What Are Pupusas Salvadoreñas?

With that strange name you may ask what are pupusas Salvadoreñas?  Let me put it this way, have you ever had the opportunity to eat in a Salvadorian restaurant or food stand? If so, chances are that you have eaten a pupusa, often considered the national dish of El Salvador. Essentially a thick, filled corn tortilla, they are a delicious example of not only Salvadorian food, but also Mesoamerican cuisine.

The ingredients for making pupusas are very simple: masa (ground corn mixed with water) and filling. Common ingredients include cheese, beans, pork and flor de loroco or loroco flower.  You can add this fillings individually or you can combine them.

Pupusas are traditionally served with tomato sauce, curtido (pickled cabbage with carrots and onions), and chile sauce, added to taste.

Making Pupusas

Watching an experienced cook form pupusas is fascinating – the masa goes from a lump, to a ball, to a hollow moon shape which is then filled and patted into a thick pancake and tossed on the grill or comal… all in the blink of an eye.

When making a pupusa, perhaps the most challenging – and most important – part is making sure the two sides don’t fall apart. Proportions are key, and, similar to tortillas, the texture of the masa must be soft and pliant, yet not runny.

The History of Pupusas

Pupusas: a Salvadorian staple, shown with traditional accompaniments.

Pupusas: a Salvadorian staple, shown with traditional accompaniments.

The history of pupusas goes back to the Pipil people in pre-Columbian times, and utensils used to make pupusas have even been found at archaeological sites. Written history dates to 1570, when Fray Bernardino de Sahagún wrote about a food consisting of cooked masa mixed with meat and beans.

While there is not complete agreement as to the etymology of the word “pupusa,” it is likely to have come from word or combination of words in Nahuatl, the language of the Pipil. Perhaps the most accepted explanation is that it comes from combining the words popotl (meaning big or stuffed) and tlaxkalli (tortilla) into the word popotlax.

Popularity of Pupusas

Other Latin American cuisines  also have foods that are similar to pupusas, such as South American arepas. Unlike pupusas, however, arepas are filled after cooking (instead of before) and are used much like pita bread, with an endless array of sandwich-like fillings.

The popularity of pupusas extends beyond the El Salvador borders. They are a staple in Salvadorian expat communities, such as the Washington, D.C., area, where you can easily find pupuserías and food trucks specializing in the tasty snack. Frozen pupusas can even be found in many grocery stores in areas with large Hispanic populations.

Other Central American countries such as Nicaragua and Costa Rica have also adopted the pupusa as a standard in their taquerías and small restaurants. In Costa Rica, for example, they are a staple of the food stalls at regional carnivals known as fiestas.

Now that you now what are pupusas Salvadoreñas the next time you have a chance to try this traditional Latin food staple, go for it!

Have you tried a pupusa?

Simple Cuban Pork Recipe To Lick Your Fingers

Is finding a simple Cuban pork recipe a chore? I guess this happens because there is more information about Mexican and Puerto Rican cultures in the U.S. than that of any other Latin American ethnicity. I admit there are not a ton of recipes and even articles about Cuba in Hispanic Culture Online, but I want this to change.

Recently I was introduced to delicious Cuban food and I can tell it is famous for its fun yet sophisticated blend of citrusy Caribbean flavors and spices.

I also noticed how important pork is for Cubans, so I decided that a simple Cuban pork recipe for masitas de puerco fritas or fried pork chunks can give you a true taste of Cuba right at your own home.

To be a super star pair this sweet and savory dish with other staples of Cuban cooking, such as black beans and rice or moros y cristianos, fufu or mashed fried plantains, and avocado salad.

Don’t forget to wash all these Cuban dishes down with some mojitos and then enjoy some cafecitos with flan or Cuban pastry for dessert.

Simple Cuban Pork Recipe

Do you know the secret? First, you must prepare your garlic-citrus marinade, which will give the pork its rich Cuban flavor.

Cuban Marinated Pork Shoulder

Cuban Marinated Pork Shoulder


12 garlic cloves

1 big red onion

½ cup of olive oil

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon of cumin

½ cup of Seville orange juice


Peel and crush the 12 cloves of garlic and scrape them into a large bowl. Don’t cheat by using garlic powder or pre-minced garlic.

Chop up 1 big onion and add it to the bowl, followed by ½ cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon each of oregano and cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ cup Seville orange juice. Mix well.

We call Seville oranges sour oranges or bitter oranges. They have thick, light yellow peels, tons of seeds and are definitely too sour for eating on their own.

