Pupusa, El Salvador’s national food, is an easy and inexpensive recipe to make. Fill them with cheese, beans, meat, or vegetables, and fry them for a hearty snack or lunch!

Vegan Pupusa Recipe is similar to Venezuelan Arepas, they are both a  must-try. They are so delicious served with Curtido and Salsa.

They are so easy to prepare, made with simple ingredients, and can be stuffed with your filling of choice. The outer crust is crisp and the soft interior is incredibly tasty.

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE DETAILED RECIPE, BUT I REQUEST YOU DON’T SKIP READING THE INFORMATION INCLUDED IN THE BLURB.

History of El Salvadorian Cuisine

El Salvador, with 6.42 million people, is the smallest and most populous country in Central America. Over 100 volcanoes dominate the little country’s geography, with 23 being active. Agriculture has historically been the main sector of the economy, and for many years, coffee exports were a major source of income.

For a long time before the Spanish arrived, the Pipil people dominated the area. After the Spanish took over the country, they had to change the food. However, some of the original  Pipi, Lenca, and Maya ways of cooking are still used today. Maize (corn) is a staple in Salvadoran recipes. Seafood and meat, especially pork, are popular protein sources. Vegetarians eat beans and cheese.

Here are some popular el Salvadorian vegetarian dishes:

  • Pupusas: Pupusas, El Salvador’s national dish, are handmade corn cakes filled with beans and cheese.
  • Empanadas de Leche: Oval-shaped balls of ground plantain filled with vanilla custard.
  • Tamales: Plantain leaves are used to cook corn dough pockets filled with things like corn, cheese, and dried fruit.
  • Curtido: Curtido is a topping made of pickled cabbage, onion, and carrot that is used in various cuisines.
  • Yuca Frita: Cassava is cut into we

masa harina for making pupusa. bob's red mills brand

What is Pupusa?

I mentioned earlier that, my friend shared with me that one of her family’s favorite recipes is pupusa from El Salvador, she described how it was prepared.

Pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran tortilla made from a thick corn tortilla and typically filled with dairy cheese, black beans, or meat, it is the national dish of El Salvador.

Why Do You Like This Recipe?

  • 4 Components: Making this recipe is relatively inexpensive and only requires a small number of ingredients. When you have all the materials at home, making Pupusas as a tasty snack is simple from this point on!
  • “Travel” to El Salvador: This recipe is fantastic to try out if you’ve always wanted to visit El Salvador but are unable to do so. Without ever leaving your house, you may easily enjoy El Salvador’s national dish.

step by step pupusa recipe photos

Ingredients For Making Pupusa

Masa Harina: I used Masa Harina (corn flour) to prepare pupusa, Bob’s Red Mill brand can be purchased at local health food stores or online on Amazon.

Salt: A pinch of salt brightens everything up. Salts such as Himalayan pink Himalayan salt, sea salt, and table salt can all be used in this dish if desired. Whatever you’ve got on hand. Season with salt to your liking.

Cheese: For the vegan cheese, I used my homemade Vegan Pepper Jack Cheese recipe,  but you can use store-bought vegan shredded cheese.

Oil: The oil is used to make the pupusas.  Any kind of oil will work well.

Water:  Used for kneading dough and pupusa forming.

How Do You Make Pupusas?

  1. Stir together Masa Harina and salt in a large bowl. Add water and knead together to form a dough ball.
  2. Place extra water with oil in a bowl, and dip your hands in the bowl to coat with the oil and water mixture. This will prevent the dough from sticking.
  3. Separate dough into 6-8 equal balls, flatten the dough ball into disks using both hands to press the dough, about 3 inches wide.
  4. Add about 1 tablespoon of vegan shredded cheese in the center, bring the sides around the cheese to cover the cheese, and seal the dough on top by pinching the sides together.
  5. Flatten dough into a disk, about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Heat a non-stick skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Lightly brush with oil, add pupusa and cook on both sides until heated through and golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  7. Delicious served with Curtido and Salsa.

 

Filling Options

The possibilities here are truly endless. I went with vegan cheese. Here are some further choices:

Cheese. Cheese is a must, of course. You can use mozzarella or Oaxacan cheese, which is quite melty. You might also experiment with gouda, sharp cheddar cheese, taleggio, and/or fontina.

Braised meat. If you are not vegan you can braise a chicken, beef, or pork shoulder. And then put it in the middle of the pupusas.

Veggies. Amazing roasted squash. Squash, zucchini, cauliflower, and other vegetables might all be pureed in a food processor.

Beans pureed. To soften the beans, I purée them in a food processor. They go incredibly well with cheese and beans.

Other Delicious Recipes To Try

pupusa recipe broken in half in the foreground with a plate of pupusa on a white plate a bowl of curtido and salsa in the background on a gray marbled base

 

Expert Tips

  • If you want to fill the pupusas with cheese, vegan cheese balls that have been cut in half can be an easier option (to keep them thinner). Simply shape the dough into a disk and press it onto the mozzarella ball. Compared to trying to cram shredded parmesan into the dough, this may be simpler.
  • If you don’t want to, you don’t have to stuff your Pupusas with anything. They can be left plain.
  • Optional fillings include taco filling, japanos, refried beans cheese, and anything that sounds delectable!
  • The pupusas can be dipped in salsa.

