Pulpeta (Cuban Meat Loaf) Recipe: Savory and Delicious with a Unique Cooking Technique

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
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Pulpeta, or Cuban Meat Loaf, is a flavorful and savory Cuban dish that is sure to become a favorite in your kitchen. Unlike traditional meatloaf, this dish is fried on the stovetop until a golden crust forms and then simmered in a delicious creole sauce. The dish is also stuffed with hard-boiled eggs, which adds a unique and tasty twist.

To make this dish, you will need ground beef, ground pork, and ground ham, along with a variety of spices such as smoked paprika, black pepper, and oregano. The mixture is then formed into a loaf and stuffed with hard-boiled eggs. After resting in the refrigerator for two hours, the meatloaf is fried until well-browned and then simmered in a flavorful creole sauce made with garlic, onion, bell pepper, tomato sauce, and white wine.

One of the unique aspects of this recipe is the cooking technique. By frying the meatloaf on the stovetop and then simmering it in the sauce, the meat stays moist and flavorful, with a crispy and flavorful exterior. The addition of hard-boiled eggs inside the loaf also adds a rich and creamy texture, which pairs perfectly with the bold and savory flavors of the meat and sauce.

While this recipe may seem complex, it is actually quite easy to make. The key is to take your time and let the meatloaf rest in the refrigerator before frying, which allows the flavors to meld together. The creole sauce is also simple to make, with just a few ingredients that come together to create a rich and flavorful sauce.

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If you are looking to add a unique and delicious main dish to your dinner rotation, Pulpeta is definitely worth a try. The savory and bold flavors of this dish, along with the unique cooking technique, make it a standout recipe that is sure to impress your family and friends. Serve it with your favorite sides, such as rice and beans or a fresh salad, for a satisfying and delicious meal.

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Pulpeta (Cuban Meat Loaf) Recipe

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.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 4 people
Author Mike Gonzalez


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. […]

  2. “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.”

    genital?! Foodsafe would never allow that!! I’m certain you meant to say “gentle”. But you gave me my laugh for the day.


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