If you can’t find a Seville orange, you can always substitute regular orange juice mixed with lime juice. So in this recipe you would use ¼ cup regular orange juice and ¼ cup lime juice for your substitution.

Once the marinade is ready, you have to prepare the pork. This amount of marinade will flavor up to 2 ½ pounds of pork.

The best type of pork to use for this simple Cuban pork recipe is fresh pork tenderloin. Cut the tenderloin into cubes about 2 inches on each side. Don’t worry too much about cutting every bit of fat out—the fat will help with the flavor later.

Drop your pork cubes into the marinade, ensuring that all the cubes are well covered by the liquid. Leave them in the marinade for a minimum of 3 hours. It’s even better if you can let the mix sit overnight. Of course the marinating pork should be in your refrigerator this whole time.

After the pork is fully marinated, get out a big pot and add 2 cups of water and ½ cup olive oil. Take the pork out of the marinade with a slotted spoon or your hands and put it in the pot.

Turn on the heat and raise the mix to a low boil. Continue simmering for about 35 minutes, or until all the water has boiled off. Allow the pork to brown slightly and get crispy in the remaining oil.

Throw some extra onion slices into the pot and sauté just a little bit. It is important to keep a careful eye on the pork at this point to avoid overcooking it.

Serve the pork hot with the Cuban sides you’ve prepared, and enjoy.

I would love to hear your opinion about this recipe, and if you are Cuban and can give your 2 cents about how to improve the recipe please do so!  Thanks for reading and please leave your comment.

My Real Cuban Bread Recipe

Thinking about introducing some Cuban flavor in your cuisine?  Here is my Cuban bread recipe, the real one that uses lard to give the famous taste you can’t find anywhere but at homes of real Cubans.

Many consider Cuban food one of the more famous Latin American cuisines–and with good reason. Caribbean and African flavors, like plantains and light citrus-based sauces, infuse this island nation’s cuisine and make it like a foreign vacation for your mouth. Even Cuban bread seems exotic thanks to the special Cuban bread recipe everyone uses.

You might wonder how to get the authentic taste of Cuban cooking without actually visiting Cuba. Well, you can visit one of the areas popular with Cuban Americans, like Chicago, Union City New Jersey, or “Little Havana” in South Florida, where you can find delicious Cuban dishes at restaurants and bakeries.

If you can’t find an authentic Cuban restaurant near you, you’ll just have to do all the cooking yourself. To start with, try making some Cuban sandwiches. They don’t require any impossible to find ingredients like plantain or yucca root, so you can enjoy hot, crusty Cuban sandwiches anywhere you can buy roast pork or ham, Swiss cheese, and mustard. Of course, you still need the Cuban bread. Fortunately, you can make it at home using this authentic Cuban bread recipe.

Cuban Bread Recipe


1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water. Let the mixture stand in a warm area for about 10 minutes. It should get very foamy and nearly double in size.

2. Heat 1/4 cup of lard in the microwave for about 90 seconds until fully melted. Yes, you have to use lard. No substitutes!

3. Sift together 2 cups of bread flour and 2 cups of all-purpose flour.

4. Pour the yeast mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of warm water and 2 teaspoons of salt.

5. Begin adding the sifted flour and the melted lard to the yeast and water mixture a little bit at a time. You want to add enough flour so that the dough becomes elastic. Usually this means about 3 1/4 cups of your sifted flour.

6. When your dough looks good, knead it for about 10 minutes on a flat surface lightly dusted with flour.

7. Grease up a large bowl and place your kneaded dough ball inside. Roll the dough around so it picks up some grease on all sides.

8. Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and let it rest for in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until you see the dough just about double in size. If your kitchen isn’t that warm, you can preheat your oven to 160F, then shut it off and let the dough rest in there.

9. Using a rolling pin, roll out the risen dough on a floured surface. Then roll up the flattened dough into a cylinder. Pinch the ends shut with your fingers and a bit of water.

10. Place the cylinder (seam side down) onto a baking sheet that has been greased and sprinkled with a bit of cornmeal.

11. Allow the bread to rise again for another hour. Drape some plastic wrap over it so it doesn’t dry out.

12. Preheat your oven to 450F with a pan of water inside on the lowest rack.

13. Make a shallow cut down the center of the bread, and brush the surface lightly with water.

14. Bake for 5 minutes, then brush again with water.

15. Bake for 12-18 more minutes until lightly browned and crispy!

That is all you need, some time and ingredients and enjoy!  When you make this recipe please let me know how did it come out, I would love you to share your experience.

