Alcapurrias Recipe: Delicious Puerto Rican Snack


Alcapurrias Recipe: Delicious Puerto Rican Snack
Region / culture: Puerto Rico | Preparation time: 4 hours | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 10



Alcapurrias are a quintessential Puerto Rican dish, beloved for their unique texture and rich flavor. This traditional snack is made from a dough of grated root vegetables, typically green bananas and yautia, filled with a savory meat mixture, then deep-fried to golden perfection. The result is a crispy exterior with a soft, flavorful interior that's hard to resist. This recipe guide will take you through the steps of creating authentic Alcapurrias, along with providing insights into their history, nutritional information, and various tips to enhance your cooking experience.


The origins of Alcapurrias can be traced back to the indigenous Taíno people of the Caribbean, who were known to prepare similar dishes using available local root vegetables and meats. Over time, with the influence of Spanish colonization and the introduction of African culinary traditions, the recipe evolved into the form we know today. Alcapurrias have become a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine, often found at roadside stands, festivals, and family gatherings, symbolizing a blend of the island's rich cultural heritage.


How to prepare

  1. To make the meat filling for the Pastelillos recipe, combine beef, veal, and pork. You can omit the veal and pork if desired.
  2. Trim the ends of the green bananas and make a shallow lengthwise slit using a paring knife, being careful not to cut too deep.
  3. Place the bananas in a pan with hot water and salt to facilitate easy peeling.
  4. Once the skin starts to come off, use a knife to gently remove it by moving from side to side in a rocking motion along the length of the banana.
  5. Place the peeled bananas in a pot of cold salted water, ensuring they are fully submerged. Set aside.
  6. Repeat the same process with the green plantains and set aside.
  7. Peel the yautia and place it in a pot of cold salted water.
  8. Peel the white potato and place it in cold salted water.
  9. For the grating step, it is recommended to use a large deep roasting pan. Avoid using a blender or food processor for an authentic Alcapurrias.
  10. Start by grating the green bananas directly into the roasting pan, followed by the other vegetables. Leave the potato for last, as it helps clean the residue from the other vegetables.
  11. Once the grating is complete, add the sofrito and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Strain the achote colored oil before adding it to the mixture, ensuring no achote seeds fall in. Thoroughly incorporate all the seasonings into the mixture, using your hands.
  12. Transfer the mixture to a large covered bowl and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
  13. When ready to fry the Alcapurrias, heat enough oil or shortening in a deep fryer or caldero to reach 360°F (182°C).
  14. Ensure your hands are clean, then scoop a level kitchen spoonful of the mixture onto your palm. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center and fold and roll it into a cylinder shape, ensuring the filling is well enclosed. Set aside and repeat to make two or three at a time.
  15. Fry the Alcapurrias, spooning hot oil over the top parts until they turn golden brown. Maintain a moderate heat to ensure thorough cooking inside.
  16. Once done, remove the Alcapurrias from the fryer and let them drain on a paper towel. Alcapurrias are best enjoyed while still hot. They are considered finger food, so dig in and enjoy!


  • 1. Vegetarian Alcapurrias: Substitute the meat filling with a mixture of lentils, beans, or vegetables for a vegetarian version.
  • 2. Seafood Alcapurrias: Use crabmeat, shrimp, or a combination of seafood for the filling to create a pescatarian-friendly option.
  • 3. Sweet Alcapurrias: For a dessert version, fill the dough with sweetened cream cheese or fruit preserves and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

1. Grating the root vegetables by hand, rather than using a food processor, will give the dough a more authentic texture.

2. Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight allows the flavors to meld and the texture to firm up, making it easier to handle.

3. When frying, ensure the oil is at the correct temperature (360°F or 182°C) to prevent the Alcapurrias from absorbing too much oil and becoming greasy.

4. Fry in small batches to maintain the oil temperature and achieve an even golden-brown crust.

Serving Suggestions

Alcapurrias are best served hot and fresh from the fryer. They can be enjoyed on their own as a snack or appetizer or paired with a light salad to balance the richness. A tangy dipping sauce, such as a garlic or cilantro-based sauce, can complement the flavors beautifully.

Cooking Techniques

Deep-frying is the traditional method for cooking Alcapurrias, providing their characteristic crispy exterior. For a healthier alternative, baking or air-frying can be used, though the texture and flavor may differ slightly from the original.

Ingredient Substitutions

1. If yautia is not available, white potatoes or malanga can be used as substitutes, though the flavor and texture will vary.

2. Achiote oil can be replaced with turmeric or paprika-infused oil for color, though the taste will not be identical.

Make Ahead Tips

The dough and meat filling for Alcapurrias can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. This allows the flavors to develop further and reduces preparation time on the day of cooking.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Alcapurrias on a platter garnished with fresh cilantro or parsley. A side of lime wedges adds a refreshing touch that complements the rich flavors.

Pairing Recommendations

A cold, light beer or a refreshing mojito pairs well with the richness of Alcapurrias, balancing the flavors and enhancing the overall dining experience.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Alcapurrias can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat in an oven or air fryer to restore the crispy texture before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Alcapurrias can range from 200 to 300 calories, primarily influenced by the size of the Alcapurria and the amount of oil absorbed during frying.


The primary source of carbohydrates in Alcapurrias comes from the green bananas, plantains, and yautia used in the dough. These root vegetables provide a complex carbohydrate source, which is essential for energy. A single serving of Alcapurrias can contain approximately 30-40 grams of carbohydrates, varying based on the specific proportions of ingredients used.


The fat content in Alcapurrias primarily comes from the oil used for deep-frying. Using healthier oils such as canola or vegetable oil can help reduce the presence of saturated fats. A single Alcapurria can contain between 10 to 20 grams of fat, depending on the size and the amount of oil absorbed during frying.


The meat filling of Alcapurrias, typically made from a combination of beef, veal, and pork, provides a good source of protein. Each Alcapurria can contain approximately 5-10 grams of protein, depending on the amount of filling used.

Vitamins and minerals

The root vegetables used in Alcapurrias are rich in vitamins and minerals. Green bananas and plantains are excellent sources of potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Yautia contributes significant amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E. The meat filling adds iron and B vitamins, making Alcapurrias a nutritious choice when enjoyed in moderation.


Common allergens in Alcapurrias may include gluten (if flour is used in the meat filling for thickening) and potential cross-contamination with nuts or seafood in the kitchen. It's essential to consider these factors if you have specific food allergies.


Alcapurrias are a delicious, albeit indulgent, part of Puerto Rican cuisine. While they offer nutritional benefits such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals from their ingredients, they are also high in carbohydrates and fats due to the frying process. Enjoying them in moderation as part of a balanced diet is the best approach.


Alcapurrias are a beloved part of Puerto Rican cuisine, offering a delicious combination of flavors and textures. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of how to prepare, serve, and enjoy Alcapurrias, along with nutritional information and various tips to enhance your cooking experience. Whether you're a seasoned cook or a newcomer to Puerto Rican cuisine, making Alcapurrias is a rewarding and delicious endeavor.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still recall the sense of amazement I felt when I first saw this recipe for Alcapurrias. It was a hot summer day in Puerto Rico and I was visiting my Aunt Maria. She was a fantastic cook and always had a new recipe up her sleeve to share with me. That day, as we sat in her kitchen, she pulled out a tattered old cookbook that had been passed down through our family for generations.

As she flipped through the pages, she came across a yellowed piece of paper tucked in between the pages. It was a recipe for Alcapurrias, a traditional Puerto Rican dish that I had never heard of before. Aunt Maria explained to me that it was a popular street food in Puerto Rico, made with a mixture of green plantains, yautia (taro root), and ground meat, then deep fried to golden perfection.

I watched in awe as Aunt Maria expertly prepared the ingredients, showing me how to peel and grate the plantains and yautia, and mix them together with the seasoned ground meat. She then demonstrated how to form the mixture into small patties and carefully place them into the hot oil to fry.

The aroma that filled the kitchen was intoxicating, and I couldn't wait to taste the finished Alcapurrias. When they were finally ready, Aunt Maria served them piping hot with a side of homemade sofrito sauce. The first bite was pure heaven - crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and bursting with savory flavors.

From that moment on, I was obsessed with learning how to make Alcapurrias myself. I spent hours in the kitchen with Aunt Maria, practicing my technique and perfecting the recipe. She taught me the importance of patience and precision in cooking, and how to trust my instincts when it came to seasoning and flavoring.

Over the years, I continued to refine my Alcapurrias recipe, adding my own unique twists and variations. I experimented with different fillings, from traditional ground beef to shredded chicken or even seafood. I played around with spices and herbs, finding the perfect balance of flavors to suit my taste.

As I honed my skills in the kitchen, I also learned the stories behind the recipe. Aunt Maria told me how Alcapurrias were a staple food in Puerto Rican culture, often enjoyed at festivals, fairs, and family gatherings. She shared memories of her own childhood, when she would help her mother and grandmother prepare Alcapurrias for special occasions.

With each batch of Alcapurrias I made, I felt a deeper connection to my Puerto Rican roots and a sense of pride in carrying on the culinary traditions of my family. The recipe became more than just a dish to me - it was a symbol of love, heritage, and shared memories.

Today, whenever I make Alcapurrias for my own family and friends, I feel grateful for the knowledge and wisdom that Aunt Maria passed down to me. I take pride in sharing this beloved recipe with others, knowing that each bite carries with it a piece of our shared history and culture.

As I sit here reminiscing about that fateful day in Aunt Maria's kitchen, I am filled with gratitude for the gift of cooking and the joy it has brought into my life. The recipe for Alcapurrias will always hold a special place in my heart, reminding me of the bond that food can create between generations and the love that is shared around the table.


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