Torta Vs Taco: Can You Spot These Differences?

torta vs taco

Torta vs taco – these are two iconic dishes of Mexican cuisine. If you are interested in Mexican traditional foods and culture, the following article will help you clearly distinguish the two types of cakes.

Quick Facts


  • Origin: Puebla, Mexico
  • Ingredients: garlic, pepper, mayonnaise, beans, tomato, cheese, steak  
  • Cooking methods: grilling 


  • Origin: the Mexican silver mines
  • Ingredients: pepper, garlic, onion, cheese, lean ground beef
  • Cooking methods: grilling 

Related: My favorite list of Mexican foods

3 Main Differences Between Torta Vs Taco 

Overall, there are 3 crucial differences that help you distinguish these two distinctive Mexican dishes. 

  • Origin 

Torta means “little turtle” in Spanish. The story of the cake originates from the 1860s during the French occupation of Mexico. Mexican bakers took inspiration from the French to create this cake. They were first introduced in Puebla, which is the hometown of many of Mexico’s famous types of bread.

When you travel to Mexico, you can enjoy a torta anywhere, both savory and vegetarian versions. But, of course, what ingredients are added to the cake depends on the preferences of the locals there.

Authentic tacos were first discovered in the 19th century in Mexican silver mines with “taco de minero” or “miner’s taco.”

Initially, experts believed that taco referred to gunpowder wrapped in thin pieces of paper, used to break rocks and excavate the ore. Later, it was used to call a small cake that looked exactly like a stick of dynamite.

Since then, the taco has become popular and spread throughout the working class of Mexico due to its affordable price.

Since 1908, this cake has been processed into many different versions with sausage, chorizo, green sauce, and pork rinds and is famous worldwide.

  • Ingredients

  • Torta 
  • 1 pound sirloin steak
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup refried beans
  • 1 large avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 ounce crumbled cotija cheese
  • Taco 
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cake shells
  • Lettuce, tomato, onion, and shredded cheese
  • Cooking methods 

Here are detailed instructions on cooking a classic torta cake:

  • Grease and preheat the grill for medium-high heat. 
  • Season steak with garlic salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
  • Grill steak on the grill, about 5 minutes on each side until meat is golden brown. Remove steak and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Soak beans in warm water for about 1 hour before the smash. 
  • Pour oil into the pan and keep on high heat. Once the pan is hot, fry the beans for 6-7 minutes. After the beans are cooked, add vegetable oil to enhance the taste.
  • Spread the bread with beans, steak, cheese, and other toppings like lettuce, avocado, crema, tomato, and strips of jalapeno.
  • Place the remaining bread on top to form a complete torta.

Meanwhile, to make a standard taco, follow the detailed instructions below: 

  • Pour oil into a pan before heating over medium-high heat. 
  • Use a spoon to mash the beef before pouring it into the pan.
  • Add onions and garlic to the pan.
  • Cook for about 6-7 minutes, constantly stirring until the beef and onions are evenly done. 
  • Add the pepper, garlic, onion, oregano, smoked paprika to the pan.
  • Put the tomatoes in the pan and cook on low heat for about 3 minutes.
  • Place the beef and others on the pie crust. Add favorite toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. 

3 Iconic Torta Types

  • Torta ahogada

This torta originates from Guadalajara, Jalisco, with many distinct features, including carnitas and birote salad spread over roasted beans. Topping the torta is a layer of tomato sauce, crispy onions, and a spicy chile de Árbol

  • Torta Cubana

This torta is famous for its rich fillings such as pork, sausage, ham, beef, cheese, and even fried eggs. All are superimposed to form a giant sandwich.

  • Torta de tamal

This is a famous torta whose filling is a snack called tamales. In Mexico, these tortas are a popular choice for breakfast and lunch. The seller will reheat the tamales for you if a grill is available.

What Is The Right Time Of Day To Eat Taco? 

Most people think that tacos are appropriate to eat at any time of the day. However, Mexicans have a specific “tacos time” according to their tradition. Particularly, they consume seafood taco for lunch.

What’s the Most Popular Taco in Mexico?

There are 5 favorite types of tacos in Mexico, including Pastor, Bistec (Beef Steak), Carne Asada, Suadero, and Carnitas.

Among them, the taco al pastor is considered the most popular taco. It is also known as a shepherd-style taco. This delicious taco with Middle Eastern influences took first place in the best dish classification during 2019. 

What are some popular variations of the torta?

Some popular variations of the torta include the chicken torta, the beef torta, and the veggie torta.

How do you make a torta?

To make a torta, you will need a loaf of bread, some meat, cheese, and vegetables. Just cut the loaf of bread in half, put your ingredients in the middle, and put it back together. Then, grill it on each side for a few minutes until it’s nice and toasty.

What are some tips for making a great torta?

Here are some tips for making a great torta:

  • Use good quality ingredients.
  • Make sure everything is cooked evenly.
  • Use a variety of vegetables and meats.
  • Don’t forget the cheese!
  • Grill it until it’s nice and toasty.

What are some variations on the torta that you can try?

Here are a few variations on the torta that you can try:

Chicken torta: This is a classic torta made with chicken.

Beef torta: This is a torta made with beef.

Veggie torta: This is a torta made with vegetables.

Pizza torta: This is a torta made with pizza toppings.

Why is the torta a popular dish?

The torta is a popular dish because it’s easy to make, it’s tasty, and it’s versatile. You can use a variety of meats, vegetables, and cheeses to make your own custom torta. Plus, it’s perfect for any time of day – you can have it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

What can you put in a taco?

Anything you like! The most common fillings are meat, vegetables, and cheese, but you can put anything you like in your tacos.

Are tacos healthy?

Yes – tacos can be a healthy meal if you choose healthy fillings. For example, you can fill your tacos with grilled chicken or fish, vegetables, and salsa.

Should you reheat tacos?

Yes – you can reheat tacos in the microwave or in a skillet. Just be sure to heat them thoroughly so that they are safe to eat.

What’s the best way to make tacos?

There are many ways to make tacos, but my favorite way is to fry the shells in oil until they are crispy. I then fill them with my favorite toppings and serve them with salsa and sour cream.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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