How to Eat Pupusas

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How to Eat Pupusas



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The best foods are the ones you eat with your hands, and Pupusas are a perfect example.

Pupusas is a delicious and versatile Salvadoran street food gaining some familiarity outside its country of origin.

A major controversy surrounding these Salvadoran corncakes is how to eat them. Although they’ve been around for a while, many do not know how to eat Pupusas correctly.

If you’re eating them with cutlery, it is believed that you do not know how to eat Pupusas correctly. So instead, you should drop the cutlery and use your hands to enjoy the meal.

Here’s more information on how to eat Pupusas correctly.

How to eat Pupusas

Salvadorans consider eating Pupusas with anything other than your hands disrespectful.

Salvadorans believe the best and culturally recommended way to eat Pupusas is with your hands.

There’s no rule against eating Pupusas with forks and knives. It’s simply not done. Eating Pupusas with utensils is like eating a burger or pizza with cutlery.

Here are some things to remember if you want to know how to eat Pupusas correctly:

Pupusas are better eaten with sides

Pupusas are never served alone. They taste better with side dishes and condiments. Although they are mostly served with curtido (cabbage and vinegar slaw) and salsa Roja, don’t be afraid to use them.

One Pupusa is never enough

Pupusas are lightweight, so one might not be satisfying, especially if you have a large appetite.

Don’t use cutlery to eat Pupusas

Salvadorans often think it is disrespectful to eat Pupusas with forks and knives. So when you want to eat Pupusas, use your hands. Legend says Pupusas taste better when you eat them with your hands. To drive the point, check out our guide on how to eat Pupusas below.

Here’s how to eat Pupusas the Salvadoran way

  1. Mix the salsa with the cabbage slaw.
  2. With the Pupusas in your hand, pinch-grab the cabbage slaw and salsa mixture and fit the pieces of cabbage slaw in.
  3. Enjoy the robust flavor! (Remember that the Pupusas may be hot, ensure to handle them carefully).

What are Pupusas?

Pupusas are a variation of handmade flatbread similar to corn pancakes and tortillas. They are made from corn dough and fried lightly.

Pupusas is a central American dish originally from El Salvador.

Corn masa is the primary ingredient in Pupusas. Corn masa, also known as masa or masa harina, is a traditional type of Mexican flour used to produce tortillas, tamales, Pupusas, etc.

Common types of Pupusas include:

  • Pupusas De Chickarees: A Pupusas variant filled with tomato sauce and fried pork.
  • Pupusas De Frijoles Refritos: A Pupusas variant loaded with fried beans.

Pupusas can have more diverse fillings; cheddar, loroco, squash, and shrimp.

What do you eat with Pupusas?

Pupusas are often eaten alongside curtido and salsa Roja.

Additionally, side dishes like guacamole, pico de gallo, plantain chips, refried beans, Mexican rice, kabobs, and grilled vegetables can be eaten with Pupusas.

Here are our top three things to eat with Pupusas.

Curtido and salsa roja

Curtido is a traditional Salvadoran side dish often eaten alongside Pupusas. Curtido is made by pickling cabbage and carrots in vinegar. Curtido adds a unique zesty flavor to the cheesy flavor of Pupusas.

Salsa Roja, also known as red sauce, goes wherever Pupusas and curtido go. Salsa Roja is the best condiment for curtido. It is made using chili peppers, Roma tomatoes, garlic, white onions, and cilantro. Salsa roja adds a zesty tone to the curtido slaw.


The distinctive taste of avocado makes guacamole the perfect go-to side dish for Pupusas’s savory flavor and the salsa Roja’s zesty flavor.

Pico de gallo

Synonymous with salsa cruda, salsa Fresca, and salsa Bandera, pico de gallo is a salsa sauce typical in Hispanic dishes. It boasts a thicker consistency than other types of salsas while maintaining the same rounded flavor.

Read also: What to eat with Mozzarella Sticks

What side goes with Pupusas?

Primarily, curtido and salsa roja go impressively well with Pupusas.

Hence you will often see curtido and salsa roja being served alongside Pupusas.

Nevertheless, several other foods pair well with Pupusas. For instance, foods such as guacamole, pico de gallo, fried plantain, refried beans, Mexican rice, kabobs, and Mexican slaw

Curtido is a sour-flavored dish made from pickling cabbages and carrots in vinegar. The vinegar gives the cabbage and carrot slaw the sharp, zesty taste it adds to the Pupusas.

Meanwhile, the salsa Roja supports the curtido with its well-rounded flavor from the fresh vegetables and spices used to make it.

Are Pupusas eaten with your hands?

Yes, Pupusas are eaten with the hands.

Salvadoran culture frowns upon eating Pupusas with forks and knives. According to them, Pupusas taste the best when eaten with hands.

Suppose you don’t know how to eat Pupusas. Then, in three easy steps, here’s how to eat Pupusas like Salvadorans.

Combine the cabbage slaw and salsa >>> place the mixture into a piece of Pupusas >>>. Fit the cabbage slaw pieces into the Pupusas and enjoy.

Is it disrespectful to eat Pupusas with a fork?

Although there’s no rule against it, eating Pupusas with a fork or cutlery is considered disrespectful.

Like burgers and pizza, Pupusas are one food that tastes better when eaten with hands than with cutlery.

When eating Pupusas, we recommend you drop the forks or knives and eat them with your hands.

How are Pupusas served?

Pupusas are often served with curtido (a cabbage, carrot, and vinegar slaw) and salsa Roja, an intense and zesty flavored condiment. As pointed out earlier, curtido and salsa Roja is the perfect side dish and sauce for Pupusas.

How long do Pupusas last in the fridge?

Pupusas can last for about three days in the fridge, depending on how it was kept.

If the Pupusas were stored in an airtight container, they could last up to three or four days in the fridge. If not, they could experience bacterial growth.

At room temperature, Pupusas can last for up to two hours only. Anything after that will aid the growth of bacteria. This is because bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the freezer, Pupusas can store for up to four months if stored in a freezer-safe plastic bag or airtight container.

How do you microwave Pupusas?

  1. Place the Pupusas on a microwave-safe dish and reheat them in the microwave for one minute on high.
  2. Put vegetable oil on a skillet, place it over medium heat, and cook each side of the Pupusas for three minutes.

Here are two other ways you can reheat Pupusas.

In an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about three minutes, then place the Pupusas in the fryer and cook for three minutes.
  2. After cooking, leave it for a few minutes to cool before serving.
In the oven
  1. Preheat your toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the Pupusas in them.
  2. For frozen Pupusas, cook each side for four minutes, and for thawed Pupusas, cook each side for two minutes.

How do you cook pre-made Pupusas?

In three easy steps, see how to cook pre-made Pupusas

You’ll need:
  1. Vegetable oil
  2. A spatula
  3. A skillet
  1. Set the stove to medium heat, place the skillet over it, and drizzle some oil in the skillet.  
  2. Once the oil gets hot, place the Pupusas in the skillet and cook for about four minutes on each side.
  3. Ensure that both sides have a crispy feel and a golden brown look.


eat / Pupusas

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