Making the Best Mexican Wedding Cookie With Only 5 Ingredients

Today I want to introduce you to a super simple yet easy way for making the best Mexican wedding cookies with only 5 ingredients.  Even if you’ve never visited Mexico or had much exposure to Mexican foods, chances are you’ve tasted a Mexican wedding cookie.  That’s because this simple yet delicious butter cookie goes by many other names and is found in many different cultures, from Russia to Mexico.

As the name suggests, these cookies are a common sight at Mexican weddings and we call them “Galletitas de boda.”  We normally serve them in addition to the traditional fruity Mexican wedding cake. However, these cookies are by no means limited to weddings.

They are also Mexico’s traditional Christmas cookie, and make an appearance at lots of other holidays and family celebrations.

If you are really looking into the traditionalMexican wedding cakes and cookies I recommend you to read my Mexican Wedding Cake Traditions article.

Fun Facts About Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican wedding cookie

•We find this basic recipe in many countries around the world such as Spain, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, France, and America.
• This cookie is simple to make and has just 5 ingredients.
• The Mexican version of this recipe is unique because we bake it in either round balls or crescent shapes.  That’s how you spot if it is Mexican or not…
• We knew these cookies in the United States as Russian teacakes until the early 1950s, when suddenly cookbooks began calling them Mexican Wedding Cookies instead. Some people think that this happened because rising tensions between the US and Russia caused all things Russian to go out of style.

Best Mexican Wedding Cookie Recipe

Here is a great Mexican wedding cookie recipe adapted from backpocketrecipes.com


• 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter. Be sure to let the butter sit out until it is soft.
• 1 cup powdered sugar. Also set aside some extra to roll the finished cookies in.
• 1 teaspoon vanilla. If you can, try to use real Mexican vanilla.
• 1 and 3/4 cups flour
• 1 cup pecans. Toast these in your oven for a little bit and then crumble them by hand

Instructions to make Mexican wedding cookie

1. Turn on the oven and preheat to 275 degrees F or 135 degrees Celsius
2. Cut out squares of parchment paper and line some cookie sheets with them so the cookies won’t stick.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. It’s best to do this by hand.
4. Add the vanilla.
5. Gradually add the flour.
6. Once the flour is all mixed in, gently fold in the pecans.
7. Dust your hands with flour, remove a bit of dough and mold it into a small ball or crescent. You should get about 2 dozen cookies.
8. Place shaped dough onto the parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
9. Bake for 40 minutes.
10. Allow cookies to cool just enough so that you can handle them.
11. Pour some powdered sugar into a small bowl, then roll the warm cookies in the sugar and set them aside on another cookie sheet.
12. Place the sugar-coated cookies in the freezer.
13. After 30 minutes, remove the cookies from the freezer and roll each one in powdered sugar a second time.
14. Store cookies in an airtight jar or tin.

If you want to experiment with this recipe, you can try using almond extract instead of vanilla, or using almonds or some other type of nut instead of pecans. You could also try making different shapes.

This is such a simple yet versatile recipe it should be easy to make it your own.  Keep passing down some Hispanic culture through foods!

6 Differences Between Electric Pressure Cookers and Stove Top Pressure Cookers

Let’s be realistic my dear Latinos, by know we are pretty much enlightened and know that cooking from scratch just takes longer, no matter what country or culture the recipe comes from.

That’s a big part of the reason why many people have drawn away from cooking from scratch, and instead started cooking with pre-made ingredients or even buying entire pre-made meals.

What I find terrible, and this is just my humble opinion, is how many processed foods we are introducing on our diet on a daily basis because of the length it takes to cook a comida “sabrosa,” made with real ingredients close to earth. Yes, plantains, potatoes, red onions, chicken or beans. Foods we grew up savoring almost every day!

If we could only make things faster without compromising quality! One way to get back to your roots and start cooking up authentic, made-from-scratch Hispanic foods recipes without spending all day in the kitchen is to use an electric pressure cooker.

Toss in some ingredients, set the pressure cooker on low and just let it cook for a while and in the mean time you’re busy doing other things. You may think I am making this up, however I am not, I have to confess I am an avid pressure cooker user and very proud of it.

An electric pressure cooker is a must-have for any cook who wants to prepare traditional Latino food the modern way. Why? Because the building blocks of many Latin cuisines are slow-cooking starches, like rice and beans, and these take so long if you don’t prepare them the pressure cooker!

You can also use your olla de presión for a lot of main dishes. If you really want to start from scratch, you can cook up your own chicken or beef stock for use in soups and other recipes.

