Pulpeta has roots in many different countries. In Puerto Rico it's Albondigón or Butifarrón al horno. In Italy, it's called Polpettone and is made in a similar way as its Cuban cousin. 
pulpeta recipe cuban meatloaf

For most Americans, meatloaf has been a part of weekly meals. Growing up we had our fair share of it; my dad’s “go-to” is a bacon cheeseburger meatloaf. He stuffs the center with American cheese, wraps it in smokey bacon, and covers it in a generous amount of ketchup. When dinner finally hit the table, he would serve our meatloaf on white bread and oven-baked french fries. 

While I do love my dad’s meatloaf, there is another meatloaf that I crave: pulpeta. Pulpeta is incredibly flavorful and tender. It uses ground pork and beef, a boiled egg stuffed into the center, chopped ham, and a creole sauce covering. One bite will bring you back to your Cuban grandmother’s house.  

I use the same spices and ground pork & beef and top it with homemade guava ketchup.

The origins of pulpeta have roots in many different countries. Throughout the Caribbean, there are variations. For example in Puerto Rico, albondigón or butifarrón al horno. In Italy, polpettone is made in a similar way as its Cuban cousin. 

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In the last few weeks, the temperatures have started to drop here in New England. Heartier meals are becoming more frequent. I am incredibly homesick missing the warmth of the hot South Florida sun and my Dad’s cooking. So, I decided to create a combination of the very American-style meatloaf with the Cuban pulpeta. 

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I use the same spices and ground pork & beef and top it with homemade guava ketchup. Serving it alongside “sazon” seasoned crispy fried french fries and a vegetable medley. I was able to bring some nostalgia to my family.

If you make this recipe, comment below and tell me what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

This pulpeta recipe calls for 1/2 lb. of ground pork.

Pulpeta Recipe (Cuban Meatloaf With Guava Ketchup)



  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ lb. Ground pork
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, minced
  • ⅓ cup cracker meal or plain bread crumb
  • ½ tablespoon abodo
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 hard boiled egg

Guava Ketchup

  • 1 package guava paste ( Iberia brand 14oz. ), cut into cubes
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

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  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the listed ingredients. Mix well. ( make sure not to over mix)
  3. Form the meat mixture into a loaf, place the hard boiled egg in the middle*, season with kosher salt & ground black pepper.  Place loaf on a lined sheet tray. Cover with foil. 
  4. Bake for 35 minutes. While the meatloaf is baking, using a small sauce pan on medium-low heat, add guava paste cubes and ¼ cup water. Cook until the guava paste has dissolved. Add water if you notice the mixture is too thick. (4-6 minutes).
  5. After  the guava sauce has cooled. Using a small mixing bowl, add cooled guava sauce, ketchup, and garlic salt. Mix well. 
  6. Once the meatloaf has ten minutes left, remove foil and brush on guava ketchup.
  7. Finally, let the meatloaf cool for 5 minutes before slicing. 

*Use more than one egg if you prefer.

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Jami Erriquez is a part-time chef, food stylist, and an avid cookbook collector from South Florida. She studied culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, Georgia. Her love for cooking came from her father, Danny. She is a traveler, a yogi, and a beach bum, and has been eating Cuban sandwiches and listening to Celia Cruz since she was seven!. When Jami isn't in the kitchen she is binge-watching Golden Girls and hanging out with her family and pet cat, Irma.

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