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Nena's Papas Rellenas Recipe

Nena's Papas Rellenas Recipe

A Cuban classic, these satisfying, crispy-coated potato balls are filled with a savory ground beef mixture known as picadillo. —Nena Linares, Los Angeles, California
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. Cook: 5 min./batch YIELD:10 servings


  • 2-1/2 pounds potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 small green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives with pimientos
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Oil for deep-fat frying


  • 1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
  • 2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, olives, raisins, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and paprika; heat through.
  • 3. Drain potatoes; mash with garlic powder and remaining salt and pepper. Shape 2 tablespoons potatoes into a patty; place a heaping tablespoonful of filling in the center. Shape potatoes around filling, forming a ball. Repeat.
  • 4. Place eggs and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip potato balls in the eggs, then roll in bread crumbs. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry potato balls, a few at a time, for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Recipe Note

Editor's Note: Instead of frying the papas rellenas, you may place them on baking sheets and bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional Facts

3 each: 224 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 71mg cholesterol, 615mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 2g fiber), 13g protein.

Reviews for Nena's Papas Rellenas

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Reviewed Jun. 23, 2017


Reviewed Jun. 7, 2011

"This recipe was very good and easy to make just a little time consuming. The only thing I would do is add a little more spice, I'm going to have to play around with it by maybe adding more paprika or a jalapeno pepper. But overall a big hit!!"

Reviewed May. 25, 2011

"it was easy to make and tasted great; all it needs is a good salsa reciepe to go with it"

Reviewed May. 8, 2011

"I loved the meat filling on these, but had some trouble shaping the balls and then getting them to hold together in the fryer. I would probably use this meat filling recipe but put it in empanadas instead."

Reviewed Feb. 4, 2011

"The recipe is very percise and my husband loved it. I used plastic wrap to flatten the mashed potato and to roll it arount the meat."

Reviewed Jan. 26, 2011

"My mom made these for us while growing up, I made them for my family. They are great if served as an appetizer or main dish..."

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