Chilean-Style Cheese Empanadas (Fritas de Queso)

Chilean-Style Cheese Empanadas (Fritas de Queso)

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Empanadas are individual Spanish turnovers most often filled with meat and vegetables. This fried empanada recipe, called empanadas fritas de queso, is filled only with melted cheese, and as empanadas go, they are quick and easy to make.

Despite their simplicity, they are sure to become a family favorite. Whole milk mozzarella cheese melts beautifully, but feel free to experiment with the filling. Some people like to add a little chopped onion or use a variety of cheeses. While these empanadas are fried, you can also bake them with good results.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (white)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (or lard, softened)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 16 ounces mozzarella (whole milk, or other meltable cheese)
  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil (or amount needed for frying)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chilean-Style Cheese Empanadas (Fritas de Queso) ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar.

    flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  3. Gently mix the vegetable shortening into the flour.

    mix the vegetable shortening into the flour mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  4. Place the milk and water in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling.

    milk and water in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  5. Stir the hot liquid into the flour mixture. Add more water (1 tablespoon at a time) if the mixture seems too dry and crumbly, or add more flour if the mixture is too wet and sticky.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  6. Knead dough gently until well mixed and homogenous.

    dough ball in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  7. Divide dough into 16 portions, and roll each piece into a ball. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

    dough balls on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  8. Grate or finely chop cheese.

    grated cheese in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  9. Roll each ball of dough into a 6- to 7-inch circle.

    rolled out dough pieces

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  10. Place 1 ounce of cheese in the center of each dough circle.

    grated cheese on top of the dough

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  11. Fold the dough in half over the cheese to form a semicircle.

    Fold the dough in half over the cheese to form a semicircle

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  12. Press down firmly along edges to seal.

    seal the edges of the dough around the cheese

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  13. Roll the edge inward over itself and press down again to seal.

    roll the dough around the edges

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  14. Crimp edge decoratively with a fork, pressing to seal.

    crimp the dough edges with a fork

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  15. In a deep-sided skillet, pot, or deep-fat fryer, heat several inches of vegetable oil to 350 F. Fry empanadas in batches, turning at least once, until golden brown.

    empanadas frying in oil

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  16. Drain empanadas on paper towels.

    fried empanadas on paper towels

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  17. Empanadas can be kept warm in a 200 F oven for up to 1 hour before serving. Serve warm.

    Chilean-Style Cheese Empanadas (Fritas de Queso) on a plate

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

To Bake the Empanadas

Preheat the oven to 400 F and place the empanadas on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden brown. To get a shiny, crispy crust, brush the empanadas with a mixture of 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of milk (or 1 tablespoon water) before baking.