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Pupusas from weelicious.com

There have been many times I’ve seen people shy away from an international dish solely based on it’s name. I totally get that it can be intimidating to order something you know nothing about in hopes that you, or dare I utter, your kids would enjoy it. Just the other day we went to a Mexican restaurant while on vacation in upstate New York and when I named off dishes to the kids that included sopes, huaraches and flautas there was silence in the air for several seconds until Kenya said “do they have tacos or enchiladas?”

It can feel intimidating trying new foods with exotic names, but once you try and enjoy them there’s no going back. This is exactly what happened when we had pupusas for the first time at our farmers market years ago. I remembered all of our friends ordering them for breakfast with their kids, but for some reason it took some time before we made the leap. One bite, though, and Kenya was hooked! Years later our family has had every variation of this Salvadorian dish including cheese, bean, chicken, vegetable and more. They’re generally topped with a vinegary slaw, a side of guacamole and crema to add to the simple flavor of the masa that makes these traditional pupusas.

The best part is they only take minutes to make and cost so little per serving which is great if you’re feeding a group or looking to stretching your weekly menu planning budget. For all of these reasons I’ve made these for Rewind Wednesday and even show you how to make Pupusas here. If you make them please let me know in the comments below what you added inside (if anything) to make them your own!

Pupusas from weelicious.com

Every Sunday morning we all wake up super excited because that's our farmer's market day and without fail the first word out of Kenya's mouth when he wakes up is "'pusa"?! 'Pusa is Kenyan for papusa and Kenya doesn't just like pupusas, he loves them, and he especially loves the ones they sell at our local market.

Here in Los Angeles there are pupusa stands all over, but until I moved here I had no idea what they were. In El Salvador, where this dish hails from, vendors everywhere sell this delicious street food which looks like a thick tortilla. Hidden inside each one is a savory filling, usually made up of cheese, chicken, beans or a combination of the three and it is served with curtido (a vinegary coleslaw, generally too spicy for most kids), guacamole and/or crema (similar to sour cream).

Pupusas from weelicious.com

I decided to make my own pupusas for lunch yesterday to see how I compared to Kenya's favorite vendor at the market. When Kenya woke up from his nap and came to the kitchen he took one whiff and said "pusa"? There was actually shock in his voice (as if he thought they only came from the Salvadorian lady at the farmer's market). You'll be shocked too when you see how easy these are to make in no time flat and each one costs mere pennies compared to the $2 I spend on the ones at our market.

Pupusas  (6 Pupusas)

  • Prep Time: 5 mins,
  • Cook Time: 10 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
Every Sunday morning we all wake up super excited because that's our farmer's market day and without fail the first word out of Kenya's mouth when he wakes up is "'pusa"?! 'Pusa is Kenyan for papusa and Kenya doesn't just like pupusas, he loves them,...


  • 2 cups masa harina (corn flour)*
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cheese, shredded (i used a mexican blend of cheeses)
  • oil


  1. 1. Combine the masa, water and salt in a bowl and stir to combine into a dough.
  2. 2. Divide the mixture into 6 balls and flatten each one into a 3 inch disk.
  3. 3. Place 1 tbsp of shredded cheese in the center of the disk and carefully fold in the edges to enclose the cheese.
  4. 4. Flatten the disk, covering the cheese and form into 1/4 inch thick disks (about 5-6 inches across).
  5. 5. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large saute pan. Add 2-3 pupusas at a time and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side for a total of 8-10 minutes.
  6. 6. Serve.
  7. *Make sure to buy masa harina (sold at most groceries) which is different from cornmeal
  8. To Freeze: After step 4, place on sheet tray and freeze for 30 minutes or until frozen then transfer to a ziploc bag label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, defrost in fridge for 24 hours and follow steps 5-6.

Accompaniments: guacamole, sour cream, salsa, vinegary coleslaw


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  1. Peggy Taylor

    October 29, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    My son-in-law is Salvadoran and has me hooked on Pupusas. My favorite is Chorizo and cheese filled.

  2. Liz

    July 8, 2015 at 9:45 am

    These sound good – thank you.

  3. Rachael @ La Fuji Mama

    July 8, 2015 at 9:28 am

    You had me at pusa! (How cute is that?) I adore pupusas, so Kenya OBVIOUSLY has great taste. Yours look amazing! Already printed off the recipe…

  4. Megan K

    May 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I just made these and they are outstanding! Use Maseca brand masa and add water slowly. I used slightly over 1 1/2 cups. Super yummy and they brown up with no oil :)

  5. Jill

    November 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Looks great! I can’t wait to try this recipe out with my kids :)

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  7. josh

    January 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    is there that big of a difference white flour and mesa?? i made chicken and cheese pupusas yesterday (with this recipe) and they were great, but i was just wondering if there was a big difference mesa and flour??

