Ah, the El Salvadoranian pupusa. It’s like a taco-tamale hybrid turned on it’s head. Traditionally, this stuffed corn tortilla mini-pie includes pork, beans, cheese, vegetables, or any sort of combination of those elements, with a cabbage-chili slaw on top. The first time I was blessed to try this delicacy was in San Salvador, in the early 90’s no less. When I took a bite, I thought heaven had descended into my mouth!

We wanted to add our own Collab Kitchen twist, so we created this breakfast pupusa. We stuff bacon, our homemade refried beans, and cheese into thick, hand-rolled tortillas, then we throw a fried egg on top! Add some necessary accompaniments (salsa verde, etc.) and you’ve got yourself an amazing meal. It may not be the traditional method of making a pupusa (please forgive us if you’re from El Salvador!), but breakfast has never tasted so good.

Breakfast Pupusa

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 breakfast pupusas


  • 2 1/2 cups Masa Harina
  • 2 cups (or so) of water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 15 ounce can of black beans, keeping it in its liquid
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Your choice: Chihuahua cheese, Asadero, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Cheddar)
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 6 eggs
  • Optional garnish ideas: green chili, chopped green olives, freshly-made salsa, sour cream, plain yogurt, cilantro, more cheese


  1. In a saute pan over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp. Drain and reserve fat. Chop and/or crumble bacon and set aside in a bowl covered with foil.
  2. Place 1 tablespoon bacon fat back into saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add black beans, including it's juices, and 1 teaspoon salt into the pan and begin to mash with a potato masher. Fry the beans, stirring and mashing frequently, until they thicken and begin to get crusty but not overly dry, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer beans to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with foil and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix masa harina, cumin, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt. Slowly add 2 cups of water until the dough thickens and is tacky and forms a ball. Roll out 12, 2 1/2" in diameter balls out of the dough, so it fits in the size of your palm, placing them on a plate. Cover the dough balls with a damp cloth as you work to keep them moist. Have the beans, bacon, and shredded cheese in bowls, ready for use.
  4. Take one masa dough ball and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper over the ball and press the back of a small pan down to flatten it out until it makes a flat, round disc, approximately 1/4" thick and 5" in diameter. On a second piece of parchment, use this same method to flatten a second dough ball into a disc. Top the first disc with 3 tablespoons beans, 1 tablespoon bacon, and 2 tablespoons cheese. Take the second disc and cover the filled disc. You can either do this by using a pastry cutter to transfer the second disc or by picking up the parchment paper it's resting on and turing it over to cover the first disc. Seal the two discs by pinching them together, using the paper to spin the uncooked pupusa around. (I even use the paper to help my pinching.) Then place a parchment paper again over the stuffed pupusa and gently press down with the small pan, making sure not to force any stuffing out, until it is between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch thick. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F to keep pupusas warm after cooking.
  5. Preheat cast iron skillet to medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Brush both sides of uncooked pupusas with remaining bacon oil (or regular vegetable oil) and cook until golden with some minimal charring, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Place cooked pupusa on a sheet pan and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat the stuffing and cooking process with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Fry up 6 eggs, sunny side up with any remaining bacon fat (or regular vegetable oil) over medium to medium-low heat in a frying pan.
  7. Arrange pupusas on a serving platter and top each one with a fried egg and any of the optional garnishments. Eat and repeat!