Written by 2:42 pm Food

Fritas aka the Cuban hamburger

There’s a special place in my heart for Cuban Fritas, pronounced free-tah. It’s a small, thin burger, fried to perfection with a touch of spice, but not spicy, topped with onions, ketchup and fried potatoes. The primary time I had one, I recall our parents taking my brother and me to the enduring Morro Castle in Little Havana (link goes to their Yelp page). Within the 70s, it was a drive-in style restaurant with car-hop service, and likewise had just a few open air tables under cover. Although the carhop service is gone, the restaurant continues to be at its original location and hasn’t modified much in 40+ years. (In addition they make incredibly drool-worthy churros and hot chocolate) So far as I’m concerned, they’re the masters of the frita because of their fried potatoes. After all, the burger is delicious as well but there was something about those little crispy fried potatoes that basically made the flavour stand out. Fritas

Iconic: Morro Castle in Little Havana. Photo credit belongs to a Yelp user

are typically served with ketchup, onions and potatoes. The one other Claudia-approved condiment is hot sauce for many who like a bit fire on their food. Apart from that, I strongly recommend against putting the rest on it, like cheese, pickles and/or mustard. Once you begin adding too many toppings and condiments, a battle for flavor is waged in your mouth and also you actually need to taste the burger above all.

My other frita-related memory is tied to my brother’s  Boy Scout troop. They were based out of St. Michael’s Catholic church in Miami, where most of them/us went for elementary school. Every Thanksgiving weekend, the varsity/church carnival was held. For quite a lot of years, the troop raised money through the festival by selling fritas from their meeting space for $1 a pop. Our parents and our godparents, who were the troop leaders, worked diligently for hours mixing meat, dicing onions, making potatoes, then spent much more hours cooking them up over the course of the 4 days of the festival. I worked the window collecting money and handing out burgers. There was rarely any down time and after 4 days, all of us smelled like burgers and onions. Those were the very best rattling burgers ever and on a relaxing Miami autumn night, they hit the spot!

Prepping the papitas

I do know there’s some history behind who can lay claim to creating the primary fritas, whether it was the unique owner of Morro Castle or the unique owner of  El Rey de las Fritas. If I’m not mistaken, the 2 started off as friends and business partners but parted ways after disagreeing what makes the true frita: all beef vs beef/pork mix. Some people prefer one over the opposite for various reasons. My personal preference is for the meat/pork mix and it’s the one way I do know make them. I also make mine slider sized but you possibly can make them regular burger bun sized in case you wish, the recipe will merely yield less. Large or small, it is best to flatten your burger patty and make it as thin as possible. As for the fried potatoes, you’ll want to use fresh, peeled potatoes and the coarse side of a box grater, then deep fried til crispy and golden brown. You could use canned potato sticks, but why? The meat needs a few hours to sit back within the fridge and absorb all the flavour. About quarter-hour prior to frying up your burgers, take the time to peel, shred and fry 3-4 potatoes and if…IF...you occur to have any left over(doubtful) you possibly can keep them in a baggie in for just a few days and use them on hot dogs or on top of a palomilla.

Frita Cubana

2016-04-27 20:56:34

Yields 16


  1. 3/4 lb ground beef
  2. 1/4 lb ground pork
  3. 1/2 c bread crumbs
  4. 1/4 c milk
  5. 1 egg, beaten
  6. 2 tsp salt
  7. 1/2 tsp paprika
  8. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  9. 1 tbsp finely minced onion
  10. 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  11. 1 tbsp ketchup


  1. Soak bread crumbs with milk in a bowl and put aside.
  2. In a big bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
  3. Add moistened bread crumbs to meat mixture and incorporate along with your hands thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate 1-2 hours.
  5. When able to cook, take enough meat to make a 1-1 1/2″ meatball. Flatten right into a very thin, round patty and add to pan.
  6. Fry several minutes over medium-high heat until the patty is browned half way, then flip and fry an extra 3-4 minutes.
  7. Serve on slider buns, top with fried shredded potatoes, onions and ketchup. Disfruten!


  1. Depending on the fat content of your meat, the burger will shrink within the pan. Don’t be alarmed; that is normal. Tip: in case you make all-beef fritas and use very lean meat(90% or higher) place a really small pat of butter in the middle of your meat ball prior flattening/frying.

Cooking in Cuban https://cookingincuban.com/

(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)