Pupusas de El Salvadoreño

Prep Time
Cook Time
1h 40m
Ready In

Recipe: #26783

July 28, 2017

"My favorite restaurant on earth is a humble little Salvadoran place in a not-so-good neighborhood in San Diego. Why? Their pupusas! I've spent hours watching them make these little beauties - and of course hours partaking in their goodness! Pupusas are masa cakes filled with any variety of things. Topped with a non-spicy tomato salsa and a heaping topping of curtido (pickled coleslaw). Heaven on earth! These are a little labor intensive, but well worth the time to make them. Both the salsa and the curtido can be prepared a day in advance. There are many VARIATIONS of fillings: the ones in my recipe are called "Pupusas Revueltas" meaning a mixture of ingredients. They do just cheese, just beans, just cheese and beans, chicken, chicharon, cheese and loroco (if you can find this, it's different and delicious!). In San Diego, they'll even add fresh jalapeno slices if you ask nicely!"

Original is 12 servings
  • Note: Unlike Mexicans, Central Americans typically don't like spicy food. Being Mexican, I do! If you want some heat, add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the Curtido ingredients, and/or 2 chopped serrano chiles to the Salsa ingredients.
  • Chicharron: is NOT pork rinds! If your Hispanic market has a prepared foods section, they probably carry it. If not, all it is is a nice piece of pork belly, seasoned with salt and roasted or pan fried till crispy and cooked through.


  • Serving Size: 1 (366.4 g)
  • Calories 259.5
  • Total Fat - 4.8 g
  • Saturated Fat - 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol - 5.6 mg
  • Sodium - 768.5 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 44.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 7.6 g
  • Sugars - 6.3 g
  • Protein - 11.5 g
  • Calcium - 197.8 mg
  • Iron - 4.3 mg
  • Vitamin C - 56.9 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.7 mg

Step by Step Method


Step 1

Place the cabbage in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water for 1 minute. Drain well and return to bowl.

Step 2

Add 1/4 cup cold water along with the remaining curtido ingredients. Combine well and refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours. This step can be done the day before.


Step 3

Place the tomatoes, onion, clove and water in a blender container. Optional: add the serranos, if using. Blend until smooth.

Step 4

Heat the oil on medium high heat and pour the salsa into the pan. It will sputter and splash - so be careful here! Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and bouillon powder and continue at a slow boil for about 10 minutes, or until the salsa is reduced by half. Allow the salsa to come down to room temperature.


Step 5

Prepare the pupusa dough according to the package directions using 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 3/4 cups of the water. Mix thoroughly to make a very soft dough, adding a little bit of water at a time if it is too dry. Let rest for about 5 minutes.

Step 6

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the chicharron, cheese and refried beans. Set aside.

Step 7

Form dough into about 12 golf ball-sized balls and pat each one into a round about 1/3 inch thick. Place one tablespoon of the chicharron mixture in the center of each round. Fold edges of masa up around the filling and press edges together to seal. Carefully pat each pupusa between your hands to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick, making sure the filling doesn't start to poke through.

This takes practice and your first one will probably look terrible! Moisten your hands if the dough is very sticky.

Step 8

Heat a cast iron griddle or large frying pan until very hot. Lightly brush griddle with canola oil (or rub an oil-soaked paper towel). Cook pupusas until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side.

Step 9

Serve pupusas with curtido and salsa at the table so everyone can garnish their own. I also like Salvadoran crema (like creme fraiche) as a topping.


  • Cast iron griddle or large fry pan

3 Reviews


I absolutely loved the corn masa flavor that the papusas impart. The combination of the salsa and crema along the papusa brings it over the top good. I added a whole jalapeno with seeds and ribs to the salsa. My masa harina package didn't come with directions on how to make papusas so I followed a recipe I already had, but it included additional ingredients such as cumin, cayenne, garlic and baking powder; they came out awesome tasting. I went to the Portuguese market in search of something similar to chicharon, but the owners of the market were on vacation and the market was closed, so I substituted chourico. I added a couple of tablespoons of the filling to each papusa indentation and topped it with additional cheese prior to closing them up. The end product came out fabulous! The curtido were o.k, but next time I'll have to experiment as I wasn't too fond of the oregano in it and the flavor needed to be kicked-up a bit, but all-in-all it was an Awesome meal. Thank you JostLori for sharing! Made it for CQ4, 2017 - Central America.


review by:
(5 Sep 2017)

Susie D

Pupusas, curtido, and this style of salsa were completely new to me. I am so glad I tried these for the first time. I encountered problems with the dough, but we did get better, and the last few appeared as identifiable discs. The dough is soft. We found rolling it between squares of wax paper helped. we could then add the filling, fold up the edges, lightly press and use the bottom piece of wax paper to place in the skillet. They cook fairly quickly, but we preferred a bit of crisp so left them longer than directed. The filling being mixed together is essential to the process. There is no way one could do a bit of this and that in layers. So what were they? The best description our diners came up was a flattened tamale. We normally eat Tex-Mex so the components were fairly bland. I would up the seasonings next time, but that isn't the fault of the recipe. I look forward to playing with these again! Thank you for sharing new ideas and new cuisines to my kitchen!


review by:
(28 Aug 2017)


I don't know how I lived all my life without knowing pupusas! These were delicious, the cortido adds an incredible fresh flavor to the earthy bean and masa mixture. I chose to make mine with just beans and cheese, and I added the Serrano to my salsa, which came out very spicy but tasty. It's such a satisfying meal, one that I know will be made again. Thank you so.much for sharing, Lori! Made for CQ '17.


review by:
(26 Aug 2017)

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