Rellenos de Papa: A Tutorial

This past month, I received an email from a fan who was requesting a recipe for one of my favorite things in the world, a Relleno de Papa, and because I promised her that I would walk her through the process, step by step, here I go. The ingredients are as follows:


2 tablespoons of achiote oil

3/4 pound of ground pork

3/4 cup sofrito

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup alcaparrado

2 tablespoon AP flour

3 tablespoons water

sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Potato Mixture

5 large Yukon Gold Potatoes

3/4 cups of milk

3 tablespoons butter

1 egg

sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

3 cups of AP flour

3 jumbo eggs, beaten

canola oil for deep frying

  1. Heat the achiote oil over medium high heat in a skillet and add the pork to completely cook through. Once most of the meat is cooked through, add your sofrito, stirring well to incorporate.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients: the alcaparrado, the ground cumin, salt and pepper to season the picadillo, stirring to mix completely.
  3. Singer the picadillo with the flour, to thicken slightly, then stir the water into the picadillo to cook off the flour, and aid in the thickening process.
  4. Stir in the blanched peas and carrots (frozen is okay), and add this to the picadillo. Set aside.
  5. Boil the peeled potatoes in salted boiling water until soft, and drain. Add the butter, milk, and egg, and whip until fluffy, but still dry. Set aside to cool (I actually put mine in the refririgerator for 30 minutes to dry out a bit).
  6. Using your hand, scoop up a baseball sized portion of cooled mashed potatoes, and using the back of a large spoon, make a well in the center of the potato.
  7. Using a tablespoon, add the picadillo to the center of the well, working the potato ball closed (you can add a little more mashed potato to close it off, if that helps).
  8. Okay, here comes the fun part. Dredge the potato balls in flour, dip them in beaten egg, and then in flour once more to coat. In the meantime, heat your oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees (please make sure that the fryer is deep enough that the oil does not spill over when you add the potato balls, and make sure that you use a thermometer, as temperature is integral to the success of the execution). I would not recommend you do this in a pan.
  9. Carefully lower the potato balls into the oil, with a wire spider or a slotted ladle.
  10. The potato balls will form a golden crust in about 4-5 minutes. Take them out and drain on paper towels, keeping them in a warm oven while you finish.

Served with a salad these rellenos make a delicious lunch or supper. If you make them smaller they are a wonderful hors d’oeurve. Esquisito!

This recipe yielded about 12 baseball sized rellenos. Buen provecho!

40 Responses to “Rellenos de Papa: A Tutorial”

  1. 1 Jason Perlow September 9, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Oh man. I am so tempted to make these for Rosh Hashanah next week! Hey, I’ll just to neglect to mention they are filled with pork! hahahahah!

  2. 2 daisy September 9, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Make them with beef, lol! Just MAKE them!

  3. 3 Vanessa September 9, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Daisy, that looks Delicioso!! Rellenos de Papas are my absolute favorite, after Mofongo (of course!) and I have always been scared to make them. Now with your beautiful pictures and step-by-step instructions, I will try to make them. Do you think it’s also helpful (in order for the rellenos to retain their form while frying) to put them in the fridge to cool off before frying?

  4. 4 daisy September 9, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Querida Vanessa:

    The potato balls are put in the freezer to cool off. Only then you dip them the in the egg mixture..



  5. 5 Barbara September 10, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Thank you for the tutorial! It’s great! I have made them and they came out perfect! But I have a question, if I want to make alot of them for a party can I do all the steps(except the frying) and put them in the freezer to cook at a later date? That’s what I do when I make empanadillas, I prepare them, but don’t cook them, and I put them in the freezer. When I am ready to eat one I just heat up some oil and fry them. Can I do that same thing with the papa relleno?

  6. 6 Rodney September 10, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    You make me so hungry I can’t stand it. Hope all is well.

    Talk to you soon

  7. 7 daisy September 10, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Dear Barbara:

    Do all the steps except the dipping and flouring, and make them smaller so you make sure they cook through.

    However, I will 1st take them out of the fridge, and let them thaw completely, then dip, flour and fry..

    Good luck!


  8. 8 daisy September 11, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    Rod! My fave white boy! DOOD!!! How are you guys, and when am I cooking for you? oxoD

  9. 9 Rodney September 11, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    We are both doing great but it’s been 80 hour weeks all summer long. Liz is gearing up for the upcoming holiday season and we’ll be planning a nice long vacation in January.
    When are you coming to the west coast??? Oregon does allow Puerto Ricans in now you know.


  10. 10 chris September 11, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Daisy, please stop doing this to me! Here I am, trying to be ‘good’ during the week at least, and you go posting pictures of an inside-out version of mashed potatoes coated with meat loaf. Only they’re better cause the meat part has peas and carrots, cumin and achiote. And alcaparrado. And sofrito. Oh, and they’re fried. These are absolutely the most delicious looking things. Keep it up, girl.

  11. 11 daisy September 11, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Rod, i think we should meet in Puerto Rico!

  12. 12 daisy September 11, 2007 at 9:55 pm


    My bad! I’ll have to own up to Dr. Sugar, yet AGAIN!!

