Pan con Chumpe Recipe

Discover the ultimate Pan con Chumpe recipe – a symphony of Salvadoran flavors! Dive into step-by-step instructions for achiote-infused turkey perfection.

Pan con Chumpe

    Pan con Chumpe

  • Cuisine: Salvadoran
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 10
  • Calories: 400 calories

Pan con Chumpe is a cherished dish in South American cuisine especially El Salvador, often gracing tables during the festive Christmas season. At its heart is the chumpe, a turkey, marinated to perfection in a blend of achiote paste, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. This rich marinade not only imparts a vibrant hue to the turkey but infuses it with layers of savory flavor.

The preparation of Pan con Chumpe involves a meticulous process. Banana leaves, warmed over an open flame, serve as both a practical and traditional element in the cooking. They are used to create a bed for the marinated turkey in the roasting pan, contributing to the dish's authenticity.

The stuffing is a medley of textures and tastes, featuring rice, green peas, diced carrots, bell peppers, raisins, capers, and olives. This aromatic mixture is carefully placed within the turkey, enhancing each slice with a symphony of flavors.

As the Pan con Chumpe roasts in the oven, the banana leaves envelop it, infusing the meat with moisture and subtle nuances from the achiote marinade. The final result is a succulent turkey with a crisp exterior and a stuffing that reflects the diverse and vibrant palette of Salvadoran cuisine.

Served in generous portions, Pan con Chumpe is a communal experience, inviting friends and family to gather around the table. It's more than a dish; it's a celebration of culinary heritage, bringing warmth and tradition to the festive season in El Salvador.


Dive into a culinary journey with our vibrant Pan con Chumpe recipe, blending Salvadoran tradition and festive flavors. Unwrap the joy of achiote-infused turkey perfection!


  • 1 turkey (chumpe)
  • 1 cup achiote paste
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Banana leaves
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup capers
  • 1 cup olives

Method Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine achiote paste, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Blend until you have a smooth, vibrant red marinade.
  3. Rub the turkey with the achiote marinade, ensuring it's evenly coated.
  4. Let it marinate for at least a few hours or overnight for richer flavor.
  5. Pass the banana leaves over an open flame to make them pliable.
  6. Line a roasting pan with the leaves, creating a base for the turkey.
  7. Place the marinated turkey on the banana leaves in the roasting pan.
  8. Pour chicken broth over the turkey for added moisture.
  9. In a bowl, mix rice, green peas, diced carrots, bell peppers, raisins, capers, and olives.
  10. Stuff the turkey cavity with this mixture.
  11. Fold the banana leaves over the turkey, creating a parcel.
  12. Roast in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until the turkey is thoroughly cooked.
  13. Once cooked, unwrap the banana leaves.
  14. Carve the turkey and serve with the flavorful rice stuffing.

Recipe Video

Pan con Chumpe

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Recipe Tags: Pan con Chumpe, Pan con Chumpe Recipe, Recipe


Serving Pan con Chumpe is a delightful experience that emphasizes the communal and festive nature of this traditional Salvadoran dish. Here's a simple guide on how to serve it:

  • Carving the Turkey: Begin by placing the beautifully roasted turkey on a large serving platter. Before carving, allow it to rest for a few minutes to retain its juices.
  • Unwrapping the Banana Leaves: Carefully unwrap the banana leaves from the turkey. This unveiling adds a visual element to the serving process and allows the aromas to waft through the air.
  • Displaying the Stuffing: Present the stuffing by placing it in a separate serving bowl. This allows guests to scoop up a generous portion of the flavorful rice mixture alongside their turkey slices.
  • Garnishing: Consider garnishing the platter with fresh herbs, such as cilantro or parsley, to add a touch of freshness and color.
  • Serving Utensils: Provide serving utensils for both the turkey and the stuffing to facilitate easy serving for your guests.
  • Accompaniments: Pan con Chumpe pairs well with traditional Salvadoran sides like curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) and salsa roja. These condiments add a tangy and spicy kick that complements the richness of the turkey.
  • Warm Tortillas: Warm some tortillas and place them in a basket on the table. This allows guests to create their own "panes" by wrapping slices of turkey and stuffing in tortillas.
  • Beverages: Offer beverages such as aguas frescas (fruit-infused waters), or traditional drinks like horchata to complement the meal.
  • Enjoying the Meal: Encourage your family or guests to savor the Pan con Chumpe experience by combining the succulent turkey with the flavorful stuffing and accompanying sides.


  1. Marinating Time: Allow the turkey to marinate for an extended period, preferably overnight, to maximize the infusion of flavors. This enhances the taste and tenderness of the meat.
  2. Banana Leaves: When working with banana leaves, ensure they are pliable. Passing them over an open flame makes them more flexible and easier to handle. This step also imparts a subtle smokiness to the dish.
  3. Moisture Control: Check the turkey periodically while roasting. If it appears to be drying out, you can baste it with the juices in the pan or a bit of additional chicken broth to maintain moisture.
  4. Stuffing Variations: Feel free to customize the stuffing based on personal preferences. Add or omit ingredients according to taste, keeping in mind the vibrant and diverse flavors traditionally associated with Salvadoran cuisine.
  5. Temperature Check: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature. The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for poultry.
  6. Garnishes: Consider garnishing the platter with fresh herbs or citrus slices for a visually appealing presentation. This adds a pop of color and freshness to the dish.
  7. Accompaniments: Serve Pan con Chumpe with traditional Salvadoran sides like curtido and salsa roja. These condiments provide a contrast in taste and texture, elevating the overall dining experience.
  8. Resting Time: Allow the turkey to rest for a few minutes after roasting before carving. This helps the juices redistribute, keeping the meat moist and flavorful.
  9. Tortillas: Warm the tortillas just before serving to enhance their flavor and make them pliable. This allows guests to enjoy the Pan con Chumpe in a more traditional style.
  10. Communal Experience: Embrace the communal aspect of serving Pan con Chumpe. Encourage guests to create their own combinations with tortillas and enjoy the meal together.

Ingredient Substitutes

If you find yourself missing some ingredients for Pan con Chumpe or prefer alternative options, here are some potential substitutes:

  1. Achiote Paste: Substitute with a mixture of paprika and turmeric to achieve a similar color and a hint of earthy flavor.
  2. Banana Leaves: If banana leaves are unavailable, you can use parchment paper as an alternative. While it won't impart the same flavor, it provides a similar wrapping function.
  3. Chumpe (Turkey): Chicken can be a substitute if turkey is not available or if you prefer a smaller bird. Adjust cooking times accordingly.
  4. Vegetable Oil: Canola oil or light olive oil can be used as alternatives to vegetable oil.
  5. Rice: Feel free to use a different type of rice, such as long-grain or jasmine rice, based on personal preference.
  6. Green Peas, Carrots, Bell Peppers: The vegetable combination in the stuffing is flexible. You can add or omit vegetables based on what you have or prefer.
  7. Raisins, Capers, Olives: Adjust the stuffing ingredients based on taste preferences. Dried cranberries or currants can substitute for raisins, and you can choose green olives or omit capers based on your liking.
  8. Curtido and Salsa Roja: If you don't have time to prepare curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) and salsa roja, you can serve Pan con Chumpe with your favorite hot sauce or other pickled vegetables.


Bring the heart of El Salvador to your table. With Pan con Chumpe, savor tradition, create memories, and share the joy of festive culinary excellence. ¡Buen provecho!

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