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Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas (Stuffed Potatoes)

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas – mashed potato croquettes stuffed with flavorful picadillo (ground beef hash). They are fried to golden perfection on the outside while still creamy on the inside. Meat and potatoes join together to form the perfect appetizer!

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas - mashed potato croquettes filled with picadillo (ground beef hash) and fried to golden perfection! | Kitchen Gidget

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas

Hey guys! I’m here with my monthly Puerto Rican recipe for you. And let me tell you…these fried potato croquettes are amazeballs. Like, literally.

Balls of mashed potatoes are filled with picadillo (a ground beef hash which is so flavorful it gives taco meat a run for its money), then fried until golden brown and crispy. They are probably my favorite Puerto Rican appetizer!

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas - mashed potato croquettes filled with picadillo (ground beef hash) and fried to golden perfection! | Kitchen Gidget

Puerto Rican papas rellenas, or rellenos de papa as they are called, have a bit of a story in my family history. I’ve told you before how I used to think I was Puerto Rican as a child, although I’m actually half Mexican [full story here]. There are many contributing factors to this misconception, among which are these potato croquettes.

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas - mashed potato croquettes filled with picadillo (ground beef hash) and fried to golden perfection! | Kitchen Gidget

Every year my family would attend the Mexican Festival in Milwaukee, WI. My mother would make a beeline past the mariachi bands, the jalapeño eating competition (and the grito contest!), the vendors selling street tacos and cerveza, and head straight for the Puerto Rican booth where they made these papa rellenas.

What the heck was a Puerto Rican stand was doing at a Mexican fiesta I’ll never know – but you can see my confusion, right?!

Well, one bite is all you need and those questions evaporate. Potatoes are my favorite food. I love them in any form, but fried potatoes are the best of the best by far. Paired with incredibly flavorful meat, it’s a combination that can’t be beat.

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas - mashed potato croquettes filled with picadillo (ground beef hash) and fried to golden perfection! | Kitchen Gidget

You can find my recipe for the picadillo filling here. *Do not add the diced potatoes called for in the recipe.* 

This recipe only uses half the amount of picadillo, so you can either use the leftovers in tacos or just make half a batch of meat. Or you can double the amount of mashed potatoes and have twice as many papas rellenas!

The trick to these croquettes is to mash the heck out of your potatoes so they turn gummy and pliable. Extra cornstarch helps combat any stickiness as well.

Adding an egg helps with binding, but if you’re able to knead the potatoes into a workable dough, the egg is not necessary. Eat them as is, or serve with my mayo-ketchup or garlic dipping oil.

As always, feel free to shoot me an email at kitchengidget@gmail.com if you have any questions or hit me up on Facebook!

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas - mashed potato croquettes filled with picadillo (ground beef hash) and fried to golden perfection! | Kitchen Gidget

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas - mashed potato croquettes filled with picadillo (ground beef hash) and fried to golden perfection! | Kitchen Gidget

Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas (Stuffed Potatoes)

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Mashed potatoes balls stuffed with picadillo (ground beef hash) and fried to golden perfection!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Peel potatoes and cut into uniformly sized chunks. Place in a pot and cover with water. Salt the water about (2 tablespoons). Boil until cooked through and easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes well and return to pot. Let any excess water evaporate. Mash with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, egg and butter.
  3. Flour your hands with cornstarch and flatten about 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes into a disk in the palm of your hand. Add a heaping tablespoon of picadillo to the center of the disk and bring the edges of the potato up and around the picadillo. Seal the edges and roll into a smooth ball. Repeat until all the potato has been used up, making sure to coat hands in cornstarch each time.
  4. Deep fry the balls in hot oil (about 350°F) about 5 minutes, turning as needed until they are golden brown all over. Serve plain or with mayoketchup or mojo de ajo for dipping, if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 106Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 77mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.

Did you make this recipe?

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Becky

Sunday 27th of December 2020

Made these because I could not remember everything,y mother did to hers. The potatoes were watery tasting, thin. I do remember mom using flour and not cornstarch. Toward the end of her life her rellenos would fall apart. She had dementia. These were good tasting and I did follow the potato cooking recipe. I’ll try again because these are a favorite!

Nicole

Friday 22nd of May 2020

These came out awesome! I added an extra egg and used arrowroot powder as I didn’t have corn starch. Tasted just like the ones we got in Puerto Rico!

Judy

Thursday 30th of April 2020

Hi, I am Puerto Rican and enjoy the foods that I cook. I cannot get certain foods to come out right, like the rellenos de papa. I make it fine but when it comes to frying I am a mess. They fall apart. I read in one of your replies to cook them frozen, but won’t that make it fall apart in the oil when it reaches a certain temp. Won’t it make the oil splash when you put the frozen potatoes balls in the oil. Please answer soon, thank you.

Rebekah

Thursday 30th of April 2020

Hi Judy! My tips for rellenos de papa is to drain the potatoes well after boiling. Excess water is usually the culprit if they are falling apart. Put them back in the pot and let the residual water evaporate (use low heat if needed). Definitely use the egg and my mom said 2 tablespoons of butter will help the texture as well. I've never tried freezing these before cooking, but others have commented that they do. I would try my tips first and I hope that helps.

Nicole

Sunday 12th of April 2020

Did not stay together completely fell apart based off other comments the egg should of not been optional the balls stuck together an we’re fine

Gloria

Friday 26th of June 2020

Potatoes must be completely cooled and your hands well floured to avoid stickiness.

Rebekah

Sunday 12th of April 2020

Sorry about that, thanks for the feedback on the eggs!

Jenelle

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

Are these like the potato balls you get from portos?? Because those ones are really yummy.

Rebekah

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

Yes! I've never had Porto's but I looked it up and it's the same thing. It looks like they roll theirs in panko bread crumbs before frying to make them crunchy. Not traditional but extra crispy is never bad in my book!