I used to do this however, I found I was not using the chicken stock so much in the hot months as I was in the winter months because I use it as a base for delicious Latino stews or soups which we don’t eat in the Summer.

To save time, you can use pre-made stock and your pressure cooker to create some of the lovely, tender meats we enjoy in Latino dishes, like shredded beef or pork carnitas.

Several times I found myself making a big batch of carnitas and then save the meat to use in many different dishes all week long. I must say this is not very frequent as I am not a huge red meat eater.


Now that you know about all the great traditional foods you can make so quickly and easily in a pressure cooker, let’s talk about the basics of electric pressure cookers.


The Basics About Your Electric Pressure Cooker

Be ready to purchase brands that are well known in Spain and Latin America like Orbegozo, Moulinex, Oster, Nesco or Schneider for example, that for many Americans are not very well known.

Electric pressure cookers basically come in two main types: inexpensive aluminum ones and more expensive steel ones.
Aluminum has the advantage of being lightweight, but over time it will become stained and pitted.

A stainless steel electric pressure cooker, on the other hand, is extremely durable and pays for itself in the long run. However, steel does not conduct heat quite as evenly as aluminum, so you really should look for a steel cooker with an aluminum plate in its base.

When choosing the size of your pressure cooker, remember that you can only fill it about 2/3 of the way up. The rest of the space inside is for steam. If you plan to cook for a large family or make big batches of food to save for later, you will probably want the 8 quart size.

I have at home an 8 quart and we are a total of only three people. Believe me, you will end up using the heck of that pressure cooker if you learn simple basic Latino meals you can cook in no time.

Electric pressure cookers are programmable and need a bit more of time to learn how to use them. Don’t be intimidated because once you know it well your time in the kitchen will be greatly reduced.

Top 6 Differences Between Stove Top and Electric Pressure Cookers

  • The nutritional value of a meal done with an electric pressure cooker or a stove top pressure cooker is pretty similar. The main difference is probably reflected in the amount of pressure both use. The electric pressure cooker applies less pressure to cook which translates in longer cooking times than it would take you in a traditional stove top pressure cooker.

Modern electric cookers apply up to 13PSI (which has not been proven) and varies by brands, and traditional ollas de presión apply up to 15PSI (has been proven.)

  • In comparison to stove top pressure cookers, electric pressure cookers are 60% more efficient at using electricity (if you are using an electric top) because the electric cooker distributes the heat evenly and doesn’t release the steam or heat in the kitchen like traditional pressure cookers do.
  • Electric pressure cookers require almost no monitoring to maintain and release the pressure while cooking your foods, which is not the case with traditional stove top pressure cookers.
  • Stove top pressure cookers take a bit less time to cook the food, and less time to allow the opening of the lid because they can be removed immediately from the heat source. This is not the case with electric pressure cookers because the heat is evenly distributed in the pot, and takes twice the time to allow for a natural pressure release than a stove top pressure cooker.
  • You can’t use your electric pressure cooker to cook with no pressure like you can your stove top cooker; therefore they don’t serve a double purpose. Electric cookers are also bulky and tall. If space is an issue you may consider buying a traditional stove top instead of an electric one.
  • When looking at safety, electric pressure cookers have a sensor that doesn’t allow the cook to open the cooker without the steam being completely released, even if the pressure cooker is unplugged.

Once you get your pressure cooker, read all the instructions carefully and be sure you understand the safety features. Then get cooking!

Making Perfect Tortillas Using a Tortilla Maker

Making Tortillas

Making tortillas doesn’t have to be this hard! Simply use a tortilla maker.

I bet you often overlook at the foundation of Mexican cuisine, the humble tortilla. Often people just starting to get interested in cooking Mexican food at home under-appreciate the tortilla. I must confess…I did so.

I thought making tortillas from scratch was too difficult and time-consuming. Or maybe you truly believe that store-bought tortillas taste just as good.  The truth of the matter, of course, is that fresh, homemade tortillas have a wonderful flavor that you just can’t get at the store.

If you truly want to regularly bring the true Mexican flavor into your home or simply want to become an expert Mexican cook, invest in a tortilla maker you can use at home.

Making Your Tasty Mexican Tortillas

[gard]The first step to making tortillas is to make the dough, or masa.  I can hear you saying “but Marcela, turning corn into flour is extremely time consuming” therefore I recommend you to purchase corn flour or masa harina at the store, rather than making it yourself.

