Sorullos de Maíz

Sorullos de Maíz

It’s easy to get hooked on sorullos, a thunderously crispy Puerto Rican cornmeal fritter. Also known as sorullitos, the deep-fried bits of dough get their name from their stubby cigar shape. The crispy outer shell quickly gives way to a luscious, velvety interior. It’s this juxtaposition of textures that makes them so irresistible.

Adored on the island, you can find them served on many a Boricua table. My Abuelo would sometimes have sweet sorullos for breakfast with a strong cup of coffee. Savory sorullos are often stacked proudly next to mounds of rice and beans for lunch and dinner. A small bowl of tangy dipping sauce known as mayo-ketchup is never far away.

It’s not a complicated or expensive recipe; maybe that’s why they’re so popular. In its most basic form, sorullo dough is a simple mixture of water, cornmeal, and salt. But, of course, the dough is endlessly adaptable, and you can make it with other ingredients like coconut milk, cheese, butter, corn kernels, sugar, and vanilla.

Sorullos will always hold a special place in my heart, as they were the first recipe my Abuela Dora let me help her with. I was four years old when she taught me how to shape the dough between the palms of my hands. I'll never forget watching the golden sticks cook in the bubbling caldron of oil that never left our stovetop. The scent of the cornmeal frying was intoxicatingly floral, but was nothing compared to that first bite. The crunch was so loud! I was sure my Abuela would yell at me for making so much noise.

If you have kids, this is an easy recipe that will help create life-long memories with them in the kitchen. If you haven't multiplied, you should still try it. And if you're worried about deep frying, brush them with a little melted butter and pop them in your air fryer. As we say on the island, buen provecho. Good luck not devouring them all in one sitting.

“These would make a great appetizer as an alternative to mozzarella sticks—the corn and cheese flavors pair really well with the tang from the dipping sauce. You may want to dampen your hands with a little water or oil before rolling if you find the cornmeal sticking to your hands.” —Julia Hartbeck

Sorullos de Maíz/Tester Image A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Sorullos:

  • 1 3/4 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

  • 3/4 cup finely ground cornmeal

  • 1 cup loosely packed grated Edam cheese

  • Neutral oil, for frying

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

  • 1 teaspoon minced pickled banana pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make Sorullos de Maíz

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a medium, heavy-duty saucepan, combine the water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.

    water in a saucepan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Pour the cornmeal into the pot in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly as you add it.

    stirring cornmeal in water in a saucepan

  4. Continue to whisk rapidly until the mixture thickens and transforms into a dough. It will take about 2 minutes for the dough to begin to pull away from the pan's bottom and sides. At this point, remove the pan from the heat.

    masa dough in a saucepan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  5. Gently fold the cheese into the dough with a silicone spatula. Transfer the dough to a cutting board and let cool.

    masa dough on a cutting board

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  6. Meanwhile, in a deep, heavy-duty pot, heat about 4-inches of oil to 360 F. Line a large plate with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

    oil heating in a dutch oven

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  7. When the dough is cool enough to handle, divide it in half and roll into two, 2-inch thick logs.

    masa dough rolled into logs

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  8. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the logs into 1/2-inch thick rounds.

    masa dough cut into small peices

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  9. Roll each dough piece into a ball, then into a 4-inch long cigar shape about the thickness of a thumb.

    masa dough rolled into mini rolls

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  10. Fry the sorullos in small batches, turning often, until lightly golden and crispy, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to the towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon or skimmer. Check the oil’s temperature between batches, giving the oil time to come back up to 360 F.

    Sorullos de Maíz frying in oil

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  11. Whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and peppers in a small bowl.

    mayo, ketchup, and peppers mixed in a bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  12. Serve the sorullos hot with the dipping sauce on the side.

    Sorullos de Maíz

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • Whisking the dough constantly prevents lumps of uncooked cornmeal. If you have lumps in your cornmeal dough, press it through a large mesh sieve or colander while it’s still hot.
  • For crispy results, ensure the oil is at the correct temperature. Otherwise, the dough will soak up the oil and the sorullos will be greasy. Remember the more sorullos you add to the oil, the lower the temperature will drop. So if you’re frying a larger batch, or if you’re working with refrigerated sorullos, start with an oil temperature of 370 F.
  • Fry in small batches, and gently stir the sorullos as they fry to prevent them from sticking to each other or the pot.

Recipe Variations

Sorullo dough is incredibly versatile.

  • Add a little sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to sweeten it.
  • Make it with coconut milk instead of water to add depth and richness.
  • Use a different type of cheese to change up the flavor profile.

How to Store Sorullos

  • You can prep the dough and shape the sorullos ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. If you’re layering them on top of each other, separate the layers with parchment or wax paper. You can also freeze the uncooked sorullos on a sheet pan and then transfer them to a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
  • You can reheat fried sorullos on a sheet pan in a 350 F oven or air fryer until warm and crispy. Depending on their thickness, it should only take 3 to 5 minutes.

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