List of El Salvadorian Foods

making tortillas image by Efrain Diaz from

Salvadoran cuisine is very diverse. Heavily influenced by Spanish culture, menu items can be as common as corn tortillas and as unusual as fried palm flowers. Preferred beverages in El Salvador include hot chocolate and coffee. The following dishes are all considered El Salvadoran fare.


Pupusas are a traditional snack and a staple in every Salvadoran home. A pupusa is a thick corn tortilla, made with masa or white cornmeal, which is filled with a variety of meat and cheese. It is grilled until golden brown. Typical fillings include seasoned beans and cooked pork. This snack is served with curtido, salsa and fried sweet plantains on the side. Curtido is a slaw consisting of cabbage, vinegar, onions, carrots and red chilies. Similar to sauerkraut, curtido is typically allowed to sit at room temperature and ferment, before serving.

Tamales de Elote

Tamales de elote is most often served as a dessert. It is a simple dish to prepare: the main ingredients are cinnamon and white corn. First, remove the corn from the cob and ground to the desired consistency. Mix it with sugar, butter, cinnamon and a small amount of salt until it resembles cottage cheese. Next, the mixture must be pressed through a sieve into an empty container. Sometimes water is required, to thin out the mix. To assemble the tamales, stuff and wrap mixture in corn husks. Place tamales in a pot and add one inch of water. Bring water to a boil, then remove tamales and serve.

Pavo Salvadoreño

Pavo Salvadoreño is the Salvadoran version of holiday turkey dinner with sauce. A variety of fruits, spices and vegetables are simply added to the roasting pan with the turkey, including green peppers, garlic, potatoes, onions, prunes, Dijon mustard, tomatoes, capers, Worcestershire sauce, green olives and carrots. After cooking, puree all of the vegetables with the juice and the turkey giblets (except liver). This puree is then added to water or stock and simmered until thick. The last step involves straining the sauce and adding salt and pepper to taste. A variation of the sauce, relajo spice mixture, adds even more Salvadoran authentic flavor. It consists of sesame seeds, unsalted peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, chile guaque, bay leaves and thyme, replacing the spices in the recipe above. Use leftover turkey to make pan con pavo, turkey sandwiches served in sandwich rolls and topped with cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and leftover sauce.