Appetizers/Small Plates · Beef · Sunday Family Dinner

Papas Rellenas – Cuban Potato Balls

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Not gonna lie….I could really use a Papas Rellena right now.

Or two, or three—okay….probably 4. Well, for now at least.

We made Papas Rellenas {Cuban Potato Balls} for our June Sunday Family Dinner as an homage to Porto’s Bakery. Papas Rellenas are incredibly addictive crispy, mashed potato balls that are stuffed with a savory meat filling. At Porto’s Bakery, they fill their Papas with ground beef, veggies, and spices.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

I had stumbled upon a wonderful recipe for Papas Rellenas from Jonathan over at The Candid Appetite. If you haven’t seen his site, you must check it out. But be warned, whether you read it on a full stomach or not, his posts will leave you drooling!

As for the Papas, not only was his post incredibly informative but his step by step photos were gorgeous! I was so inspired that I had to try and take pics along the way as well. Clearly mine weren’t nearly as stunning but let’s just go with it.

On to the Papas!

After washing, cubing and boiling a ton of potatoes–smash them up to smithereens! Then, get started on the aromatics.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

You’ll want the aromatics nice and fine. Throwing them into a food processor will definitely make life easier but if you’re a glutton for punishment, take a chefs knife and go at it!

After you pulse each item, you’ll want to drain it through a very fine sieve to get rid of any excess liquid. Sound crazy? Nope, it’s brilliant.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

After everything is prepped, begin browning the beef in a large skillet. I drain the liquid from the beef before adding in the chopped onions and garlic. Once the onions become translucent, add the red and green peppers into the party.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Once the filling has been seasoned and cooked down, you’re ready to start assembling. Lucky for me, I enlisted the help of my niece, Nini, to join the Papas Rellenas Assembly Line. She also served as the hand model for the next series of photos.

Huh…what if this is the catalyst to her budding Hand Modeling career? Um, don’t tell my sister.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Back to the Papas……

To get uniformed potato balls, grab an ice cream scoop. Porto’s Bakery make their Papas Rellenas quite large but I opted for a smaller size for a 1-2 bite. Using the gadget of your choice, scoop out a dome of the cooled mashed potato mixture.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Using the palm of your hand, try to flatten it out into an even round—about 1/4 – 1/3 inch thick.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Place a heaping spoonful of the cooled filling in the center of the potato.

Now let me warn you, despite what every fiber in your body says–DON’T OVER STUFF them! If you do, they won’t seal properly and things will get down right wonky.

Willy Wonky!

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Carefully fold the sides over the filling.

This is where you’ll kick yourself if you overfill it.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Then gently roll it into an even, smooth ball.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Once all the potato balls have been filled, start the 3-step process to bread them.

Flour. Egg Wash. Bread Crumbs.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

After the Papas have chilled for several hours, it’s time for a 3-5 minute “soak” in an oil jacuzzi that’s been heated to 375 degrees F until they’ve become golden brown.

Bada-Bing! Bada-Boom!

That’s it!

On a random note (as if I wasn’t random enough), my other niece, Nina, took over hand modeling for the “completed” Papas pics. What can I say? I’m prepping the kids for the Hand Modeling Olympics.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

These Papas Rellenas can be served at room temp with a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro & a few lime wedges. You can also serve them with a Mojo dipping sauce or by itself.

And the kicker? They can definitely made in advance and frozen so that you can fry them whenever you get a Cuban Hankering! So double the recipe! You’ll thank me…..or maybe you should thank Jonathan since it’s his recipe 🙂

Want to know how to make these golden delicious Papas Rellenas? Pop on over to here.



7 thoughts on “Papas Rellenas – Cuban Potato Balls

  1. I feel like this needs bacon and mushrooms on the inside. We all need bacon and mushrooms on the inside, actually.

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