Guatemalan Rellenitos

One of the best parts of being home is the food. I’ll be honest, my mom is a lovely woman, but she’s not much of a cooker. She most definitely can; she simply chooses not to. My aunt on the other hand loves to cook. Lucky me, she’s visiting!

So I’ve been following her around the kitchen the past few days trying to get some Guatemalan recipes to share with you all.

I guess the first warning is that a lot of these things are cooked to taste, so the measurements may vary but I’ll give estimates of what she used.

The first thing we made was rellenitos.


Rellenitos are mashed plantains stuffed with sweet black beans then fried to create tasty little dumpling type things.  They’re usually eaten as an afternoon snack or dessert.  They’re a little labor intensive but totally worth it.


1/2 lb cooked black beans (cooked like the Guatemalan Black Bean recipe I posted before)
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
10 ripe plantains
1 cinnamon stick
oil for trying

This recipe will make a few dozen rellenitos, so adjust accordingly.  I know it sounds sort of weird but you start with salty beans cooked in garlic and onion.  Put them in the blender with cinnamon and sugar (you might have to do it in batches). Taste to make sure they’re sweet and not too cinnamony.

Then put the blended beans in a deep skillet with oil and bring to a boil.  Simmer for a few minutes then transfer to another container to cool (they’ll thicken as they cool).

You want your plantains to be ripe.  The riper they are, the sweeter they are but also harder to work with.

Cut your plantains into 2 inch pieces, leaving the skin on.  Put them in a large pot with cinnamon stick and fill about half way with water (plantains won’t be completely submerged).  Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until plantains are starting to soften but not so soft that they fall apart.

Peel and put in a container to mash.  If you have a potato ricer or food mill this will be a whole lot easier, we had neither so we used a mug, some forks and a masher to get out all the clumps.

Now comes the shaping part.  Once the plantains have cooled.  Take a palm sized amount and shape it into a thick pancake/tortilla shape.

Place about a 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp sized amount of beans in the middle and close the pancake/tortilla shape.

Pinch the edges together and smooth with your fingers into a roundish egg shape.  Repeat until you run out of beans or plantains.

Heat oil in a skillet.  Place rellenitos in hot oil and fry all around.

Once they are golden brown all around (okay if a little burnt), place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Serve with sour cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Delish!  Definitely not the healthiest way to eat a plantain but probably one of the best.

If you made a ton don’t worry about finishing them all at once.  While chances are they will get eaten, if not you can wrap them in aluminum foil and freeze them and when you’re ready for a treat just unwrap them and microwave for a minute or two and ta-da! Ready to go!  My family actually brings them frozen from Guatemala since my mom isn’t big on cooking 🙂

Anyway, tonight we’re having a birthday party for my dad since he was in Guatemala on his actual birthday!  More fun recipes and hopefully pictures to come!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!


17 thoughts on “Guatemalan Rellenitos

  1. Marina says:

    Wow,this looks amazing!
    I wonder how plaintains taste like…
    Thanks for giving me an idea, I shall try something like this with bananas 😀

  2. Lauren says:

    well, if you are driving up the coast, to Berkeley, then you have to stop by our place in Morro Bay. It is 4 hours from SF, 2 hours north of SB. email me!

  3. Tami says:

    I spent a month in Guatemala this summer and bought rellenitos from a street vendor in Antigua. They are delicious! I am so happy to see a recipe for them! I can’t wait to try to make them. I am currently attempting to make your black bean recipe…I loved all the frijoles revolteados I ate this summer and have been looking for a good recipe to try to duplicate them. Thanks for your recipes from Guatemala. Keep them coming….

  4. Adriana says:

    Hi! I like very much the way you present the recipe. I just have one question, can you make RELLENITOS with bananas? I live in Taiwan and around here is impossible to find plantains!

    • Karla says:

      Hi Adriana,
      Unfortunately I don’t think you can make rellenitos with bananas. The texture won’t hold up. Bananas get very soft and mushy when cooked. Plantains have a firmer texture. Sorry! But it could be worth a try? The worst that could happen is you boil some bananas and they got too soft to work with.

  5. Evelyn says:

    Thanks for the recipe!! My 7th grade daughter is doing a cultural project on Guatemala. We are definitely making these to present to her class tomorrow!

  6. Norma says:

    I Love Rellenitos, reminds me of my grandma
    Thanks for the recipe. .
    I used Frijoles Maggie (can) and they also tasted good (adding the cinnamon and sugar)
    Saved time 😉😉😉

  7. Yesenia Martinez says:

    Making them now! and it s not to difficult … I lived in salama, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala, from ages 13-18 and I fell in love with Rellenitos. Every time I would go to the market I d make my dad buy me and my siblings some. Its been about 8 years since ive been back so every time my dad goes to visit his family, he makes sure to bring some back… I am so thankful you put the recipe online because my dad always forgets to ask the lady for her recipe lol

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