Recipe for Papa Rellena : Delicious and Crispy Potato Croquettes

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Learn how to make Papa Rellena, a traditional Cuban snack consisting of fried mashed potato balls filled with ground beef and seasoned breadcrumbs, in just a few simple steps. This recipe will yield crispy and flavorful potato croquettes that are perfect as an appetizer or main dish.

Get ready to indulge in the delicious combination of creamy potato and savory beef with a satisfying crunch.


In order to make delicious Papa Rellena, you will need the following ingredients:


Potatoes serve as the main ingredient for this recipe. Make sure to choose large potatoes that are suitable for baking and have a fluffy texture when cooked.

Ground Beef

To give the Papa Rellena its savory taste, you’ll need some ground beef. Opt for lean ground beef to keep the dish healthier, and make sure to cook it thoroughly before using it in the recipe.

Seasonings (adobo Seasoning, Sazon Seasoning, Etc.)

A combination of flavorful seasonings is essential to enhancing the taste of the Papa Rellena. Some common seasonings used in this recipe include adobo seasoning, sazon seasoning, and other spices that add depth and aroma.

Bread Crumbs

To give the Papa Rellena its crispy outer layer, bread crumbs are a must. You can use regular bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs depending on your preference.


Eggs play a crucial role in binding the ingredients together. They help create a cohesive mixture that can be shaped into the desired form and maintain its shape during cooking.

Olive Oil

Lastly, you’ll need some olive oil for frying the Papa Rellena. Olive oil not only adds a subtle flavor to the dish but also helps achieve that golden, crispy exterior that makes this recipe so irresistible.


Preparing Papa Rellena is a delightful culinary experience that combines the rich flavors of ground meat and seasoned potatoes. In this section, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of preparing this traditional Cuban dish.

Boiling The Potatoes

The first step to creating the perfect Papa Rellena is boiling the potatoes until they become tender and easy to mash. Here’s how:

  1. Start by peeling the potatoes and cutting them into small, equally sized pieces.
  2. Place the potato pieces in a pot and cover them with water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil and let the potatoes cook until they are fork-tender.
  4. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the water and transfer them to a large bowl.

Making The Meat Filling

Next, let’s prepare the flavorful meat filling that will be stuffed inside the Papa Rellena:

  1. In a skillet, heat some oil over medium heat.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until it’s browned and crumbled.
  3. Season the beef with your preferred spices and herbs, such as garlic, cumin, and paprika.
  4. Sauté chopped onions and bell peppers until they are tender.
  5. Add the sautéed vegetables to the cooked ground beef, mix well, and set aside.

Cooking The Filling

To enhance the flavors of the meat filling, let’s cook it to perfection:

  1. Return the skillet with the meat filling to medium heat.
  2. Add tomato sauce or diced tomatoes to the beef mixture.
  3. Stir well and let the filling simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  4. Once the filling is cooked and the flavors have developed, remove it from heat and set it aside.

Preparing The Potato Filling

After boiling and mashing the potatoes, we can now prepare the delicious potato filling:

  1. Add butter or oil to the bowl of mashed potatoes and mix well.
  2. Season the mashed potatoes with your preferred spices, such as salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. For an extra burst of flavor, you can incorporate chopped herbs like parsley or cilantro.
  4. Ensure that the potato filling is well mixed and seasoned to your liking.

Seasoning The Potatoes

Finally, let’s season the potatoes to create a flavorful outer crust for the Papa Rellena:

  1. Set up a breading station with three bowls: one containing flour, one with beaten eggs, and one with breadcrumbs.
  2. Dip each potato ball into the flour, then the beaten eggs, and finally coat it with breadcrumbs.
  3. Ensure that each potato ball is evenly coated for a crispy and delicious crust.
  4. Repeat the process with all the potato balls.

Now that you have completed the preparation process, you are ready to assemble and cook the Papa Rellenas according to your preferred method. Whether you choose to deep fry or bake them, the end result will be a golden, crispy exterior filled with mouthwatering meat and seasoned potato goodness. Stay tuned for our next section on assembling and cooking the Papa Rellenas!

Assembling And Cooking

Once you have prepared the filling and mashed potatoes for your Papa Rellena, it’s time to assemble and cook these delicious stuffed potatoes. Follow the steps below to create perfect crispy and flavorful Papa Rellenas.

Assembling The Stuffed Potatoes

  1. Divide the mashed potatoes into equal portions, depending on the desired size of your Papa Rellenas.
  2. Take one portion of mashed potatoes and flatten it on the palm of your hand.
  3. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of the flattened potato, making sure not to overfill.
  4. Gently enclose the filling by wrapping the mashed potato around it. Shape it into a ball or oval shape, ensuring that the filling remains intact.
  5. Repeat the process with the rest of the mashed potatoes and filling until all the Papa Rellenas are assembled.

Frying The Stuffed Potatoes

Now that your Papa Rellenas are assembled, it’s time to fry them to achieve that crispy golden exterior.

  1. Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan or deep fryer over medium-high heat.
  2. Carefully place the assembled Papa Rellenas into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
  3. Fry the stuffed potatoes until they turn golden brown and crispy on all sides, usually taking about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Once fried, remove the Papa Rellenas from the oil using a slotted spoon or tongs and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  5. Repeat the frying process with the remaining assembled Papa Rellenas until they’re all cooked to perfection.

Baking Option

If you prefer a healthier alternative to frying, you can also bake the assembled Papa Rellenas in the oven.

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Place the assembled Papa Rellenas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Lightly brush the stuffed potatoes with olive oil to help achieve a crispy exterior.
  4. Bake the Papa Rellenas for about 20-25 minutes or until they’re golden brown and heated through.
  5. Once baked, remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving.

Whether you choose to fry or bake your Papa Rellenas, they are sure to be a crowd-pleasing dish that combines the creaminess of mashed potatoes with the savory filling. Serve them hot as an appetizer, snack, or even a main course, and enjoy the delicious flavors of this traditional Cuban dish!

Recipe for Papa Rellena  : Delicious and Crispy Potato Croquettes


Tips And Variations

When it comes to making Papa Rellena, there are a few tips and variations that can elevate this classic dish. Whether you’re looking to make it vegan, add cheese, or searching for the best Papa Rellena recipe, we’ve got you covered.

Vegan Version

If you’re following a vegan lifestyle or simply want to enjoy a plant-based version of Papa Rellena, here’s a simple modification you can make:

  1. Replace the ground beef with a mixture of mashed black beans and vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and spinach.
  2. Season the mixture with a blend of spices like cumin, paprika, and chili powder for a flavorful twist.
  3. Coat the potato balls in a mixture of breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast before frying them to a crispy perfection.

By making these adjustments, you can create a delicious vegan version of Papa Rellena that will satisfy your tastebuds and meet your dietary preferences.

Adding Cheese

If you’re a cheese lover and want to take your Papa Rellena to the next level, consider adding a cheesy surprise to the filling:

  1. Mix shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese with the ground beef filling before stuffing it into the potato balls.
  2. Ensure that the cheese is evenly distributed throughout the filling for a gooey and melty center.
  3. When frying the stuffed potatoes, keep an eye on them to prevent the cheese from oozing out.

This cheesy variation of Papa Rellena will add an extra layer of indulgence and mouthwatering flavor to this already delightful dish.

Best Papa Rellena Recipe

Looking for the ultimate Papa Rellena recipe? Here’s a tried-and-true method that will deliver crispy and flavorful potato balls:

  1. Start by boiling potatoes until they are tender. Peel and mash them with a fork or potato masher.
  2. In a separate pan, cook ground beef with onions, garlic, and a blend of spices like cumin, paprika, and oregano.
  3. Mix the cooked ground beef with the mashed potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Form the mixture into balls, making sure to enclose the filling completely.
  5. Dip each potato ball into beaten eggs and then coat them in breadcrumbs.
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan and carefully fry the potato balls until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  7. Remove from the pan and let them drain on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
  8. Serve the Papa Rellenas hot and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce or salsa.

With this recipe, you’ll have the perfect combination of soft and fluffy mashed potatoes and a savory, well-seasoned filling – a Papa Rellena that will impress your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

Frequently Asked Questions For Recipe For Papa Rellena

What Is A Rellena?

A rellena is a flour tortilla filled with cheese, chopped beef, and refried beans, then grilled. It is served with lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream.

Who Invented Papas Rellenas?

Papas rellenas was invented in Peru as a comfort food.

How Many Calories In A Papa Rellena?

A Papa Rellena typically contains around 200-300 calories.

Why Are My Potato Balls Falling Apart?

If your potato balls are falling apart, it could be because they have too much liquid, like milk, causing them to steam and break apart when frying. Before shaping the entire mixture, fry one as a tester to check the texture and seasoning.


Papa Rellena is a delicious and satisfying dish that is easy to make. The crispy potato balls filled with flavorful ingredients like ground beef or chicken offer a delightful culinary experience. Whether you’re looking for a simple snack or a main dish, Papa Rellena is definitely worth trying.

So grab some potatoes and get ready to enjoy this Cuban classic.

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