  13. 13 Anita September 14, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Hola Daisy:
    What is AP flour? carino. Anita

  14. 14 Kathy September 14, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    These look beautiful! I recently made a big batch of your sofrito recipe, so now I have another recipe I need to try.

    Hey Daisy, I am planning a trip to Puerto Rico in the spring. Do you have any recommendations for must-see places? (or must-eat places?) I have been inspired by your Daisy Cooks book. Now I want to see where some of this food originated.

  15. 15 daisy September 15, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    AP flour is All- Purpose flour. oxoD

  16. 16 Anita September 17, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    I figured out the AP flour the nite after I sent the E mail.
    Anyway, a friend of mine gave me a bag of habanero peppers. I was hoping that they were the dulces but quickly, I found out they were not. What can I do with a bag of these guys, approximately 2 cups worth ? I was thinking about making a habanero jam, a yellow jam with peaches and apricots, onions and the standard jam fare? I read about this somewhere. I mean they are too hot to just start throwing them all over the place. I thought about a relish? I know that you’d know what to do. I’d like to make something to give to the donor, so far, all I have is the jam idea because I can get rid of the entire batch. Also, how deep is your fryer for the rellenos? Gracias por todo. Carinosamente, Anita

  17. 17 Angela Eddy September 17, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Daisy! You’re killing Me!!!!! I’m here in Alabama from New York and I so miss my mom’s and grandma’s cooking.

    I’m gonna start the Relleno de Papa here in Montgomery! It’s gonna be quite a “ball”!

    Thanks for your fine instructions and wonderful recepies.

    Gracias mi querida!

    Angela (Nacida en Puerto Rico, criada en Nueva York)

  18. 18 daisy September 17, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    I’m LOVING that you like the tutorials! Did you see the one I did on making Pasteles? Thanks for writing in, Angela, make sure you keep in close touch! oxoDaiz

  19. 19 Sugar November 3, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    I just introduced this food to my boyfriend … about 2 weeks ago an old family friend made them — Needless to say my boyfriend loved them and asked me to make them — I told him only the elder women of the family make them! LOL; Then I found your recipe…I am in the process of making them now…and they seem to be coming along great!


  20. 20 daisy November 3, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Dear Sugar: De nada!

    Thanks for sharing your Rellenos de Papa success!

    Keep cooking and updating me. Maybe you can send me a picture of the finished dish!!?


  21. 21 Wanda November 6, 2007 at 12:59 pm


    Oh… My… God!!!

    I have been through dozens of websites looking for this recipe. A friend of my mom’s use to make it when I was a kid and it was soooo good.

    This is the best, by far, recipe I have come across, filled in such detail and pics guiding you step by step to your final product.

    I am truly impressed!

    Thanks for the time you took putting this together. I really really appreciate it!


  22. 22 daisy November 6, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Glad you liked it, Wanda! Stay tuned for other fun tutorials! oxoD

  23. 23 ninotchka ceballos November 20, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    i love rellenos de papa but, i always had them w/ beef not pork and pork scares me!!!!!!!!!

  24. 24 Daisy November 21, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Dear Ninotchka:

    Beef is fine too. If you rather use beef feel free to do so..Make yourself Happy!


  25. 25 jerry February 25, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    the peas and carrots are not listed in the ingredients, yet they are in the tutorial

    my question is the amount of each for the recipe

    thank you

  26. 26 daisy February 25, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Oops! Add in 1/2 cup od peas and carrot mix to the picadillo. The rest of the measurements are at the beginning of the tutorial. Thanks for the heads up!

  27. 27 Robert Sosa March 11, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Dear Daisy:

    …I just started making these rellenos and I had never seen a recipe……when I started the to fry the balls I noticed they crumbled inside the pan……I thought “Oh my GOD what now??? so I logged on and found your recipe, followed up the great instructions and pictures and BOOOMMM…!!! there were my “Magestic Rellenos de Papa” MY FRIENDS AND I WERE CRAVING….!!!!

    Thank you for your help ….your recipe is excellent!!!******

    Robert Sosa
    Culinary Student
    Queens, New York

  28. 28 daisy March 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Querido Roberto:

    I enjoy making those tutorials. I do believe they are very helpful!

    I want you all to start sending pictures of your final dishes..I Love and Enjoy looking at them!


  29. 29 Vi March 15, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Daisy,

    Great pictures. I am a big fan of Puerto Rican food and my favorites are Rellenos de Papa. Like a lot of people for the new year, I am trying to eat better. Do you have any suggestions for baking these? Thanks for the pictures, my belly is growling!

  30. 30 Daisy March 20, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Dear Vi:

    You might try binding the mashed potato with raw egg yolk, forming the rellenos, painting them with butter, and then baking them on a baking sheet at 375 until golden brown. That would probably work well.

    Good luck!


  31. 31 Katharene Suarez August 13, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Like alcapurrias, rellenos were something that no one wanted to make here in the states. In fact, even in PR only my elderly Titi Grace made rellenos and I haven’t had them since I was a little girl. I am so excited to try this one and shock my abuela who thinks I’m crazy ever since I made alcapurrias. One thing i remember though is that Titi’s always looked round but flattened a bit. I wonder if maybe this guaranteed they cooked through. Either way I can’t wait!
    Also, my little brother did the Spoons Across America thing at Mark Twain. So proud of him, he loved it!

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