El Salvador Recipes are a style of cooking derived from the nation of El Salvador. The traditional foods consist of a mix of Native American cuisine from the indigenous groups Lenca, Pipil, Xinca , Poqomam, Maya Chʼortiʼ, Alaguilac, Mixe, Mangue, and Cacaopera; with later influences from Spanish cuisine after the Conquest of El Salvador. Many of the dishes are made with maize (corn). There is also heavy use of pork and seafood.
El Salvador Recipes notable dish is the pupusa, thick handmade corn flour or rice flour flatbread stuffed with cheese, chicharrón (cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency), refried beans or loroco (a vine flower bud native to Central America). There are also vegetarian options, often with ayote (a type of squash) or garlic.
Some restaurants even offer pupusas stuffed with shrimp or spinach which are served with salsa roja, a cooked tomato sauce, often served with curtido. Pollo encebollado is another popular Salvadoran dish that contains chicken simmered with onions. Salvadoran cheeses, queso duro (hard cheese), queso fresco (fresh cheese), and cuajada, are eaten with meals.
Two other typical El Salvador Recipes are yuca frita and panes rellenos. Yuca frita is deep-fried cassava root served with curtido (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping) and chicharron with pepesca (fried baby sardines). The yuca is sometimes served boiled instead of fried. Panes rellenos (“stuffed bread”) are warm submarine sandwiches.
The turkey or chicken is marinated and then roasted with Pipil spices and hand-pulled. This sandwich is traditionally served with turkey or chicken, tomato, and watercress along with cucumber, cabbage, and traditional stuffed panes that do not include mayonnaise.
Other well-known El Salvador Recipes include Carne Guisada (saucy beef with potatoes and carrots), Lomo Entomatado (beef with tomatoes), carne asada (grilled steak, usually served with a type of Salvadoran salsa called chimol), pasteles de Carne (meat pies), Pollo Guisado con Hongos (chicken with mushrooms), Pacaya planta (palm flowers breaded in cornmeal, fried and served with tomato sauce), Pavo Salvadoreño (roast turkey with sauce, often eaten for Christmas), Ceviche de Camarones (lime-cooked shrimp), and Pescado Empanizado (breaded, fried fish fillets). Salvadorean Chorizo is short, fresh (not dried), and tied into twin sausages. (1)
El Salvador Recipes & Traditional Meals
1. Shrimp Soup – El Salvador Recipes
This hearty and robust Salvadoran Shrimp Soup is comfort food at its best. Shrimp soup is a delicious, yet under-shared recipe from El Salvador that you are going to absolutely love! The soup is broth based with just a tiny touch of cream.
3. Salvadoran Chicken in White Wine – El Salvador Recipes
There’s some kind of inexplicable magic going on between the caramelized onions and the white wine as it bubbles around the chicken thighs. So If you like tender chicken, the kind that melts in your mouth loaded with flavor, then this chicken in white wine recipe is for you.
Because it simmers away for quite some time, I hit it with a nice squeeze of lime at the end, and make sure to have plenty of crusty bread to go around for soaking up that white wine sauce.
El Salvadoran food is more like serious, at-home comfort food. The Salvadoran version of roast turkey has a variety of vegetables and spices that are roasted along with the turkey in the roasting pan. This tasty mixture is then pureed and served as a rich sauce to accompany the turkey.
Tamal pisque comes from El Salvador. Tamales pisques are made with seasoned corn masa that is mixed with refried beans, and the combination is then neatly wrapped in plantain leaves. The tamales are then steamed, and the dish is ready for consumption after it has cooled down a bit.
Some Salvadoran people eat rice with beans for breakfast. One of my favorite ways to make rice is to cook it with vegetables. This Rice with Carrots (Arroz con Zanahorias) is very easy to make and popular in Salvadoran homes.
In Central America, Curtido is often served with pupusas (corn cakes) and Salsa Roja. You could also serve Curtido with cheese enchiladas, fish tacos, tamales, or any other food you might serve with coleslaw!
Don't get this savory acidic veggie side dish confused with Mexican pico de gallo. It can be accompanied with pupusas, empanadas, fried yuca, or with a meal of grilled meat (any kind) with rice. It basically goes with any lunch or dinner entree your taste buds desire.
12. Salvadoran Red Bean Soup – El Salvador Recipes
Although other beans are utilized, kidney beans are quite popular for soups and other preparations in El Salvador. This soup will convince anyone with the rich flavor. It’s as easy to make as it is tasty!
Casamiento Salvadoreño is the Salvadorian version of the ever-popular combination of rice and beans. As you may already know, this dish has different names depending on the country of origin. It makes an excellent breakfast dish when paired with scrambled eggs with onions and red peppers.
It goes great with fried ripe plantains, cheese, crema, tortillas or bread. It can also be served for dinner but without the eggs. Try this classic combination!
Gallo en chicha is a traditional chicken dish that is popular in El Salvador. This traditional dish is a staple of Salvadoran home cooking. Think of it as the delicious Salvadoran version of French coq au vin or Moroccan chicken tagine. It's marinated and cooked in "chicha" – a fermented drink made with corn and pineapple.
19. Budin- Salvadoran Bread Pudding – El Salvador Recipes
Budin is a Salvadoran dessert.This sweet bread pudding is usually made with leftover bread so nothing goes to waste. This version offers a little bit of a twist by adding bananas to the traditional recipe for extra deliciousness.
Nuegados are little donuts often served during Easter week in El Salvador. They can be made with corn flour, banana, and eggs — but this version uses cassava and grated cheese. The process is really easy: Mix all the ingredients, shape the dough into small disks, and deep fry those. Serve with some spiced honey and you're in for a treat!
This beloved soup's main ingredients are cow feet and beef tripe. This might not appeal to everyone, but those who know... know. Filled with veggies like carrots, corn, or cabbage, this soup is one of the most comforting and flavorful Salvadoran specialties.
This chicken delicacy stewed with onions, diced potatoes, green pepper, cilantro and the defining ingredient—ground, roasted corn flour—remains a family favorite. This classic El Salvadorean dish is typically served with white rice.
27. Salvadoran-Style Pescado Frito – El Salvador Recipes
Many families use mojarra, a fish found in agua dulce (fresh water), but trout makes a great substitute. Salsa inglesa, or Worcestershire sauce, is a frequent find in Salvadoran condiment drawers and teams up with the mustard to create a punchy, umami-packed crust. Delicate, meltingly tender whole trout gets crispy skin from a quick sear in a cast-iron skillet.
El Salvador refried beans are absolutely amazing. They are typically made with a red bean however a pinto bean can also be used. Honestly the secret to the beans is the flavoring by slowly cooking an onion until burnt. I know it sounds strange but trust me it works perfectly. You will love these, best refried beans ever!
Charamuscas are fruit, milk or other type of flavored soft drinks, that are poured into plastic bags of half a pound or the desired size for which they are prepared, and then frozen. Locally known in El Salvador as topogigio, charamuscas are the perfect refreshing sweets for hot days and the breaks in school.
Chilate is a drink made from nixtamalized maize flour (commonly called Maseca or masa harina), ginger and allspice. Its consistency is thick and very similar to a drink widely consumed in Central America called atole.
Traditional specialty of El Salvador, atole or atol de elote is a true delight that is both sweet and comforting. Its flavor is truly unique and exquisite. Atol de elote is a delicious sweet beverage made from corn.
Several variations of atole exist such as some including vanilla, chocolate, orange blossom, anise or coffee instead of cinnamon but they are much more rare and are not really to everyone’s taste.