Delicious Pupusas Recipe: A Salvadorian Sensation

Are you ready to taste some authentic Salvadoran pupusas? These delicious corn flour stuffed pockets will take your taste buds on a journey to El Salvador. With this easy-to-follow pupusas recipe, you’ll be able to make the perfect pupusa every time!

Pupusas are a staple food in El Salvador and have been enjoyed for generations. They are made from masa harina, a special kind of corn flour mixed with warm water that’s then filled with fresh ingredients like cheese, refried beans, or pork. The dough is flattened and then cooked until golden brown.

In this article, I’m going to share with you my favorite pupusas recipe that’s perfect for beginners. You’ll need only a few simple ingredients and follow step-by-step instructions to make authentic Salvadoran pupusas at home.

So, put on your apron and get ready to learn how to make pupusas that will make your taste buds dance with joy!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


Are you ready to take your taste buds on a journey to El Salvador? Look no further than this pupusas recipe – the authentic and delicious dish that will transport you straight to the vibrant streets of San Salvador.

So what are pupusas, you ask? They’re filled corn tortillas made with masa harina, a type of corn flour. These savory delights can be stuffed with a variety of fillings, including cheese, beans, pork, or even loroco, a unique flower native to Central America.

But why will you love this recipe? For starters, it’s easy! With just a few simple ingredients and step-by-step instructions, you’ll have mouth-watering pupusas in no time. Plus, it’s versatile – make it with any filling you like or serve it with your favorite salsa or hot sauce for an added kick. And for the vegan or vegetarian eaters out there, swap out the meat and cheese for some delicious vegetables or refried beans.

But what really sets these Salvadorean pupusas apart is their taste. The combination of warm masa harina dough and melted cheese is pure comfort food at its finest. The addition of fresh cilantro and shredded cabbage adds a refreshingly crisp crunch that complements the savory flavors.

Whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner or an impressive dish to serve at your next party, this pupusas recipe ticks all the boxes. It’s authentic, unique, and sure to impress your taste buds and your guests. So grab your apron and get ready to make your new favorite dish!

Ingredient List

 Fluffy corn pockets stuffed with delicious fillings
Fluffy corn pockets stuffed with delicious fillings

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this authentic Salvadoran pupusas recipe:

The Pupusa Dough:

  • 3 cups masa harina (corn flour)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water

Pupusa Filling Options:

  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Refried beans
  • Cooked ground pork seasoned with cumin and oregano
  • Chicharrón, finely chopped or ground
  • Loroco, a traditional Central American herb
  • Any other filling of your preference


  • 4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage, cored
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Desseeded and quartered jalapeño pepper (optional)

Serving Suggestions:

  • Salsa Roja or Salsa Verde (Tomatillo Salsa)
  • Diced fresh tomatoes and avocados
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

With these pupusas recipe ingredients, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious and authentic El Salvadoran pupusas.

The Recipe How-To

 The ultimate Salvadoran comfort food
The ultimate Salvadoran comfort food

Now that we have gathered all the ingredients and prepared our toppings or fillings, it’s time for the fun part – making the pupusas! Get your hands ready to get a little messy as we dive into this step-by-step guide on how to make the perfect Salvadoran pupusas.

Step 1: Make the Pupusa Dough

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups masa harina and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly pour in 2 ½ cups warm water while mixing with your hands until the dough comes together. The dough should be moist but not too wet or dry, so adjust water or masa harina as needed. Knead for about five minutes or until smooth, then cover and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare Toppings or Fillings

Get creative with your fillings and toppings! You can mix and match whatever you like. For this recipe, let’s use refried beans, mild cheese, and shredded green cabbage as our toppings.

Step 3: Roll Dough into Balls

Using your hands, roll the dough into golf ball-sized rounds. Flatten each ball with your palms to create a round disc about ½ inch thick.

Step 4: Add Toppings or Fillings

Start by adding a tablespoon of refried beans onto the center of each disc. Then add a small handful of shredded cabbage and a pinch of shredded cheese on top of the beans.

Step 5: Enclose the Toppings or Fillings

Fold up one side of the disc over the filling to enclose it, then use your fingers to press down on the edges to seal completely. Gently pat the dough between your palms to flatten it back out into a circle, ensuring no filling is coming out from any edges.

Step 6: Cook the Pupusas

In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the pupusas and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp on the outside.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy

Serve the pupusas hot with a side of curtido, a Salvadoran slaw made with shredded cabbage, white onion, and fresh cilantro. You can also pair it with your favorite salsa. Now you can enjoy your own homemade Salvadoran Pupusas!

