Bolivian Stuffed Potatoes (Rellenos de Papa)

Whether you're serving this as a main course, snack, or appetizer, these Bolivian-style Stuffed Potatoes or Rellenos de Papa will please your tastebuds in all possible ways. It's filled with seasoned ground beef, carrots, peas, and a slice of boiled egg, then wrapped in creamy mashed potatoes and served with a special Bolivian hot sauce - Llajua. What an explosion of flavors!

 Table of Contents

What are Bolivian-style Rellenos de Papa?
Why Should You Make This?
What Type of Potato is Best for Stuffed Mashed Potatoes?
Bolivian Stuffed Potatoes/Rellenos de Papa Ingredients
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the best way to mashed potatoes for rellenos de papa?
How hot does my oil have to be when frying papas rellenos?
My rellenos are breaking apart. What should I do?
Can I Bake These Stuffed Potatoes?
Make-Ahead Instructions
What to Serve with Rellenos de Papa?
More Potato Recipes to Enjoy

Halved Bolivian Stuffed Potatoes (Relleno de Papas)

Today we are taking a trip to Bolivia to discover one of the most traditional Latin American dishes. 

The Bolivian-style stuffed potatoes are well-known widely across the region and are served as a snack, appetizer or even as a main dish.

Let's be honest, though, who wouldn't want to fall in love with that kind of dish.

What are Bolivian-style Rellenos de Papa?

Bolivian stuffed potatoes are mashed potatoes filled with seasoned ground meat like beef, pork, chicken OR could be cheese, ham, boiled egg, shredded chicken, seafood, or vegetables. Once they are filled, they can either be fried or baked.

In cities like Cochabamba, the most common filling is ground beef or minced beef with boiled egg, which gives it a very special touch.

One bite of this mashed potato croquettes and you'll transport yourself to Bolivia!

Why Should You Make This?

Although stuffed potatoes are found in several Latin American countries, you don't want to miss out on this rellenos de papa Bolivia-style.

✔️ It's brimming with flavors.

✔️ It's a fun and easy dish to prepare.

✔️ Both the mashed potatoes and filling can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

✔️ You can make them into any size that works for you.

✔️ That Bolivian hot sauce paired with these mashed potato croquettes is everything!


What Type of Potato is Best for Stuffed Mashed Potatoes?

In Bolivia, as well as in many parts of the world, potatoes are one of the most consumed staple foods. They have become an essential part of the local cuisine due to their high nutritional value and flavor.

Therefore, stuffed potatoes can be found in most restaurants, bakeries, and street food stands. But why pay that much when you can make it at home?

Now I'm quite picky with the type of potatoes whenever I make rellenos de papa.

Russet potatoes are the best choice for this recipe. They are already flavorful even without the extras and are starchy enough to create their own binder even after they're mashed. The last part is very important as we want our stuffed potatoes to hold together during and after frying.

Rellenos de Papa Ingredients

Bolivian Stuffed Potatoes/Rellenos de Papa Ingredients

  • Potatoes - the star of the show. This time we're using Russet potatoes that are starchy enough for that creamy goodness taste while holding its shape together.
  • Ground Beef - often called minced beef, you may replace this meat with ground pork or chicken instead.
  • Oil - used to saute our ingredients to deep-fry the shaped rellenos de papa.
  • Garlic and Onion - adds that nice flavor and aroma to our meat filling
  • Bell Pepper - for added crunch and a touch of sweet spicy flavor.
  • Carrots and Peas - although optional, adding these vegetables - carrots and peas- make this popular snack/appetizer a complete meal on its own.
  • Olives - go for green olives if you want a lovely nutty flavor, and black if you want a mild and slightly flavor to your ground beef filling.
  • Eggs - just like these Argentinian empanadas, you can always add sliced hard-boiled eggs into your filling to make it more fitting for a king-like breakfast!
  • Salt, Oregano, and Pepper - to season our stuffed potatoes meat filling
  • Wheat Flour - is made from grinding up all parts of the grain. It serves as the base for our batter and provides structure for our fried stuffed potatoes. One of the best examples for wheat flour, which shouldn't be confused with whole wheat flour, is an all-purpose flour.
  • Egg - it serves as the binding agent for our batter.
  • Water - is used to achieve a soft sticky consistency for our batter.
  • Salt and Pepper - to season our batter separately

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What's the best way to mashed potatoes for rellenos de papa?

