Llapingachos or Ecuadorian stuffed potato patties

Llapingachos are an Ecuadorian dish of potato patties or thick potato pancakes stuffed with cheese and cooked on a hot griddle until crispy. Llapingachos, also called yapingachos, are typically served as a side dish for many Ecuadorian main courses. Llapingachos also make a great breakfast or brunch dish, and can be served on their own as an appetizer or even as a full meal accompanied by a tasty peanut sauce or salsa de mani, fried egg, chorizo style sausages, pickled onion and tomato salad, some lettuce, avocado slices and aji criollo hot sauce.

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The ingredients below should make about 12 medium sized llapingachos; you can make the patties smaller if you are serving them as appetizers.

Llapingachos or Ecuadorian stuffed potato patties
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Yield: ~ 12 medium sized llapingachos

Llapingachos or Ecuadorian stuffed potato patties

Llapingachos are potato patties or pancakes stuffed with cheese, cooked on a hot griddle until crispy brown and served with peanut sauce, fried egg, tomato and onion curtido, avocado slices and hot sauce.



  1. Boil the potatoes until soft.
  2. Heat the oil over medium high heat to make a refrito, add the onions and achiote, cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Mash the potatoes, mix in the onion refrito and salt to taste.
  4. Cover the potato dough and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.
  5. Make small golf size balls with the potato dough.
  6. Make a hole in the middle of each ball and fill with the grated or crumbled cheese.
  7. Shape the dough into thick patties and let rest in the refrigerator for about ½ to 1 hour.
  8. Cook the patties on a hot griddle until browned on each side, be careful when turning them as they will be very delicate.
  9. Serve with a fried egg, peanut sauce, tomato and onion curtido, avocado slices and hot sauce.

 Llapingachos or yapingachos potato patties

These potato patties can be a little bit “tricky” to make (to quote my 5 year old), but I have a few tips from having failed to get them right several times that can help make the preparation relatively easy. And of course the more you make them, the better you become at getting them just right. First of all, the type of potatoes that are used are very important, I tried making them with Yukon gold potatoes and it wasn’t working out, the flavors were great, but the consistency was just too soft. So, I recommend using Russet potatoes or a potato that is very starchy. Next, let the potato mixture rest for at least an hour before making the patties. When preparing the patties and filling them with cheese, make sure the cheese is stuffed well enough to keep it from seeping through to the surface; if not it will burning during the cooking process. Once the patties are formed, let them also rest for at least 30 minutes.

Finally, when cooking the llapingachos, try to avoid using any oil or grease, this will help prevent them from breaking up. It helps to use a griddle, but regardless of whether you use a griddle or a frying pan make sure it is well heated. Kind of like making that first pancake you can assess how hot and how long the llapingachos needs to cook on each side to have that nice crispy golden brown finish. I used to turn them several times back and forth, but if you let them cook long enough on each side and just turn them once the results are much better, and since the patties are pretty delicate you have to be very careful when turning them.

Ecuadorian potato patties recipe

Step by step preparation photos for Ecuadorian llapingacho potato patties with cheese

Llapingacho preparation Llapingacho preparation

Llapingacho preparation Llapingacho preparation

Llapingachos preparation Llapingacho preparation

Ecuadorian llapingachos recipe LlapingachosLlapingachos Yapingacho or llapingacho recipe

This post was last modified: August 18th, 2016 by Layla Pujol


  1. These were so delicious! I absolutely love the melted cheese center. The salsa de mani and curtido de cebolla y tomate toppings were perfect.

  2. Hello I have a question I don’t have a griddle am I able to fry them if so how? Olive oil medium Heat? I was thinking of maybe baking them but didn’t know if that would work.

    • Yes, you can cook them in a frying pan also, just use very little oil (just enough to grease the pan lightly), and let the pan get hot (then lower to medium while cooking them), and be extra careful when turning them (the frying pan edges make it harder to turn them).

  3. I belong to an International Foods group. I am on the committee planning an Ecuadorian meal. I have never visited Ecuador. When I Googled Ecuadorian recipes, yours was the 1st website to pop up, Laylita. The recipe for Llapingachos sounds fabulous. I am pleased that you also have recipes for making the toppings. Our committee is going to have to test this recipe (we have a tasting dinner to make sure the recipes actually work and to be sure all the foods we prepare go well together). Your photographs are especially useful so we know what the recipe should look like each step of the way. Thank you, in advance. I look forward to the publication of your cookbook!

  4. Hi

    I can only get Achiote paste from where I am.

    Can I substitute it for the Achiote ground powder?

    If so, how do I use the paste and how much do I need for this recipe and the peanut sauce?


    • Yes, you can use the paste instead of the powder. As far as how much it really depends on the concentration of the paste (which varies from one brand to another) and if it has additional condiments in the paste, I would recommend starting with a teaspoon, stir it in, take a tiny taste of one of the onions cooking in it, and based on the flavor and color, add more as needed. The achiote flavor should be very subtle, but the color should be bright orange.

