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Bolivian Papitas Recipe

Papitas are a Bolivian delicacy consisting of quinoa stuffed with tuna. To make papitas, quinoa grains are cooked until soft. It’s then combined with bread which has been soaked in milk and eggs. They are mixed into a paste and formed into balls. The balls are stuffed with a tuna mixture, flattened slightly and fried.

Quinoa is a gluten free, whole grain. It’s also a whole protein because it contains amino acids which have to be sourced from food since the body cannot produce them, hence why it’s often called a super food.

Papitas is the Spanish word for potato chips, which makes the name of this dish puzzling since it does not contain any potato. Papitas are typically served with lemon juice.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Bolivia is one of a handful of countries where quinoa is grown. Quinoa is indigenous to the Andean region of South America and it is a staple of Bolivian cuisine.

Yield: 8

Bolivian Papitas Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


  • Eggs - 5
  • Quinoa – 1 lb
  • White bread, slices - 5
  • Canned tuna in water, well-drained – 16 oz
  • Milk - ½ cup
  • Chili pepper, finely chopped - 1
  • Lemons - 2
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt - to taste
  • Pepper - to taste


  1. Put the bread slices to soak in the milk.
  2. Using a fine strainer rinse the quinoa until the water is clear.
  3. Boil the quinoa for about 15 minutes in about 6 cups of water. Keep covered and don’t salt until the end of cooking.
  4. Drain the water and let the quinoa cool in a colander.
  5. In a large bowl, mix two eggs with the cooked quinoa.
  6. Add the soaked slices of bread.
  7. Mix until a smooth paste forms.In another bowl mix the remaining three eggs with the tuna, chili pepper, lemon zest and juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Scoop up a small portion of the cooked quinoa and form a ball.
  9. Make a hole in it and stuff with the tuna filling.
  10. Take some more quinoa to close the patty and shape it nicely into a flattened ball.
  11. Repeat with the remaining quinoa and filling.
  12. Heat the oil to about 350F.
  13. Fry the papitas for about two minutes on each side. They must be golden brown and nicely crusted on one side before flipping them to the other to prevent breaking.
  14. When they’re ready, place them on paper towels to drain out the excess oil. Enjoy them warm or cold with some lemon juice.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 438mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 22g

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