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papas rellenas
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5 from 2 votes

Papas Rellenas

Savory Cuban meat filled potato balls.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Entree or Appetizer
Cuisine: Latin
Servings: 24
Calories: 136kcal
Author: Cynthia


Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 large potatoes about 2 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks lightly beaten, (reserve whites)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste.



  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 med onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin or more to taste
  • 8 Spanish olives finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons juice from olives
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • For the Mashed Potatoes (make ahead)
  • Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, drain. Mash potatoes into a large bowl. Add butter and milk, mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in beaten yolks. Cool or refrigerate potatoes. These should be stiffer than regular mashed potatoes.
  • For the Picadillo
  • Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook a few minutes until translucent. Next, add garlic, continuing to stir until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add ground beef stirring to break up meat.
  • Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook until beef is brown throughout. Stir and adjust seasoning to taste, adding more if necessary.


  • Mix 1/4 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup bread crumbs in a shallow bowl.
  • Beat the 2 egg whites and 1 egg and place in a bowl.

Assembling the Papas Rellenas

  • Using about 1/4 cup stiff, cold mashed potatoes, form into a ball.
  • Flatten ball and make a hollow.
  • Put about 1 tablespoon picadillo inside indentation.
  • Enclose meat in potatoes, forming into a ball. Place on baking sheet.
  • Repeat with remaining potatoes and meat.
  • Roll each ball in egg mixture then in breading. Place on baking sheet. Chill 2 to 4 hours.
  • Heat oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep frying pan. I used a deep frying pan and about 1 1/2 inches of oil. When oil is hot, carefully place 2 or 3 balls in pan, using a slotted spoon and turn until golden brown on all sides, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer to clean baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  • Hold in warm oven until all papas are fried. Makes approximately 2 dozen, depending on the size.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 353mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg