If there's one thing that Puerto Ricans do best, it's fritters! Learn how to make these alcapurrias at home. The dough (masa) is filled with flavorful homemade picadillo (the meat fillimg), and the assembly plus frying process are easy!
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Alcapurrias: Puerto Rican Fritters
Alcapurrias are popular Puerto Rican fritters, made with yucca, plantains, sofrito, stuffed with picadillo, and fried to perfection.
As a savory over sweet kind of person, it’s no surprise how much I love the concept of deep fried, meat stuffed fritters.
This is one of the dishes that made me fall in love with my heritage on a deeper level.
This is one of those dishes where you’ll either have to find a local Latin market, or do a bit of digging to find all the necessary ingredients. I promise it’s 100% worth the work.
Here’s what you’ll need...
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup cilantro (you can also use ½ cup of culantro if you have it!)
- 1 jalapeno (optional)
- 4 large green plantains, peeled and chopped into large pieces
- 2 lbs yucca
- 1 tsp sazon with achiote
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 4 tbsp sofrito
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 tsp adobo seasoning
- ½ cup pimento stuffed olives, sliced
- 2 tsp sazon with achiote
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt (optional as the olives, sazon, & adobo are naturally salty)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 4 cups vegetable oil for frying
How to make Picadillo (the delicious meat filling)
Making it starts with building a super flavorful base with sofrito. Once the sofrito becomes fragrant in a pan over medium heat, add in the tomato sauce and ground beef.
At this point it’s up to you if you’d like to add diced potatoes or not, I am not super into this addition so I choose to leave them out. If you do decide to add them, continue to cook until the potatoes and meat are fully cooked.
From there, add the chopped pimento olives and all of the seasonings. Just like that, you’ve got a delicious pan of picadillo. Best of luck with not eating the entire contents of the pan before assembling your Alcapurria and frying!
How to make the dough (masa)
While finding the ingredients to make the dough can feel like a journey in itself, making the dough for Alcapurria (also known as Masa) is actually quite simple.
Using a food processor helps process the dough and brings it all together in under 15 minutes.
Start by prepping the plantains and yucca. If you've never worked with yucca before, this video helped me learn how to peel and process the root easily.
Peel the veggies and chop into medium sized pieces before adding to your food processor and pulsing until a consistently smooth dough is formed.
Add in your seasonings before pulsing a few more times to incorporate.
Assembling the Alcapurrias
Cut out squares of parchment paper. One at a time, spray a square with nonstick cooking spray, add a ½ cup scoop of the masa dough and spread out flat with a spatula.
Next top with a few small spoonfuls of the picadillo filling, making sure to add a small enough amount that you have a few inches of dough around all edges of the filling.
Using the parchment paper to help you, carefully fold the masa over the dough, pinching the edges until fully sealed and no picadillo is visible. Continue this process until you’ve used all of your dough and/or filling.
Heat vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed, wide mouthed pan. Fry the Alcapurria at 350 degrees until dark golden brown on the outside. Cool on a paper towel lined plate and enjoy!
I’ve tested out freezing Alcapurria before frying a few times and I can confirm that this method will work 👍
The biggest difference to note when frying at room temperature vs. frying from frozen is that the cook time will vary.
Thankfully the picadillo meat is already fully cooked, so once the Masa appears golden brown, you’re good to pull them out and cool on a paper towel as usual.
Air fryer ideas
While I haven’t experimented with air frying these just yet, I’m pretty certain that it would be a bit of a mess due to the consistency of the dough.
I think the best approach to air frying your Alcapurria would be to freeze them first, and then air fry at around 375 until golden brown and crispy on the outside.