Bean and Cheese Pupusas with Curtido


In NYC my boyfriend used to have an amazing Salvadorian restaurant near to where he lived which he used to visit from time to time for their pupusas. We were speaking about it last week and couldn’t stop dreaming about tasting them again, so we decided to try to make our own!
For those who have never heard of pupusas, they are a typical Salvadorian dish, cornmeal cakes typically filled with beans and cheese (in their vegetarian form). They are generally served with an accompaniment of curtido – a pickled cole slaw.
They’re pretty easy to make, they require a bit of practice to get the technique down of forming them in your hands, but I’ve added a video in the notes of the recipe which I found super useful. With its help I got these down on the first try, so if I can do it you can do it too!
Naturally gluten free, it’s also very easy to make a vegan version by using a vegan cheese. Don’t hesitate to try out this recipe as soon as you have the time, I assure you it’s REALLY good!



Bean and Cheese Pupusas

A Salvadorean Recipe

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 25 min


Masa Cakes

  • 2 cups masa, 228 g
  • 2 cups water, 470 ml
  • pinch of salt

Refried Beans

  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans, 500 g
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 tbsp chipotle flakes
  • 2 tbsp epazote (mexican oregano)
  • cumin and paprika, to taste
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil


  • 1 cup vegan or regular cheddar, grated, 100 g


  • 1/2 head white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 78 ml
  • 1/4 cup water 60 ml
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp epazote
  • 1 tsp chili flakes



  1. Combine cabbage, carrot and onion in a large bowl.  

  2. Combine all the other ingredients in another bowl, mix and pour over the cabbage mixture. 

  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, even better overnight. 

Masa Cakes

  1. Add the water to the masa and add a pinch of salt.

  2. Knead to form a smooth moist dough.

  3. Form the dough into balls and let rest while you make the refried beans.

Refried Beans

  1. In a saucepan, sauté onions in grape seed oil until tender. 

  2. Add the cooked beans and continue to cook about 5-8 minutes. 

  3. Season with spices, mix and then mash with wooden spoon, potato masher or stick blender until desired consistency is reached. The smoother the better! 

  4. Let it cook for stirring occasionally until beans have darkened. 

Assemble the Pupusas

  1. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.

  2. Flatten each ball of dough into a shallow cup.

  3. Add a spoonful of refried beans and top with a little cheese. Don't overfill the pupusas, as you need room to be able to seal them properly.

  4. Wrap the dough around the filling and pinch off the top to seal.

  5. Pat the dough back and forth in your hands to flatten.

  6. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

  7. Serve warm with curtido.


For better illustration on how to form your pupusas check out this video.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Fields marked as * are mandatory