Basic Cheese Pupusas

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A popular food in El Salvador. A thick corn tortilla filled with cheese and easy to customize. Serve topped with curtido (picked cabbage) or eat plain. My ex-boyfriend’s Salvadorean mother’s recipe!


  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water, or more as needed
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon ground oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 3 cups masa harina flour (Mexican corn masa mix)
  • 1 ½ cups water, or more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, or more to taste
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped, or more to taste
  • cooking spray


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add cabbage and cook uncovered until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately immerse in ice water for several minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain.

Mix cabbage, apple cider vinegar, water, onion, carrot, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1 pinch salt together in a large bowl. Refrigerate until flavors combine, 8 hours to overnight.


, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl; knead until a smooth, moist dough forms. Add water if dough cracks when you press down on it. Let dough rest, 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, heavy cream, and scallion together in a bowl to make a paste.

Divide dough into 8 balls. Press your thumb into the center of each ball to form an indentation. Fill indentations with ricotta cheese paste. Pinch edges together around the filling; flatten and smooth into round 1/4 inch-thick patties between your palms.

Grease a skillet with cooking spray; preheat over medium heat. Cook pupusas in batches until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Drain cabbage mixture and serve alongside pupusas.

Prep time: 40 mins / Cooking time: 12 mins / Total time: 8 hrs 57 mins

Serving: 8 / Yield: 8 pupusas

Calories: 196.7

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