Mouth-watering Pupusas Recipe: A Salvadoran Delight

Picture this: you’re standing in the humid heat of El Salvador, surrounded by the tantalizing aromas of street food vendors grilling meat and frying up something altogether different. Suddenly, your nose leads you to a stand selling pupusas – small, thick tortillas stuffed with cheese, beans, pork, or even vegetables. And as you sink your teeth into your hot and gooey pupusa, you realize that this dish is a serious contender in the street food world.

But why limit yourself to trying pupusas only once during a trip to El Salvador? You can easily recreate this El Salvadorian specialty in your own kitchen with my easy-to-follow pupusas recipe.

With just a few simple ingredients – masa harina (corn flour), water, salt, and an array of delicious fillings – you can create a mouth-watering taste of El Salvador right at home. And trust me when I say that once you get the hang of making pupusas from scratch, they will become a staple in your recipe collection.

So if you’re looking for an authentic and easy-to-make street food delicacy that will satisfy both your cravings and your wanderlust at the same time, then keep reading for my step-by-step salvadoran pupusas recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


Are you on the lookout for a recipe that’s easy, authentic, and rich in taste? Look no further than this pupusas recipe! Whether you have a big family or are cooking for yourself, this recipe is well worth your while.

Pupusas are essentially thick stuffed tortillas hailing from El Salvador. This dish is a popular street food, and it’s beloved by locals and tourists alike. Made with masa harina corn flour, these are gluten-free and vegan options that ensure that everyone can enjoy them. Although these scrumptious treats may look complicated to make, we’ll guide you through it.

One of the reasons you’ll love this dish is its versatility. You can personalize it according to your preferences by using different types of fillings- from beans to cheese or chicharrones. You won’t be short on options! Pupusas are also fairly quick to prepare without sacrificing on its delicious taste. So whether you’re running late or have unexpected guests, these treats will make your day.

Moreover, the ingredients list doesn’t require any pricey or exotic items. Just some masa harina corn flour, water, salt, refried beans or cheese (or any other filling), green cabbage or white onion along with some vegetable oil- easily available ingredients even in your local store. Even if you have never made pupusas before, follow our step-by-step instructions, and you’ll end up with pupusas like a pro!

Ultimately this dish packs so much flavor into one small package that you won’t be able to resist it. The combination of corn flavor mixed with your favorite fillings is perfect to make anyone salivate just at the thought of it! So why not give this Salvadoran pupusas recipe a try?

Ingredient List

 Delicious pupusas straight off the griddle!
Delicious pupusas straight off the griddle!

Let’s talk ingredients! To make this authentic Salvadoran Pupusas recipe, you’ll need:

  • 3 cups masa harina
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups warm water

For the filling:

1 cup refried beans

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

For the cabbage slaw:

1 small head of green cabbage, cored and shredded

1 green bell pepper, sliced

1/2 white onion, chopped finely

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tomatoes, deseeded and quartered

For the salsa:

3/4 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup water

1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and quartered

For cooking:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

You can find most of these ingredients in a grocery store. If you are unfamiliar with any of them, ask an associate or check the Hispanic food aisle. Be sure to take this ingredient list with you!

The Recipe How-To

 Have a hot and fresh pupusa to satisfy your cravings!
Have a hot and fresh pupusa to satisfy your cravings!

To start making pupusas, you need to prepare the pupusa dough. Start by mixing 3 cups of masa harina and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl. Add 3 cups of warm water, a little at a time, until the dough forms into a ball. Knead the dough for about 2 minutes until it’s soft and pliable.

Filling options
Cheese and bean pupusas

For cheese and bean stuffed pupusas, just mix together one cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and one cup of refried beans.

Pork and cheese pupusas

For pork and cheese pupusas, mix crumbled chicharron with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Shaping Pupusas

  1. Divide the dough into about 12 pieces and roll them into balls.
  2. Flatten a ball with your hands into a thick disc shape.
  3. Press your thumb into the center of the dough to make an indentation.
  4. Add about two tablespoons of filling mixture in the center.
  5. Pinch the edges together to close the ball, then flatten it with your hands into a thick disk again.
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 with each ball.

Cooking Pupusas

Heat ½ inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook each pupusa for about 2 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown.

Serving Pupusas

Pairs well with curtido (slaw made from green cabbage, white onion, tomatoes, carrot, sliced jalapeño pepper) and tomato salsa on top.

Now that you know how to make pupusas, experiment with different filling combinations like vegetable, chicken, steak or chorizo to get the perfect taste that fits your preference. Enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

 Perfectly cooked pupusas that will make your mouth water!
Perfectly cooked pupusas that will make your mouth water!

Now, let’s talk about the variety of ways in which you can make your Pupusas recipe even more delicious and unique. Here are some substitutions and variations that might inspire your creativity.

