Pulpeta ~ Authentic Cuban Meatloaf

Pulpeta is the ultimate comfort food! This delicious Cuban meatloaf is made with three kinds of ground meat and a savory tomato sauce.

Pulpeta Meat Loaf Recipe Card
Pulpeta Meat Loaf Recipe Card
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Pulpeta or Meatloaf is a Cuban recipe where the meatloaf is stuffed with a hard-boiled egg then fried on the stovetop until it’s golden brown on all sides and then simmered in a Cuban creole sauce to perfection.

This is a Meat Lovers dish made with ground beef, ground pork, ground ham, smoked Spanish paprika, black pepper, oregano, garlic, salt, eggs, bread crumbs, and hard-boiled eggs. The meat and spices are mixed together and the hard-boiled egg place in the center.

The Pulpeta is simmered in a Cuban Creole Sauce made with olive oil, red bell pepper, onion, garlic minced, tomato sauce, dry white wine, salt, cumin, black pepper, and bay leaves. It makes a deep smokey sauce for the extraordinary meatloaf.

It can be a challenge to make meatloaf on the stovetop but if you are genital when turning and watch it closely, it can be done. Pulpeta is a traditional Cuban dish and is often served with simple homemade mashed potatoes (potatoes, milk, butter, salt, and a drizzle of good olive oil).

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Pulpeta (Cuban Meat Loaf) Recipe

Pulpeta (Cuban Meat Loaf) Recipe

Recipe Author : Mike Gonzalez
This meatloaf isn't cooked in the oven. It is fried on the stovetop until well browned or a golden crust forms, then it is simmered in a delicious creole sauce. It will also have hard boiled egg in the center.

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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Cuban
Servings 4 people


Ingredients for loaf

  • lbs. ground beef
  • lbs. ground pork
  • ½ lbs. ground ham
  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3-4 cloves garlic mashed to a paste
  • tsp salt to taste
  • 3 large eggs beaten or 4 regular ones
  • ½ cup bread crumbs or cracker meal
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs

Ingredients for Sauce

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper minced
  • 1 onion minced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1- 2 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • tsp black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

Garnish (optional)

  • cup sweet peas


  • Mix ground pork, ground beef, ground ham, with smoked sweet and hot Spanish paprika, black pepper, oregano, garlic, salt, eggs, and bread crumbs. Form into a loaf and cut open, filled with a hard-boiled egg.
    1½ lbs. ground beef, 1½ lbs. ground pork, ½ lbs. ground ham, 1 tbsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 3-4 cloves garlic, 1½ tsp salt, 3 large eggs beaten, ½ cup bread crumbs, 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • Let the meatloaf rest in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap or something for about 2 hours.
  • Now heat a large frying pan on high heat till really hot, lower to medium-high, kinda high but not super high, add a generous amount of olive oil in a large frying pan allow to heat till it barely smokes. Brown loaf carefully on all sides.
    ½ cup olive oil
  • When well browned set aside for later use.
  • In the same pan start forming your sauce. Sautee onions and bell peppers until onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat. Then add garlic and sautee until fragrant for another 1-2 minutes. Deglaze with wine, add tomato sauce, water, salt, cumin, and bay leaves bring to a boil.
    1 red bell pepper, 1 onion, 6-8 cloves garlic, 8 oz tomato sauce, ½ cup dry white wine, 1- 2 cup water, salt, 1 tsp cumin, 2 bay leaves, ⅓ tsp black pepper
  • Throw sauce in a deep pot and bring back to boil, add the browned meatloaf and spoon over the sauce. When the sauce is boiling cover and simmer on low for about 25 minutes.
  • Flip the loaf carefully to the other side spoon sauce over, simmer for an additional 25 minutes.
    ⅓ cup sweet peas
  • Transfer the loaf to a large plate and spoon on the peas and minced cilantro, and slice and serve. The remaining sauce is used to spoon over individual slices.


*Do your best not to make cracks or openings when browning loaf, because when simmering the meat this sounds gross but the scum or blood whatever is in the meat will clump and ooze out, if this happens scoop it out and remove.
*I know not everyone has access to sweet smoked Spanish paprika or hot smoked Spanish paprika. If you still want to make this just omit it and season with cumin, oregano, and black pepper it will still be delicious but just different. The way I made mine is I wanted it to taste like a cross between sweet savory ham and delicious smokey Spanish chorizo but you can season it however you want, let this recipe be for inspiration, make your own sauce, season the loaf your way, make it yours sometimes the best stuff comes out from experimentation.
*If frying 1 large loaf is intimidating or you don’t want such a large loaf you can make two small ones and fry both of them and simmer both together in the sauce.
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  1. […] Hispanic Food Network notes that there can be a smoky undertone to the sauce, perhaps somewhat reminiscent of BBQ sauce. Fresh parsley often acts as an herbal garnish to offset the sweetness. Traditional Cuban sides including fried plantains and rice are often paired with the dish. Pulpeta is also regularly served with another classic comfort food that’s enjoyed internationally: mashed potatoes. If you can imagine the delicious sauce as gravy, you’ll realize why this combination is so great. […]


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