Pulpo Tacos Recipe | PBS Food

You’ve heard of the Cali-Baja fish taco, but how about the decadent pulpo, or octopus, taco with melty cheese? It’s the house specialty at Mariscos El Ángel in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, and we adapted the recipe so you can have these must-try pulpo tacos wherever you are.


Yield: Makes 6 Tacos

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  • 1 pound whole octopus
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chilito powder seasoning
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese
  • 2 cups salsa bandera or pico de gallo
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup Mexican crema
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • ½ cup mayonnaise


  1. Place the octopus in the stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about an hour, until the octopus is tender. Remove the octopus from the pot. When cool enough to handle, cut into half-inch pieces.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the octopus, sprinkle with the chilito seasoning sauce of your choice and salt to taste, and saute for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the barbecue sauce and saute for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. On a non-stick pan preheated over medium heat, heat the tortillas on both sides. Cover in a clean kitchen towel or tortilla warmer. One by one, add ½ cup of shredded cheese, once it melts and begins to bubble, top with a corn tortilla. Let it continue setting until cheese sticks to the tortilla.
  4. Flip the tortilla so the cheese is now on top, remove from heat, and add some of the octopus. Top with some of the salsa, cabbage, crema, a squeeze of lime, and a drizzle of mayonnaise. Repeat with the remaining cheese and tortillas.
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