First and foremost, let’s mention the filling. While traditionally pupusas are filled with cheese and beans, you can experiment with a variety of meats or vegetables of your choice to create different flavors. For example, pork carnitas, chicharrón (crispy pork rind), or curtido (pickled cabbage) are popular Salvadoran fillings for pupusas. You could also use shredded chicken, steak, chorizo or even vegan options like plantains or loroco flowers.

Another variation is the flour used in the dough. While masa harina is the traditional choice, you could also use rice flour or blue corn flour for a gluten-free option.

For those who love spice, adding finely diced jalapeño peppers to the filling mixture or serving spicy salsa on the side can add an extra kick to your pupusas!

Adding cilantro or green bell pepper to the filling give subtle but fresh flavor that makes this dish even more remarkable.

To make your Salvadoran pupusas recipe stand out even more, you could try serving them with different types of salsa to add some saucy flair. From mild tomato salsa to fiery habanero sauce, there are plenty of options to suit everyone’s tastes.

Finally, for those who love the classic cheese-and-beans combination but want a different texture, try using shredded mozzarella cheese instead of refried beans!

With these substitutions and variations, you can create a truly unique and personalized pupusa recipe that will delight your taste buds and impress your guests – whether you are looking for an easy weeknight dinner or something gourmet to serve at your next party.

Serving and Pairing

 These pupusas are the perfect combination of flavors and textures.
These pupusas are the perfect combination of flavors and textures.

Ah, the moment you’ve been waiting for. The satisfying finale to your Salvadoran pupusas recipe adventure: serving and pairing.

Let me start by saying that these savory delights are a meal in themselves; thick, fluffy and comforting- they’re perfect to munch on at any time of day. But a little pairing goes a long way in elevating the already rich flavor tapestry of pupusas.

Let’s begin with salsa- vibrant, fresh and tangy- and a must-have addition to any pupusa feast. The acidity beautifully offsets the cheese’s saltiness, while adding a nice kick to the overall flavor profile. Tomatoes, cilantro and green bell peppers play essential roles in making a memorable salsa, which can be made ahead of time for fuss-free presentation.

Aside from salsa, you can also serve your pupusas with traditional sides like refried beans or el salvador’s famous cabbage slaw-curtido. These sides complement the main dish by adding extra texture and depth of flavor. And don’t forget about indulging in some plantains- sweet or fried- they make for great accompaniments to bring balance to the overall richness of the meal.

If you’re looking for something lighter or more refreshing, consider serving these up with a simple side salad made from fresh greens or tossing them into a soup (such as pozole), where their pillowy texture can soak up all the delicious broth like a sponge.

Lastly, let’s talk drink pairings. Pupusas love to be washed down with sweet and tangy drinks like horchata (a rice-based drink flavored with cinnamon). A cold beer or smoothie would act as perfect complementary pairs as well.

In closing, the options for pairing are numerous; however, I hope this little guide has given you some useful food-for-thoughts on how to make this ubiquitous El Salvadoran street food into a full-fledged dining experience.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Experience the authentic taste of El Salvador with these pupusas!
Experience the authentic taste of El Salvador with these pupusas!

Listen up, folks, because this part might just save your life when it comes to salvadoran pupusas. Now, you might be wondering “Can I make these babies ahead of time without ruining them?” and the answer is: absolutely! In fact, making and storing pupusas is super easy.

If you want to prep a batch of pupusas in advance, you can do so by forming the dough and stuffing them with your favorite filling. Just don’t cook them yet! Instead, cover them tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store them in your fridge for up to 2 days. This way, you’ll have fresh pupusas at the ready whenever you need a quick fix.

When it’s time to heat your pupusas up, simply take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature before cooking. You can also reheat pupusas by popping them into the microwave for about 30 seconds or warming them up in a skillet over medium heat until they’re crispy on the outside.

If you’ve got leftover cooked pupusas, you can store those too. Just place them in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag and put them into your fridge. To reheat refrigerated cooked pupusas, use one of two methods. Your first option is to put them on a hot skillet and heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side until they’re warm all over. Alternatively, pop these bad boys into the microwave for a quick zap before consuming.

Finally, if you find yourself with a surplus of pupusas (which is highly unlikely because they are THAT delicious), you can freeze leftovers for prolonged storage. To do this, wrap each individual pupusa in plastic wrap and seal it in an airtight freezer bag or container — they will last for up to 2 months! Once you’re ready to eat frozen pupusas, you can heat them in your oven at 375°F until hot all the way through.

So there we have it guys- make in advance, store with ease and reheat to perfection. Leftovers will never be the same again.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Our pupusas are filled with savory goodness that will leave you wanting more.
Our pupusas are filled with savory goodness that will leave you wanting more.

Are you ready to make the perfect pupusas? Here are some insider tips that will guarantee that your pupusas turn out delicious and authentic, just like you were in El Salvador.

Firstly, it’s important to use the correct type of flour. Masa harina is the traditional type of flour used for making pupusa dough, and it’s important not to substitute with regular corn flour or rice flour. If you can’t find masa harina, look for a specifically labeled corn flour that is meant for making tortillas or pupusas.

Secondly, when making the dough, make sure to use warm water. Cold water will result in a tough and unworkable dough.

Thirdly, don’t be afraid to get hands-on with the dough. Pupusa dough is best made by hand so that you can feel when it is smooth enough and not too sticky.

Once you’ve made the pupusa dough, it’s important to let it rest for at least fifteen minutes before using it. This allows the dough to relax and makes it easier for you to work with.

When filling the pupusas with refried beans or cheese (or any other filling of your choice), be sure not to overstuff them as this can cause them to break apart during cooking. Instead, try using a spoon or an ice-cream scoop to measure out your filling.

A crucial step for perfect pupusas is getting the right thickness for your pancakes. They should be about ½ inch thick before adding the filling. When flattening them out with your hand, always make sure the edges are thinner than the center so they cook evenly throughout.

Lastly, if you’re new to making pupusas or don’t have access to all of the ingredients, don’t hesitate to experiment with different fillings and ingredients until you find what works best for you. There are plenty of options available such as pork, chicharron, chorizo, vegan, loroco, cheese and bean.

With these tips and a little bit of practice, you can be assured that your pupusas will come out perfect every time!


As an experienced chef, I know that some questions may arise when trying out new recipes. Therefore, I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions below to guide you through the process of making these Salvadoran pupusas. Let’s dive into it!

What is a pupusa made of?

Pupusas are hearty tortillas made from corn dough that are filled with a variety of savory ingredients like meats, beans, cheese, and vegetables. These stuffed tortillas are grilled on a comal until they reach a crispy, golden-brown finish.

What are the two types of pupusas?

In the charming city of Antiguo Cuscatlan situated in the Libertad department of El Salvador, there is a quaint pupuseria that serves scrumptious corn and rice pupusas with a distinct artisanal taste.

What are the 2 most popular pupusas?

Pupusas come in various kinds, but the most widely known ones are pupusa de queso (cheese) and pupusa revuelta (with cheese, beans, and chicharrn). These are commonly accompanied by curtruda, which is a slightly fermented slaw made of cabbage, red chilies, and vinegar, combined with a tomato salsa that has a thin consistency.

What is a pupusa called in English?

In Central American cuisine, “pupusa” is a type of stuffed tortilla.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re looking for an easy and authentic dish that will impress your friends and family, you simply can’t go wrong with pupusas recipe! This traditional Salvadoran favorite is loved by people of all ages and skill levels, and with so many different filling options available, you’re sure to find a combination that suits your taste buds perfectly.

Whether you enjoy cheese and refried beans, chicharron and loroco, or any other combination of ingredients, making pupusas is an excellent way to explore the rich culinary traditions of Central America. And with our step-by-step instructions, helpful tips, and ingredient variations provided in this article, you’ll be well on your way to creating delicious pupusas in no time at all.

So why wait? Head to the kitchen now and start experimenting with different fillings and flavors to create your own unique twist on this classic dish. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, pupusas are sure to be a crowd-pleaser every time. So go ahead and make some today – your taste buds will thank you!


Pupusas Recipe

Pupusas de queso y pupusas revueltas.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cuisine Salvadorian
Servings 1 serving
Calories 42.9 kcal


Pupusas Revueltas Ingredients

  • 3 -4 cups of instant corn masa flour mixed with about 5 cups water, See my recipe for making tortilla dough
  • approximately 6 cups of refried red beans (handmade preferrable)
  • approximately 6 cups mozzarella cheese (You want to have equal part of bean and cheese so if you add more bean you need to add more cheese)
  • 5 -7 tablespoons of cold butter, depending on taste
  • 2 cups salsa, roja sauce
  • 2 cups , curtido

Salsa Roja Ingredients

  • 8 small red tomatoes
  • 1 cup of peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 1/4 green bell pepper
  • 3 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of caldo de pollo seasoning (this is chicken buillon seasoning, can find it in most grocery stores)
  • 2 tablespoons oil


  • A complete Salvadoran pupusas has many components.
  • 1 - Filling - Fillings will vary based on your taste but the two most popular fillings are pupusas de queso, pupusas made of cheese only, or pupusas revueltas, pupusas made of a few different fillings. The most common revueltas are made of beans and cheese or chicharron and cheese - see my post on making chicharrones to make this one. My personal favorite is pupusas de queso con loroco, which are pupusas filled with cheese and a type of edible green flower called loroco that is quite similar to asparagus in both look and taste.
  • 2. Masa dough - This is the standard dough used to make corn tortillas - see my recipe for tortillas de maiz here.
  • 3 - Curtido - A mix of fermented cabage with a little bit of onion, shaved carrot, and hot chile peppers mixed inches Curtido is either served on the side or put on top of the pupusa to be eaten together in same bite.
  • 4 - Salsa Roja, or "Red Sauce", served on the side or poured over the curtido and pupusa to be eaten together in same bite.
  • Now for the secrets to making authentic Salvadoran pupusas! Are you ready? Sshhh! Don't tell anyone!
  • Make your own refried beans. Handmade refried beans carry much more flavor and are less greasy and watery than the canned refried beans you can buy at the store. To make your own refried beans, simply prepare small Central American red beans the way you would to make arroz curtido. When the beans are done cooking, blend some of them up in a blender and cook them in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of oil over low heat for about 30-40 minutes.
  • Add butter or margarine to your Mozzarella cheese. When you pour out the amount of mozzarella you will use, add a few scoops of cold butter or margarine to it. The butter/margarine makes the flavor pop and will prevent you from needing to grease the pupusas with oil when you cook them. I personally use margarine because the extra oils in it create a better pupusa than butter will.
  • Only use Mozarella cheese for your cheese filling! This is a very important secret. Some international stores sell what they call "queso para pupusas", or "pupusas cheese". This cheese is an imposter! A fake I tell you, run as fast as you can from it! This cheese looks like Mozarella cheese but tastes terrible and if you read the ingredients you will find that it doesn't even contain any milk at all. This cheese is made out of nothing but hydrogenated oils and trans fats. This cheese is cheaper than buying real Mozarella cheese but it destroys the taste and also destroys your health. I have also seen a lot of videos on the web that add all sorts of other dairy products to their mozarrella filling - crema, hard cheese, and panella cheese are just a few I have seen. While these videos say they are making authentic Salvadoran pupusas, I can assure you that this is not an authentic pupusa and will surely not taste like one either.
  • Cook your pupusas over a gas stove or skillet, not on an electric one. The reason for this is that gas stoves and skillets can get much hotter than electric ones. When the heat is too low, you will get cracks on the outter tortilla skin of your pupusa. You want to cook each side of the pupusa for about 30 seconds, and flip on each side about three times. Once the pupusa starts to puff up and fillings begins to ooze out of, they are done cooking.
  • Directions:
  • -Prepare the re-fried beans the day before by boiling Central American small red beans until soft, (takes about three hours, see my post for Arroz Curtido for exact directions).
  • - Blend about half of the soft red beans in a blender and cook this puree in a skillet on low heat for 30-40 minutes.
  • -The day you make the pupusas, mix all ingredients for red sauce in blender and blend until pureed.
  • -Pour red sauce into a small skillet covered with a tablespoon of oil and heat on medium-high until boiling.
  • -Once sauce boils, turn off heat but leave pot on burner so sauce will be remain warm when you serve the pupusas.
  • -Prepare the tortilla dough in a bowl using directions found on my tortillas de maiz post.
  • -Place Mozzarella, butter, and refried beans into a bowl and mix with hands until well mixed.
  • -Turn your gas skillet to medium-high, (high if have to use an electric stove), and place a pancake skillet (we are pretending this is our comal) on top of the gas burners so it can start to get hot.
  • -Wet your hands in the small bowl of water you have near you and then grab a ball of tortilla dough in your hand.
  • -Flatten the dough into a flat circle using your hands and then put about 2 small spoonfuls of the bean/cheese mix in the middle.
  • -Once you have placed filling in center of dough, close the dough back up using your hands to form a ball again that surrounds and covers your filling.
  • -While reforming the ball, pinch off any extra dough at the top to prevent an over-sized pupusa. You want just enough dough to completely surround your filling and no more.
  • -Place ball of dough with filling inside between two plastic baggies, flatten with a plate or your hands, and then peel off flattened pupusa and place onto the hot skillet.
  • -Cook each side of the pupusa for about 30 seconds each, flipping total about six times so that each side gets the heat about three times.
  • -Once the pupusa begins to puff up or fillings begin to ooze out of it and burn on surface, remove the pupusa from the heat and place onto a big piece of aluminum foil.
  • -Repeat process until you have used up all your dough and filling. If you run out of either, just make more.
  • -Serve the pupusas with curtido and red sauce.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 77gCalories: 42.9kcalCarbohydrates: 2.9gProtein: 0.7gFat: 3.5gSaturated Fat: 1.6gCholesterol: 6.1mgSodium: 333.5mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 1.7g
Keyword < 60 Mins, European, For Large Groups, Mexican, Spanish
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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.