International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Curtido Recipe (Salvadoran cabbage salad)

(Salvadoran cabbage salad)

Image Creative Commons by The DLC

Average: 2.8 (161 votes)

Curtido is a simple cabbage salad traditionally served with pupusas. Large jars of curtido are kept at restaurants and sides of the slaw are served with most meals. Curtido is usually allowed to ferment slightly at room temperature before serving, becoming a kind of Salvadoran sauerkraut.

Cabbage salads are served through Central America. The Nicaraguan version is known as ensalada de repollo or simply repollo.

4 to 6 servings


  • Cabbage, shredded -- 1/2 head
  • Carrot, peeled and grated -- 1
  • Boiling water -- 4 cups
  • Scallions, minced -- 3
  • White vinegar -- 1/2 cup
  • Water -- 1/2 cup
  • Jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, minced -- 1
  • Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon


  1. Place the cabbage and carrots in a large heat-proof bowl. Pour the boiling water into the bowl to cover the cabbage and carrots and set aside for about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, pressing out as much liquid as possible.
  2. Return the cabbage and carrots to the bowl and toss with the remaining of the ingredients. Let set at room temperature for a couple hours or overnight if you like. Then chill and serve as an accompaniment to pupusas or as a side dish.

Curtido Variations

  • Ensalada de Repollo (Nicaragua): add a chopped tomato or two and substitute lime juice for the vinegar.
  • Try using vinagre de piña instead of white vinegar.
  • Substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for the chile pepper.
  • A pinch of sugar and a little oil can be added to the salad if you like.


mi mama es salvadorania pero a mi no me gusta el curtido,si se mira delicioso y tambien tiene un buen sentido pero a mi no megusta el sabor del curtido se salvador me gusta como lo ase mi papa (mexicano) pero mui bein el website!!!:)

I am from Puerto Rico My husband is From el Salvador and I learned with and old lady friend of mine from El Salvador to make pupusas and she also thought me to make the curtido with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and she also added a little bit of oregano.

Try adding white onions! I am American and my husband is Salvadoran. Along with the cabbage, I use apple cider vinegar, oregano, salt and just a little bit of thinly sliced white onion in my curtido recipe. In addition to eating curtido with papusas, we eat curtido with boiled (or fried) yuca, and panes con chompe - not sure if it's spelled right (Salvadoran turkey sandwiches). Yummm! If you don't have curtido and/or tomato sauce, and you want to try something different on top of your papusa, try guacamole. Not a Salvadoran side, but nonetheless very good with papusas.

Sounds like a winner, the avocado sounds great, a new twist to eating pupusas, making eating pupusas even healthier!

se ve que no solo el curtido no te gusta, tampoco ni la ortografía, la tienes pésima

It tasted horrible i thought.

I am from El Salvador and I see that some of you do not like this version....Well, this one is for pupusas, but for the everyday one, you just cut the cabbage very thin, apply some lemon juice and salt (lots of lemon juice) and eat right away...this is our every day salad....this one you don't apply hot watter to and remember to slice the cabbage like angle hair can add thinly sliced onion and small cubed tomato just to add flavor and color.....ummmmm delish!!!!

en vez de usar vinagre blanco usa vinagre de piña,pinaple vinegar instead of white vinegar

Donde puedo encontrar ese vinagre de piña? Yo nunca lo e visto

Use the skin of a pineapple to make the vinegar. Put it in a glass (or clay) container, add water and brown sugar (panela is better) and let it ferment.

Place the skin of a pineapple in a glass or clay container, add water and brownn sugar (panela is best) and let it ferment for a few days. This is homemade vinegar.

Ha, a mi me parece que alguien quiere hacer chicha.

mas parece que quieren hacer tepache parecido a la chicha , pero el tepache dejas fermentar por mas dias se convierte en una bebeida casi alcoholica le pones hielo y a disfrutar la alegria sin musica y a quitarse la ropa. Bomba,

Use the skin of a pineapple to make it. Put it in a glass or caly container, add water and brown sugar, cover it and leave it at room temperature; wait a few days(about a week). Once fermented, you can pass though a colander the amount you need and add some more water to the container. Make sure to keep it with a tight lid to avoid the fruit flies!
NOTE: You can add chunks of pineapple. Other fruits are also good for vinegar.

I have added a recipe for pineapple vinegar here.

I've never experimented with making vinegar before, but I am now! Thank you for introducing me to a whole new experience in cooking and homemaking.

