Want to make Salvadoran pupusas de queso? Here’s my recipe, plus a recipe for curtido to go with them!

Pupusas de Queso (or Pupusas de Frijol con Queso)

What you need:

1 lb. whole milk mozzarella cheese, softened (directions below)

(Optional: For Pupusas de Frijol con Queso, you’ll also need 1/2 cup frijoles molidos de seda)

For the masa/dough:

3 cups MASECA
2 1/2 cups water (add more if needed to obtain a dough that is moist but that you can form with your hands)
a little less than 1/2 tsp. salt


1. To soften the cheese, place it in a warm water bath while it is still in the plastic packaging. After about 10 minutes, drain the water and open the package. Knead the cheese by hand until soft. (For Pupusas de Frijol con Queso, add the frijoles molidos to the cheese now.) This will be your pupusa filling. Set the mixture aside.

5. In a large bowl sprinkle salt over MASECA and then pour in water. Mix by hand until combined. It’s best to work the masa for several minutes and then let it rest.

6. To form pupusas, take a large handful of masa, (slightly bigger than a golf ball), and pat it into a tortilla. Cup your hand so the tortilla forms a bowl-like shape. In the hollow, place a large pinch of the pupusa filling. Close your hand gently to fold the sides up around the filling and form the ball again. Pat out into a thick tortilla shape and then place on a hot griddle, comal or non-stick frying pan. (No oil is needed!) Flip to cook on each side. Serve with salsa and curtido.

Note: Mozzarella cheese is what is most easily available in the United States and what many Salvadorans in the United States use. If you have an international market near you, check to see if you can find “Queso Especial Para Pupusas” or “Quesillo Especial Salvadoreño.”

Salvadoran Curtido

* 1/2 head of cabbage chopped fine
* 1/2 cup grated carrot
* 2 green onions, minced
* 1/2 white onion sliced thin
* 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
* Salt to taste
* Dried oregano to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and put the cabbage and carrot into the water. Let sit for 5 minutes and then drain. (A little water remaining is fine.) Add the other ingredients. Adjust apple cider vinegar to your tastes. If you find it too strong, add a little warm water. Best to let the flavors combine for a couple hours at room temperature, but can be served right away. You can be creative with this – try sliced radishes or sliced green peppers in the curtido, too. If you like it spicy try crushed red pepper flakes, jalapeños or other chiles, although these aren’t usually found in traditional curtido.

Curtido is always eaten with pupusas. Most people pour salsa over the curtido.


  1. OMG!!!!!
    1st of all, I love the fact you looked to the camera (I guess you are feeling more comfy)
    2nd – I am ashamed of myself! I am a Salvadoran 1000% and have been not able to make a “decent” (and round for that matter) pupusa.
    You make it look so easy!
    I have been told (by expert pupusa makers) that my hands are too hot (only my hands????) and therefore the pupusas don’t come out looking/tasting too good.
    Do I have a pupusa-making curse? Well you don’t my dear friend, so keep on making them and enjoying them with your beautiful family (suegra included)!!!

    • I looked at the camera just for you. LOL… and I can’t believe it, but I’m still alive! Imaginate! I didn’t die of shyness :)

      Hands are too hot, huh? … Por qué no las meten en el freezer antes de preparar las pupusas? jajaja….

      As for my pupusas looking decent – that took YEARS of practice. I’ve only gotten better the past couple times. There were a lot of inedible irregularly-shaped tortillas with some burnt leaked out cheese to eat for dinner quite a few times. Keep trying!

      BTW – Suegra still finds fault with my pupusas. This batch she took one and ripped open without mercy. She smirked and noted that my cheese didn’t go all the way to the edges… (and then she ate several of them, of course!)

      • Tracy: I shared the idea of inserting my hands in the freezer or a bucket of icy-cold water. I was told NOT to because the change in temperatures could hurt my joints and mess up my fingers. True or not… I tend to believe these people! I don’t want my hands to look like “patas de araña peluda” ;{

      • That’s a common Central American, (probably even Latin American), belief. I actually have a post in drafts about it that I was going to post soon :)

    • It felt good to finally do video – looking directly at the camera y todo. Ya es tuvo! Whew. Ojalá I won’t be nervous about it so much in the future.

