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Cuban meatloaf

Pulpeta (aka Cuban Meatloaf) Is The Best Comfort Food!

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: cuban


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



For the meatloaf

10 ounces ground beef

10 ounces ground pork

5 ounces ground ham

½ medium onion

¼ green pepper (I prefer red pepper, but Mami uses a green pepper)

3 crushed garlic cloves

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon cumin

1 ½ tablespoon cooking wine

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cracker meal

1 beaten egg

¼ cup olive oil

For the sauce

½ medium onion

¼ green pepper (I prefer red pepper, but Mami uses a green pepper)

3 crushed garlic cloves

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon cumin

½ cup cooking wine

8 ounces tomato sauce (one can)

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons olives

1 teaspoon capers


For the meatloaf

Mix the ground beef, pork, and ham together. You can grind a six-ounce portion of ham steak in the food processor to make the ground ham. Add the spices, onions, peppers, and garlic and mix well. Next, add the beaten egg and bind together. Finally, add a ½ cup of cracker meal and mix well to bind. If the meat is not binding enough, add 2 more tablespoons and mix well. Shape into a log and let it rest in the fridge for two to four hours. 

After two to four hours, coat the meatloaf in cracker meal. Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and brown the meatloaf on all sides for about eight minutes. Turn the meatloaf very gently using two spatulas, so the meatloaf does not break apart. I like using a fish spatula or a wide spatula for this. 

Once the meat is browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and set it aside. 

For the sauce

While the meat is resting, chop the onions and peppers and crush the garlic. 

In the same heated saucepan where you just browned the meat, add the onions, peppers, garlic, and brown for 3-5 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the tomato sauce, cooking wine, bay leaf, olives, and capers. Add half a cup of water and bring to simmer. Add the meatloaf and lower the heat to low, and cook for 45 minutes. Gingerly turn the meatloaf in the sauce a few times.Once the sauce has thickened, and the meatloaf is cooked through, turn of the heat. Transfer the meat to plate, let it rest 5-10 minutes, slice the meat, add the sauce, and serve. 


Serve with white rice and maduros, or mashed potatoes and veggies.

The meat mixture doesn’t have to be precise, you can adjust the ratios to suit your taste buds or what you have on hand. 

This recipe makes 4-6 servings, depending on your portion sizes. 


  • Serving Size: 1-2 slices

Keywords: pulpeta, cuban pulpeta, cuban meatloaf, meatloaf, comfort food

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