Alcapurria Header

When I was a little girl my family was stationed in Georgia for several years and almost every year we would drive down to Florida to spend Christmas with my dad’s family.   My dad’s side of the family is a lively group and a lot of fun.  Every Christmas family and friends would pack into my Titi Denise’s house in preparation for the big Christmas Eve party.  She would spend hours in the kitchen preparing food for everyone.  One treat that I remember was alcapurria (Al-ka-poo-ree-ah), so warm and toasty.  I use to devour them when I was a kid.   Sadly though Titi Denise passed away unexpectedly about 6 years ago.   In remembrance of all the great Christmas Eve parties she hosted all those years I present you with the alcapurria.

Alcapurria is basically a fritter made of green bananas and yautia (taro root) and stuffed with meat.  I have also had them made with yucca (cassava root), which are extra tasty.  If you happen to find yourself in PuertoRico you can find them sold in the roadside kiosks and cuchifritos.  They are best enjoyed sitting on the beach drinking a nice cold malta.

Hold on this is a long post.

First you need 2 lbs of yautia (taro root) and 5 green bananas.  If the only green bananas you can find are very small, you may want to double up on the bananas.  I had to double up this time.


Make sure to give the yautia a good scrub, then peel with a potato peeler until you get to a clean white flesh.


Now peel your green bananas.  Peeling a green banana is much like peeling a plantain.  I recommend you wear some gloves though because they release a sticky sap when peeling them.


Grate the bananas and yautia using your food processor.  Mine was full up to the rim when I was done.


Change the blade on the food processor and puree mixture until dough like.  It may even turn into a ball in the food processor.


Add one envelope of very bright orange Sazon.  It is orange because it is Sazon con Achiote and the achiote is what makes it orange.


Add 1 tsp of table salt and 1 Tbs of melted cooled shortening.  I don’t have a picture because it was horribly blurry.  Like my 6 year old nephew took the picture.  That  is what happens when your lazy and don’t want to set up the tri-pod.


Finally add 1 Tbs of olive oil.


Mix everything together until well combined.  The dough should have an even orange tinge to it.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.


Now lets start on the filling.

Heat a large frying pan with 2 tbs of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute sofrito and onions until tranlucent.


Add diced cooking ham and cook for about 2 minutes.


Add 1/2 lb. of  ground meat to the pan.


Add the seasonings, 1/2 tps of dried oregano, 1/2 tps of Sazon with achiote, 1/2 tps of salt and 1/4 tps of black pepper.


Once the meat is nice and brown add 1/2 tsp of caper and;


8 chopped pimento stuffed olives.


Lower the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the meat for seasoning, add more if it needs it.  Don’t worry it is a wee bit on the salty side it will balance out once you assemble the alcapurria.  Set filling aside.



We have now jumped into a time warp and it is now 3 hours later or the next day.

Take a piece of foil and brush it with oil. You can also use wax paper or if you want to be real hardcore, a banana leaf.


Spread a heaping 1/4 cup of dough onto the foil.  I kind of padded it down like a patty.


Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center.  Be careful not to put in too much filling or it won’t close properly.


Fold over one side of the foil and;


roll it and press it, kind of like your rolling a sushi roll.


When you peel away the foil, finish shaping it and pinch the ends to seal.


Gently slide the alcapurria into the hot oil and let them cook for 5 – 7 minutes, or until a deep golden brown and firm to the touch.


Remove from oil and drain on paper towel lined plate.

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Eat to your hearts content but be careful it can be hot!

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What I really love about these is that almost every bite is different.  The first bite is always crunchy but mostly all dough, when you get to the filling it really starts to sing and when you get a little bit of olive it’s like a tangy little surprise.

If 15 is too many for you all at one time, you can assemble them wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them.  Next time you want one just thaw out and toss in the fryer.

Print Recipe

Alcapurrias (makes about 15)

Masa (dough)

  • 5 very green bananas (guineitos verdes)
  • 2 lbs of yautia (taro root)
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 packet of Sazon with achiote
  • 1 Tbs of melted cooled shortening
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
The guineitos release a sticky kind of sap when peeled that is hard to clean off.  When peeling the guineitos wear rubber gloves.
Cut the ends of the guineitos and score the peel lengthwise.  Using a small knife separate the skin from the banana and run your finger under the skin to remove peel. Clean yautia and scrub off any remaining dirt, peel with a potato peeler.  As you peel the guinetios and yautia place them in a large bowl of salted water.

