4 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Easy Cheese Pupusas are a popular Salvadoran snack! Stuffed with Jack cheese and diced jalapeno then griddle fried until golden and crispy!

Traditional Pupusas can be served as an Appetizer, Main Dish, or Side. Since this version of Pupusas only has a cheese filling, you can enjoy them along with Refried Beans, Spanish Rice, and other favorite dishes to make them into a more filling meal. For an appetizer, serve them with Homemade Salsa for dipping.

Sabrina’s Pupusas Recipe

My version of these classic savory stuffed flatbreads have a delightful blend of jack cheese, jalapeno, and cilantro nestled in a soft cornmeal dough. You’ll love the warm bread and melty cheese filling. Also, feel free to add Black Beans, refried beans, meat, or other stuffing to your Pupusas.

What are Pupusas?

Authentic Pupusas date back as early as 2000 years ago when it was believed the Indigenous Pipil tribe created them in El Salvador. Since then, the delicious recipe has become the National dish of El Salvador and popular street food that has spread over Central America, and the rest of the world.

Pupusas start with a corn flour dough that is shaped by hand around a savory filling into a round flatbread, that looks similar to a thick griddle cake. The thick flatbread cakes are then fried on a flat griddle until they’re cooked through. They are often served alongside the vibrant curtido, a zesty cabbage slaw, as well as salsas and hot sauces.

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  • 2 cups Masa Harina: The cornmeal flour serves as the base for the pupusa dough, providing its characteristic flavor and texture.
  • 1 ½ cups Warm Water (110 Degrees): This binds the masa harina to form a soft, moldable dough. Adjust the amount of water or masa harina as necessary to achieve the right consistency for the dough.
  • 8 ounces Jack Cheese: Jack cheese is a classic filling for Pupusas, melting into gooey deliciousness when cooked. If preferred, you can substitute with mozzarella or any other melting cheese of your choice.
  • 1 Jalapeno: Adding minced jalapeno to the filling provides a spicy kick. If you prefer less heat, you can use a milder chili pepper or omit it altogether.
  • ½ cup Cilantro: Minced cilantro adds a fresh and aromatic flavor to the filling. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can substitute it with parsley or omit it entirely for a different flavor profile.
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Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Large Bowl: Used for mixing masa harina and water to form the dough. Ensure it’s large enough to comfortably combine the ingredients without spillage.
  • Griddle: Needed for cooking the Pupusas, providing an evenly heated surface for even cooking. Make sure to preheat it well before adding the Pupusas.
  • Parchment Paper: Lined on a baking sheet for shaping and transferring the Pupusas, preventing them from sticking and making for easy cleanup.
  • Large Flat Spatula: Used for flattening the pupusas on the griddle, ensuring they cook evenly. Choose a sturdy spatula to handle the weight of the pupusas without bending.
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How to Make Pupusas

Time needed: 20 minutes.

  1. Mix Dough

    In a large bowl, combine masa harina corn flour and warm water to form a soft dough. Adjust the consistency if needed by adding more water or masa harina until it’s moldable.adding water to corn flour in a abowl

  2. Shape and Fill

    Form the dough into disks about ½ inch thick. Place cheese, minced jalapeno, and cilantro in the center of each disk. Seal the edges to enclose the filling, forming balls.stuffing the pupusa dough

  3. Flatten and Cook

    Heat a griddle over medium-high heat and coat it with vegetable oil. Place the dough balls on the griddle and flatten them into disks about ½ inch thick using a large flat spatula. Cook until golden on both sides.raw pupusas on a boaking sheet

  4. Serve

    Serve the pupusas immediately while they’re hot and crispy. Optionally, cut them open and stuff with additional ingredients before serving. Enjoy the delicious Salvadoran flavors straight from the griddle!halved pupusa on a plate with cabbage

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Can Pupusas Be Made In Advance?

Yes, you can prepare the pupusa dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to a day in advance until ready to use. However, it’s best to fill and cook the pupusas just before serving to ensure they’re fresh and retain their texture and flavor.

