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
Yield: 16 empanadas
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
492 Calories
35g Fat
28g Carbs
17g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 492
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 45%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Sodium 634mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 336mg 26%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 109mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.

Serve empanadas with arroz con pollo, or black beans and rice, with some fried plantains on the side.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, or lard, softened

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 16 ounces whole milk mozzarella, 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 circles

    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.

How to Freeze Uncooked Empanadas

Empanadas are great to make up and freeze for later use. