Stuffed Corn Tortillas (Pupusas) Recipe

Ll1324/Wikimedia Commons
  • 45 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: About 6 pupusas.
Ratings (44)

Pupusas are a traditional dish from El Salvador that starts with corn tortillas that are filled usually with cheese (pupusas de queso), beans, and/or Salvadoran-style chicharrón (finely ground pork). A pupusa revuelta has all three fillings. 

Be sure to wash your hands and toss away your fork and knife when eating your pupusas as they are usually eaten with your bare hands. Be careful though, as the filling inside the corn tortillas is very hot when served immediately. 

If you are having a hard time finding traditional quesillo cheese, don't fret. You can substitute with other types of cheeses, even Monterey Jack or mozzarella will do.

What You'll Need

  • 3 cups masa harina (corn flour for making tortillas)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 cup grated quesillo (Salvadoran cheese or substitute queso fresco, mozzarella or farmer's cheese)
  • 1/2 cup refried beans (optional)
  • 1 cup chicharrón (optional)

How to Make It

  1. In a large bowl, mix the masa harina with the water and salt, stirring well. Add more water if necessary to obtain a soft dough that does not crack around the edges when flattened.
  2. Let the dough rest, covered with plastic wrap, for about 15 minutes.
  3. If using the refried beans, place them in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Do the same with the pork -- the consistency should be more like a paste.
  1. Divide dough into about 6 pieces. Lightly oil your hands to keep the dough from sticking to them (just a small amount of vegetable oil will do). Form each piece of dough into a ball, then make an indentation in the ball.
  2. Place filling of choice in the indentation, and carefully wrap dough around the filling to seal.
  3. Flatten the ball into a disk, about 1/4 inch thick, being careful to keep filling from leaking out of the edges (which can take a little practice).
  4. Wipe a very small amount of oil onto the surface of a heavy skillet (cast iron works well). Heat the skillet over medium heat, and place the pupusas in the skillet.
  5. Once pupusa is brown on each side, like a tortilla gets when heated, flip as necessary  (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Remove from heat and serve warm with a side of pickled cabbage slaw (curtido) and tomato sauce (salsa roja).

Pupusas vs. Arepas

Although pupusas resemble arepas, the dough for pupusas is made with nixtamalized (alkaline-treated) corn, which gives them the same distinctive nutty corn flavor that tortillas and tamales have.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 2131
Total Fat 54 g
Saturated Fat 27 g
Unsaturated Fat 15 g
Cholesterol 124 mg
Sodium 1,942 mg
Carbohydrates 347 g
Dietary Fiber 47 g
Protein 84 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)