Cuban Potato Balls (Papas Rellenas)

If there is one thing any respectable Southern Californian will tell you to do while in SoCal, it is to visit Porto’s Bakery. With three locations to choose from—Glendale, Burbank, and Downey—Porto’s is a family owned Cuban bakery that has been around since 1960. It not only specializes in a vast array of baked goods, decorated cakes, coffees and smoothies, but it also serves unique café items like sandwiches, soups and salads, all with a Cuban flare. Out of the many items they offer at Porto’s, one novelty stands out in particular. There is one item that any and all avid Porto’s fans will tell you is their favorite thing to eat. A must-try when you pay a visit to this jam-packed, always busy—line out the door—bakery. What is this treat that has everyone mystified and buying them by the dozen? Boxes and boxes filled to the brim with this Cuban delight? Ready to be eaten? Ready to be devoured? It’s Cuban potato balls. “Wait what? What’s that you just mentioned?” Yes. Cuban Potato Balls. Or Papas Rellenas if you feel like being authentic. Seasoned beef stuffed inside a ball of mashed potatoes. Breaded and fried until golden brown and crispy all around. It is so popular that the bakery even offers a sandwich filled with these treats.

Having been born and raised in Southern California, Porto’s was a staple in my household. Growing up, every birthday party or big event, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, my mom would go over to Porto’s and grab us a bunch of stuff. My sisters’ and I would always get a birthday cake from there. Of course until I got older, and started making our cakes myself. But as long as I can remember Porto’s was always there. It was part of my family. I grew up with it being a crucial component of my childhood. Fond memories of my mom and sisters and I having a good time playing games, watching movies, listening to music, eating potato balls. It became an expectation amongst the four of us. An expectation to always have Porto’s goodies present at our events. The events that meant so much to us. Some things gone unsaid, like papas rellenas. I continued to grow up and enjoy these treats all throughout my adolescence. Eventually getting a job at Porto’s my junior year of high school. Not because I loved these treats so much, I just had to work there, but because the culinary field was something I wanted to experience. I had gone there on a field trip, actually, for my culinary arts class and ended up getting a job before I walked out.

For two years I went to work, eager to learn as much as I could. Having started off with no experience whatsoever—they did not trust me to do much—so at the beginning for 8-10 hours I’d literally just put fruit on top of tarts. That’s all. I was a fruit placer. Yes, I just made up that title, but it’s one hundred percent accurate. That was the grand excitement of my day.Placing fruit on fruit tarts. My big culinary dream. Of course I eventually proved myself and after a few months, I was transferred to a different department and began learning how to decorate cakes. Which is where all my experience came from. The one thing that everyone always asked me was “Do you know how they make the potato balls?” Without fail. Without hesitation. “Do you know the recipe?” It was an instant reaction to my, “I work at Porto’s Bakery.” I always disappointed them when I said no. When I declared to them I did not know the secret. I could see their smiles fade fast. The truth was that I never was around or anywhere near that area. I decorated cakes, and I enjoyed it a lot more than frying potato balls all day that’s for sure.

I left there without ever knowing the recipe or even knowing the process of how these Cuban snacks are made. Even now when people find out I worked there, I still encounter the same exact questions. My sisters both love these treats so much that they’ve insisted I make them. Over the years I said I would, but never really did. As a surprise to them, I eventually came up with a recipe—a collaboration of research, various recipes, and Cuban knowledge—put together to create my own recipe. After taking a little from there, and a bit from here, I eventually found out that these, in fact, are very easy to make. The ingredients are simple and the process is not overwhelming at all. Sure some work can get tedious, like shaping the potato balls themselves or breading them, but granted I’m not making thousands of these on a daily basis like the bakery is. So it’s easy. With that said, if you’ve ever visited Porto’s before, then you know what I’m talking about. You’ll be delighted to see and taste the resemblance to the original. And if you’re not in California and have never tried these, or have never even seen or heard of these before, then you’re in for a nice surprise.

