Quipes or Kipes (Deep fried bulgur roll)

Quipes or Kipes (Deep fried bulgur roll)

We’re not from round here. Kipe is the proof.

One of the things that marvels me about America, the continent, is that for the most part we are all young nations, some more stable and prosperous than others, but we all have one thing in common: short memory. This is well illustrated in Dominican society as our inability to bear long grudges.

Quipes or Kipes (Deep fried bulgur roll)

Nations round the world are still fighting wars, with words or with arms, that started so many generations ago that in some cases nobody remembers how it all started. In contrast, the Dominican Republic consists of people who arrived from many continents, all amalgamated into one. We are, after all, a nation of people who all came from somewhere else: Taínos, Africans, Europeans, Asians. They came in waves, each giving us bits and pieces of their culture to make what is today the Dominican Republic.

Quipes or Kipes (Deep fried bulgur roll)

Personally, while I’m not really interested in tracking my ancestors back to wherever they came from, I’m obsessed with the origin of our dishes. I believe it says at least as much about who we are than knowing what village in Europe or Africa begot my forefathers, or how many drops of my blood came from our Taino ancestors. Your mileage may vary.

Quipes or Kipes (Deep fried bulgur roll)

Many a time when researching about a recipe we spend as much, or even more time, trying to find out where it came from and how it evolved into what we eat today. And while unfortunately there isn’t that much research we can consult, in many cases the arrival or creation of a dish is recent enough that we can tell with near certainty where it came from. Luckily this is the case with kipes.

Quipes or Kipes (Deep fried bulgur roll)

Quipes, or kipes – I’ve found both spellings – are a Dominicanized version of the Lebanese kibbeh, brought to our shores by a wave of Middle Eastern immigrants that arrived in the Dominican Republic at the end of the 19th century.

Besides becoming a prosperous, respected community, these immigrants added several of their culinary traditions (arroz con fideos, tipili, niño envuelto) to our cuisine, this is probably the most popular of these additions.

Quipes or Kipes (Deep fried bulgur roll)

Next to the recipe for Dominican Cake this is the recipe that seems to give people the most trouble, and like that other recipe this one started as a simple set of instructions, but still many readers seem to struggle with it, so I guess it’s time to expand this recipe to add more details that will help beginners get a good result at the first try. The most important thing to remember is to read the recipe carefully, and follow the instructions to a T. If you already know what you are doing then by all means stray from the instructions as these steps are just what I’ve found to work for me.

Buen provecho!

Tía Clara
Quipes or Kipes (Deep fried bulgur roll)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Quipe (or Kipe) owes its origins to the Middle Eastern immigrants who moved to the south of the island in the 19th century. Today they are an indispensable part of our picadera (party food) platter.
Serves: 8 quipes
  • 1 cup bulgur (whole grain)
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 2 cups oil for frying
  • ½ cup tomato sauce (or 1 Tbsp tomato paste)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 pepper, very finely diced
  • 1 small onion, very finely diced
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  1. Put the wheat in a bowl and cover with water and let it sit in for 4 hrs, stir a couple of times while it rests.
  2. Pulse onion, and basil in the food processor until you obtain a coarse paste.
  3. In a bowl, mix meat, pepper, basil and onion.
  4. Add a pinch of pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.
  5. Using your hands mix the meat with the vegetables until you get an uniform mixture.
  6. Separate in thirds and reserve ⅔ of the meat.
To make the filling
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan.
  2. When the oil is hot add the ⅓ of the meat you've taken out.
  3. Brown the meat.
  4. Add tomato sauce and mix well.
  5. Add ½ cup of water and the raisins and simmer over medium heat.
  6. When all the liquid has evaporated, remove from the heat.
  7. Let it cool down to room temperature. Reserve.
To assemble the kipes
  1. Drain the leftover water from the bulgur and squeeze to get rid of as much water as possible.
  2. Add the remaining raw meat to the bulgur.
  3. With your hands mix the bulgur and raw meat, kneading it until it is mixed uniformly. This is a key step, the better mixed this is, the better chances of quipes not breaking apart in the hot oil. Knead for your life!
  4. Put 2 tablespoons of the mixture on the palm of your hands and roll into a ball.
  5. Make a deep indentation in the ball.
  6. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the indentation.
  7. Put another tablespoon of the bulgur mixture on the filing and roll the kipe with the palm of your hands making it as compact as possible.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  9. When it is time to fry them give them another quick squeeze to make them even more compact.
  10. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pot over medium heat. The oil has to be very hot, cool oil will make your kipes break down and possibly ruin the oil too.
  11. Being very, very careful with splatters (hot oil and cold liquids do not get along well) fry your kipes, preferably one at a time, dropping them in the oil with a slotted spoon to avoid burning yourself.
  12. After frying, the kipe has to be deep brown outside. Open the first one when you are done, if there is any pink part inside it means there is still raw meat, a bad thing, fry the next one longer. Place them on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Using lean meat produces a quipe that is more fragile, go with 2nd grade meat, as it contains more fat. If you are worried about your cholesterol you shouldn't be eating quipes after all.

If you are planning on baking them buy the minced meat with the most fat and brush them with oil prior to baking them (at the highest temp. in your oven). I am not a fan of baked ones as they turn out pretty dry, so do this at your own risk.
Receive Aunt Clara’s Updates
Find out about new recipes, articles, and sometimes exclusive content.

{ 56 comments… add one }

  • Laura May 10, 2015, 2:14 PM

    Yumm can’t wait to try this!! I’m obssesed with quipes! I’ve had both chicken and beef quipes and I’ve been obsessing over making it with turkey and I’m glad someone left a comment here saying that they’ve tried it! so now I’m going to try it with turkey!

  • mariel May 7, 2015, 10:21 AM

    After I give them the form can I let them rest in the fridge and then fry them

    • Aunt Clara May 8, 2015, 3:26 PM

      Yes, we mention how to do it in the recipe itself.

  • Yadira April 16, 2015, 11:52 AM

    Hi I want to try this recipe but when I searched for where to buy the bulgur I learned that it comes in different types instant, medium grain and course grain. Is there a specific type that is best for this recipe?

    • Aunt Clara April 17, 2015, 10:17 AM

      You can buy the Goya brand, it’s the one I used.

      • yadira April 20, 2015, 3:12 PM

        I am sorry but that still does not answer the question… which type fine, medium or course grain? I just looked up the goya brand and it has a three types of grains listed I want to make it as best as possible.

  • sidney April 8, 2015, 12:37 PM

    I will be trying this recipe soon. I have a project theme in class where we have to cook a 4 course meal for our grade. Wish me luck.

  • Lurys Fuhrman February 1, 2015, 1:11 PM

    Sonly I was super excited to finally make this recipe. I was disappointed with the overwhelming green pepper taste. Is it a whole green pepper? I found it to be way too much. Is it a red pepper? And what type of onion?white, red, yellow please help because I would really like to try making them again.

    • Aunt Clara February 7, 2015, 1:13 PM

      It’s matter of taste, really. Next time you make it, just cut down on the offending flavors.

  • Maria Isabel Nichols Ortiz November 12, 2014, 10:18 AM

    Can I make them smaller and if so how small?

    • Aunt Clara November 12, 2014, 7:17 PM

      I have never seen it (or cooked it) bigger or smaller. Maybe you’d like to do some experimenting. Let us know how it goes.

  • NatLie August 22, 2014, 6:51 PM

    Also how many quipes does this recipe make?

  • NatLie August 22, 2014, 6:50 PM

    Am i able to freeze these to use in a week?

    • Aunt Clara August 31, 2014, 2:15 AM

      You can freeze (and thaw) them before frying them.

  • Edmundo E. Simo Bueno March 25, 2014, 4:04 PM

    Never, ever, I had been made Kipes or Quipes, but always I had been interested in how to make them.
    Many times when I fried them I had to gather with a colander…ha…ha…ha..
    This recipe is amazing.! … I have tried this one several times, and I have success.

    • EdmundoE. Simo Bueno March 25, 2014, 4:22 PM

      I forgot to tell you that I have tried other recipes, and never where successful like this one.
      Many times when I tried others recipes, and I tried to fry them, I had to take them with a colander, except this one.
      This recipes is amazing.
      I have tried this recipe several times, and it has been very easy for me, and the kipes, or quipes fry perfect.
      These are what i wanted to means last time… if something wrong, I am so sorry, was not my intention.
      Sometimes we try to translate from Spanish to English, and it is not the same.
      Thank you for understanding me.

      • Aunt Clara March 27, 2014, 6:40 PM

        I am very happy to hear it worked for you. Enjoy your well-earned kipes.

  • von March 16, 2014, 6:41 PM

    Made them stuffed with chicken… yummy

  • Alicia Burgos February 15, 2014, 3:50 PM

    I made them followin step by step and they came out the way I remember! Great!

  • Edgar J. Manson November 25, 2013, 7:13 PM

    Looking forward to trying/cooking a new cuisine.

  • von November 16, 2013, 5:57 PM

    Instead of rasins i used cranberries for the holidays.
    My tia in dr said I cld freeze them pre cooked. Lets hope I don’t make a mess

  • von November 16, 2013, 5:33 PM

    Question, if I make a bunch, can I freeze them and fry them another day?

  • von October 1, 2013, 7:08 AM

    Buenos dias Tia Clara,
    Anyway of knowing the calorie and carb contnet per quipe?
    I tried to break it down by ingredient but guess I’m a math dummy lol
    Making Tabulleh, Tipili today.

  • von September 30, 2013, 8:17 PM

    I didn’t use salt or basil I seasoned it w garlic n sofito lol like I normally cook ground turkey.

  • von September 30, 2013, 8:11 PM

    Came out good. I made it w ground turkey meat. I didn’t add water just browned the meat. Let it sit for two hours and fried them.

  • Ingrid January 24, 2013, 11:07 PM

    another favorite of mine! Let’s stop fighting let’s just cook… During the next meeting that the leaders of the world get together they should bring dishes from their respective homes. They’ll realize how much we have in common. We’re so busy pointing our our differences we don’t see how much we are alike. Thank you for the historical mention of where this “deliciousness” comes from. Yummy!

  • Catherine Tactuk December 16, 2012, 11:24 AM

    My husband tried Quipes in DR, as as soon as we arrived to Canada he asked “so, when are you going to make me quipes and arepa, eh?”.

    You saved the day Aunt Clara, now I do them in big batches and have them ready in the freezer.


  • Stephanie De Los Santos July 9, 2012, 2:48 PM

    This is one of my favorites! I can’t wait to use your recipe! Thanks

    • leticia August 10, 2012, 10:27 PM

      hola, el bulgur, no sé que es, pero me imagino que es el trigo de grano entero o me equivoco!!!

  • Xiomara May 19, 2012, 2:11 PM

    Hi, I'm Dominican and of course I love Quipes, I used to have them all the time back home. I never made them as there's was no need to with so many street sellers.

    I live in England and yesterday I decided it that I wanted to make Quipes to bring to a Holy communion party that we were going today, I follow your recipe and guess what, it was a success! There were gone within minutes.

    I am very please with myself, even my English husband liked them, I left the tomato as my husband doesn't like it, but I doesn't think it made any difference.

    Many thanks, My next venture are going to be the Empanadas.

  • Nina44 April 2, 2012, 6:39 PM

    Thank you so much!!! I've been looking for this recipe for a long time

    When I was younger my dad use to buy us two dozens every Sunday.

    They were soooo good . Question: Do you know the reciepie for yuca frita de annies? Yuquita. My Dominican dad passed away , never gotten the recipe. Thank you so much

    for sharing with all us those special memories we had when younger. lol

    • Aunt Clara April 2, 2012, 7:08 PM

      To find a recipe by its main ingredients click on the Recipe menu at the top of the page and go to "By Ingredients".

      Good luck.

  • Nina44 April 2, 2012, 6:32 PM

    Thank you so much!!! I've been looking for this recipe for a long time

    When I was younger my dad use to buy us two dozens every Sunday.

    They were soooo good . It was quipe or pastelillos , I always picked quipe.

    There is also a yuca fritters with annies. They were so special because I never seen anyone selling them!! Are you familiar with this recipe? Pictures are beautiful , easy to understand recipes and authentic.

  • UNIRYS ALMONTE February 24, 2012, 8:24 AM

    Los quipes son mis favoritos!

  • Max November 9, 2011, 2:16 PM

    Thanks there deli repos gracias!

  • Marc September 23, 2011, 5:28 AM

    I put the 2 tablespoons of salt as recommended but it ended up wayyyyyy too salty, and i like salt.

  • Emma August 31, 2011, 3:13 PM

    We have made them with ground turkey. The only thing we do different in our recipe is use yerbabuena instead of basil, like I posted above.

  • carmencita August 30, 2011, 2:14 PM

    Has anyone used ground turkey meat? Let me know if yes and what extra seasoning did you use.

  • Emma June 21, 2011, 9:27 AM

    My mom & I made these this weekend… they were heavenly. She hasn't made them in years and now I know why… they're a lot of work! She uses "yerbabuena" instead of basil & adds some spices to the trigo. I'm glad I was involved because now I know how to make them. All the work is totally worth it. We took them over to my Puerto Rican in-laws house, its funny how many people have never even heard of these.

  • jo May 16, 2011, 8:26 AM

    How much water is needed for the bulgar there is no specification for the water needed…..

  • Tonia May 4, 2011, 7:19 AM

    Hi, are these ever made without meat in DR? What would you suggest as a substitute for meat in this recipe? I don't want to ruin it. This recipe sounds delicious. Thanks!

  • Elisa A May 4, 2011, 5:44 AM

    Muchas gracias, ese comprare.

  • Aunt Clara May 4, 2011, 4:47 AM

    Hola Elisa, nunca me acuerdo cual es cual, pero de los tres yo he usado siempre el más grueso (con cáscara).

  • Rosilet May 4, 2011, 12:35 AM

    Great recipe! Me la apunto para hacerla y publicarla en el blog un día de estos!


  • Elisa A May 3, 2011, 8:31 AM

    El bulgur que vi en la tienda tiene numeros (bulgur#1,2, 3 etc) cual recomienda usted?

    • Catherine Tactuk December 16, 2012, 11:21 AM

      El mas fino, si no me equivoco es el No. 1 (ese es el que usamos en mi familia).

  • Gio April 14, 2011, 8:05 AM

    I placed bulgur wheat into bowl with amount of water indicated for approx 8 hrs. When I drained it, it was way to soggy. I used a cup of wheat and about 0.5 lb of ground beef for the mixture. Did I leave the wheat in water to long? Did I use to much ground beef? Thanks

  • Aubrey March 15, 2011, 4:46 PM

    Am I missing something? I don't see how much meat to leave uncooked!

  • ThatsDominican.com February 5, 2011, 5:24 PM

    Quipes!!! My favorite, this an empanadas.. so yummy! Have not tried to make them yet, but will soon. thanks

    • VivianJ January 11, 2013, 2:44 AM

      Prepare los kipes, pero cuando los frei se habrieron. Y el trigo era muy grueso. Que fue lo que hice mal, pero tenian buen gusto.