A five-pound bag of masa harina, lime-cured corn flour, will last forever if you only use it to make handmade tortillas. Since this Mexican corn flour is sold almost exclusively in five-pound bags, you may grow tired of tortillas. Sure, you could spend all day making delicious but labor-intensive tamales or fry your own corn chips in a gallon of canola oil, but instead, do as the Salvadorans do and make pupusas. Often filled with gooey queso fresco, these stuffed masa cakes are a popular street food from El Salvador. Easy to make and easy to transport, pupusas are the perfect snack.

Imagine a really thick sweet corn tortilla. Now imagine that thick corn tortilla lovingly stuffed with oozing cheese and fresh roasted poblano peppers. In this version, a little sugar sweetens the dough to balance the ever-so-slight heat of roasted poblano peppers.

Roasted Poblano Pupusas

Makes 8 pupusas


  • 1 1/2 cups masa harina
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large poblano pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

To serve

  • Chipotle hot sauce
  • Lime


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Core and seed the poblano pepper and roughly chop into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt in a bowl and spread onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast for 25 minutes so that the skin bubbles and blackens. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then pulse in a food processor until pureed. Mix with the shredded cheese to make the filling.
  3. Combine the masa harina, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add water and blend with your hands. The dough should be dry but not crumbly. Form it into 8 golf ball–sized spheres.
  4. Have a bowl of warm water nearby to keep your hands wet. Use your thumb to make a deep imprint in each ball of dough. Stuff about 1½ tablespoons of cheese filling and mold the dough around the opening to seal it. Once the filling is concealed, use your fingers and palms to carefully flatten the ball into a patty about 4 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. Stuff and flatten remaining 7 dough balls.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add two pupusas at a time and cook on one side for 2-3 minutes or until scorch marks appear. Flip and cook on the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lime and a smoky hot sauce.