Pupusas- Latin America’s Gluten-Free Hot Pocket

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Thank God corn is naturally gluten-free. I mean seriously, despite not being able to eat wheat, we can still eat tacos and nachos and tamales. And pupusas. What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of pupusas? Dios mio! Well let me introduce you!

You can fill these gluten-free pupusas with anything you like!

What is a Pupusa?

Pupusas are the Salvadoran equivalent to a hot pocket. They’re seriously some of the easiest things one can make. The dough for pupusas is incredibly simple. Simply use use gluten free Maseca corn masa flour, hot water and salt. No seriously, it’s that simple.  

What Kind of Filling is in a Pupusa?

In addition, the dough is 100% vegan! Then you form the dough into balls, make an indentation, and then add a few tablespoons for your favorite filling. Meat, refried beans, or simply cheese are all excellent choices. Then the super fun part. You get to play with your food! Close the hole at the top of the dough, pat it flat with your hands, and then grill it. That easy.

One of the best parts of making pupusas is playing with your food!

What Kind of Flour Do You Use?

I used gluten free Maseca masa harina  for my pupusas. This corn flour WAS certified gluten-free by GFCO. It appears to no longer carry this certification. However, the mill where Maseca is processed contains only corn products. No wheat, rye or barley is present in the facility. I even talked to the company president about it!

Is Maseca Masa Harina Gluten Free?

Why is certification preferable?  Not all “naturally” gluten-free flours are prepared in dedicated gluten-free facilities. Other flours, some of which contain gluten, can be processed on the same lines. Therefore, I follow the advice of Tricia Thompson of Gluten-Free Watchdog and only buy flours that say “gluten-free” on the package, and are preferably certified. Read about the study she did on the matter.

One of those gluten-free pupusas is sticking his tongue out at me. That's okay. I got his number.

How Do You Cook a Pupusa? Is It Baked? Deep Fried?

I cook mine on a well-oiled cast iron griddle. It’s big enough so that I can cook two pupusas at a time. Plus, they cook quickly so dinner (or midnight snack) is in your hands in no time. Cook them three to four minutes on each side, and then be prepared for savory, hand-held deliciousness.

What Do You Serve with Pupusas?

Traditional Salvadoran pupusas are served with curtido. It’s a vinegar-based coleslaw that is made out of cabbage, carrots, onion, sugar and seasonings. (No eggs or dairy!) If you’re serving these to impress friends, TOTALLY make the curtido.

The cheesy center of these gluten-free pupusas is DELISH!

Do These Reheat Well?

This is a great meal prep recipe. Make a batch, and freezer them for later. They’re a great handheld meal that I can stick into my husband’s lunch. (As are the onigiri I make for him.) While the cheese ones are good, I try to make them with meat if I can. However, you can stuff these babies with anything you like. Vegetarian? I bet these would be GREAT with jackfruit!

What foods are you thankful that are gluten-free? What’s your favorite Latin American inspired food? Leave a note in the comments below so I can get some more ideas of what to make with Maseca!



  • 2 cups gluten free Maseca corn masa flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 1/2 c. warm water
  • grated Cheese or other fillings
  • vegetable oil for brushing


  • Combine gluten free Maseca corn masa flour, salt, oil and water. Allow to rest for 10 minutes to allow moisture to be fully absorbed. 
  • While dough is resting, oil and preheat griddle
  • After 15 minutes, turn dough out onto a non-stick surface, and knead until a ball of dough. Finally, form dough into 8 small balls. 
  • Flatten the dough, and lay on a non-stick surface. (I use a silicone mat.) Top the center with 1-2 tbsp of filling. Gently fold the edges in over the center, similar to filling a galette. Close any holes, and press gently with your hands to make a flat patty. 
  • Cook pupusas 3-4 minutes per side on your well-oiled griddle. Keep warm in a preheated oven (200*), on a cookie sheet, until all pupusas are made and ready to serve. 
  • Serve with a side of salsa and/or curtido. (Curtido recipe can be found on TheKitchn.)
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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