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Pupusas, El Salvadoran Corn Cakes

Pupusas, El Salvadoran Corn Cakes

Pupusas are stuffed round corn cakes, or patties, from El Salvador. They are made from masa harina dough, like corn tortillas, that is shaped into a disc and stuffed with a variety of ingredient.
By Nancy Lopez-McHugh

Pupusas can be stuffed with cheese, meat, beans or vegetables. If you’re familiar with Hispanic food think of Pupusas as a relative to Mexican gorditas or South American arepas. Additionally pupusas are served alongside a traditional fermented cabbage salad called curtido.

See Also
Three Cheese Flatbread Recipe

As you can see from the photos my pupusas aren’t quite authentic El Salvadoran pupusas. These are more of a gordita-pupusa Spicie Foodie fusion… Or something like that. For starters the dough I used was fine yellow corn flour not the white masa harina called for. (yellow corn flour makes a great substitute) The cheese, I’ve used Feta, my queso fresco substitute, instead of a melting white cheese. To give the pupusas my special  touch I added red pepper flakes to the dough. Lastly instead of serving alongside curtido I choose refried beans and Mexican salsa. Regardless of authenticity these pupusas are also very good. In the past I’ve made my pupusas in the traditional way but every once in a while it’s good to change up recipes.


Pupusas, El Salvadoran Corn Cakes

Pupusas, El Salvadoran Corn Cakes – yields 9-11 depending on size.

  • Author: Nancy Lopez-McHugh
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 mins
  • Total Time: 26 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 1/2 cup corn flour + 1 cup white flour OR
  • 2.5 cups
  • Maseca Instant Corn Masa
  • (masa harina)
  • red pepper flakes to taste (I used about 1.5 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
  • 1 cup or 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 200 gm or 7 oz crumbled/grated feta or
  • queso fresco
  • or any melting white cheese


  • comal or griddle


  1. Heat a comal or griddle. In a large bowl combine the flours or masa harina, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour oil and water. Stir until a wet dough is formed. The dough will not have elasticity like that of other breads.
  2. Divide the dough into even sizes.
  3. Make a flat disc between your palms.
  4. Place crumbled/grated cheese in center of disc.
  5. Gather all sides up to make a round pouch and form back into a ball.
  6. Once shaped into a ball flatten between your palms into a disc.
  7. Place the shaped pupusas onto the heated comal or griddle, and cook for about 4 minutes on each side.

To serve:

  1. Beans, salsa, avocado or your favorite sides and toppings

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View Comments (2)
  • One of my best friends is Salvadoreña and she made me these once. Fabulous little secret those Salvadorans are keeping, eh? Yours look different, as you explained in the post, but wonderful in their own way. And besides, you know what I say about authenticity: Bah humbug!

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