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Apr 29, 2023

Mexican Cemita Rolls

Cemitas are rolls used for the torta (sandwich) with the same name. They originated as a street food in the historical city of Puebla, Mexico. 

Mexican Cemita Rolls stacked in a bread basket.

The term "cemita" can refer to both the bread and the sandwich

Cemitas de Puebla are usually filled with avocado, salsa roja, papalo (a local herb), onions, panela cheese, and pounded and pan-fried beef or pork. 

Mexican Cemita Poblano Sandwich with guacamole on a white plate.

It's a taco on a bun! While most people here in Southern California are more familiar with tortas made with crusty bolillos (the Mexican version of a French baguette) cemita trucks are springing up everywhere these days. 

Even my local supermarket's bakery now carries these cemita rolls. 

You can also find lots of hole-in-the-wall restaurants selling comidas poblano, including authentic cemitas. 

Two Mexican Cemita Roll, one on a slight angle.

Ingredient Notes:

The traditional recipe calls for using lard, which gives the rolls an amazing aroma (faintly reminiscent of.... bacon. Bacon!). 

If you cannot find good lard, (my favorite is Fatworks Leaf Lard), you can also use butter, shortening, or even heavy cream.

Mexican Cemita Roll sliced in half.

These brioche-like buns are soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. 

In fact, I have some pork marinating, some panela cheese chilling, and some avocados ripening so I can make another cemita de Puebla

These rolls would also be fabulous for burgers or deli-style sandwiches too. 

Tip for Making these Buns:

This recipe calls for fermenting the dough at 65 degrees F. To improvise an ice box, I placed ice packs in my microwave for the first rise, and added cups of ice in the microwave for the second rise. You could also use a picnic cooler or a wine refrigerator.

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Updated April, 2023. 

Mexican Cemita Rolls in a bread basket.

Mexican Cemita Rolls

Mexican Cemita Rolls
Yield: 8 rolls
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 45 MinCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 6 HourTotal time: 7 H & 5 M
Cemitas are rolls used for the torta (sandwich) with the same name. They originated as a street food in the historical city of Puebla, Mexico.


  • 12 ounces water at 100 degrees F
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lard, butter, or shortening
  • 567 grams (20 ounces by volume) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • Sesame seeds for topping


  1. Place the water, yeast, salt, sugar, lard, and 312 grams/11 ounces of the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg and mix with the whisk attachment for 5 minutes on medium.
  2. Switch to the dough hook and add 6 more ounces of the flour. Mix on low for 5 minutes.
  3. Continuing to mix on low, add more flour by tablespoon, until you have a soft dough that is tacky but not sticky. I used almost all of the remaining flour. Mix for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a cool spot (65 degrees F) for about 3 to 4 hours, or until doubled.
  5. Deflated the dough, recover the container with plastic wrap, and let it rise again in a cool spot for about 3 hours, until doubled.
  6. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and form the pieces into small balls. Place them onto an oiled or parchment lined baking sheet and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, press the balls down gently with your fingers to flatten to a one inch thickness. Cover the rolls again with the plastic wrap. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with a baking stone placed on the center rack. If you do not have a stone, a baking sheet is fine (no need to preheat the baking sheet).
  9. Spray the rolls with water and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.
  10. Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

4.07 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.93 g

Carbs (grams)

56.02 g

Fiber (grams)

2.51 g

Net carbs

53.49 g

Sugar (grams)

1.19 g

Protein (grams)

8.23 g

Cholesterol (grams)

0 mg
cemitas, buns
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Would you like to comment?

  1. You definitely made me proud...and hungry! I'm seriously craving a day of tortas and sweet breads after browsing everybody's fantastic offerings. Your cemitas look awesome, Karen. :)

    1. Thanks so much Heather! Fantastic theme!

  2. I could definitely make a meal out of these rolls! I can imagine some carnita pork and a margarita to chase it down! They came out beautifully!

  3. These look gorgeous (oh, like something you baked WOULDN'T look gorgeous? NEVER!) I love baking with lard, it really does add that "something" that can't be duplicated.

    1. It does! I may actually try it in a pie crust like they used to do it. Lard is coming back!

  4. This looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing with #TwelveLoaves.

  5. Your cemita rolls look so great. I'm jealous that you'll be eating pork sandwiches on these beauties!
    Happy Cinco de Mayo. I'm pinning your recipe and hope to try them one day soon.
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

    1. Happy Cinco de Mayo to you too Renee! Let me know when you do!

  6. I almost made cemitas!! I think it's great you have cemitas food trucks around your area in delicious! Your cemitas are wonderful, Karen!

  7. I love it when I learn about food from my online friends - and not just recipes. Bonus when one friend is encouraging another. I know nothing about Mexican street food, except what I've learned from reading Pati Jinich's cookbook and listening to her, so this post has vastly increased my understanding of this type of food. and as for cermitas, well your photos are stunning and your descriptions of the sandwich of that name are mouthwatering!

  8. Fantastic recipe. Turned out incredible.

  9. These look great! You always have such great looking rolls and bread!

  10. These rolls gorgeous Karen! The sandwich sounds fantastic as well. I have never tried a Semite roll and it is time to try it now. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. I've never had a roll like this before. Sounds delicious!


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