Shall we begin?

Here’s the starring cast:

We start off with the main ingredient in this dish.

The potatoes.

They’re the star attraction. The big deal.

The whole enchilada.

You’ll need about 4 giant, monster potatoes.

Or just 6 medium.

Or 8 small ones.

Depending on what you have available to you.

Give them a good peel.

Once peeled, cut the potatoes into a medium dice.

Start by slicing each potato in half, lengthwise.

You want them all relatively the same size, that way the potatoes cook evenly.


Dump the diced potatoes into a large pot.

You might notice that after you cut potatoes, they’re very starchy. And if you fill the pot with water, it’ll become white and milky.

Well, we do not want our potatoes to boil in white, milky, starchy water.

So give them a quick rinse with cold water, in the pot, and then just dump out the water.

Refill the pot with cold water.

Place a lid on it, because a watched pot never boils.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, remove the lid and allow to cook until the potatoes are fork tender.

What is fork tender you might ask? You stick a fork in the potato and if it goes in smoothly, then they’re done. That easy.

In the meantime, let’s get started on the filling.

Heat a large—heavy duty—pot over medium-high heat.

Drizzle in a bit of vegetable oil.

Or any other light colored oil, that won’t smoke up on you.

When the oil and pot are hot, throw in the ground sirloin. I’m using a 90/10 ground sirloin.

That’s 90 percent beef and 10 percent fat ratio, just in case you did not catch that.

You want a little bit of fat in the meat, so it renders and creates even more flavor.

Anyhow, where was I?

Oh yea, throw in the meat.

Using a wooden spoon, begin to breakdown the beef and allow it to brown.

Stir continuously to evenly brown and cook the meat.


 As the beef cooks and continues to brown, cut the veggies.

We start with an onion.

Peel the onion and cut it into large chunks.

So here’s the deal. This filling is best when the ingredients are finely, finely—did I mention finely?—chopped.

Now I do not know about you, but I’m not about to finely mince every ingredient by hand. I mean do not get me wrong, I like chopping. It’s a lot of fun, sure. But I do not like mincing things finely. Especially when there’s a lot to be cut.

My solution? The food processor.

Yep. Pulsing the onion in the food processor for a few will give you the right size. Plus it makes your job even easier.


Add the chopped onion to the pot of browned beef.

Give it a toss and allow the onions to brown as well.

Garlic time.

Grab two cloves.


I use a handheld grater to grate the garlic into the pot. Again, it’s all about making things easier for us.

Add it to the pot and give it a toss.

Next up, green bell peppers.

You’ll need two of them.

So grab two.

If you have an abnormal, giant green pepper, then just use one.

We’re going to do the same thing as we did with the onion.

Remove the stem and seeds and cut it into large chunks.

Cutting it into chunks helps the food processor mince the peppers.


One thing about using the food processor to cut the peppers, is that a lot of the moisture comes out. You’ll notice liquid in the bowl, and you do not want to add any liquid to the hot pot because it wont brown anymore, it’ll just steam.

So I like to drain out the liquid—using a small sieve—before adding it to the pot.

Once drained, add it to the pot.

Give it all a good toss.

You’ll also need two red bell peppers.

Or one abnormally large red bell pepper.

Do the same with the red peppers as you did with the green.


Drain these as well, before adding it to the pot.

Throw into the pot and give it another toss.

Let’s season this filling.

Add to the beef and veggie mixture (from back to front):

Worchestire Sauce



Black Pepper



Give it a stir.

And then add the juice of one lime.

Give it one final stir and cook for about 5 minutes longer.

Remove the pot from the heat.

And that’s the filling.

Allow it to cool completely.

In the meantime, the potatoes should be done by now.

Drain them.

Transfer the drained potatoes to a bowl and begin to mash.

Just mash away.

Be a mash master.

I do not even know what that means.


The only ingredients you’ll be adding to this, is a splash of milk and a dash of salt.

That’s it.

Do not add butter.