Substitutions and Variations

 Mouthwatering pupusas on a hot skillet
Mouthwatering pupusas on a hot skillet

Looking for a way to put your own spin on this classic Salvadoran dish? There are plenty of substitutions and variations you can try to create a unique flavor experience.

For those who prefer a vegan or vegetarian option, consider swapping out the pork filling for chicharron made from tofu or seitan. You can also add some loroco, a traditional ingredient in Salvadoran cuisine that tastes like artichoke, to the filling mix for a herbaceous twist.

If you don’t have masa harina corn flour, don’t worry! You can try using regular corn flour or even rice flour instead. While the flavor may be slightly different, it will still give you good results.

For a heartier option, you can add some cooked beans to the cheese filling. Refried beans are a classic choice, but any type of bean will work great. Make sure to use mild cheese so that it doesn’t overpower the flavors of the beans.

Looking for something spicy? Try adding some diced jalapeño pepper (deseeded and quartered) to the filling mix. This will give your pupusas a little bit of a kick.

Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, experiment with different types of cabbage. Green cabbage is traditional for curtido (a pickled cabbage topping), but purple cabbage or even brussels sprouts could be interesting alternatives. Blue cabbage is also an unconventional option that could add uniqueness and gourmet flair.

No matter what substitutions or variations you try in this pupusas recipe, remember to keep an open mind and enjoy the creative process!

Serving and Pairing

 Bringing a taste of El Salvador to your table
Bringing a taste of El Salvador to your table

Serving pupusas is a fun and interactive experience. These traditional Salvadoran pancakes are typically served hot, straight from the griddle, and paired with a variety of toppings and sides to create a delectable meal.

One popular accompaniment to pupusas is curtido, a crunchy and tangy pickled cabbage slaw that adds a refreshing kick to the dish. To make curtido, simply mix together shredded green cabbage, thinly sliced white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and a few dashes of apple cider vinegar or lime juice.

Another classic pairing is salsa roja, a spicy red sauce made from roasted tomatoes, garlic, and chili peppers. The heat of the salsa perfectly complements the mildness of the cheese or beans inside the pupusa.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can also serve your pupusas with a side of guacamole or black beans seasoned with cumin and chili powder.

When it comes to beverages, some people prefer to keep it traditional with horchata or tamarindo agua fresca. But if you’re in the mood for something stronger, try pairing your pupusas with a cold beer or a glass of sangria.

Pupusas are versatile enough to be eaten as an appetizer or incorporated into a full meal. For a heartier option, consider cooking up some rice and beans alongside your pupusas or serving them with grilled chicken or steak.

Ultimately, the combinations are endless- it all depends on your taste preferences! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and textures to find your perfect pupusa pairing.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A symphony of flavors in every single bite
A symphony of flavors in every single bite

Once you’ve made your delicious pupusas, it’s important to keep them fresh and reheated properly for the best taste. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your savory treats.

If you’re planning on making pupusas ahead of time, simply store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply pop them into the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until warm and crispy again. Alternatively, you can reheat them in a skillet with a bit of vegetable oil over medium heat until warmed through.

For a quick option, you can also freeze your pupusas after cooking. Allow them to cool completely, then wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or freezer bag. They will keep well in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat from frozen, simply remove from the freezer and let thaw before reheating using either oven or skillet methods as described above.

When serving leftover pupusas, consider pairing them with fresh accompaniments such as curtido (El Salvador’s traditional pickled cabbage relish) or salsa for added flavor and texture. And if you find yourself with too many leftovers, don’t worry – they make great lunchtime snacks!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The perfect combination of crispy and chewy textures
The perfect combination of crispy and chewy textures

As a chef, I know that sometimes it’s the small details that make the biggest difference in a recipe. And with a dish as authentic and flavorful as pupusas, there are a few tips and tricks that can take your homemade creations to the next level.

1. Use Fresh Ingredients: One of the most important tips for perfect pupusas is to use fresh ingredients. From the cilantro to the cheese, each element plays an integral role in shaping the final product’s taste and texture. Make sure you take your time shopping for each ingredient so you can guarantee their quality.

2. Find the Right Cheese: When it comes to cheese, not just any will do. Look for mild cheese like queso fresco or mozzarella – this ensures that the cheese doesn’t overwhelm other flavors in the dish, which is made with masa harina dough.

