Menu
Search
Menu
Close

Pupusas with Beans and Cheese

Published May 2019

Why This Recipe Works

Hydrating the masa harina with boiling rather than room-temperature water allowed the starches in the flour to absorb it more quickly and completely, resulting in a well-hydrated dough that was easy to work with and didn't dry out when cooked. The proper ratio of masa dough to filling ensured that each bite of pupusa included plenty of melted cheese filling. Pressing the stuffed pupusas into 4-inch disks between sheets of plastic ensured uniform thickness and allowed us to cook four pupusas at once in a 12-inch skillet. The crunch and acidic brightness of curtido and salsa perfectly complemented the tender, savory patties.

2 cups (8 ounces) masa harina
½ teaspoon table salt, divided
2 cups boiling water, plus extra water as needed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed
5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1¼ cups)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon table salt
teaspoon cayenne pepper
Nutritional Information

Featured Equipment

From The Shop

Instructions

Serves 4 (makes 8 pupusas)

For an accurate measurement of boiling water, bring a full kettle of water to a boil and then measure out the desired amount. Properly hydrated masa dough should be tacky, requiring damp hands to keep it from sticking to your palms. If the dough feels the slightest bit dry at any time, knead in warm tap water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough is tacky. An occasional leak while frying the pupusas is to be expected, and the browned cheese is delicious.

Total time: 40 minutes

1.
 Using marker, draw 4-inch circle in center of 1 side of 1-quart or 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Cut open seams along both sides of bag, but leave bottom seam intact so bag opens completely.

2. Mix masa harina and ½ teaspoon salt together in medium bowl. Add boiling water and 1 teaspoon oil and mix with rubber spatula until soft dough forms. Cover dough and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. While dough rests, line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place beans in medium bowl and mash with potato masher or fork until chunky paste forms. Add Monterey Jack, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and stir until evenly mixed. Form mixture into 8 balls, weighing about 1½ ounces each, and place balls on 1 half of prepared sheet.

4. Knead dough in bowl for 15 to 20 seconds. Test dough's hydration by flattening golf ball–size piece. If cracks larger than ¼ inch form around edges, add warm tap water, 2 teaspoons at a time, until dough is soft and slightly tacky. Transfer dough to counter, shape into large ball, and divide into 8 equal pieces. Using your damp hands, roll 1 dough piece into ball and place on empty half of prepared sheet. Cover with damp dish towel. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.

5. Place open cut bag marked side down on counter. Place 1 dough ball in center of circle. Fold other side of bag over ball. Using glass pie plate or 8-inch square baking dish, gently press dough to 4-inch diameter, using circle drawn on bag as guide. Turn out disk into your palm and place 1 ball filling in center. Bring sides of dough up around filling and pinch top to seal. Remoisten your hands and roll ball until smooth, smoothing any cracks with your damp fingertip. Return ball to bag and slowly press to 4-inch diameter. Pinch closed any small cracks that form at edges. Return pupusa to sheet and cover with damp dish towel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

6. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Carefully lay 4 pupusas in skillet and cook until spotty brown on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to platter and repeat with remaining 4 pupusas. Serve warm with salsa and curtido.

To Make Ahead: At end of step 5, wrap baking sheet in plastic wrap and freeze until pupusas are solid. Wrap pupusas individually in plastic, then transfer pupusas to zipper-lock bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Cook directly from frozen, increasing cooking time by 1 minute per side.

Step by Step

Pupusas for First-Timers

The traditional method of shaping a pupusa—slapping a sticky ball of filled dough back and forth between your hands, patty-cake style—requires lots of practice to consistently produce neat, even cakes. We came up with a technique that's virtually foolproof, even for beginners: First, prepare a superhydrated (and therefore easy-to-handle) dough by mixing boiling water and masa harina. Second, shape the dough and the cheese into balls. Finally, follow our unique shaping steps.

1. Using marker, draw 4-inch circle in center of 1 side of 1-quart or 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Cut open seams along both sides of bag, but leave bottom seam intact so bag opens completely.

2. Place open bag marked side down on counter. Place dough ball in center of circle. Fold other side of bag over ball. Using glass pie plate, gently press dough to 4-inch diameter.

3. Turn out disk into your palm and place cheese ball in center. Bring sides of dough up around filling; pinch to seal. Remoisten your hands and roll ball, smoothing any cracks with your damp fingertip.

4. Return ball to zipper-lock bag and use pie plate to slowly press to 4-inch diameter. Pinch closed any small cracks that form at edges. Repeat steps 2 through 4 with remaining dough and filling.

Share photos, tips, and questions about Pupusas with Beans and Cheese with fellow fans!

0 Comments
Try All-Access Membership to Unlock the Comments
Don't miss the conversation. Our test cooks and editors jump in to answer your questions, and our members are curious, opinionated, and respectful.
Membership includes instant access to everything on our sites:
  • 10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work
  • Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients
  • Equipment Reviews save you money and time
  • Videos including full episodes and clips
  • Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Start Free Trial
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.