BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Pepperjack Pupusas

  • Prep Time 0:10
  • Cook Time 0:06
  • Estimated Cost $5

Apply a little technique to fresh, unfussy ingredients and eat better for less money. 

These simple pupusas (a classic Salvadorean stuffed tortilla) illustrate a very important point about BrokeAss cooking: when you buy whole, unprocessed ingredients and spend just a little extra time preparing them, the result is almost always less expensive, better for you and, most importantly, exponentially more delicious.

Pat the dough between your hands to make a circle.

Essentially, these pupusas are just like quesadillas, except creamy melted cheese is sandwiched between layers of a just-cooked dough made from masa harina, a coarse corn flour made from corn and lime juice (find masa harina in a good grocery store's bulk section or in the Latin American specialty store) instead of tortillas. As the dough is griddled, the cheese melts and it's time to eat. All you have to do is spend 5 minutes (less, when you get really good at it!) longer than you would on a quesadilla and you'll be on your way to a hot, fresh and unbelievably tasty treat--that's lower in fat and less processed than a typical quesadilla.

Griddle the pupusas.

It's probably the most important BrokeAss Gourmet principle: apply a little technique to fresh, unfussy ingredients and eat better for less money. 


  • 4 cups masa harina (buy it in the bulk section for the best deal) $1.50 
  • pinch of salt Pantry
  • 2 cups water 
  • 4 thinly-cut 1-oz. slices of pepperjack (or other creamy, meltable cheese) $3.50 for 12 oz.  

Recipe Serves 4


  1. Mix masa harina, salt and water together in a bowl to make a sticky dough (add a touch more water if it’s too crumbly after stirring well). Divide the dough into 8 balls.
  2. Coat your hands with masa harina and pick up a ball of dough. Pat gently it between your hands until you have a 6" circle. (Another approach is to place a ball between two pieces of wax paper and roll out, using hands or a rolling pin, into a 6” circle.)
  3. Set the finished circle on a plate coated lightly with masa harina. 
  4. Repeat with remaining balls of dough.
  5. To assemble a pupusa, place a slice of cheese atop one dough round. Top with a second dough round and pinch edges gently to seal, smoothing as you go.
  6. Repeat with remaining dough and cheese.
  7. To cook, heat an ungreased griddle or pan (preferably cast iron) over high heat. Cook the pupusas for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until lightly charred in places.
  8. Serve whole (or cut into halves or wedges) with cabbage slaw, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or just on their own.

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What They're Saying

Eileen, on Oct 16, 11:35 AM, wrote:

Hooray for pupusas! We have them at a little Salvadorean restaurant in our neighborhood, but I definitely need to get myself some masa and make up a batch. Thanks for the inspiration!

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lunarmagpie, on Feb 27, 11:41 PM, wrote:

I love your website and am enjoying reading through it. I just wanted to clarify for you that masa isn’t made with corn and lime juice, it’s made with corn and “slaked lime,” also known as calcium hydroxide. You might want to read the following article for more information…
Also, if you can find fresh masa, it’s infinitely better than the dry stuff in the box. We use fresh masa here in Tucson, where you can find it in most any store.

Debbie Beechy, on Apr 26, 06:18 PM, wrote:

I love pupusas. I work with Different nationalitys and they bring South American food to work on Fridays.

Beetique, on Apr 26, 06:20 PM, wrote:

I love pupusas. I work with Different nationalitys and they bring South American food to work on Fridays.

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