Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 5 mins

From the streets of El Salvador and Honduras, these are masa 'cakes' with a filling that is fried. The usual fillings are meat or cheese but there is no reason why beans etc could not be used.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Mix the masa harina, cumin, salt and water into a dough which is soft but not sticky. Be prepared to add more flour if necessary. If it is too dry, add more water.
  2. To make a 3 inch round papusa, take about half a cup of dough and roll it into a ball. flatten with your hand.
  3. Put the filling in the centre [in this case, cheese, cilantro, salt and pepper].
  4. Work the edges up over the filling and again form a ball, completely enclosing the filling.
  5. Flatten each ball to about 1/4 inch or less and cook the papusas on a hot, lightly oiled griddle for about 3 minutes per side, or until both sides are lightly browned.
  6. Serve warm.
Most Helpful

This is such a fun recipe.. I've made it quite a few times and always forget to review it. My only change has been, a Tablespoon of lard added to the dough. That really helps this from drying out. I think our favorite fillings have been refried beans and cheese. (It's easier just to serve the refried beans on the side.) But we like just plain cheese with green onion too. It's really worth making curtido to serve with these! I really like, Curtido De Repollo - El Salvadorean Cabbage Salad Just a small note - I find it helpful keeping a small bowl of oil & adding a bit at a time, to my hand when I shape these. They might turn out funny looking if you never made Pupusas before. No big deal. It also might be nice to have someone help you make these. I always make a double batch now. I was sorry when I only made one batch. They are delicious! Along with the curtido, we like to serve this with hard tacos. Can't get better then that, on a lazy Sunday. Making them again today. This time with diced jalapeno and jack cheese. (Hopefully I remember to snap a pic!) Thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

Linajjac September 28, 2008

I really like this recipe, the only changes I made is that I did a ratio of 1:1 on the masa and water. It was a little loose, but the end result was amazing. Also, I just couldn't master the putting the stuffing into the pocket and then closing it up, (perhaps because the dough was loose). So instead, I tossed a small ball of dough between oiled hands until flat, laid that down, added the filling on top, made another flattened ball of dough, laid that on top and then crimped edges and flattened the whole thing. I know it sounds like more work, but it ended up being easier for me, and they turned out perfect, with no leaks, (unlike my other ones).

lisabowman5_12898820 November 24, 2010

We made these when my daughter had an assignment to make a food from El Salvador. These turned out very well and weren't difficult to make. Next time I would add plenty of salt, as a previous reviewer suggested. I don't usually like to add salt while I am cooking, but I added about 1/2 t to the batch of dough. I would definitely double and maybe even triple that. I think I should have tried to get more filling in as well. I didn't stuff them too full so that they were easier to keep together, but they would have tasted better if they were cheesier. The recipe is perfect, I just need to perfect my techniques! Thanks for sharing!

Julie F June 12, 2011