    • catherine

      January 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Masa is a flour made from corn and white flour is made from wheat so that is the biggest difference between the two! It’s sort of like the difference between corn tortillas and flour tortillas! :)

      • josh

        January 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm


  8. Celeste o

    December 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I LOVE Pupusas! I also enjoy making my own tortillas with masa harina so it’s always stocked at my house. I’ll have to make some for dinner one of these nights.

  9. Marjorie

    October 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Hi! I am from El Salvador, and it is great to see how everyone tried to make one of our favorite dishes, this is just delicious! Just a tip, sometimes used this type of rice dough and most Salvadorans love it! you can make a pupusa with chicken, shrimp, fish, spinach, squash, almost everything! we also have a very well known called “pupusa loca” I’m pretty sure you all would love it!

    http://www.mimaseca.com/ is the harina masa :)

  10. Kim

    August 26, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Just tried these. I had a hard time with the dough crumbling and sticking. Added a little water and didn’t seem to help. Still tasted good though.

  11. Sarah

    August 8, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    What type of oil is the best to cook them in?

  12. SuperEmilyMomma

    July 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    These are amazing! My 18 month old loves them and we’ve eaten them two days in a row already! Great recipe, super delicious. I had a bit of difficulty finding the masa, but Whole Foods came through in the end.

  13. Coralee

    May 31, 2011 at 11:56 am

    When I went to the Mexican store to get the corn flour, she told me a trick. To flatten these press a plate down on the ball to make it into a disk, this definitely makes things easier. My kids didn’t really go for it though, I don’t think they like the corn taste, but I enjoyed them.

  14. Jaclyn

    May 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    “Corn flour” doesn’t work — it looked like the same as corn meal to me. Seems that masa harina is a specific type of corn flour — probably a finer consistency. Waiting for a Mexican store to open nearby…..and then I can try these again — seemed way too gritty (and had to use about double the flour with Bob’s Red Mill “corn flour” — the only kind I could find around here.

  15. Lindsey

    April 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Is there something you can use instead of the corn flour?

  16. Norma

    March 16, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I love pupusas! My mom puts mashed brown beans with cheese inside or mashed beans, cheese and small bits of chorizo (Mexican type sausage) or bits of chicken.

  17. HCinKC

    March 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I didn’t have cheese for the middle. Instead I made them a bit smaller and used them as hamburger buns. Yum!

  18. Brieshon

    September 15, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    YUM! I just made these tonight and all five of us loved them! I put some taco seasoning in the masa for a little extra flavor (I do that when making corn tortillas, too).

    Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Tess

    September 7, 2010 at 2:58 am

    Hi! I just found your website and it is simply the best! Thank you so much! I run a day home and am always racking my brain about what to cook…. now I have an unlimited amount of ideas!

    On the topic of Pupusas – I ate them once in college, and adored them… but haven’t had them since. So I am just thrilled to find your recipe and can’t wait to try it.
    Thank you!

    As well I noticed your Moroccan chicken recipe :) I have many authentic Moroccan recipes I can share with you if you want!

    • catherine

      September 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      That would be great! Please email them to me :) Pupusas are Kenya’s favorite!

  20. Deirdre

    August 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I just made these using Bobs Red Mill Corn Flour. The dough is runny,(not very dough like. I was unable to pull the corners in so had to add more dough on top. what should the consistency of the dough be. Also what brand corn flour did you use?

  21. Laura

    August 23, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I really want to try these. I think my son will love them, but I’m getting lost at step 4. In step 2 you say to flatten into 3″ disks. Then in step 4 you say to flatten into “1/4 disks (5-6 inches across).” I’m not following how we get from 3″ to 5-6″, and what 1/4 disks means.

    • catherine

      August 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      Form into 3 inch disks and place the cheese inside then pull the side to the center to cover. When you flatten the disks they should be 1/4 inch thick and 5-6 inches across. Hope this helps! :)

    • Nicole

      August 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm

      I was wondering the same thing…is it a 1/4 in. thick? These look wonderful!

      • catherine

        August 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm

        yes they are about a 1/4 inch thick :)

  22. Peggy

    August 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Does normal corn flour (the type used as thickeners in gravy, soups etc) work?

    • catherine

      August 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm

      Corn starch is used as a thickener, so it won’t work so you would have to use corn flour. You can find it at any store near the flours :)

  23. Dana

    January 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    These were so good. My 15 month old loved them! Is there anyway to spice up the dough for adults? It was a bit bland for my grown up taste.

  24. Melissa C.

    November 19, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Hi! These look so delicious, I just had to try them. I’ve never even made tortillas before though, so they didn’t turn out quite right I fear. They do taste delicious though. A few questions if you don’t mind?

    1) Is the dough supposed to be very crumbly or was there not enough water?

    2) Mine turned out yellow and crispy. I used Wesson oil and the Masa was the Maseca brand that says it’s for pupusa. Too much oil, too high heat (cooked on medium)? Any ideas?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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