fbpx Skip to Content

Latin American Food: Pupusas, Gorditas, and Arepas

Latin American food is one of the most delicious cuisines in my opinion.

Latin America is made up of many different countries and they share many of the same food staples such as corn, rice, and beans.

Today’s post is focusing on the amazing dishes made from corn. Those are pupusas, gorditas, and arepas.

We’re going to talk about what makes these beyond delicious Latin American dishes similar and what make them different from each other.

latin american food

What are Pupusas?

Pupusas are the national dish of El salvador.

They are basically thick corn tortillas stuffed with a delicious filling.

pupusas on a plate

Pupusas are made from instant corn masa flour such as Maseca.

bag of maseca

Maseca comes in two colors either the white corn or the yellow corn.

You can use either one.

Pupusas can be filled with a variety of ingredients such as beans, cheese and pork.

Pupusas are filled before cooking.

I have come across a few different methods for filling them.

Getting the filling in them and closing them can be tricky at first. But with a little practice you’ll find that they’re actually very easy to whip up.

You can see my method for filling and closing them here.

Pupusas are famously accompanied with curtido which is a delicious cabbage slaw.

What are Gorditas?

Gorditas are a Mexican dish that like pupusas are made from instant corn masa flour.

Therefore they have a very similar flavor.


Gorditas can be fried or cooked on a comal.

I prefer them fried but the choice is up to you.

After cooking they are then split open and filled with whatever one desires.

Fillings could include refried beans, picadillo, rajas con crema y queso, etc… the list literally goes on and on.

So what makes them different from pupusas is that they are stuffed with the filling after being cooked unlike pupusas which are stuffed before cooking.

What are Arepas?

Arepas are very common in Colombia and Venezuela.

They are delicious corn patties that can be fried or baked.

After cooking they are sliced open and stuffed with pretty much anything your heart desires.

how to make arepas

They are made with a precooked corn meal such as P.A.N.


P.A.N. is a precooked cornmeal also known as masarepa that can be used to make arepas, colombian emapanadas and tamales.

My favorite way to eat arepas are stuffed with mozzarella cheese and topped with salsa macha. It’s so good!

You should also try them for breakfast stuffed with colombian style scrambled eggs called huevos pericos.

Pupusas, Gorditas, and Arepas: Pockets of Deliciousness

Basically all three are little pockets designed to hold a variety of delicious flavorful fillings.

The difference is that pupusas are stuffed with the filling before cooking while gorditas and arepas are stuffed after cooking.

Also pupusas and gorditas are made with an instant corn masa flour such as Maseca.

Arepas are made with precooked cornmeal also known as masarepa.

You can not use instant corn masa flour to make arepas and you can’t use masarepa to make gorditas and pupusas. It will not turn out the same.

I hope you enjoyed this post.

I’d love to hear about your favorite way to enjoy pupusas, gorditas, and arepas!

If you enjoyed this post check out my other post on enfrijoladas, entomatadas and enmoladas.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.