      Thanks for your comment, Carrie. Love you bunches :)

  2. Muy bueno!!! I agree with Claudia that you put the rest of las salvadoreñas to shame! My pupusas look awful and never, ever come out round!
    I guess it comes with practice?
    My girl loves pupusas, so I certainly need to make them more often

    • Maybe I learned because I have a Salvadoran suegra judging me? Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t feel motivated to practice … LOL. (And yes, many batches came out not even close for me!)

  3. So cool Tracy! I didn’t know the way pupusas are made and they are almost identical to make as arepas which I make often (just no queso inide for cooking) so I’m going to try these for sure very soon! We eat them frequently around here. I’ll let you know how they came out!!

  4. Those look delish Traizy! Now can I have a Bubu Lubu for dessert? ; ) Thank you soo much for sharing this. I did not know that they had cabbage in them. I wonder if that is for all pupusas or just this particular recipe…

    • Cómo que no comiste a good pupusa in YEARS?! … Aren’t there any Salvadorans out your way?

      By the way – welcome back! I’ve so missed you, amiga!

  5. You have a good hand for making pupusas! I usually have my Salvadorian mommies share their homemade goods with me. Now that I see how easy it is to prepare, I’m going to whip some up for my boys. *stomach growls*

    • Pupusas you don’t have to work to make taste even better. LOL – but buena suerte! I hope they turn out :)

  6. YES! After watching your how to eat Pupusas video last year, I had to taste first-hand what these cheesy gooey things were! And since we have no Pupusa stands here, I had to watch a few U-tube videos and tied myself.
    Mmmmm….. mine turned out flatter and wider than yours, (after many attempts to get the dough right) and the Curtido with your salsa recipe and some shredded spiced pok recipe that apparently goes with pupusas all made for a super yummy summer meal!
    Thank you thank you thank you for reminding me to make them again!

    • Nothing wrong with flatter and wider! In fact, I think the flatter you make it without cheese leaking, the more skillful you are!

  7. Girl, you are my shero!!! I love pupusa’s, but like the rest of the folks they turn out pretty sad looking. Thank you for the viedo, if I could only hear it:)

    • LOL – I want to see you try! … Have you made your mother’s tortillas yet? I’m still waiting for that video.

    • Hi Mercedes! … It sounds like you needed to add more water to the masa before forming into pupusas. This is a really common mistake that also happens when making tortillas. It took me many years to get the right proportions but I’ve never measured it. Next time try more water – don’t be afraid to add a little more than you think is necessary and then work it in. You can always add more MASECA if it turns out you’ve added too much water… You can also test the masa before making a whole batch of pupusas with it. Make a small tortilla and cook it. If it’s dry and cracks around the edges, you need more water in your masa.

      Good luck and don’t give up!

  8. Felicidades a ti te quedan las pupusas mejor que ami que soy Salvadorena,felicidades a tu esposo por tener una esposa tan especial y que a aprendido todo sobre nuestra cocina y lo comparte con nosotros y para complacer al esposo tienes un tesoro de esposa

    • A follow-up: The women in my family gathered to make pupusas, and I thought after watching your video several times, I had the technique down. But even though I bake bread and rolls a lot, forming the first few pupusas was a challenge. It is certainly all about practice, lol! Thankfully, my sister-in-law (she was born and grew up in San Salvador, EL Salvador) gave us pointers along the way and we had a very yummy meal. She also threw together the curtido, which was even tastier the next day. Thank you, again, for your post. I enjoy your blog very much!

      • You made my day with this comment – Thanks so much for coming back to give me an update. I’m glad your sister-in-law was there to give a hands on lesson in pupusa-making LOL – It does take some practice!

  9. […] Pupusas are the national food of El Salvador and many varieties are completely vegetarian-friendly. Try pupusas de queso (cheese), pupusas de queso con frijoles (bean and cheese), or pupusas stuffed with cheese and shredded zucchini. Served with curtido, (the traditional pickled cabbage slaw), and a fresh salsa, even meat lovers will be begging for more. Get the recipe here. […]

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