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Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 421 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 50mg17%
Sodium 312mg14%
Potassium 215mg6%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 731IU15%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 505mg51%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Ways to Serve Cheese Pupusas

  • Toppings: You can load these delicious cheesy flatbreads up with all your favorite toppings for Hispanic cuisine. Try them with sour cream, salsa, Guacamole, fresh cilantro with white onions, Pico de Gallo and more.
  • Lunch: Layer them with some protein and veggies similar to a tostada for a tasty lunch. A smear of smashed refried black beans and a sprinkle of cojita cheese is a simple vegetarian dish, or try leftover meat like Carne Asada plus lettuce, tomatoes, and lots of toppings.
  • Curtido: One of the most popular ways to serve Pupusas is with Curtido, a spicy cabbage slaw with chili peppers. To make your own cabbage slaw, you’ll need 1/ 2 head of shredded green cabbage, 3 medium grated carrots, ½ white onion sliced, 2 sliced serrano chiles, 1 minced garlic clove, ¼ cup olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. Mix it together and chill for at least 2 hours.
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How to Store

Storing: Enjoy warm Pupusas fresh from the griddle while the cheese filling is still melty. They’ll stay good at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Seal them in a ziplock bag or another airtight container. Leftovers can stay good in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Reheating Tips: To reheat Pupusas, gently warm them in a regular oven or toaster oven at a low temperature until heated through, or put them over medium heat on your skillet until warmed through. An air fryer on 350 for 5-7 minutes can also be used to reheat Pupusas.

Freezing: Make sure to let them cool first. Wrap them individually in a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap before sealing them in a freezer bag. They will stay good for up to 4 months. Reheat from frozen.

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Frequent Questions

My pupusas are falling apart. What went wrong?

If your pupusas are falling apart, the dough may be too dry. Add a bit more water to the dough to improve its moldability.

How do I know when the pupusas are cooked through?

Pupusas are cooked through when they are golden brown on both sides and feel firm to the touch.

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Recipe Card


Easy Cheese Pupusas are a popular Salvadoran snack! Stuffed with Jack cheese and diced jalapeno then griddle fried until golden and crispy!
Yield 4 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine salvadoran
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water , (110 Degrees)
  • 8 ounces jack cheese
  • 1 jalapeno , deseeded, deveined and minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro , minced


  • In a large bowl add the masa harina and water together.
  • Mix to form a soft moldable dough. If it's too wet add more masa harina, if too dry add more water by the tablespoon until it makes a nice soft dough.
  • Using a large ice cream scoop or a ½ cup measure, scoop the dough into your hand and form into a disk about ½ inch thick and 3" wide.
  • Add the cheese, jalapeno and cilantro to the middle of the disk then gently bring the edges up to form a closed ball with the filling in the middle.
  • Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Heat a large griddle on medium-high heat and coat with vegetable oil.
  • Add the ball to the griddle and with a large flat spatula carefully flatten it back into a disk, about 1/2" thick.
  • Serve immediately or cut through the middle when cooked and stuff with additional ingredients as desired.


  • Click on the yield amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update!
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the Metric option next to Ingredients in the recipe card.


Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 312mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 731IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 505mg | Iron: 5mg

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Variations on Pupusas

  • Cheese Filling: Instead of Jack cheese, you can try any of your favorite kinds of cheese in the center of the Pupusa recipe. Mozzarella cheese, cheddar, or Pepper Jack will melt particularly well for a nice gooey center. You can also add mozzarella cheese, provolone, or any other kind of cheese you like along with the Jack cheese. 
  • Meat: If you want to make your Pupusa into a more filling dish, you can add ground meat to the filling. You can go for ground beef or chicken, but any pork lovers can also use ground pork. Just cook and season the meat in a cast-iron skillet before adding it to the Pupusa. Be sure to season with kosher salt.
  • Bean & Cheese Pupusa: Along with the cheese and jalapeno filling, you can add beans. Refried beans, kidney beans, or black beans would all taste great in Pupusa. 
  • More Fillings: One of the best things about this recipe is the variety of fillings that you can try out. After cooking the Pupusa, slice them in half and add more vegetables. Sweet corn, green pepper, sliced medium tomatoes, green cabbage, or white onion would taste great. Or, add salsa or tomato sauce to the center.
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More Vegetarian Latin American Recipes

Pupusas plated collage with recipe name across yellow and orange banner

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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