Colombian Papas Rellenas (Potato Turnovers)

Colombian papas rellenas (stuffed potatoes) are one of the most popular appetizers in Colombia. Why? First of all because they’re fried. Secondly, because they’re stuffed with a guiso (seasoned sauce) very similar to hogao, and if you read my hogao post, you will know that it’s something very special to most Colombians. Thirdly, because they’re made with potatoes and what Colombian doesn’t like potatoes? And last, because they’re fried, I know that I had already mentioned this earlier, but eating and frying food in Colombia is almost like an olympic event.


These potatoes are very similar to the Colombian empanadas (which are also fried) and are sold everywhere. The best part is that you can enjoy them either hot or cold and the flavor stays the same because the potatoes don’t lose a lot of their texture, unlike the cornmeal used for the empanadas. The best way to serve them is with a side of Colombian hot sauce or Colombian green hot sauce, but I personally love them when I serve them with guacamole.

Many of you had asked me for this recipe and since I usually don’t make or eat fry food at home, I had not been able to make them until I recently had the urge and finally made them. I even forgot how delicious they were. I hope you enjoy it.

¡Buen Provecho!

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Papas Rellenas (Stuffed Potatoes)

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  • Yield: 8-10 potatoes 1x




  • 6 medium russet potatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • Water (enough to cover the potatoes)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup seedless tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green onions (white part only), chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 packet Sazón Goya (you can also use 1 tsp Triguisar, food coloring, achiote powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ lb lean ground beef
  • 1 boiled egg, chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup cooked white rice (optional)


  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying (vegetable, canola, corn)


  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes. Put them in a pot, cover them with enough water and add salt. Cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes on medium heat or until soft.
  2. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and put them back on the stove for about 1 minute to evaporate the excess liquid. Then put them in a large container and mash them. Set them aside to let them cool. Once cooled, knead them with your hand to make a smooth dough.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan, add the tomatoes, green onion and garlic and cook on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until the they soften. Add the ground cumin, the Sazón, and salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  4. Add the ground beef to the cooked tomatoes and break it up with the help of a spatula. Cook the meat thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary.
  5. To make the stuffed potatoes with eggs and rice (optional): Mix half of the amount of ground beef with the boiled egg and cooked rice.
  6. To make regular potatoes, place a small ball of potato in the center of a tortilla press covered with plastic and press to flatten it. You can also place it between two pieces of plastic and flatten it with the bottom of a small saucepan, a dish or even your hands.
  7. Add two tablespoons of filling to the flattened potato mixture and close it with the help of the plastic bag making sure all the filling stays inside. Finish rounding up the dough with the help of your hands until you end up with a perfect ball. Repeat this process until you run out of potato and/or filling.
  8. In a small bowl beat the eggs with the flour and salt.
  9. Carefully cover each ball with the batter and fry in enough oil at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove them from the oil and let them drain on paper towels.
  10. Serve them hot or cold with Colombian hot sauce.

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  1. Hola Diana, te escribo desde las Islas Canarias (España), hace poco que he descubierto tu blog y me encanta tanto tus recetas como tus vídeos con las explicaciones de como realizarlas. La semana pasada hice tu receta de tortitas o pancakes y me resultaron deliciosas, y hoy me he atrevido con tus papas rellenas y han sido todo un éxito. Seguiré probando más recetas tuyas. Muchas gracias y saludos.

    1. ¡Gracias por hacer la receta de los pancakes!!! A nosotros nos encanta porque quedan esponjosos y con muy buen sabor. Espero que las papas rellenas te queden deliciosas, me cuentas cómo te quedaron. =)

  2. I tried this and it was a disaster. Everything went fine until it was time to fry. Then it all fell apart – literally. The potatoes never really “fried”.

    1. That’s too bad, Dave. I never ever have any issues. The only things I can think of is that you probably didn’t use enough potato to make the outer shell and it came out too thin… OR, the oil was too hot and it completely fell apart as soon as you put it in the oil.

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