  5. I made this for my hubby’s bday tis afternoon and it was amazing!! I made mote and to make a proper meal….my husband asked for more ;-) thanks for the recipes. I have made several of your recipes and i love them alll

  6. Tus recetas son riquisimas!! Hice tus guaguas de pan y colada morada y me quedo muy bien! Hoy voy a tratar los llapingachos! Muchas gracias por ponerlas en el internet

  7. Laylita,
    I’ve been living in Central Europe for almost 11 years now, and these tasted just like home! A friend suggested to add a slightly whisked egg to the potato mix, and I had no trouble with the tortillas breaking while fliping them from side to side! I will have to get more achiote powder (this one I had for 5 years – I didn’t know how to use it :))
    Next step – empanadas de viento! Thanks a lot!

  8. These look wonderful! I spent six weeks in Ecuador in the late 1980s, and was able to eat the most wonderful food, including llapingachos. (And almost every morning the family I stayed with served a new delicious fruit juice that I’d never had before.) I’ve been too scared to attempt llapingachos, but your tips should help — thank you!

  9. Hi Laylita, Can I make the Llapingachos the night before and cook them the next da?. I want to make this for a party and would like to make them ahead.

  10. These look incredibly delicious I was wondering if you have the recipe for your peanut sauce and tomato and onion curtido?

    Hi J: The peanut sauce recipe is here: http://laylita.com/recipes/2008/04/07/salsa-de-mani-or-peanut-sauce/ and the tomato/onion curtido is here: http://laylita.com/recipes/2008/04/07/salsa-de-mani-or-peanut-sauce/

  11. Megan Carr says:

    Hola Laylita!!

    Estude en Ecuador por 6 meses y ahora tengo una amiga quien va a ir a ensenar ingles. Voy a hacer una cena de despedida para ella con comidas ecuadorianas y encontre las recetas de esto sitio!! Que sorpresa!! Esto sitio es tan lindisimo y me siento feliz viendo a todos las recetas Ecuadorianas- muchas gracias por haber tomado tiempo para escribir las cuentitios sobre tu vida, las recetas, y las fotos! Voy a hacer las Llapingachos y me gustaria saber si puedo usar Yuca en vez de Russet potatoes?

    Hola Megan – Por supuesto que puedes reemplazar las papas con yuca, queda delicioso.

  12. these were delicious. (: YUM. can’t wait to make ’em again!

  13. Gracias Laylita, soy de Machala pero vivo en San Francisco, I adore your website, what a wonderful thing that you are doing for us in this country. Thank you thank you

    By the way! I tried the Guatita for the first time here in US, it came out really good ;)

    Thanks a lot

  14. Norma Castro (GUAYAQUIL) says:

    Hola Laylita. el arroz con pollo me quedo fabuloso hummmmmm que delicia.

    Yo te pedia la receta de las famosas Humitas de Choclos, te agtradeceria y de ser posible en español. Gracias.
    Norma Castro

  15. Ana Rivery says:

    Laylita, you are so right–to experience Llapingachos at their most scrumptious, you’ve got to have them with all the trimmings. The medley of flavors is divine. Robert, Thanks for your comment. It brought back such happy memories. I’m Cuban and raised in the Bronx where our Ecuadorian neighbors would treat me to all the yummy dishes mentioned in your comment, along with ceviche, seco, sango de camarrones, everything so delicious. Three generations of friendship later and, before any visit back home, I still make that phone call to my Comadre and friends from Quito and Guayaquil with special requests. Yum!

  16. Ana Rivery says:

    Laylita, you are so right–to experience Llapingachos at their most scrumptious, you’ve got to have them with all the trimmings. The medley of flavors is divine.

    @Robert Bastidas: Thanks for your comment. It brought back such happy memories. I’m Cuban and raised in the Bronx where our Ecuadorian neighbors would treat me to all the yummy dishes mentioned in your comment, along with ceviche, seco, sango de camarrones, everything so delicious. Three generations of friendship later and, before any visit back home, I still make that phone call to my Comadre and friends from Quito and Guayaquil with special requests. Yum!

  17. Callie Rose says:

    Have always wanted to make these… found the recipe a while back and have never had the time. They look absolutely divine! I know what is now on my to do list!!!

  18. Robert Bastidas says:

    I was born and raised for the first 12 years of my life in Ecuador and learned to cook by watching my mother and maternal grandmother cook this yummy recipe. I make Llapingachos for my children and grand children and they usually remind me that they miss them and want more of them when they visit for supper. I also make muchines, humitas and sopa de bolas de verde rellenas con carne, which they also crave. Thanks for your great website. Robert.

  19. These look absolutely incredible! I wish I could eat them in Ecuador :)

  20. Fantastic site! I just made this recipe…but I infused the achiote into the oil..I find that achiote can be over -whelming…great recipe!

  21. a ver a ver
    si, le falta el chorizo
    los llapingachos tipicos tienen:
    tortillas, chorizo, huevo, ensalada, aguacate (o palta, como kieran llamarlo)

    de ahi se han ido adaptando cosas extras como la salsa de mani o la ensalada de remolacha, las cuales no son de la receta original, pero sin embargo les gusta a miucha gente.

    la foto se ve muy bien!!

    yo soy de Ambato :-D y quien no ha probado llapingachos en Ambato, no ha probado llapingachos ;D

  22. Elizabeth Smith says:

    This is a beautiful site. I am doing a project along with my 1st year Spanish students and your recipes from Ecuador look fantastic. I am so excited to try them. Your photography is also amazing. Thank you. I look forward to checking back soon.

