If you want something new to liven up your cooking life, try this collection of 30 traditional Salvadoran recipes, including pupusas, semita, and more!
Full of flavor and history, Salvadoran cuisine is a delicious melange of Mesoamerican, Spanish, and indigenous influences, resulting in a unique and flavor-packed culinary experience.
El Salvador may be a small country, but its food scene packs a big punch–from Pupusas to Semita, there are endless dishes to explore!
If you’re feeling adventurous in your kitchen, consider making some of these Salvadoran recipes; we’re going to share a list of our favorite recipes to get you started!
Check out #28, as it’s a surefire palate-pleaser.
This cake has a soft cheese custard center and a lightly sweetened, crispy rice flour exterior.
It is believed that quesadillas were brought to El Salvador centuries ago, and they have been a beloved fixture of Salvadoran cuisine ever since.
Today, there are many variations of quesadillas, but they all share the same essential ingredients: cheese, eggs, sugar, and rice flour.
Quesadillas are typically served plain but can be topped with fruit, jam, or chocolate.
Pupusas are a traditional Salvadoran dish that consists of a thick, hand-made corn tortilla stuffed with various fillings.
The most common pupusas are filled with cheese, beans, or meat, but many other delicious variations exist.
Pupusas are usually served with pickled cabbage (curtido) and salsa made from tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers.
Making pupusas is a simple and affordable way to feed a large group of people.
Curtido is a traditional El Salvadoran recipe that is often served with Pupusas.
The dish is made with cabbage, carrots, and onions pickled in vinegar and spices.
The result is a crunchy and flavorful slaw that pairs perfectly with the savory Pupusas.
While Curtido is typically enjoyed as a side dish, it can also be used as a topping for tacos or grilled meats.
Make sure to give Curtido a try the next time you’re looking for a tasty and unique way to spruce up your meal!
El Salvador’s Salsa Roja, or red sauce, is a staple on nearly every table in the country.
This tasty salsa is made with fresh tomatoes, onions, and various spices, and it’s the ideal complement to El Salvador’s famous pupusas.
It is usually quite spicy, but the exact ingredients and level of spiciness can vary depending on the cook.
The Salsa Roja is an essential part of El Salvadoran cuisine and can be used to flavor many different dishes.
Yuca Con Chicharrón is a traditional Salvadorian dish typically featuring boiled or fried yuca, a cassava root.
The yuca is often served with a raw cabbage salad, chicharron (fried pork skin), and a spicy tomato sauce or chimol (a type of salsa made with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro).
This dish is famous for its flavorful and contrasting textures.
For those who like a little extra spice in their food, tomato sauce or chimol can be added on top of the yuca.
For those who prefer a mild flavor, the cabbage salad provides a fresh and crunchy contrast to the yuca.
It’s easy to get stuck with a routine when it comes to cooking and making the same meals week after week.
But with creativity, it’s easy to turn even the most straightforward dish into something new and exciting.
That’s where this recipe for Salvadoran Panes Rellenos comes in.
What’s terrific is that it can be changed up as you see fit.
So don’t be afraid to play around with it until you find the perfect combination of ingredients for your family.
Pollo is a versatile meat used in various dishes, but it is particularly well-suited for sandwiches.
In Salvadoran cuisine, Panes Con Pollo is a popular sandwich with chicken as the main ingredient.
The chicken is usually slow-cooked with spices until it is fall-apart tender, then shredded and placed on top of a freshly made corn tortilla.
The tortilla is topped with cabbage, tomato, and avocado, and the whole sandwich is served with lime.
Pupusas are thick corn tortillas stuffed with different fillings, including cheese, beans, and pork.
The chicharron variety features a hearty filling of tender pork cooked until it is nice and crispy.
The entire pupusa is then grilled to perfection, resulting in a warm, cheesy, and absolutely memorable treat.
One of the best things about Salvadorian cuisine is its wide variety of dishes.
Whether you’re in the mood for something hearty or light, there’s sure to be a dish that suits your taste.
