The Adventurous Brewnette

el salvadorean food pupusas traditional homemade recipe

Pupusas are a traditional Salvadoran dish made of thick corn tortillas stuffed with various fillings, most commonly cheese, beans, and meat. They are typically served with curtido, a pickled cabbage slaw, and tomato salsa. Here’s a recipe for making cheese and bean pupusas:


For the Pupusa Dough:

  • 2 cups masa harina (corn flour for tortillas)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Cheese and Bean Filling:

  • 1 cup refried beans (canned or homemade)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella or queso fresco cheese

For the Curtido (Pickled Cabbage Slaw):

  • 2 cups thinly shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)

For the Tomato Salsa:

  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, minced (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt to taste


1. Prepare the Pupusa Dough: a. In a large mixing bowl, combine the masa harina and salt. b. Gradually add the warm water and knead the mixture until you have a smooth and pliable dough. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water. If it’s too wet, add a bit more masa harina. c. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

2. Prepare the Curtido: a. In a separate bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, red onion, carrot, and chopped cilantro. b. In a saucepan, mix the apple cider vinegar, warm water, salt, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Bring this mixture to a boil, then remove it from the heat. c. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cabbage mixture and stir well. Let it cool, cover, and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the pupusas.

el salvadorean food pupusas traditional homemade recipe
el salvadorean food pupusas traditional homemade recipe

3. Make the Tomato Salsa: a. In a bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, chopped onion, cilantro, minced jalapeño peppers, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside.

4. Assemble the Pupusas: a. Divide the pupusa dough into equal portions and roll them into balls (about the size of a golf ball). b. Take one dough ball and flatten it into a small round disc (about 4-5 inches in diameter) using your hands or a tortilla press. c. Place a spoonful of refried beans and a sprinkle of cheese in the center of the dough. d. Carefully fold the dough over the filling, sealing the edges to create a stuffed pupusa. Flatten it gently to about 1/4 inch thick.

5. Cook the Pupusas: a. Heat a griddle or a large, flat skillet over medium-high heat. b. Place the pupusas on the hot griddle and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and slightly crispy.

6. Serve and Enjoy: a. Serve the pupusas hot with the curtido and tomato salsa on the side.

el salvadorean food pupusas traditional homemade recipe