Do not add oil.

You want the potatoes to be semi-stiff. Not too runny or else you wont be able to form the potato into balls.

So a splash of hot milk and salt.


Mix the milk and salt into the mashed potatoes.

A fan complained that Piggy Wiggy has not made an appearance on the blog in a long time.

So, heeeeeeeeeeeeee’s back.

The potatoes should have this texture and consistency:

Stiff and not runny at all.

You want to be able to lift the potatoes and not have it fall from the spoon.

Allow the potatoes to cool as well.

Transfer the filling to a bowl, and let both the filling and mashed potatoes cool down before handling.

It’s best to let it cool down slightly, and then place it in the fridge for a half an hour. This will ensure that they both are very cold. It’ll make it easier to handle. Trust me.

Once the filling and potato mixture has cooled and are chilled, you are ready to start forming.

As with every other recipe, the thing that is going to make your life easier, is a medium ice cream scooper.

It’s a life saver.

This will ensure that all your potato balls are the exact same size. That way, you’re not guessing whether or not you measured out the correct amount of potato.

So believe me, a medium ice cream scoop is your best friend. It’s a multi-purpose tool.


These are the steps on how to form the potato balls:

Drop a scoop of the potato into the palm of your hand.

Flatten it out like a pancake, with an indentation in the middle, for the filling.

Then scoop about two teaspoons of filling in the center. Do not overfill as it will be difficult to wrap the potato around it.

Fold over the potato, around the filling.

Roll and shape into a ball.

Simple right? Super easy isn’t it? Did you get it?

No? Well, here are the picture steps for you.



It’s that easy.

So repeat these steps until all the filling and potato mixture is used up.

You can definitely make these smaller for bite-sized appetizers for parties.

Depending on the size, you’ll get about 25 potato balls.

The size I have here, gave me 25. Which is about a golf-ball size.

Repeat the process and place the potato balls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Once the potato balls are all formed, it’s time to coat them.

We start with the wet coating.


Crack about 2 eggs into a shallow dish.

You might need another egg later on. But to start off with 2 should be enough.

Throw in a splash of water and give it a whisk.


That’s the wet coating.

Now for the dry part. In another shallow dish add the bread crumbs. Just plain, dry bread crumbs. Not the season variety.

Add the flour, and give it a mix with your hand or fork or whisk or whatever you have close by.


Okay we’re now ready to drunk and dredge and coat the potato balls.

Drop one of the papas rellenas into the egg mixture.

Roll the potato around in the egg to fully coat.


Drop into the dry coating.

We’re going to double dredge the potatoes to make the crust crispier. Put back into the egg.

Turn around in the egg and then drop back into the dry mixture for the final coat.

Here’s the finished potato ball. Fully coated.

Continue—in this manner—with the rest of the potato balls.

Place the breaded potato balls back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Now that they are all coated, it’s time to chill them once again.

It’s best if you chill them overnight. But I know how hard all that waiting can be, so allow them to chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

This will allow them to firm up and not fall apart while they fry.

Place them in the fridge and forget about them for a while.

Or at this point you can freeze them and fry a few (or all) whenever your heart desires.

Once chilled, it’s frying time.

You could use a deep fryer, sure. If you have one.

I do not.

So I’m just using a pot.

Fill it up with oil.

Heat it over medium-high heat.

I’m using vegetable oil. You want something with a high smoke point so that it wont burn or smoke up on you.

When it comes to frying, and heating up oil, it’s hard to determine when the oil is ready. I’m often asked “How do you know when to start frying?”

Well, I like to do the “Sara Moulton test.”

What is the Sara Moulton test you ask?

Well thank you for asking.

The Sara Moulton test is when you put in a wood stick into the oil. Preferably the end of a wooden spoon. Do not go out and grab any ol’ wooden stick.

If the oil bubbles rapidly around the wooden handle, then it means the oil is ready.

It’s that simple. Easy test.

It’s called the Sara Moulton test because she taught me this trick. Well she did not personally teach me. I’ve never met Sara Moulton. She indirectly taught me through her television show. So there. Now it’s called the Sara Moulton frying test. I’m sure I’m the only one who calls it this. Now you can call it this too.

Anyhow, I digress.

Carefully drop a potato ball into the oil. Depending on the size of your pot or deep fryer, add about four. Do not overcrowd the pot or else the temperature of your oil will drop and then your potatoes wont fry evenly.


Allow the potatoes to fry for about 3-5 minutes or until golden brown on the outside. Turning occasionally using a slotted spoon, to evenly brown.



When the potato balls are done—golden brown and crispy—drain off the excess oil and place them on a paper towel lined plate. This will soak up any remaining oil.

Place the fried potato balls on a cooling rack that is placed on top of a baking sheet. This will make warming up and re-heating a lot easier and keep them from getting soggy.

Now that all the potato balls are fried, they’re ready to be eaten.

Dig in.

Eat as many as you’d like.

I have to warn you, once you start you might not be able to stop.

These are the perfect appetizer for any gathering. It wouldn’t be a family celebration at my house, without them.

And you can easily make these vegetarian. Just sauté the veggies, and omit the beef.


 You can also swap out the beef for another protein, like chicken or pork, if you’d prefer.

My mom suggests shrimp, so you can also do that too.


These can easily be made ahead with two options.

A) You can bread them all and freeze them. Then just fry the amount you want to eat at any given time.

B) You can also, fry them all. Let them cool, and pop them in the fridge. Just warm them in the oven when ready to serve or right before your party.

And that’s it. We’re done.

I’d like to take this moment—right here, right now—to disclose the fact that these are very very addicting. I practically ate the whole batch. By. Myself.

Okay, I’m sorta, kinda, maybe, exaggerating. But I did eat a lot of them.


  1. avatarLennie says

    Love the pictures! I’m Puerto Rican and we also eat these delicious treats. They’re sold on the street in NYC or at cuchifrito spots. The recipe is very close except cilantro (or recaito, similar to sofrito) is usually added to the meat mixture along with chopped green olives. Also some people color and flavor the mashed potato with annato oil. Maybe something you can try in the future! I’ve always been too intimidated to make them at home but these pictures inspire me :)

    • avatar says

      Thanks Lennie, I will definitely try it with your suggestions! I love cilantro and green olives! And the annato oil would be an awesome addition. I’m glad the pictures inspired you. I think you should make them! They’re sure fun to make!

  2. avatar says

    These are such wonderful and flavorful savory treats to try. I love the mix of familiar and homey flavors. Your step by step procedure will really be helpful. And the pictures are so vibrant!
    Anyhoo, we have just recently launched a food photo submission site, that allows you to showcase all your great work and share it with all of our visitors. Your phenomenal photos have caught our attention. We’d be proud to have your work as part of our growing collection to continue to have a larger reach and further inspire all fellow food lovers out there! (sorry for the blatant shameless plug)!

  3. avatarAdrianna says

    What a fun read! Thank you for sharing. I was looking for something to serve at tonight’s gathering. This is perfect!

  4. avatarDeanna says

    Oh my gosh – I’m gonna try making these tmo. I go to the Portos in Burbank and I always get their potato balls, cheese rolls and of course, their guava and cheese roll! Mmmm Mmmm!!! I’m so excited to have the potato ball recipe!! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!!! =)

    • avatar says

      Yes please make them! Let me know how they turn out. I worked at the burbank location. My mom loves the guava and cheese rolls. You’re very welcome! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  5. avatar says

    This is an amazing recipe. I’m really sad I can’t add it to my food pintrest to save for later :( Perhaps you might consider making one poster image from your recipes available to pin for folks who it as a sort of visual bookmark system?

    Either way, I look forward to making these, yum!

    • avatar says

      Thank you very much! Oh, does the pinterest button at the end of the post not work? I just tried it and it seemed to work for me. It pins the first image. Let me know if it doesn’t, and I’ll fix it :)

    • avatar says

      I do not think it will work. The bread crumbs wouldn’t get brown and crispy all over in the oven. But if you’re not a fan of deep frying, you can shallow pan fry them. Just flip them over and cook on both sides :)

  6. avatarJennifer says

    Excited to try this recipe over the weekend. I tried pinning this to my Pinterest account, but I think your photo settings are on private so I wasn’t able to pin this to my food board so I just bookmarked it instead

    • avatar says

      Thank you! I don’t know why it isn’t working. I just tried it and it seemed to work. I’ll look into it, thank you for mentioning it. I hope you try it soon!

  7. avatarEllen says

    So excited to try this! I love Porto’s but is there a substitute for the worchestire sauce or can I just omit it?

  8. avatarKyotopearl says

    Thank you so much for taking the time out to post the blog. I wish all recipes are made like this:) So fun, easy and interesting to follow. So glad I stumbled on your page!

    • avatar says

      Thank you very much for stopping by and reading the blog! I’m very happy to hear that you enjoy it! I’m glad you stumbled upon it as well! I hope you continue to visit!

  9. avatarJill says

    GREAT blog!! Very detailed! Loved the pictures! I’m a visual learner so those pictures help. Can’t wait to make my own Portos potato balls. Thanks!!!

    • avatar says

      Thank you so much Jill. I’m happy to hear that you enjoy the blog and even more happy to hear that the pictures help! I hope you try the recipe soon!

  10. avatarChrissy says

    Hi there! Thank you so much for posting this recipe!! It was very easy to follow and fun. However, my boyfriend and I tried this recipe this weekend and our potato balls are a bit bland. They’re close, but just not quite as flavorful as the ones from Porto’s. Is there anything we might have missed? We followed the recipe exactly with no substitutions!

    • avatarPetros says

      May sound risky, but try doubling the amount of meat seasoning if you’re starting off with 1lb of beef?

      I just made this with my family and we had only half a pound of beef but I used the specified amount of seasonings. What can I say, I rather risked it being too flavorful than bland and it turned out quite delicious!

      Two thumbs up Jonathan, thanks for the recipe!

      • avatar says

        Thank you for the suggestion Petros! Definitely doubling the spices will do the trick!!

        I’m happy you tried out the recipe and happy you enjoyed it!

  11. avatarSandra B. says

    Just wondering about the amount of the seasonings? I usually wing it with things I know how to cook, but I want to do this right, especially since there seem to be a lot of steps. :) My sis and I are obsessed with Porto’s ….she is the lucky one and lives nearby one!

  12. avatarSandra B. says

    Wow, guess who didn’t look far enough down the page to see the actual recipe in its entirety…amounts of seasonings included??? Duh. That would be me. I was so enthralled by the pictures and daydreaming about actually eating these that I missed it completely! Ha!

  13. avatarJenni says

    This is great! I’m obsessed with Portos potato balls and I was just thinking to myself I would love to try and make this. I just found your blog today. Can’t wait to try this! Thank you.

  14. avatarAshlei says

    Oh. My. Gosh. My sister used to live in Pasadena, and everytime I visited, Porto’s was a must. I have craved and dreamed of these since the first time I tried them. Then my sister did the unthinkable: she moved. And although I’ve been tempted, flying half way across the country for potato balls is a little silly. I cannot wait to try these out tomorrow (they’re in the fridge now)! Thank you a million times over for saving me a trip to California :)

    • avatar says

      Haha! I’m so happy you found my site then! Saves you a whole entire trip! I hope you give these a try and let me know how you like them! Thank you for stopping by!

    • avatar says

      Thank you for trying out the recipe! You can substitute the bread crumbs for panko bread crumbs instead. Just crunch them up a bit more. That should do the trick!

  15. avatar says

    Thank you for trying out the recipe! You can substitute the bread crumbs for panko bread crumbs instead. Just crunch them up a bit more. That should do the trick!

  16. avatarGel says

    My hubby woke me up this morning as I was dreaming about sitting in the Burbank cafe about to dig into a delicious Porto’s potato ball. I was quickly disappointed and I literally cried when I realized that we’ve moved to The Bay Area and can no longer walk a few blocks to satisfy my preggo belly cravings. I am DEFINITELY going to have try out this recipe. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  17. avatarVickie says

    Ate these at the Porto’s in Glendale a couple of years ago, been dreaming about them since then. Thank you. I can hardly wait to make them!

  18. avatarRamiro says

    I am trying the same recipe today but with mashed ñame, which has a firmer texture. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. avatarnicole says

    Hi your patatoes looks so delicious! Can I don’t put the green and red pepper as I afraid it will be spicy for my 2-years old son. I saw your pictures of the oregano, is it a dried oregano leaves or can I use grounded oregano? For the black pepper, can I use grounded black pepper? Your black pepper lokes like a coarsed black pepper.

    • avatar says

      Hello! Thank you so much. You definitely can omit the green and red peppers. Although green and red bell peppers aren’t spicy at all, I actually find them to be sweet. But some people might find them spicy so I’d just leave them out to be on the safe side. I use dried oregano leaves that I crushed, but you can certainly use ground, I would just use half as much of the ground oregano as it tends to be more potent. I freshly ground my pepper to be course but yes you can use the grounded black pepper instead. I hope this helps! Let me know what you think!

  20. avatarMelissa Diaz says

    After toiling over the forming of the potato balls for what seemed like forever I had an ingenious idea! I dug the lemon/lime handheld squeezer out of the drawer, lined it with plastic wrap and used it to form the potato balls, filled them with the picadillo and closed them off.

  21. avatarDonald says

    I used to get something like these is South Florida. I have to admit, the ones I had, sold by a food truck guy who was Cuban, didn’t have the added veggies inside, just the ground beef. Still, very addictive!

    I am itching to try out the above recipe as I haven’t lived in South Florida since Hurricane Andrew and miss those “Papas” as he used to simply call them, “papas” being Spanish for potato (those were also the size of a small hard base ball). However, the added veggies inside makes my mouth water at the thought.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • avatarDonald says

      Just made the Papas, and I’ll admit this, the sizes of your papas must have been different from the ones I used to eat long ago. I tried to make golf ball sized papas, but they ended up closer to the size I used to eat. Oh well.
      Also, the amount of filling was twice what I thought it should be… I made a bakers dozen instead of the 25, yet I still had about half the filling remaining (If I made them any smaller, I would have added less filling and thus still would have been left with leftover filling).
      I can’t eat beef so I substituted boneless chicken breasts instead (which you said was fine, but you didnt say how to deviate for that). So, I used a fork to shred the chicken and cut up further where possible.
      I also didn’t use any cumin. Seriously? That stuff is VERY expensive ($9/little can). So I hope it doesn’t turn out badly for lack of it. The rest of the spices I had on hand already.
      Also, I can’t find parchment in the stores. I know what it is because my mom used to cook a lot and used the stuff. I asked at the food store and they said they just simply don’t stock it anymore… In a pinch I used wax paper and froze them to cook on the weekend. I’m sure that shouldn’t change the taste.
      I’ll update to let you know how well it turned out.

      • avatarDonald says

        A couple of hits and misses, mostly “my faults”.
        I can see more filling should have been added, though honestly, I don’t see how and still use less potato… I guess that is a skill set that comes with experience.
        I used a little more milk than you suggested. The potato was too crumbly without it. I tried to add sparingly until the right stickiness was achieved, but the potato came out, from my memory of the ones I had, too moist. The ones I had many years ago were more firmer and dry.
        I think I did something wrong with the peppers. Some of them had a delightful zest flavor but they enhanced the flavor and experience. Others nearly bit off my tongue! XD I am guessing that maybe I didn’t cook them long enough with the other ingredients or maybe it was my not using the cumin…

        However, it was not a disaster, but merely things I am noting that are my own fault. they were indeed edible and I plan on making them again and seeing if I can’t correct some of these nuance issues.

        I can’t thank you enough for posting this recipe!

        Now all I have to do is find a “snicker doodle” recipe that makes a cookie like a recipe I had when I was 10. The Cookie Book (c1974), that I got through my school, seemed to have small nuance differences than most recipes I find today don’t agree with.
        Water differences supposedly are what make or break most pizza recipes, so perhaps something similar is whats wrong with the snicker doodle recipes I have tried lately.

  22. avatar says

    Thanks for the recipe! Just made some for my fam & it was a success! Appreciate the tips with freezing the potato balls before frying and the Sara Moulton test! =) Definitely worked!

  23. avatarTiffany says

    I gave these a try today and now I’m in the horrible process of chilling them for 3 hours! Why is that part always so hard?! I’ll let you know how they turn out, but after sneaking a taste of the meat mixture, I think we may just put Porto’s out of business with your recipe! Your pictures made this so simple to follow. Thank you for sharing your great talent with the world!

  24. avatarvianice Ng says

    Hi… I made this few months ago n the taste is fantastic. I dipped it with mayonise sauce which is perfect. I changed the meat to minched pork. My 2 year’s old son who is picky on food surprisingly likes it. Normally he don’t take any vegetables or meat, only flour stuffs like noodles. Thanks for the great recipe. I bought some prawns today n intending to make this potatoes balls with the prawn filings. Hope it will be nice. Maybe I should replace the green n red peppers with diced carrots. Yummy!

  25. avatarRegina says

    I am making these right now, my husband from ho
    mestead florida and these are sold every where now that we live in Kentucky he has been wanting them so this is the easiest recipe I ever tried Ill let you all know how they come out

  26. avatarregina says

    they turned out perfect but just a hint you have to let your potatoes cool completely wish I could post a pic

  27. avatarNina dee says

    I tried this recipe but the potatoes fell apart on me when I fried them! Anyone knows what I could have done wrong??

  28. avatarAnnette says

    I failed miserably at this recipe xD ! But it was just my first time , hopefully next time they will come out better. Practice makes perfect :) thanks for the recipe , great explanations.

    • avatar says

      I’m always the first to say that practice makes perfect. We all go through kitchen disasters, even myself! The trick is to not give up and continue on your quest! The next time will be even better, I promise!

  29. avataradelina says

    So the first time i ever tried anything like this was at a place called Porto’s in California and they were amazing and my boyfriend was saying he wants to try to make them when we get back home. To my surprise i found this recipe and i had to give them a try. Turned out amazing! You made it so easy to make these. My boyfriend loved them and said they taste just like the ones at Porto’s.

  30. avatarMercedes says

    Jonathan, I’d love to make these for the upcoming holidays but are time consuming. Can I make them in advance and freeze them before frying? And if so, do I need to thaw them then fry or can I fry right out of the freezer?

    • avatar says

      These are perfect for the upcoming holidays! You can definitely make them in advance and just keep them in the freezer. No need to thaw before frying. I actually prefer frying them frozen as I find that they hold better. The heat from the oil will warm them through! Good luck!

    • avatar says

      Thank you so much. I’ve tried baking them before and trying to change it up to accommodate baking but unfortunately it just doesn’t work out. They don’t brown, crisp or hold in the oven.

  31. avatarKristine says

    I just finished making these. A lot of the balls *exploded* while cooking in the oil. Have you experienced this? Any idea what I did wrong and what I can do next time so that it doesn’t happen again?

  32. avatarApple says

    Oh my god I love these! I’m from WI and the only place that has these is a middle eastern restaurant I usually go to. I want to make them but don’t have any bread crumbs within reach, can you suggest any substitute for it?!

  33. avatarAnnie says

    I’m a Cuban and I think you did a great job. My mom used to cook these at home when I was younger. As I’m so far away from my love ones, it is hard to call my mom for the recipe so I found you and all your instructions and my papas rellenas came out really good. I have made some changes in the seasoning for the ground meat AKA in my homeland PICADILLO and still came out pretty good. Thanks so much for sharing and I will be bookmarking these page in case I need to come back.

  34. avatarBianca says

    I made these, my family loved them I also took photos they look as good as they taste! Thank you so much for these easy to use instructions.

  35. avatarJ.R. says

    Yours is by far the best example of how to prepare these delightful little balls of joy. I haven’t been able to get to Porto’s in over a year and I have been going through some serious withdraws. I’m glad i found this. Thank you!!

  36. avatarPaulina says

    it reminds me a little dish from Poland called “pyzy”. it is basically the same recipe. you put raw meat (but without pepper) in mashed patato. we do not fry it – we cook it in water and serve with fried onion and bacon. your version looks delicious too!

  37. avatarNina says

    I saw this recipe on a tv show and they added a Cuban ranchero sauce on top of it and it looked delicious. Do you have the recipe for this sauce? It was red so I’m assuming it was tomato based.

  38. avatar says

    Looks magnificent! I recently tried the potato balls from Portos for the first time. OMG, Thank you for posting this detailed recipe with pictures to boot. I have family coming in from out of town and trying them out this week. Yeah.

  39. avatarb says

    Just finished making 2 batches for thanksgiving. Froze all but 4 to test fry & my husband, brothers, & their friends halved them & said it was delicious! Incredible recipe. Thank you so much!

  40. avatarjohn b. says

    Just want to say thank you for this amazing recipe! I tried making them and it’s delicious. I didn’t have any worchestire sauce so I ended up using A-1 sauce haha.. It’s still good tho. 😀

  41. avatar says

    Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks for the recipe, I have tried it but used chicken instead beef, but still delicious.
    I have posted the recipe on my blog (Indonesian blog) and link back to the candid appetite.
    Really glad I found your blog, you have bunch delicious recipes here with step by step and good looking photos.
    I have bookmarked some pages of yours. Couldn’t wait to try your beef and potato empanadas and idaho potato chicken pot pie…

    Thanks again for sharing.

  42. avatarmoly says

    I tried deep flying the balls in a skillet instead of a deep fryer and my potatoes kept breaking apart. Does anyone know how to keep the potatoes in tact while frying? Please help! thanks

  43. avatar says

    Question….why don’t you want to add a little butter to the cooked potatoes when you mash them? I’m making this recipe a couple days ahead of time, and just goofed and added butter, not knowing you couldn’t do that. Why is that?

  44. avatarKevin K says

    I was flew down to SoCal today on business, we flew into Burbank. After we were done we stopped at Porto’s for the first time to grab lunch. While standing in line to order I saw the potato balls in the display counter. Grabbed my phone and Googled potato balls. Your site was the first one that came up, so I checked it out. I then ordered 2 potato balls to go with my sandwich. If I had known how good they were, I would have just had these for lunch. I’m hooked and looking forward to making your recipe. Thanks!

  45. avatarEllie Nau says

    i LOVE how you explained this. With almost all the recipes I have seen in the past, I have secretly wished there would be more explanation and pictures (I’m just that kind of person). I love that you went the extra mile for us! It helps to guide me to make them just like your perfect papas! Thank you

  46. avatar says

    I’ve never made these but I lived in Tampa for 10 years and I sure ate a lot of them. I can’t wait to give it a try. I have been craving them for20 years now. Too long. THANKS

  47. avatarMarwa Ghannoum says

    I made these yesterday—-Perfection! The potato melted in your mouth, and the boost of flavour from the meat mixture was honestly to die for! Made about 26 of these babies for a family dinner and they went in no time! Thank you!!!!

  48. avatarJabzoo says

    Your pictures and descriptions are the best!!!! Can’t wait to try these. I also was brought up on Portos….


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