  1. To make a dozen tortillas, just mix two cups of the flour with one cup of water and a dash of salt, knead the mixture for three or four minutes, then cover it and let it sit for an hour.
  2. Once your dough is ready, you need to divide it into small balls and make the tortillas. In the olden days, Mexican women made tortillas completely by hand, and became such experts that they could pat out perfectly round, wafer thin tortillas using nothing but their hands. Nowadays, it is much more common to use a tortilla press to do this.
  3. After using the tortilla press to flatten your dough balls into tortillas, you need to cook the tortillas. Traditionally, this is done using a cast iron skillet. Just add a bit of oil to the skillet and cook both sides of the tortilla for a few seconds. Then pop it into a tortilla basket to keep it warm until serving.

How to Choose Your Tortilla Press

I had a great lesson while researching this topic. I didn’t know much about tortilla makers until I started to look seriously at buying one. I found when choosing your tortilla press, you will have plenty of options.

Traveling throughout Mexico I found many women using cast iron and even wooden tortilla presses, but a cast aluminum tortilla press is also an option.

Aluminum has the advantage of being rust-proof and also much lighter than iron or wood.  Of course, in a modern kitchen there is a gadget for everything, and a gadget for making tortillas perfectly and efficiently is not an exception. This is when the tortilla makes and electric tortilla cookers come in.

When choosing an electric tortilla cooker, you’ll probably want to choose one that has temperature settings marked in degrees, rather than just high and low. That way you will be sure not to burn your tortillas in the tortilla maker.

You should also look for quality non-stick coating. The electric tortilla press flattens and cooks the tortillas at the same time, saving you time and effort.

Wanting to Impress? Do It By Making Simple Tortilla Bowls

[gard]One fun thing to do with your tortillas is to make tortilla bowls for taco salad. You can buy a special fluted tortilla bowl mold, or else just use any metal bowl to create a round shape.

Just heat the oven to 450, place the lightly greased bowl upside down on a cookie sheet, and drape a tortilla over it. Cook for 10 minutes and then allow the tortilla to cool on the bowl so it will retain its shape.

This is a very simple process and it makes you look like a pro. Homemade tortilla bowls? Yes, simple and tasty.  Ready to make your tortillas?  Please let me know if you made them and send me a picture to share with other tortilla makers!

How to Choose a Tortilla Maker

To Make Perfect Corn Tortillas


In understanding how to choose a tortilla maker we dive into the often overlooked foundation of Mexican cuisine, the humble tortilla. Often people just starting to get interested in cooking Mexican food at home under-appreciate the tortilla.
You might think making tortillas from scratch is too difficult and time-consuming. Or maybe you truly believe that store-bought tortillas taste just as good.

The truth of the matter, of course, is that fresh, homemade tortillas have a wonderful flavor that you just can’t get at the store.

One thing is for sure, if you want to regularly bring the true Mexican flavor into your home or become an expert Mexican cook, think about investing in a tortilla maker you can use at home.

How to Choose a Tortilla Maker and Press

When choosing your tortilla press, you will have plenty of options. In Mexico, you will find lots of cast iron and even wooden tortilla presses, but a cast aluminum tortilla press is also an option.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Tortilla Maker

  • Think about the diameter of the tortilla you like as this determines the size of the tortilla maker to buy. Otherwise you will haave to own several tortilla makers to achieve different sizes. The most common diameters are 6 and 8 inches or 15 and 20 cm. Wooden makers let you make larger size tortilla
  • Look at your budget. Manual tortillas are inexpensive however, they require more work and experience to operate and make the tortillas perfectly. Instead, electric tortilla makers are a dream because they are easy to operate and once you find the right temperature you are all set.
  • When looking into how to choose a tortilla maker it is wise to look at the types of tortilla flatteners/makers:
Cast iron

They are the most durable and more expensive than aluminum. The main advantage of the cast iron tortilla maker is the weight because you won’t have to exert so much pressure while making your tortillas. On the other hand keep in mind it is going to be a heavy tool.

Also, cast iron can rust while other tortilla makers won’t, especially the versions being made in China today. To recognize a true Mexican tortilla maker look for a roughly applied silver coating. this prevents iron from rusting.

Aluminum tortilla makers

Aluminum has the advantage of being rust-proof and also much lighter than iron or wood. They are soft and require care while cooking because you can break them if you make too much pressure. They are not as heavy as the cast iron ones, therefore you have to make pressure to flatten the ball of masa.

Wood tortilla makers

These makers should be made of high quality woods for the job. I recommend mesquite wood or oak. These makers are bigger in size therefore they eat more real estate in your kitchen. I live in an apartment so that is a consideration.

