El Salvadorian Bean and Cheese Pupusas

Recipe by Sommer Clary
READY IN: 30mins


  • 4
    cups masa corn flour, divided
  • 2 12
    cups water, divided
  • 12
    teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1
    (15 ounce) can refried beans
  • 1
    cup shredded jack cheese
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 1
    (14 ounce) can good quality tomato sauce


  • In a small mixing bowl, combine refried beans and cheese. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine 2 cups Masa with 1 ¼ cups water and ¼ tsp salt, mixing thoroughly until it is a soft dough (this dough dries out fast- hence the divided measurements. But if it starts to dry out while you are still working, you can add a touch more water as needed).
  • Pinch a bit of dough off and roll it into a ball about 2 inches in diameter (about the size of a golf ball). Using your thumb, push down on the ball to make more of a “bowl”. Place a spoonful of the bean and cheese mixture into the “bowl”.
  • Pinch off and flatten a bit more dough to cover the bowl with. Carefully flatten the filled ball to make a disc, making an effort to make it as thinly as possible- about 1/2 inch thick. This takes a lot of practice!
  • Pour 1/4 cup of oil into a nonstick skillet and place as many pupusas as will fit, and cook over medium / medium- high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden and browned. Repeat with the next batch, adding more oil if necessary. When the masa dough has run out, make another fresh batch.
  • Serve with warmed tomato sauce and curtido.