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Pupusas - Stuffed Corn Tortillas - How to Make Pupusas


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Pupusas are a traditional dish from El Salvador. Pupusas are corn tortillas with a filling - usually cheese (pupusas de queso), beans, and/or Salvadoran-style chicharrón (finely ground pork). A pupusa revuelta has all three fillings. Pupuasas are cooked on a griddle, and served with a pickled cabbage slaw called curtido and thin tomato sauce (salsa roja).

Though 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.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: About 6 pupusas.


  • 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)


  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 cuisinart and process until smooth. Do the same with the pork - the consistency should be more like a paste.

    Divide dough into about 6 pieces. Form a ball of dough, then make an indentation in the ball. Place filling of choice in the indentation, and carefully wrap dough around the filling to seal. Flatten ball into a disk, about 1/4 inch thick, being careful to keep filling from leaking out of the edges. (this takes a little practice).

    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. Allow to brown on each side, like a tortilla, flipping as necessary. Remove from heat and serve warm.
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