  23. One word: heaven!

  24. These are great I am puerto rican and my husband was born and raise in Ambato, My mother-in-law makes these and they are so yummy. I will make them today lets see how they turn out. yummmmmmmmmmm!!!

  25. WOW.
    This recipe is amazing ! It’s so good, i made them for my Spanish class and they loved it.
    Thanks for the recipe !

  26. Christoph says:

    Hola Laylita,
    Me estaba preguntando- si no usas grasa o aceite cuando cocinas los llapincaghos como lo haces para que se doren bien?
    No se pegan en el sarten/griddle sin aceite? o recomiendas pam spray?
    Gracias por la detallada receta!

    Hi Cristoph – Puedes usar un poquito de aceite o spray, solo para engrasar ligeramente el griddle o sarten, igual que si estuvieras haciendo pancakes.

  27. Hi Laylita,

    It was very nice to see this recipe on-line. I am like you, I love to see pictures. I have made Llapingachos for my husband, who is from Ecuador, in a Brazilian way. In Brazil, we have different varieties of patties but this one is really good.

    Thank you,


  28. Cool chris says:

    so cool and yet yummy thank you ;)

  29. i am looking for a good recipe for Tortilla de Papa (mashed potatoes with cream cheese) – any suggestions?

  30. Mariajose says:

    So that is the secret to perfect llapingachos made with US potatoes… use russet. What is the best choclo for chumales?

  31. Thank you for this ! I studied abroad in Ecuador and loved this dish, I can make them for my friends now!

  32. This is the best food ever!!! I´ve been leaving abroad for two years so far, and I cannot express how bad I miss ecuadorian food.
    I prepared some Llapingachos last weekend.. I would recomend everybody to try this traditional Ecuadorian dish!!

  33. This is an awesome page. Finally, a llapingachos recipe where the patties aren’t a greasy mess. My husband is going to be thrilled. :) I’m always looking for good traditional Ecuadorian recipes. Thank you!

  34. I am so excited! We lived in Ecuador for 2 years and my maid made these all the time. I tried to get her to show me how to make them, but she was so iffy on all the amounts I have never actually made them myself. Also, because I had no idea where to find or what that red spice was called! Good to know russets work best, hard to know since they have totally different types of potatos in Ecuador! Love your site, I will be adding it to my Favorites!

  35. I made these tonight, along with the peanut sauce and the pickled onions (served with the avocado and egg of course!) and wow, were they ever something. What a fabulous meal. Thanks so much for your wonderful site with your wonderful recipes!

  36. Hi Carolina – Thanks for visiting , I’m very glad that you liked the llapingachos and empanadas mendocinas!

    Hi Marlarissa – Thank you! Strawberry jam sounds very interesting as a topping for llapingacho! These are definitely good for breakfast and I think they can be a good side or even a complete meal but you really have to add all the toppings: the peanut sauce, fried egg and sausage or chorizo (there goes the healthy part), avocado and pickled onions really make the llapingachos a great dish.

  37. marlarissa says:

    First of all, I love your website. I made these llapingachos (minus the toppings) and they turned out ok. It seemed more like a breakfast food to me, but it could easily be a healthy part of any meal. It actually reminded me of a spicy hashbrown, and was pretty good with ketchup (how American is that?). I also ate one topped with strawberry jam; although this might sound strange, it was delicious!

  38. I came across this recipe via a random Google search for llapingacho. I am completely in love with your site, your step-by-step instructions and your pictures!! I made these late last week for my Ecuadorian hubby and he loved them!! I also made the empanadas mendocinas…they were GREAT!! Thank you so much and I can’t wait to keep trying your recipes! I’m going to have one happy husband!!


  39. hola Laylita
    esta receta es extaordinaria como se la vea…. solo un comentario muy chiquito… le falto la longaniza, yo recuerdo que la comi en Baños de Ambato.
    Pero de ahi es sensacional yo lo preparé este fin de semana y me quedo (modestia aparte) de rechupete… mil gracias Laylita.
    saludos a los tuyos

    ylay – La longaniza (o chorizo) no esta en la foto pero esta en las recomendaciones para acompanantes.

  40. Llapingachos are the world’s best street food, bar none. Add a cold bottle of Pilsener for maximum effect. Gorgeous site, by the way.

  41. Wow! I was so glad to see a Llapingacho recipe! I just got back from a mission trip to Ecaudor and just cannot forget the food! This is great!

  42. what an absolutely beautiful blog…
    totally unexpected
    happened here by chance

    well done in every way!

  43. These look amazing! My mouth is watering! I can’t wait to try these.

  44. You should have just heard my expression of glee and relief when i saw this pop up. Llapingauchos. Love them! That is the one food memory from my trip to Ecuador that I just cannot forget. YUM!!! This is definitely going to be made here. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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