Pupusas De Ayote (Winter Squash Pupusas) Recipe

This pupusas de ayote recipe, brought to you by recipe developer Miriam Hahn, is easier than it looks, and gives you one more recipe to add to your dinner rotation. "My favorite thing about this recipe is how you can serve it as an appetizer, a side dish, or a main dish. Once you know the base recipe, you can also change up what's inside based on what your family likes, or what you have in the house," Hahn shares. 

You can pair the pupusas with a traditional Salvadorian slaw, curtido, and they are also great dipped in salsa verde. Another nice thing about this recipe is you can make the dough a few days ahead, if you are a weekend meal prepper. Hahn says you can just keep it wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 3 days. Keep reading to find out how to make these delicious pupusas de ayote. 

Gather the ingredients for pupusas de ayote

To make this recipe, you will need some butternut squash. "I always buy my butternut squash pre-cut to save time," Hahn says, "but keep in mind you will still need to chop it into smaller pieces because we want don't want big chunks in our pupusa filling." We will also need some oil (Hahn uses avocado), salt, masa harina, water, mozzarella cheese, and pickled jalapeños. "If you prefer things hot and spicy, feel free to use fresh jalapeños here," Hahn remarks. You can optionally top the pupusas with chopped cilantro. 

Roast the squash

First, preheat the oven to 400 F. Then, grab a medium bowl, and toss the chopped squash with 2 teaspoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Bake for 20 minutes, or until soft. While the butternut squash roasts, start making the pupusa dough. 

Make the pupusa dough

Combine the masa harina, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl. Then, add the cold water and whisk together. If you have a Danish whisk, Hahn says to use that because it won't trap as much dough while stirring. Once it is all combined, massage the dough with your hands until it feels like play dough. Roll the dough into 15 balls, and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 

Fill the pupusas

To fill the pupusas, flatten a ball of dough with your hands until it is about 4-to 5-inches in diameter. The, take a few pieces of the roasted squash, about ½ teaspoon of the chopped jalapeños, and a small handful of cheese, and place it in the center of the dough circle. Fold over the dough, and close the circle so it is now a half-moon shape. Then, re-form the dough into a circle with your hands, and flatten them evenly. Place each one on parchment paper, and repeat the steps with the other dough balls. 

Cook the pupusas, and serve

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet, and heat to medium-high. Place 5 pupusas in the pan, or however many fit in your pan,  and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. "I like to use a cast iron skillet for this," Hahn says, "but if you don't have one, any large skillet or griddle pan will work." Repeat the steps for the remaining batches, adding 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan before adding more pupusas.

Hahn tells us, "The first batch will take longer, but once the pan has been hot for a while, they [cook] quicker." They are done when each side is lightly browned with some darker brown spots. When ready to serve, garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.

Pupusas De Ayote (Winter Squash Pupusas) Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
This traditional pupusas recipe is filled with hearty butternut squash for a hearty vegetarian dish.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pupusas on board and plates
Total time: 1 hour
  • 1 cup butternut squash, diced
  • 3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of oil, divided
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 cups masa harina
  • 2 ¾ cups cold water
  • ¼ cup pickled jalapeños, diced
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese
Optional Ingredients
  • chopped cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss the squash with 2 teaspoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Lay on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the masa harina, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the cold water, and stir with a whisk to make the dough. When it is combined, mix with your hands until the dough is a play dough-like consistency. Roll the dough into 15 balls.
  3. Flatten each ball into a 4-to 5-inch circle. Put a tiny scoop of squash, ½ teaspoon oof jalapeño, and handful of cheese in the center. Fold the dough in half over the filling to form a half-moon shape, then reshape the dough into a circle and flatten.
  4. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet, and heat to medium-high. Add around 5 pupusas to the pan, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, until browned. Serve warm with chopped cilantro, if desired.
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