Using a fine grater blade run the guineitos and yautia through the  food processor and then run again using the standard puree/chopping blade, you may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your food processor.  Process until smooth and dough like.  Transfer dough to plastic bowl, add the salt, Sazon and shortening and mix until well combined. Refrigerate for 3 hours or for best results overnight.

Picadillo (meat filling)

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 2 Tbs of sofrito
  • 1 ounce of jamón de cocinar (cooking ham, I have substituted Oscar Mayer smoked turkey sausage before)
  • 8 pimento stuffed olives (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp of alcaparras (capers)
  • 1/2 lb ground beef or pork
  • 1/2 tps of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tps of Sazon with achiote
  • 1/2 tps of salt
  • 1/4.tps of black pepper

Heat a large pan over medium high heat with 2 tbs. of olive oil, saute onions and sofrito.  Stir in cooking ham, olives and capers, allow to cook for about 2 minutes.  Add ground meat and remaining ingredients. Once browned stir well then cook at low heat for 15 minutes. Taste the meat for seasoning, add more salt if needed to taste.

Assembling & Frying

In a deep frying pan or large pot, heat 2 cups of vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Take a large piece of aluminum paper and brush with vegetable oil. Spread a heaping 1/4 cup of the dough onto the aluminum paper, making it into a kind of patty.  Place a tablespoon of the meat filling in the middle and flip one side of the dough over using the aluminum paper to cover the meat.  Squeeze it and roll it as if you were rolling sushi, pinch the ends to make sure they are sealed. Gently slide the alcapurria into the hot oil . Cook until a dark golden brown, about 5 – 7 minutes, it should be very firm to the touch. Drain on paper towel lined plate.


  1. kristin says

    Help! My masa fell apart in the oil :( got some of them to come out but wondering if oil wasn’t hot enough. Used a dutch over half filled with oil should I have used a deep fryer? My mass also didn’t look as firm as yours should I have processed longer? I worked SO HARD on these when they fell apart in the oil I wanted to cry!! My family is just happy I make all their PR food favorites but I want it to be perfect you know? Thanks so much!!

  2. Sandra D. says

    I love Alcapurrias this is how I make them except that I too use achiote oil. I also do not use the aluminum foil (in my opinion is to much work) I take a small plate (coffee saucer plate) and I put a little bit of oil on the plate and put the masa, flaten it and put in the meat then with the back of a small spoon I start shaping it (motions upward) until it closes. Then it slides right off to the hot oil.

  3. Nellie Villalpando says

    I recently moved in with my boyfriend who is puerto rican (I myself am mexican). OH BOY am i excited to have found your website with all of these amazing Recipes!!! Thanks so much your awesome!

  4. says

    I loved your recipe, and had a question about one ingredient, can I use plantains instead of the green banana?? Would it taste different with plantains? Does it taste better with green bananas only? Please advise.
    Thank you

    • Carmen Mekhail says

      It would taste different!!!! Green bananas usually are difficult to find but if you go to an international market most likely you will find them.

  5. Steve Rivera says

    Great Job!!!! You did it justice. I think even my 15 year old non-cooking daughter can follow these directions and come out with a great alcapuria!!!

  6. Chrissy Rivera says

    Thank you sooooo much! I am Italian and African-American, married to a TRUE Puerto Rican for 12 years. I have been asking my mother-in-law to show me for years how to make it! I woke up today and decided enough asking! I searched and found your WONDERFUL Blog! I compared other websites and fell in love with YOUR recipe! YOU ROCK! When I was finished with the Masa I actually started to CRY! It was a cry of being proud of my accomplishment! Thank you so much! It is going to feel so goood to tell my mother-in-law that I don’t need her recipe because I’ve got a BETTER one!!!
    Thank you and please continue to share your GREAT recipes with us!

    • says

      I am happy you found the recipe so helpful but I wouldn’t tell your mother-in-law that they are better than hers. You can give a few of them to her as a gift and let her find out for herself. 😀

      • Chrissy Rivera says

        We just ate some yesterday that I put in the freezer. Still sooooo goooood! Yes, a Christmas gift! PERFECT! Thank you AGAIN!