Other Delicious Recipes To Try

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Freeze Pupusas?

Yes! Pupusas can surely be frozen. In order to freeze pupusas:

  • Place the assembled but uncooked pupusas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Put the baking sheet to the freezer to freeze pupusas for 20 minutes.
  • Once harden, put the pupusas in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Write the date of freezing on the bag or container.
  • For up to 4 months of freezing, place in the freezer.
  • Pupusas should be cooked frozen. You don’t even need to defrost them! They take one to two minutes longer to cook.

What Are Traditional Pupusas Made Of?

Pupusas are tiny, round corn cakes. They resemble flatbread or pancakes and are stuffed with cheese, beans, or meat. They are manufactured from corn flour (masa). Pupusas are a classic El Salvadorian meal that is fried on a hot griddle and is frequently served with salsa Roja (a Salvadorian red sauce).

Can Pupusas Be Made With Tamale Masa?

It differs just a little bit. Tamale masa is made with oil, lard, or shortening, whereas pupusa masa dough is not. I fail to understand why you wouldn’t just stick to the directions provided, as it’s so unique and simple to make.

What’s The Difference Between Gorditas And Pupusas?

The distinction is that pupusas are filled before cooking, but gorditas are stuffed after cooking. Maseca, an instant maize masa flour, is also used to make pupusas and gorditas.

What is the Difference Between Arepas and Pupusas?

On my website, I’ve posted a recipe for Venezuelan Arepas. Pupusas and arepas are fairly similar, yet they also differ in a few ways.

Arepas and Pupusas are primarily different in that arepas are prepared with masarepa and Pupusas are produced with masa harina. Both are made from corn flour, but masarepa is precooked.

Another significant distinction is that although pupusas are filled before cooking, arepas are filled AFTER cooking.

Why Is It Called A Pupusa?

The Pipil people invented the pupusa, according to Salvadoran archeologist Roberto Ordóez, because the name means “swollen” in Pipil, and relics discovered in the Joya de Ceren reveal materials and tools necessary to produce an early version of pupusas.

Why Are Pupusas Important In El Salvador?

Pupusas have a lengthy history in El Salvador, as was stated above. The recipe has now become the country’s national dish, and it is widely consumed both in El Salvador and in the US.

What Is A Pupusa Called In English?

A pupusa, like a Venezuelan or Colombian arepa, is a flatbread or thick griddlecake prepared with corn flour or rice flour.

What Is A Mixta Pupusa?

Pupusa stuffed with cheese and served with red sauce and salsa.

What Time Of Day Do You Eat Pupusas?

They serve with curtido, a hot coleslaw recipe made with chiles. My Salvadoran friends made fun of me for always wanting to eat pupusas. Despite being a breakfast item by tradition, it has become a staple throughout the day due to its expanding popularity, though the majority of residents only eat it in the morning time and evening time.

How Long Do Pupusas Last In The Fridge?

Pupusas can be kept in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container.

How Do You Reheat Pupusas?

Pupusas are most effectively reheated on a skillet over medium heat for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. In a rush? Additionally, you can reheat pupusas for one minute in the microwave.

Is Masa Harina Corn Flour?

Masa harina is made from hominy as well, but it is ground considerably finer (typically to the same consistency as all-purpose flour—in fact, masa is sometimes referred to as corn flour). Masa is usually white, but you can also find it in yellow and even blue (labeled Azul).

Can I Grind Cornmeal To Make Masa?

Before we go any further, realize that freshly ground masa is undoubtedly superior. However, to do that, you must nixtamalize corn for an entire night before grinding it into a tortilla-ready consistency while it is still wet.

 

Give this a shot. It’s incredibly delicious and super easy. 

As always, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave any feedback or share your own experience with us in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this post about  Vegan Pupusa Recipe and would love to see more, join me on YoutubeInstagramFacebook & Twitter!

Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.

Fortunately, because of the ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families. Thank you!

 

Want to Save This Recipe?

Enter your email & I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, get great new recipes from me every week!

Save Recipe

By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails from Healthier Steps.

Vegan Pupusa Recipe

Pupusa, El Salvador’s national food, is an easy and inexpensive recipe to make. Fill them with cheese, beans, meat, or vegetables, and fry them for a hearty snack or lunch!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Salvadorian
Keyword: Vegan Pupusa Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 157kcal

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Masa Harina
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegan cheese *Link to recipe

Water and Oil

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon oil

Instructions

  • Stir together Masa Harina and salt in a large bowl. Add water and knead together to form into a dough ball.
  • Place extra water with oil in a bowl, dip your hands in the bowl to coat with oil and water mixture. This will prevent the dough from sticking.
  • Separate dough into 6-8 equal balls, flatten the dough ball into disks using both hands to press the dough, about 3 inches wide.
  • Add about 1 tablespoon of vegan shredded cheese in the center, bring the sides around the cheese to covering the cheese and sealing the dough on top by pinching the sides together.
  • Flatten dough into a disk, about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Heat non-stick skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Lightly brush with oil, add pupusa and cook on both sides until heated through and golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Delicious served with Curtido and Salsa.

Nutrition

Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 61IU | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg