No food hits home like Hispanic food. The heavy influence of cumin and coriander remind me of Pakistan because this particular spice and herb are added in every traditional Pakistani dish. At times when I walk down the streets of LA past food carts selling tacos and burritos, I imagine I’m in Karachi. The familiar smells wafting in the air punctuated by the occasional traffic and honking of cars (it is downtown after all ) are enough to wake up nostalgia.

Cuban Stuffed Potato BallsCuban Stuffed Potato Balls

Sure, there are differences between the cuisines but at the base of it all is cumin and coriander. I almost wonder why Hispanics don’t make curry.

Cuban Stuffed Potato Balls

I went to Porto’s Cafe in Burbank about a year ago with my best friend. It’s a very popular Cuban cafe in LA. I love to Yelp for popular items, and the stuffed potato balls at Porto’s was something that we needed to try. It’s called Papas Rellenas, which are deep-fried balls of mashed potatoes stuffed with a meat filling. Both my friend and I spent a good ten minutes talking about how they tasted so Pakistani and that we had to go home and make these. It was a long while before I actually did make them. But they’re actually very simple to prepare because the flavor combinations don’t need any guessing.

Cuban Stuffed Potatoes

If you are more into visuals, check out how I make this!


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4.75 from 8 votes

Cuban Stuffed Potato Balls

Deep fried balls of fluffy mashed potato with a spicy beef filling is just the touch of Cuban you'll need! So satisfying and they taste like Porto's famous Potato balls!
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: Potato Balls
Servings: 20
Author: Rookie With A Cookie


Beef Filling

  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 6 tbsp tomato sauce

Potato Balls

  • 5 potatoes salted, boiled and mashed
  • 2 eggs beaten with a tbsp of water
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread crumbs


  • Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, Peel the skin and mash them well with a few tbsp of milk at a time until very smooth and fluffy (it shouldn't be too sticky so be careful with the milk). Be sure to add enough salt to the mashed potato.
  • In a saucepan, sautee onion and peppers for a few minutes until soft.
  • Add the ground beef and stir until beef has brown.
  • Add in the spices and stir for a minute.
  • Next, pour in the tomato sauce and let simmer for five minutes. The meat filling won't have too much sauce because the liquid will make it difficult to stuff the potato balls.
  • To make the potato balls, take about two ounces of mashed potatoes and flatten it in the palm of your hand in a disk
  • Now take about a teaspoon of meat filling and place in the center of the flattened potato disk. Make sure you don't add too much filling because we need to wrap the filling inside the potato,
  • Slowly take the edges of the potato and pull them over the filling and smooth it into a ball. If your filling is not covered, just take a little bit of mashed potato and glue it onto the filling.
  • Now take each ball, dredge it in flour, dip it in egg and finally coat it generously in bread crumbs.
  • Once all the balls are coated, chill in the fridge for at least an hour to ensure they don't fall apart while frying. (You can also prep them a day in advance up to this point).
  • Once ready, deep fry them until golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towel and enjoy! This makes 20 medium-sized potato balls.


Don't prod the potato balls too much during frying because they might crack open a bit. A few of mine did open just a little bit because I was impatient.
Be sure not to add too much milk to the mashed potato at once. While forming the balls, the mashed potatoes shouldn't be too sticky (watch how I made this in the video).


39 thoughts on “Cuban Stuffed Potato Balls”

    1. It won’t be as crisp and personally i haven’t baked these. If you do bake (air fry would be a better option if you have one), I would definitely spray oil generously on them so they start crisping up as soon as they hit the oven. I would also bake it (on a roasting tray so the heat can circulate) at a higher temp around 400-425F. let me know if you try this.

  1. What temp do you fry these at? And approx how long does it take? I did not see this in the recipe. I just made mine and am waiting to fry tomorrow. Thank you.

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  3. Hi Im in the middle of making the papas rellenas, but I think the potatoes are too gummy, oops I think I overlooked the milk and put a little too much, what should I do? I put the mashed potatoes in the fridge to see if they firm up.

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  5. 5 stars
    Hi I have left over mash potatoes we had ladt night dinner, of course some butter was added to potatoes not my h milk at all. Can i still use these potatoes and can I use progresso bread crumbs ” panko” cause i have little Italian bread crumbs. Thank you!!! Can not wait to make please reply if possible to day!!!!

    1. Hey Leftover mash will work just fine but you may need to work harder to form them into balls. I would recommend heating the mash potatoes overs double boiler to help them soften a bit. Pablo should be fine šŸ™‚ hope this helps.

  6. 5 stars
    Hey I just wanted to say thank you for this recipe. I made these for my family for our super bowl party and they were a huge hit! They were so good that they actually thought I had them sent from Porto’s in So Cal!!! I will def be making this again. I think the most important tip is to keep the potatoes simple. I usually love tons of butter and milk in my potatoes but I followed your advice to keep it simple and the balls were perfect! The potatoes were still light and fluffy and full of flavor!! Thanks again. šŸ™‚

      1. 5 stars
        I was raised with these. But I am Hispanic and my husband is all white and doesn’t eat Spanish or Cuban food, But I do try to slip him some of it every now and then. I know how to make them, but I wasn’t sure if you baked the or fry them. Thank you so very much.

      2. Hi Thanks for the recipe. My late mum used to make something similar called Aloo puri . I unfortunately never took the recipe even though I knew of the ingredients and method.I was looking for the approx flour potato ratio and was surprised that what was a regular Indian snack to me did not appear on any sites until I translated the title and saw your recipe.I will try it out with the Indian khima mix.If ever it would break during frying due to too watery potatoes my mum used to then dip the puris in beaten egg and refry as she did not like adding a lot of flour

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Hi Friend! Iā€™m so excited to have you become a part of my family. Iā€™m Izza, the Rookie behind and in front of the camera. I blog from my cozy apartment in downtown Seattle while working fulltime at Amazon. It really is the best of both worlds.

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