Bite-Sized Disappointment or Delight? An Unfiltered Review of Trader Joe’s Papas Rellenas

Trader Joe’s Papas Rellenas – the latest attempt to package comfort food for the masses with a side of “just like homemade” nostalgia. These crispy orbs of mashed potatoes stuffed with seasoned ground beef aim to whisk you away to a world of culinary delight, or so they claim. Let’s be real: in the grand tradition of freezer aisle novelties, expectations were as tempered as the frozen spuds themselves. I approached this taste test armed with an air fryer and a healthy dose of skepticism, ready to see if these potato balls could transcend their humble, icy origins or if they’d fall flat, like so many freezer-burned dreams before them. Let’s push on to the review…

What in the heck are Papas Rellenas?

I have to be honest in that I had never heard of these before so I had to look them up and after reading about them they seem like they should be in my life 7×24. What’s in the heck is not to like about mash potatoes stuffed with meat and then deep fried? Nothing. This is the food of gods, but I wanted to share what they are all about…

Papas Rellenas are a delightful and popular dish in Latin American cuisine, particularly celebrated in Peru and Cuba. This exquisite culinary creation involves mashed potatoes formed into round balls, which are then stuffed with a savory filling. The filling typically consists of ground meat (often beef), onions, olives, hard-boiled eggs, and spices, offering a blend of flavors. Once filled, these potato balls are coated in a light batter or bread crumbs and deep-fried. The result is a crispy exterior that gives way to a soft, flavorful interior, making papas rellenas a comforting dish that is often served as a main course or a hearty snack.

As you can see here you get four of these in a box, which is way more than you should eat in one sitting but who am I to throw shade on your eating habits? I wouldn’t blame you a bit for eating all of these in one sitting!

How Did They Taste?

I opted to go with the Air Fryer route when I cooked these and am I ever glad. The air fryer made quick work of them and they came out crispy browned and smelled wonderful.

I tried to make a clean cut for the picture above but they kind of mushed under the pressure of the knife but the exterior had a nice crunchy exterior.

The mashed potatoes are slightly dry but the meat in the middle was wonderful and had a lot of flavor. The whole package is one of the most interesting foods I’ve had this year. This might be a winner for those picky kids.

I really loved these and went back and bought a couple more boxes to have in the freezer “just in case” I need a quick and flavorful meal.

I am going to rate these Trader Joe’s Papas Rellenas a solid 8 out of 10!

Trader Joe’s Papas Rellenos

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