One of my personal favorites is Pollo Encebollado, a chicken and onion stew that is packed with flavor.
The stew is incredibly comforting and satisfying, and it goes well with a side of rice and beans.
10. Pollo En Crema
If you’re looking for a hearty dish, look no further than Pollo En Crema.
This Central American staple is especially popular in El Salvador and Guatemala, but it can be found in many other countries as well.
The dish typically consists of chicken covered in a velvety cream sauce, although the exact ingredients can vary depending on the region.
Common additions include potatoes, carrots, and peas.
Salvadoran Shrimp Soup is a soul-satisfying meal that brings comfort and warmth.
The soup is made with a variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, onions, carrots, and celery, as well as beans and corn.
The shrimp are simmered in a broth made with garlic, cumin, and chili pepper.
This hearty soup will leave you feeling satisfied.
Comfort food at its best!
This dish is typically made with black beans, although other varieties can be used as well.
The beans combine with garlic, onion, and a variety of spices, then simmered until they are soft and creamy.
The rice is usually cooked in the same pot, resulting in a flavorful and filling dish.
This dish is often served with a side of avocado, plantains, or salad.
Salvadoran Torrejas are a traditional breakfast dish in El Salvador, typically eaten on special occasions such as Christmas or Easter.
They are made by soaking slices of white bread in a mixture of milk and eggs, then frying them in a lightly oiled pan.
The Torrejas are golden brown and crispy on the outside while remaining soft and fluffy on the inside.
Salvadorian-style chicharrón is very popular in El Salvador.
It is made with a specific type of pork called carnitas, which is boiled in water until tender before being shredded and fried.
Salvadorian-style chicharrón also usually includes chopped onions and freshly diced tomatoes.
The dish is typically served with tortillas, rice, and beans, and it can be garnished with cilantro, lime juice, or salsa.
Chicharrón is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways.
Try it El Salvadorian-style the next time you crave something yummy and comforting.
15. Leche Poleada
Leche Poleada is a traditional Latin American dessert that is made with milk and cornstarch.
The combination creates a light and fluffy pudding that is often flavored with vanilla or cinnamon.
Leche Poleada is typically served cold, making it a refreshing treat on a hot summer day.
Pollo Guisado is a traditional Salvadoran dish that is typically made with chicken, vegetables, and hearty gravy.
The chicken is first cooked until tender, then simmered in a flavorful broth made with tomatoes, onions, and garlic.
A variety of vegetables are often added to the stew, including potatoes, carrots, andPollo Guisado is a traditional Salvadoran dish that is typically made with chicken, vegetables, and hearty gravy.
The chicken is first cooked until tender, then simmered in a flavorful broth made with tomatoes, onions, and garlic.
A variety of vegetables are often added to the stew, including potatoes, carrots, and green beans.
The stew is thickened with a roux or cornstarch and served over steamed rice.
Vanilla Custard is the quintessential way to end a holiday meal.
While the recipe for this Christmas treat is simple, the key to its deliciousness lies in the quality of the ingredients.
Be sure to use fresh eggs and pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
18. Vegan Pupusa
El Salvador is known for its pupusas, and for good reason!
These thick corn tortillas are stuffed with all kinds of fillings, from refried beans to pork to cheese.
And best of all, they’re easy to make at home.
This Vegan Pupusa recipe uses shredded vegan cheese in place of the traditional Salvadoran quesillo, and it’s just as tasty.
Serve with a simple cabbage slaw and a dollop of salsa, and enjoy this El Salvadoran treat any time of day.
Grilled corn on the cob is smeared with mayonnaise, then rolled in a mixture of shredded cheese, chili powder, and lime juice.
The result is a sweet, savory, and spicy treat that is absolutely delicious.
If you’re looking for something new to try the next time you fire up the grill, give Salvadoran grilled corn a try.
Platanos Fritos are a popular Salvadoran snack that can be enjoyed any time of day.
These fried sweet plantains are soft and fluffy on the inside, with a crispy outer edge.
Made from corn, these little cakes are a staple of Salvadoran cuisine.