I thought that this was a great recipe-just like abuelita's!

I love it...!!!

I learned how to make pupusas in a restaurant, just asked the cook to show me. I managed pupsas just fine but the cortido was a challenge. Tried it several times before it tasted right. The Salvadorean ladies that taught me used apple cider vinegar as well as white. its better to let it sit for a day or 2 to blend all the flavors. my Canadian family is hooked on this "spicy" coleslaw & I can't imagine eating pupusas without it.

I am from Puerto Rico My husband is From el Salvador and I learned with and old lady friend of mine from El Salvador to make pupusas and she also thought me to make the curtido with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and she also added a little bit of oregano. With this recipe I enticed my Husband =0)after he tasted it he married me. I love Pupusas and enjoy making them for my family.

Are there any other side dishes other than curtido to serve with pupusas? I am searching for as much information as possible to be able to make my church's music director a Salvadorian meal for his birthday this new year. Please help me. Mimi

Noooooo..... salvadorans eat pupusas exculsively with curtido!!
It doesn't make much sense to have other sides as the dough, meat and other fillings constitute a full meal. You can have a mild tomato sauce with it (not ketchup or mexican salsa). Its smooth not lumpy like salsa. What you can do is have different types of pupusa: with cheese, cheese and loroco, revueltas (pork, beans & cheese), cheese and beans alone, etc.
Also, you can maybe have Salvadoran beverages such as jugo de tamarindo (tamarind juice), sevada (strawberry like drink made with milk) and my favorite horchata (made a of several spices) and do some salvadoran desserts like semita, quesadilla, empanadas de platano, arroz con leche, etc.
Best place to find these things is find a local Salvadoran community which will undoubtly have a local grocery store with these things.

I agree that pupusas must be eaten exclusively with curtido (and a mild smooth tomato salsa, served warm). They are a perfect meal or snack that stands alone. I was wondering if you had a good recipe for jugo de tamarindo? I only tasted it once and it was one of the most incredible drink I've ever had. Thanks!

Are you serious? Curtido is exclusive to pupusas? Since when? When you eat Yuca con Chicharrones where is the curtido supposed to go? In the trash? In some regions (east side or better known as Oriente) of El Salvador tamales are eaten with curtido. Wake up and smell the vinegar in the curtido dude!

i think he/she meant that when you eat papusas, thats your main dish, your not supposed to be eating other dishes. WHen you cook papusas or are invited to eat papusas...dont expect other food!!

Although they aren't considered side dishes per-se, Platanos (fried sweet plantains) with crema and refried beans are often on the side of pupusas.

I love Pupusas and eat them every chance I get, here in Los Angeles. However, they are always served with the curdito, tomato sauce, and a white creamy sort of mayonnaise type condiment, that goes really nicely with the curtido. Does anyone know what this sauce is? It's not mentioned in any of the recipes I've seen online. Thank you!

This is what they call simply "crema" in Mexico & contains no mayonnaise, rather it is cultured cream (very similar to a thin creme fraiche) which explains why it can be left out at room temperature without worry. You can make it yourself by adding a tablespoon of buttermilk (or sour cream) to a cup of cream and letting it sit unrefrigerated until thickened (8 to 24 hours). Proportions are not important: the bacteria in the buttermilk multiply in the cream causing it to thicken & develop a more complex flavor as it ripens, just like yoghurt or sour cream.

it is crema salvadorena. it comes in bags usually 16oz but also larger sizes. you can buy it at any mercado and many american grocery stores. in the refrigerated section with sour cremes and cheeses. there are other types like honduran.

the white creamy sauce is salvadoran style sour cream. you can find it in all most any store. it's located by the cheeses, and comes in jars and is about $3.00.

the white creamy sauce is salvadoran style sour cream. you can find it in all most any store. it's located by the cheeses, and comes in jars and is about $3.00.

Ojala alguien de el Salvador me explique como hacer esa salsa roja para comer con las pupusas, yo no las hago, las compro ya hechas hay muy buenas en la marketa, pero esa salsa roja me encanta, por favor ayudenme, no soy salvadorena pero las pupusas me vuelven loca y solo recordar el curtido se me hace agua la boca, ya encontre varias recetas para el curtido pero ninguna para esa deliciosa salsa de tomate, gracias.

You left out returning the carrots to the bowl.

The curtido and all these Salvadoran recipes here seem to have too much chile. Salvadoran food isn't nearly as hot as the food of other Latin cultures.