati

      Oct 17

      Mil gracias, Sandra!

  26. Yenna Bailey

    Oct 16

    Hi Ms. Pati! What type of brad are you using for this? It looks wonderful and crusty!

    1. Pati

      Oct 16

      You can use a birotes or crusty baguettes…whichever you are able to find. Enjoy the torta, Yenna!

  27. Kalynn

    Oct 14

    This just may be my favorite sandwich. We tried it with carnitas-style chicken thighs. YUM.

    1. Pati

      Oct 15

      Such a great sandwich…so glad you like it Kalynn.

  28. Cindy D.

    Oct 14

    Made these tonight and they are amazing!! You are the best Pati!

    1. Pati

      Oct 15

      Thank you Cindy!

  29. Alia

    Sep 30

    I cannot eat dairy. Do you have a substitute which would still carameliza and tenderize the pork? Is it the lactic acid and the milk sugars which accomplish this?

    Help, please.

    1. Pati

      Oct 08

      Oh no problem, Alia. You can make the sandwich with these carnitas (and just leave out the sweetened condensed milk):

  30. Santiago

    Sep 25

    This makes me think of home. ¡Gracias, Pati!

    1. Pati

      Oct 01

      Oh I hope it brings back such great memories of home, Santiago.

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