Bean and Cheese Pupusas

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Votes: 2
Rating: 3
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Prep Time: minutes
Cook Time: minutes
Yields: pupusas


  • For the Pupusas
  • 2 1/4 cups cornmeal (use fine white or yellow cornmeal)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil plus 1 cup for frying
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1 cup cotija cheese crumbled, plus more for garnish
  • For the Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chopped, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cilantro for garnish
Enjoy El Salvador's most beloved dish with this easy-to-follow recipe!

These bean and cheese pupusas are my homage to El Salvador's national dish. Pupusas are much more than humble street food in El Salvador. They're a point of national culinary pride and history.

Pupusas are a type of corn masa cake or arepa that's incredibly easy to make at home with just a handful of ingredients. Classic Salvadoran pupusas are typically filled with cheese, beans, or a combination of both, although you can also find pupusas filled with chicharrón, beef, chicken and other fillings. This bean and cheese pupusa recipe is a personal favorite, but you can experiment with the filling.

Traditionally they're served with curtido, a pickled cabbage slaw, and I've included a recipe here if you want to make it. However, I love serving with this dish with a quick tomato salsa. It adds a different flavor profile and some juiciness to the dish.


For the Pupusas
  1. In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal with one tablespoon of canola oil and 3 cups of water. Knead the dough until you form a soft and sticky mound.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the refried beans with the Cotija cheese.
  3. To make each pupusa, take 1/2 cup of dough and make a little ball. Flatten with your hands until you get a disc of 3 inches in diameter. Place 1 spoonful of the bean and cheese mixture in the center of the disc. Fold the edges of the dough around the bean mixture so that it is completely covered. Using the palms of your hands, flatten the dough to make a disc 5 inches in diameter.
  4. Heat ½ cup canola oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the pupusas for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil.
For the Tomato Salsa
  1. Heat ½ cup canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the can of diced tomatoes (do not drain) and the salt. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly, stirring occasionally.
  3. To serve, place the pupusas on a plate and top with the sauce and crumbled cotija cheese. Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

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Votes: 2
Rating: 3
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