Salvadoran Curtido


Curtido is a tarty, coleslaw-like Salvadoran side.

Curtido is a tarty, coleslaw-like Salvadoran side that accompanies pupusas, yuca or even tortilla soup. It resembles fermented sides like sauerkraut or kimchi. It can be substituted for coleslaw; it makes a great topping on hot dogs or on a turkey sandwich.

As always, there are many variations but they all include shredded cabbage and carrots and gets submerged in a vinegar mixture. I’m not going to lie; in the past I have been guilty of buying the prepackaged coleslaw mix and substituting it. It works well if you’re in a hurry.

My mom’s recipe is simple and worth your time if it’s going to accompany pupusas or in my case today, yuca frita con chicharrones. She never measured anything but I’ve captured it here for you.

Salvadoran Curtido 


  • 1/2 head of a large cabbage, shredded
  • 3 medium sized carrots, cut into thin matchsticks,
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar OR 1 cup of distilled vinegar plus 1 tsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Place cabbage and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Pour boiling water over cabbage and onion mixture (enough to cover). Let sit for ONE minute.
  3. Drain. Add the cold water (to stop mixture from cooking and getting too soggy). Let sit for five minutes.
  4. Drain the cold water. Add carrots and toss. Add the vinegar, oregano and salt. Toss again.

Refrigerate in bowl or in a sealable glass container. Let sit for a few hours or overnight before serving. DO NOT DRAIN the vinegar before refrigerating.

It is ready to serve when cool. Keeps in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container or glass jar for a week.

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Keeps in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container or glass jar for up to one week.