Wood makers are square and you simply place the masa in the middle to flatten it. The advantage is that they make a bigger tortilla than the others however, you need to finish cooking them separately. Using one is more time consuming.

Electric Tortilla Maker

Of course, in a modern kitchen there is a gadget for everything, and a gadget for making tortillas perfectly and efficiently is not an exception. This is when the tortilla maker and electric tortilla cookers come in.

When choosing an electric tortilla cooker, you’ll probably want to choose one that has temperature settings marked in degrees, rather than just high and low. That way you will be sure not to burn your tortillas in the tortilla maker.

You should also look for quality non-stick coating. The electric tortilla press flattens and cooks the tortillas at the same time, saving you time and effort.

Now that You Know How to Choose a Tortilla Maker It Is Time To…
Make Your Tasty Mexican Tortillas

The first step to making tortillas is to make the dough, or masa. I can hear you saying “but Marcela, turning corn into flour is extremely time consuming” therefore I recommend you to purchase corn flour or masa harina at the store, rather than making it yourself.

To make a dozen tortillas, just mix two cups of the flour with one cup of water and a dash of salt, knead the mixture for three or four minutes, then cover it and let it sit for an hour.

Once your dough is ready, you need to divide it into small balls and make the tortillas.

In the olden days, Mexican women made tortillas completely by hand, and became such experts that they could pat out perfectly round, wafer thin tortillas using nothing but their hands. Nowadays, it is much more common to use a tortilla press to do this.

After using the tortilla press to flatten your dough balls into tortillas, you need to cook the tortillas.

Traditionally, this is done using a cast iron skillet. Just add a bit of oil to the skillet and cook both sides of the tortilla for a few seconds. Then pop it into a tortilla basket to keep it warm until serving.

You are all set. Do you have any good tips about choosing a good tortilla maker? Share it with us!

Tamale Pie Recipe


There’s nothing more comforting than taking a few minutes off during your busy day to sit in your favorite spot and eat your favorite tamale pie recipe.  There are sweet pies made out of fruit and there are savory pies like the tamale pie.

In the beginning, Hispanics made and ate tamales. In today’s world, it’s not strictly for Hispanics alone. The traditional dish made of starchy corn-based dough that’s boiled or steamed in leaf paper evolved into a pie.

From its origins in Latin America, tamales were made including the whole family taking part on the cooking. A lot of time was used to prepare and make tamales.

Tamale pie origins are primarily American. Many say it appeared after WWII when meat was scanty and women prepared a baked meal made with cornmeal, cheese, peppers, tomatoes and olives.

Others say tamale pies originated with mainly in California, and it was basically a spin off the typical Mexican tamales.

Maybe you’re wondering how different these two dishes can be, I am speaking of tamale and tamale pie of course.

Basically, we cook and wrap tamales individually, in leaves of either corn or maguey, and make the dough from dried corn kernels processed with lime. To know more about the history and tradition go to my Tamale page.  In contrast, we make and serve a tamale pie in a casserole, and it can feed the whole family.

Making a Tamale Pie


  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of white cornmeal
  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Another tablespoon of salt

How to Prepare:

1. When you’re making a tamale pie, you need to make use of the oven so preheat it to 350 degrees F.

2. You then grease your casserole dish lightly.

3. In a saucepan, boil water and add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

4. Add the cornmeal slowly and turn the heat to low. Cook this mixture for 5 minutes making sure you stir constantly.

5. Pour the hot cornmeal into the casserole dish.

6. In a frying pan, cook the ground beef making sure not to brown it.

7. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook for five minutes.

8. Add the undrained can of corn kernels, salt, tomato sauce, and chili powder.

9. When this is heated up enough, pour this into the mixture you have into the casserole dish.

10. Spoon this over with more cornmeal.

11. Put grated cheese on the top and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

This tamale pie recipe might seem complicated to you but when you try it out, you’ll find that it’s actually very easy to make. Set yourself up for a delectable treat with a slice any time of the day you have a craving for something delicious.

Tamale Pie TIPS

  • You can serve this meal any time of the year.
  • Use the cheese as an indicator because when it is brown and melted your tamale pie is ready.
  • You can make this tamale pie recipe hot by adding 1/8 tsp. of cayenne pepper.

Other Tamale Articles You May Enjoy

Authentic Tamale Recipe
Chicken Tamale Recipe
Colombian Tamales
Puerto Rican Pasteles
Mexican Tamales