El Salvador- Pupusa Recipe

El Salvador Pupusa

This recipe for pupusa was recommended by Vladimir Gomez, my driver in San Salvador in 2017. He now has his own company EVGP Transporte. And I can highly recommend him as a reliable, friendly, and helpful driver in San Salvador and surrounding areas! I had the opportunity to try pupusas at Tipicos Margoth Restaurant in San Salvador. At that dinner, Vladimir ordered us many traditional Salvadoran foods including pupusas, enchiladas, empanadas, pastelita and fried yucca.

I would describe pupusas as cornmeal dough filled with pork and cheese, then lightly fried. They are often served with a vinegar-soaked cabbage salad called curtido. I made a small modification and used some leftover roasted pork that I had made for a Mexican recipe, cochinita pibil. Overall, I think they still tasted authentic and especially accompanied by the curtido. I can still picture the ladies at the restaurant making perfectly round pupusas by hand very quickly. They made it look very easy!

El Salvador Pupusa filling
El Salvador Pupusa filling
El Salvador Curtido (Cabbage salad)
El Salvador Curtido (Cabbage salad)



3 c water
3 c maseca (masa harina)
Pinch of salt


3/4 pound (340 g) boneless pork shoulder, cut into small cubes (I used my leftover cochinita pibil)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 pound (340 g) mozzarella, grated

Curtido (Cabbage salad)

1/2 head of green cabbage, cored and shredded
1 small onion, sliced thinly
2 carrots, grated
Water for boiling
1 c white vinegar
1 Tbsp oregano
2 tsp sea salt


Prepare the curtido first. Put all cabbage, onion and carrot into a large heat-proof bowl. Cover with boiling water and let sit for about 10 minutes. Drain the water. Then add the vinegar, oregano and salt. Toss well then chill in the refrigerator overnight.

In a frying pan, sautee the pork over medium heat until browned on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Put the pork in a food processor, and add the green pepper, tomato and onion. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the water and maseca together. Add a pinch of salt. Knead with your hands to form a smooth, moist dough. Form the dough into balls, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Let rest for a few minutes.

In a separate bowl mix together cheese and pork to make the filling. Flatten each ball of dough into a shallow cup. Fill with 1 1/2 ounces of filling then wrap the dough around the filling. Pinch and seal the pupusa. Then pat between your hand until it is slightly flattened again. Cook on a flat griddle or in a frying pan brushed with oil over medium-high heat. Cook until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve with curtido (cabbage salad).

Rolling and filling the maseca dough
Freshly fried pupusa with pork and cheese

Go to Recipe Map

Go to El Salvador

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

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