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Tulum Tacos

Crispy chewy corn base, topped with black beans, salsa, lettuce, avo and pickled red onion. Add shredded chicken, boiled eggs or crumbly cheese to these tacos for the perfect snack!

easy tacos recipe

Once a year I try visit a country with food scene that inspires me. Not only are these trips a fantastic excuse for a vacation, but I also come back recharged and inspired to create food outside my usual repertoire. In 2019 we visited Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua as part of our honeymoon, but also because my husband and I are completely obsessed with the bright flavours of Mexican and central American cuisine. Every day we told ourselves that today was the day we simply could not have another masa based street food offering, only to find ourselves salivating at a road side taco cart, only an hour later.

So what are salbutes? Salbutes are a puffed deep fried disk of corn meal dough, called masa, that are topped with lettuce, sliced avocado, pulled chicken or turkey, tomato and pickled red onion. Salbutes originate from the Yucatán peninsula but are also common nowadays in Belize. Salbutes, like many other delicious fried goodies around the world, are a staple of the party scene and really hit the spot after a few cold beers, or cerveses, as they are known in Spanish.

To make these you are going to need to get some masa harina, which is a special kind of cornmeal flour for making salbutes and corn tacos. It is widely available online, and once you have a bag it will last for ages – meaning you can make tacos, salbutes or even tamales at a moments notice! Head over to my Instagram story, to learn how to make salbutes using two books, if you don’t have a tortilla press.

The recipe to follow is my own little love letter to Mexico, a place which became very dear to me and which is now filled with many happy honeymoon memories. I hope it transports you, body and soul, into one of the fondest periods in my life this far.

If you want to find the cook-along for this recipe, head over to The Culinary Cartel on Instagram and click on our Tulum Tacos story highlight.

The cook along for this recipe can be found on The Culinary Cartel Instagram on our story highlights or by clicking here.

If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Happy cooking!

easy tacos recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this vegan?

You can indeed. We have adapted the salbute dough to plant based ingredients. Choose plant based toppings to finish your salbutes.

Can I make this gluten free?

We have tested this recipe with Freee gluten free flour with good results.

So salbutes are like tostadas?

No. Tostadas are made with day old tortillas, yielding a thin crispy crunchy base. Salbutes are fried disks of masa dough with a touch of flour that are light and fluffy. Traditionally salbute dough contains chicken fat or lard but we have adapted the recipe to use plant based ingredients. 


easy tacos recipe
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easy tacos recipe

Tulum Tacos

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Yield: 4 - 5 Servings


Crispy chewy corn base, topped with black beans, salsa, lettuce, avo and pickled red onion. Add shredded chicken, boiled eggs or crumbly cheese to these tacos for the perfect snack!



For the Black Beans

  • 1 cup dried black beans (alternatively, replace the beans for 2 cups tinned black beans)
  • 1 garlic
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil or butter

For the Salbute Dough

  • 180g hot water
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cups masa harina
  • 1/4 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • sunflower or canola oil for frying the salbutes

For the Toppings: Select any of the following

  • crumbled feta
  • cooked, shredded chicken
  • sliced boiled eggs
  • shredded lettuce
  • pickled red onion
  • fresh salsa – chopped tomato, red onion and coriander
  • avocado


  1. Start by making the black beans. Add the 6 cups of water to a pot, along with the black beans, whole garlic and the bay leaves. Simmer the black beans until soft, which will take about 1 – 1 ½ hours depending on the age of your beans.
  2. While the beans cook, add your masa harina and water to a bowl. Mix them together until combined then allow them to rest for 30 minutes. Once rested add the remaining ingredients, and about 30-50ml more water until the dough feels soft and pliable, like playdough. Divide the dough into 16 equal balls
  3. Once soft, drain the beans, reserving about 125ml of the cooking water. Add the water and beans to the blender. Squeeze the garlic from its skin, and add this to the blender too. Discard the bay leaves. Blend the beans until you have a fine puree.
  4. Add the coconut oil to a pot, over medium heat. Add in the bean puree and cook until thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Once cooked season with salt to taste and set aside until needed.
  5. Using two books covered in plastic or a tortilla press, press the salbute dough into rounds 1mm thick. Check out our Instagram story here for the method.
  6. In a clean pan add 2cm of oil, and heat over a high heat. Add the salbutes, one at a time, without crowding the pan. While they fry use a spoon to spoon oil over the upward side, which will help them to puff. Once they puff, flip them and continue frying on the other side until a little crispy, but still pale.

Build your salbute

Take one of your crispy salbutes, smear it with some of your warm bean mixture, and top with any of your preferred toppings. Traditionally they are served with beans, shredded lettuce, shredded chicken or turkey, tomato, pickled red onion, avo.

Happy Cooking x


Traditionally lard or chicken fat is used to cook the beans, but coconut oil is used here should you wish to keep the recipe vegan friendly.

  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 542.75kcal
  • Sugar: 3.23g
  • Sodium: 544.07mg
  • Fat: 18.88g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.64g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10.08g
  • Trans Fat: 0.03g
  • Carbohydrates: 72.21g
  • Fiber: 11.94g
  • Protein: 23.58g
  • Cholesterol: 68.78mg
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