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papas rellenas
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5 from 5 votes

Papas Rellenas

Savory Cuban meat filled potato balls.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Entree or Appetizer
Cuisine: Latin
Servings: 24
Calories: 160kcal
Author: Cynthia


Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 large potatoes about 2 pounds (or about 4 cups if already prepared)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks lightly beaten, (reserve whites)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (add slowly as you might not use it all)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin or more to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 10 Spanish olives finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons juice from olives
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying


Mashed Potatoes

  • 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. Potatoes should be fairly stiff so they can hold their shape
  • Stir in beaten yolks. Cool or refrigerate potatoes. These should be stiffer than regular mashed potatoes. They can be made a day before.


  • 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. Add chopped olives and juice. 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: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 84mg | Potassium: 343mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg