Homemade Pupusas (Stuffed Corn Tortillas) Recipe

Homemade Pupusas

When I was in college, I spent a summer in El Salvador with a group called Help International.  We worked in orphanages, built houses, taught gardening and business classes, and ate a lot of PUPUSAS!  I didn’t know how much I loved them until I came home and couldn’t have them.  They are amazing thick corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, beans, meat, or anything you can think of.  I was missing them earlier this year and decided to look up how to make them…I was excited to see how easy they are!

What you need:

Masa Flour (find at any grocery store, usually by the beans and salsa)


Filling (you decide, my favorite is black bean and cheese)


Garlic Powder


How to Make Pupusas:

Mix masa flour, a little bit of salt, a dash of garlic powder (depending on your taste) and water.  The proportions vary, close to 1 part water and 1 part masa flour.  The dough needs to be soft enough to mold into a “bowl shape” without crumbling. Add more water or flour until you get the right consistency.  It takes a little bit of practice, but you will get the feel for it.

Grab a handful of dough and mold it into a small bowl.  Fill the bowl with your filling.  Pinch the dough closed to form a ball.

Now the fun part (kids like this too) Pat it between your hands to make it flat.  I usually make my pupusas about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat up a frying pan on medium heat.  Drizzle pan with oil (or use cooking spray) and place the pupusa on the pan.

The time depends on the thickness of the dough. Flip it to get both sides cooked.  The dough will get crispy.  Now eat them!


I usually put a little sour cream and salsa verde on them.  So good!


17 thoughts on “Homemade Pupusas (Stuffed Corn Tortillas) Recipe”

  1. These look great. Can the be made ahead and heated up, or made ahead and cooked later. Or even frozen always looking for something to freeze or heat up so I can do sister time and leave the man of the place something easy to eat.

    1. Those are great ideas! I haven’t ever made them beforehand or frozen them…but now I am going to try! Let me know if you get to it first, or I will let you know when I have a chance to test it. I would love to have homemade pupusas in the freezer at all times!

  2. Hi.. I just wanted to let you know that you can make them in advance and warmed them in a toaster, not the microwave. You can also get all the suffing ready and freeze them. Just make sure you take the stuffing out several hours prior of you making them….
    I’m from El Salvador and I know how to make them.. they are delicious. ?.

  3. How about the curtido (cabbage slaw) that is always in a jar in the frig and always served with pupusas? When I was in El Salvador in May, I NEVER saw pupusas without the curtido!

    1. I haven’t made the curtido yet…but I will let you know when I try it out! Let me know if you have tried it and have a good recipe 🙂

  4. Mm mm pupusas. I like the ones w chicken or carnitas. A local restaurant, Cuzcatlan, sells them and of course the curtido w them.

  5. Hi, I just wanted to let you know I tried your recipe and it is delicious! However, when I started with 1 part water to 1 part masa flour, I ended up with something the consistency of pancake batter. I ended up using almost the entire bag of flour to correct it; somewhere along the lines of five times as much flour as water. Some more accurate measurements would be really helpful.

    1. Hi Amber! How strange…maybe my masa flour is more packed than yours. I usually do a cup of each and it is usually the right consistency. Anyone else have any experiences with the ratio?

      1. I know this has been up for a while, just wanted to add my experiences for future reference. I did a 1:1 ratio and it worked just fine for me! Thanks for a recipe!

  6. Nancy Molina: my mouth started watering when I saw this recipe because my daughter in law is from El Salvadore and makes them for us a lot. Delicious is an understatement! Paula B

  7. Slaw – Adapted from book Healthy Latin Cooking by S. Raichlen: 1 carrot in food processor with 2 jalapeños and 1/2 habernero peppers with seeds. Mix with 4 C. finely shredded cabbage, 5 T. white vinegar, 1 t. salt, 1-1/2 t. sugar, black pepper.
    Salsa: 4 peeled tomatoes, 1 small white onion, 4 radishes, 2 scallions(green onions), 2 jalapeños, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 C. cilantro, 2 or 3 T. lime or lemon juice, 3 T. white vinegar, salt and pepper.

  8. The recipe I have says 2-1/2 C. Masa Harina, 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 C. water. My son worked with a lady who would bring papusas to work. She used pork chops fried to a crisp and then grind them for the filling. They were so good! I never got her slaw and salsa because he would eat them before they got home. I made the slaw and salsa in my previous post and they were great. I really like the tip to put the cornmeal mixture in a small bowl to fill them– that was the hardest part to flatten so the filling would’t show through.

  9. I was married to a guy from El Salvador many, many years ago. He introduced me to papusas, but I forgot to get the recipe from him before I left him! 🙂 I remember how good they were, and I’m glad to see this recipe to revive my interest in making them. Thanks, and Happy Fall!

  10. These sound like tamales only fried instead of steamed! I’m glad this just popped across my pinterest feed. I have been wanting to make tamales and bought everything, including masa, dried peppers, and corn husks, then realized how much lard is in the recipes. I’m all for super high quality lard, but super against the crappy kind you can get at the store, and I’m 100 miles from a butcher and we are no dairy so I can’t use butter. So this will be a great alternative for that masa flour. Have you ever heard of adding a tsp of baking soda to the masa mix? I only ask because it seems to be in every single tamale recipe and wondered if it would make them fluffier. This recipe works great in our no-dairy and no gluten house. Thanks!

    1. I will have to try the baking soda! I need to try tamales! They are one of my favorite foods, but haven’t dared to make them! Any great tamale recipe you recommend?

  11. We love papusas’ at our house. We have a friend that’s from El Salvador and have become quite spoiled by them. They often send them over with a bowl of homemade salsa and a delicious jalapeno coleslaw that is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. You’re right, they are yummy and surprisingly easy to make. I love ours with lots of cheese and shredded beef and a hint of pinto beans.

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