Pupusas From El Salvador – Recipe For Tasty Treats

Pupusas from El Salvador are delicious stuffed flatbreads that are a popular addition to many Latin American platters. But, what I love about them the most is that the filling you use is extremely versatile!

Today, we will look at how to make pupusas from scratch! I only cover the dough so that you can use any filling that you’d like. These pupusas are quick to make and very easy.

And, if you like stuffed food, make sure to go have a look on my site for many other incredible stuffed dishes. One of my all-time favorites is these Jamaican beef patties.

Pupusas From El Salvador


While they can be found in many other Latin American countries and even in the United States, no one can argue about the origin of pupusas.

Pupusas from El Salvador are a type of filled or stuffed flatbread. The dough is made from cornmeal or rice flour and water. Salt is also added but not many other ingredients. The most flavor of pupusas comes from the filling used.

The exact type of filling used depends largely on the region you are in. A very common additive, also used for the pupusas El Salvador recipe I will be making today, is cheese.

Traditionally, quesillo cheese (Oaxaca cheese) is used. But for my recipe, I will be using mozzarella instead. Both are a type of semi-soft stretch cheese with a mild slightly salty flavor.


Masa Harina: This is a type of corn flour that is used to make tortillas and pupusas. It can be found in any Latin American grocery store or online.

Water: You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups to make the dough for 12 pupusas.

Salt: Just a little bit to add some flavor to the dough.

Mozzarella: This cheese is used for the fillings. You can also use Oaxaca cheese, which is more traditional. Or a mix of the two!

Jalapenos: These are completely optional but I love the little bit of spice they add to the pupusas.

Vegetable Oil: Used for frying.

Pupusas From El Salvador Ingredients

How to make Pupusas from El Salvador

In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina, salt, and water until you get a smooth dough.

Steps  pictures Pupusas From El Salvador

Once the dough is ready, divide it into equal parts. I like to use my scale, or ice cream scooper for this so that each pupusa is about the same size.

Now, it’s time to start filling the pupusas! Take one dough ball and flatten it in your palm. Then, add a small handful of mozzarella cheese to the center and top it up with the sliced Jalapenos.

Then, bring the edges of the dough up and around the filling, pinching it closed so that the filling is completely encased.

Repeat this process until all of the pupusas are filled.

Steps for How to make Pupusas from El Salvador

Carefully place the pupusas in hot oil over medium heat and cook for a few minutes on each side until they are golden brown and slightly crisp.

Serve immediately with your favorite salsa or dipping sauce and some curtido on the side.

steps of frying How to make Pupusas from El Salvador


The type of pupusas you make is determined by their filling. The filling won’t affect the recipe for pupusas you need to use.

As I have mentioned, cheese-filled pupusas, also known as pupusa de queso, are one of the most popular. 

Then, you also get pork rind pupusa, squash pupusa, and bean pupusa. You can read up more on the many variations your can find here.


Pupusas from El Salvador are made with only three ingredients; masa harina, salt, and water.

Masa harina is the main ingredient. But, what exactly is it? Essentially it is a type of dried corn flour made from nixtamalized corn. It is the same ingredient that is used to make corn tortillas and tamales.

Always ensure you buy a good quality product. If you don’t the bad flavors and textures will directly affect your final product.


  • If you use any other filling than cheese, just ensure that it isn’t too wet. A wet filling will make the dough very wet and cause it to tear apart.
  • You don’t have to add a filling to your pupusas from El Salvador. You can simply flatten the dough and cook it on the hot griddle pan immediately.
  • When cooking your pupusas, always work in small batches. If you overload the griddle pan, it won’t be able to charr the pupusas. That is the only reason the cooking time is so long. But, it is necessary to get the perfect texture.
  • When making the pupusas have a little bowl with water and a little bit of oil mixed in, to make it easier to work with the dough.
How to make Pupusas from El Salvador


So, pupusas from El Salvador are often served alone because they are filled.

However, pupusas are also a fantastic accompaniment to many other dishes. You can serve many side dishes with these flatbreads.

Arguably the most popular of them all is salsa para pupusas. It is a type of rich flavorful tomato salsa that acts like a dipping sauce.

Then, you can also serve it with curtido, a type of Salvadoran cabbage relish. 

Pupusas from El Salvador are pretty easy to pair with other accompaniments. So, I always use it as a great opportunity to experiment a bit.

 Pupusas from El Salvador



The biggest difference is the moment when the item is stuffed. Pupusas (as you now know) are stuffed before the dough is cooked. Arepas, on the other hand, are stuffed after the dough has been cooked. Both these doughs are made from cornmeal and flour and have relatively similar flavors.


Tacos are made with a corn tortilla shell. This shell is made with the same ingredients used to make pupusas, but they are much thinner and even crisper. A taco is also filled with ingredients after the shell has been cooked and shaped.

The confusion comes in when people use pupusas to make tacos. Pupusas are also often called stuffed corn tortillas.


Cornmeal is a naturally gluten-free ingredient. However, always check your packaging to ensure the manufacturer or producer hasn’t included gluten-containing ingredients. 

And of course, you have to ensure the ingredients used for the filling are also completely gluten-free.


First, you will need to cook all of the ingredients together. They need to be soft and their flavor needs to be allowed time to develop.

Then, you can simply blend them together in a food processor or blender. You can alter the texture of your salsa, but I like to make mine a little textured.


Your average cheese-filled pupusa will contain about 256 calories per 100 grams.

Naturally, the type and amount of cheese you use will change this number. And, if you use a different filling, it could drastically increase the number of calories.

More Tasty Snacks


Pupusas From El Salvador

These pupusas are very easy to make. But, what makes me love them most is how incredibly versatile their fillings are. You can use any type that you'd like with this easy recipe and have something new every night of the week!
5 from 20 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 185 kcal


  • 2 cups Masa harina
  • 1 tsp Fine salt
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups Water, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Mozzarella, grated
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 Jalapeño Peppers


  • To start this recipe for Salvadoran pupusas, you can combine the masa harina and fine salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Next, add the 1 ½ cups of water into the dry mixture. Use a spoon to mix the ingredients together. Then slowly add the rest of the water, if needed all of it.
  • Mix everything well together until the dough has a strong texture. start kneading to ensure the dough is soft and doesn't break when you knead it. Keep kneading and if necessary add a few tbsp of water to the dough until it is smooth, well combined, and easy to form.
  • Next, you can start shaping the pupusas. Divide the dough into roughly 2-inch balls. Then, use your palms to flatten them into a disc.
  • Lay the pupusas on a surface and add a tablespoon or two of grated cheese in the center and top it up wit a few pieces of Jalapeño Pepper. Then, pinch the sides closed to form a filled ball of dough again. Using your palms, flatten the cheese-filled ball into a disc.
  • Next, preheat a skillet and brush it with some vegetable oil. Once heated, place the pupusas in the hot pan. Cook them for roughly 5-10 minutes on each side, or until they start charring.
  • Place them on some paper towel to drain any excess oil and serve them immediately.


Calories: 185kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 7gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 486mgPotassium: 124mgFiber: 3gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 229IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 145mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

One Comment