3. Be Patient with Pupusa Dough: Don’t rush through forming your pupusa dough. Take your time mixing and kneading masa harina with warm water and salt until it becomes a smooth ball. Letting the dough rest for 10-15 minutes before shaping and stuffing it will help ensure that it retains its shape during cooking.

4. Don’t Overstuff Pupusas: As tempting as it may be to fill your pupusa with every ingredient on hand, be careful not to overstuff them (especially if you’re new to this Salvadoran dish). Stick with simple combinations like cheese or beans, or shredded pork and cheese (if you’re feeling adventurous), ensuring a greater chance of success.

5. Keep Your Filling Consistent: Whether you’re making cheese, bean or chorizo pupusas, make sure they are evenly sized with similar stuffing quesadilla style so they cook consistently.

6. Cook Slowly and Gently: It’s essential to cook pupusas low and slow on a hot skillet with vegetable oil. This will give them time to cook throughout, while the low temperature prevents the outer dough from burning. Cook them gently will ensure they result in an evenly cooked crispy exterior and soft, gooey interior.

7. Play with Variations: Have fun with variations on the classic recipe, such as using chicken or steak fillings; substituting masa harina with rice flour or blue corn flour.

But remember, authentic or not, make sure you’re satisfying yourself and everyone else’s taste buds.

With these tips under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to creating delicious and authentic pupusas like a pro!


Before concluding this pupusas recipe article, I’d like to address some frequently asked questions about pupusas. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned pupusa pro, understanding some key facts and tips will help you enjoy the many variations of this iconic Salvadoran dish even more. So without further ado, let’s dive into the FAQs!

What is a pupusa made of?

Pupusas are a delicious Salvadoran dish made with thick corn tortillas that are filled with a variety of mouth-watering ingredients. These stuffed tortillas are cooked on a comal until they are crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside.

What are the two types of pupusas?

This pupusería, situated in Antiguo Cuscatlán in the Libertad region of El Salvador, serves up a distinctive and exceptional artisanal taste. Along with the classic corn pupusas, this eatery also presents the delectable rice pupusas.

What are the 2 most popular pupusas?

Pupusas, a dish popular in many cultures, come in various forms, but the most widely recognized are the pupusa de queso (cheese) and the pupusa revuelta (stuffed with cheese, beans, and chicharrn). Traditionally, these delicious snacks are served with a side of curtido (a lightly fermented cabbage slaw with red chilies and vinegar), as well as a runny tomato salsa.

What is a pupusa called in English?

A type of food commonly found in Central America that consists of a tortilla that has been filled with various ingredients and folded in half is known as a stuffed tortilla.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Salvadoran Pupusas recipe is an easy and authentic option to add to your cooking repertoire. Using simple ingredients like masa harina, refried beans, mild cheese, and fresh cilantro, you can create a delicious and filling meal that everyone will love. This recipe offers a lot of versatility; you can choose between different types of pupusas (cheese, beans, pork, chicharron) or cater it for specific preferences such as vegan or meat lovers.

By following the step-by-step instructions in this article and incorporating some of the tips shared, you can make your own homemade pupusas that are even better than those served in restaurants. Furthermore, you can try out different variations and pairings to make it your very own.

So next time you want to impress your friends and family with something unique and tasty or are craving for a comforting meal, don’t hesitate to try out this Salvadoran Pupusas recipe. As the saying goes, “food brings people together,” so gather around the table with loved ones and enjoy some homemade pupusas!


Pupusas Recipe

From the streets of El Salvador, these are masa 'cakes' with a filling that is fried. The usual fillings are meat or cheese but there is no reason why beans etc could not be used.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Cuisine Salvadoran
Calories 139 kcal


  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 6 ounces mild cheese (or the fillng of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  • Mix the masa harina, water into a dough which is soft but not sticky. Be prepared to add more flour if necessary. If it is too dry, add more water.
  • To make a 3 inch round pupusa, take about half a cup of dough and roll it into a ball. flatten with your hand.
  • Put the filling in the centre [in this case, cheese, cilantro, salt and pepper].
  • Work the edges up over the filling and again form a ball, completely enclosing the filling.
  • Flatten each ball to about 1/4 inch or less and cook the pupusas on a hot, lightly oiled griddle for about 3 minutes per side, or until both sides are lightly browned.
  • Serve warm.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 98gCalories: 139kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 3.5gFat: 1.5gSaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 4.3mgFiber: 2.5g
Keyword < 15 Mins, Cheese, Easy, Honduran, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Lunch, Stove Top
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.