They’re typically served with cheese and chili peppers, but they can also be enjoyed on their own.
Riguas are perfect for satisfying hunger pangs, and they make a great addition to any meal.
The Salvadoran Marquesote is a typical sweet bread characterized by its versatility to accompany various meals.
It is usually eaten at breakfast or as a snack.
It can be enjoyed plain or with different fillings such as jams, fruits, chocolate chips, or cream.
The dish is usually made with white rice, black beans, and salsa, and it is typically served with a side of fried plantains.
It is now popular throughout the country, and it is frequently served at parties and other special occasions.
The dish is a popular choice for both vegetarians and meat-eaters, as it is hearty and filling.
Nuegados are a type of fritter that is popular in many Latin American countries.
They are typically made with yucca, a starchy root vegetable, and masa, a type of cornmeal.
Nuegados are often served with a dipping sauce, such as chicha Morada.
While they may sound complicated to make, nuegados are actually quite simple and make for an excellent snack or side dish.
25. Sopa De Pata
Sopa De Pata is a hearty soup that originates from Salvador.
Unlike many Western dishes, Sopa De Pata relies on ingredients that are often considered to be scrapped, such as beef tripe and cow hooves.
While these ingredients may not sound appealing at first, they actually come together to create a comforting soup.
The beef tripe provides a rich flavor, while the cow hooves add a unique texture.
26. Pollo En Pinol
This traditional dish is both flavorful and filling.
The chicken is stewed with onions, diced potatoes, green pepper, and cilantro.
The defining ingredient is ground, roasted corn flour.
This provides the dish with a distinct flavor and thickens the sauce.
Tamales are produced by wrapping a corn-based dough around a filling, then steaming them.
The Salvadoran Tamale is typically filled with chicken, but it can also be made with pork, beef, or cheese.
28. Gallo En Chicha
Gallo En Chicha is a traditional Salvadoran dish mainly made from chicken, Salvadoran chicha, and panela.
In this recipe, Mexican chocolate and other ingredients like capers, Spanish olives, and sesame seeds are added to offer more flavor to the dish.
Serve this soup with cooked white rice or crusty bread soaked in a sweet, savory sauce.
In El Salvador, Pescado Frito is a popular street food that is often served with a spicy sauce.
The fish is fried, resulting in a crispy exterior.
While the traditional version of this dish utilizes tilapia, any type of whitefish can also be used.
Pescado Frito is best enjoyed with a cold beer or glass of horchata, a refreshing rice milk beverage.
Semita is a type of pastry that is popular in El Salvador.
It is made with a tart of bread dough that is filled with jam or other rich fillings.
Semita de piña, which has a pineapple filling, is a favorite among semita lovers.
The pastry is usually served with coffee or tea.
The bottom line
El Salvador may be a long way from home, but you can certainly bring its cuisine to your dining table with these recipes.
So, what are you waiting for?
Start cooking up a storm and enjoy the amazing flavors of El Salvador!
- Salvadoran Quesadilla (Sweet Cheese Pound Cake)
- El Salvador Salsa Roja
- Yuca Con Chicharrón
- Salvadoran Panes Rellenos
- Panes Con Pollo
- Pupusas De Chicharron
- Pollo Encebollado
- Pollo En Crema
- Salvadoran Shrimp Soup
- Salvadoran Beans & Rice
- Salvadoran Torrejas
- Salvadorian-Style Chicharrón Shredded Pork
- Leche Poleada
- Salvadorian Chicken Stew
- Salvadoran Vanilla Custard
- Vegan Pupusa
- Salvadoran Grilled Corn
- Fried Salvadorian Sweet Plantains
- Salvadoran Marquesote
- Salvadoran Breakfast Casamiento
- Nuegados De Yucca Y Masa
- Sopa De Pata
- Pollo En Pinol
- Salvadoran Tamales
- Gallo En Chicha
- Salvadoran-Style Pescado Frito
- Have a look at our list of Salvadoran Recipes.
- Choose the dish you want to recreate.
- Start cooking your newly found recipe.
- Share your insights on our Facebook page!