  7. says

    When you get the chance, you should try making them with just green banana (no yucca or yautía). It makes them super chewy and less greasy, and you wouldn’t need shortening to soften them.

  8. Odette says

    Thank you for your passion for cooking & sharing so many great recipes. I have the masa & the meat ready for the alcapurrias, and I’m about to follow the rest of the instructions. You are fabulous! God bless you!

    From Orlando, Florida.

  9. Maria says

    I made these 3 days ago and every one loved them. I will tell you this its a labor of love because i dont have a food processor and i hade to go old school with a gratter.
    lol .my daughter distracted me and my knukkles will never be the same again. but thank you again like I said my mom thought they where better than the restaurants.

  10. Jari says

    I love this recipe. I live in Puerto Rico and everytime I ask one of my aunts for the recipe they say “Nena, but that is sooo easy you just do this and that …” and by the end I’m totally lost… I needed it in writing!!!

    Same thing happens to me with Tembleque. Do you have the recipe?

  11. Bill Cologne says

    So I finally tried them today with great success! Yummy. The only issue I had was that the masa was just slightly raw on the inside. Any insights on why? Will try again and would like to improve them.

  12. Bill says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I have tried in the past and always came up with a mess. With the pictures I can’t fail! Will keep you posted on my attempt. Love your blog!!!!

  13. Aimee says

    Used to work with a great puertorrican who brougt all kinds of PR delicacies.. and oh boy!! ALCAPURRIAS so so good..goos job have to try them..

  14. Naomi G. says

    This has to be my #1 favorite from your website. I am so making these on the weekend. You know they should put you on food network. You are a chef and you don’t even know it yet.

  15. Giselle says

    Oh! And why do you have to cook the meat for 15 minutes? Does that make it softer and drier? Mine always seems tougher and wetter but I never cook it more once it’s browned, so I think that’s my problem.


    • says

      I let the meat cook at a low heat, covered for 15 mins. so it cooks in it’s juices and the flavors meld together.

      I buy all of my ingrediants for my PR dishes at Nam Hai at 21st and Garnett. It is a large asian market. They have almost everything you need, you just have to look for it.

      I have not tried mangu with bananas and to be honest I am not really a fan of it. I perfer mofongo.

      Hope this helps. 😀

  16. Giselle says

    Nice! Ok where do you get the yautia and the little green bananas? Have you been to Las Americas? Can I get those there?

    Have you ever tried to make mangu with the little green bananas? I had some mangu made with green bananas this summer in the DR when I went to visit and it tasted almost the same as with plantains, but it was creamier. I just didn’t know if they were special bananas or what.

    That’s probably a lot of questions in one post, but I need to know!! :)

  17. says

    Just LOVE alcapurrias!!! Hate what alcapurrias do to my behind…. Girl, to add color, you can prepared Achiote con manteca (o aceite). Instead of foil, use banana leaves or wax paper…

    MMM, ahora quiero alcapurrias!!!

    • says

      Yeah I bypassed the achiote con manteca and used sazon with achiote and just added the shortening and oil. I though it would be easier then having to wait for the achiote seed to infuse with the oil. The coveniance of prepackaged product is hard to pass up sometimes. 😀 Also I was out of wax paper and my banana leaves were frozen.

      I may need to work on planning ahead. 😀

      • Gisele Colletti says

        Me too!! Making them right now. I partially cheated…I grated the guineos & yautia by hand ( to my surprise I got no knuckles or fingernail in the mix) then put the masa in the food processor to finish…to get rid of the ‘shreds’ and make it smoother. I also cant tolerate MSG so no Sazon for me..I made the achiote oil instead. I’m sure it will be fine. Can’t wait to fry them up and devour them!!

        • Abby says

          Badia makes a Sazon without MSG. I use it all the time in my cooking and it works great. It is just a little grittier than the Goya brand. You can find them on Amazon.


  1. […] commonly used as a filling in roadside fried foods or frituras.   It is used to fill pastelillos, alcapurrias, and piononos. You can also serve it with a side of rice, if you […]

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