    Potato mashers often get a bad rap for leaving lumps which is a NO NO when it comes to making mashed potatoes.

    Well, the secret to achieving a creamy smooth-textured mashed potatoes is to be methodical with your mashing by getting into every corner of the pot or bowl while pressing and twisting the masher as you go. You may add a wee little amount of liquid as you mashed them.

    On the other hand, if you don't have a masher yet and are still planning to buy, I'd say go for a potato ricer instead. It's like a presser tool where you put a potato in a hopper and push it through small holes resulting in rice-like pieces, thus the name. This tool somehow produces a fluffier and smoother potato.

    How hot does my oil have to be when frying papas rellenos?

    I don't recommend heating up the oil while forming the rellenos. This will make you feel rushed resulting in messy-looking stuffed potatoes.

    Heating the oil after you assemble everything gives you enough time to prepare your working space for the last part which is dipping the potatoes in egg and wheat flour batter.

    To make sure that your oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of any leftover mashed potatoes mixture. If it floats onto the surface, then you're good to go.

    For those who want accurate numbers, the oil temperature should be between 350°F (177°C) to 375°F (190°C). Any lower than that will result in soggy rellenos, and higher than 375°F will result in burned rellenos while leaving the inside unheated.

    My rellenos are breaking apart. What should I do?

    There are a few other reasons why your rellenos could be breaking apart. Here's how to remedy them.

    1. Your oil isn't hot enough. Make sure you do the oil test before you start frying or check the instant-read thermometer if it reads between 350°F (177°C) to 375°F (190°C).

    2. You added too many eggs. If this happens, place your assembled rellenos de papas in a sheet pan and pop them in the fridge for about an hour. This should give them enough time to hold up well together. I know, It may be a little tempting sometimes to add in a few more of this and that, but if you follow the recipe to a T, you'll be good. 

    3. You're frying them in a crowded pan. One of the golden rules when deep-frying is never ever overcrowd your pan. Fry them in batches - about 1-2 depending on the size of your stuffed potatoes.

    Fried Rellenos de Papa  or Bolivian-style Stuffed Potatoes

    Can I Bake These Stuffed Potatoes?

    Yes, absolutely! If you want a healthier take on this recipe, feel free to bake them. What I'd do is to pop them in the fridge first to cool for about an hour. Then, take them out and brush with oil. Place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan (about half-an-inch apart), and bake them in a preheated oven at 450°F for 15-20 minutes.

    Make-Ahead Instructions

    I couldn't stress enough how handy this recipe is, especially when made a day in advance.

    To make this dish ahead of time...

    1. You can prepare the ground beef filling a day before, let it cool completely before storing it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

    2. You may assemble everything (except for dipping them in batter), and place them on lightly greased sheet pan. Pop them in the fridge up until 2-3 days. Or freeze them for about an hour or two until hard to touch. And then take them all out, transfer in a freezer-safe container and freeze the assembled rellenos de papa for up to 6 months.

    Stuffed Potatoes Relleno de Papa Topped with Llajua Sauce

    What to Serve with Rellenos de Papa?

    The best way to enjoy these delightful stuffed potatoes is with Bolivia's Llajua sauce; a spicy tomato-chili sauce (see recipe below) which is found at every food stall in Bolivia.

    But don't limit yourself to that.

    You may also serve these with mayo-ketchup sauce, salads (see this Tunisian Grilled Salad or this Peach Salad) or some pickled vegetables on the side.

    More Potato Recipes to Enjoy

    Can't get enough potatoes? You're going to love these other potato recipes as well...


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