Salvadoran Bean & Cheese Pupusas

Experience the heartwarming flavors of El Salvador with these delectable pockets filled with creamy pinto beans and gooey cheese. Hand-formed and griddled to golden perfection, each bite is a delightful medley of savoury, comforting goodness. Serve them with a zesty curtido (pickled cabbage) for an authentic taste of Central America.

Blogger Partner: Ava’s Culinary Adventures

Ava is a 4-year-old little chef who loves to explore new foods and learn cooking techniques. Her love for cooking began at one years old, helping her mom make pizza dough. Some of her favourite foods include pupusas, pizza and chocolate!

Prep Time:
Soak Time: 12+ hours, Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time:
30 minutes
Total Time:
60+ minutes


Pinto Bean Filling

2 cups uncooked pinto beans

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 clove garlic, minced

3 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt to taste

Pupusa Dough

3 cups masa harina

3 cups lukewarm water

Curtido (Pickled Cabbage)

2 small bag (170g) pre-shredded coleslaw mix

1 cup white onion, thinly sliced

1 medium carrot, grated

1 jalapeño, sliced

5 cups boiling water

2.5 cups distilled white vinegar

2 tbsp dried Mexican oregano

Salt to taste



  1. In a large bowl, combine the pre-shredded cabbage mix, carrot, onion, jalapeño, boiling water, vinegar, and oregano. Mix until well combined. Add salt to taste. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight glass container and store in the fridge overnight. The curtido is good for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Bean Filling

  1. Soak the pinto beans overnight. Then cook according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain the liquid reserving 1/2 cup.
  2. In a food processor, add the beans, and 2 tbsp of the liquid. Blend until it forms a thick paste.
  3. Add more bean liquid (1 tbsp at a time) if needed. Add salt to taste.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add oil to the pan. Then add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the beans to the pan and stir to combine for about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and allow it to cool.
  6. Once beans are cooled to room temperature, fold in the shredded cheese until well combined.

Pupusa Dough

  1. In a bowl, add the masa harina. Slowly add the water, one cup at a time. Use your hands to mix until dough comes together in a ball. Knead with your hands until the dough is the consistency of soft play dough. If it’s too dry, add small amounts of water until you get the right consistency. If it’s too wet, you can add small amounts of masa harina.


  1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Fill a small bowl with room-temperature water. This is to wet your hands as you form the pupusas to keep the dough from cracking or sticking to your hands.
  3. Lightly wet your hands. Then take a golf ball-sized portion of masa and roll into a ball. Use the palm of your hands to gently flatten the dough into a disc, about 3 inches in diameter.
  4. Scoop about 2 tbsp (or a bit less than the size of your dough disc) of the bean mixture and place it in the center for the dough. Gently bring the edges of the dough up and around the filling, pinching it at the end to seal it and remove any excess dough. If the dough is cracking, wet your hands to smooth out any of the cracks and seal any holes.
  5. Using a burger press, line the bottom of the press with plastic wrap. Place the pupusa ball on top. Then add another layer of plastic wrap on top of dough. Gently press down with the top of the burger press to flatten the dough. Peel away the plastic wrap. Lightly wet your hands. With the pupusa on one hand, use your other hand to gently press the outer edges of the pupusa with the tips of your fingers. Wet your hand to smooth out any holes or cracks on the dough. Repeat the process with the rest of the filling.
  6. Lightly brush the hot pan with oil. Place pupusas in the pan (however many fit in the pan without touching). Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Flip the pupusa and cook for another 3-5 minutes until both sides are golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining pupusas.
  7. Serve pupusas with curtido or enjoy on it’s own.



  • Traditionally, you use your hands to shape the pupusas, but I like to use a burger press to get a consistent round pupusa and to save on time


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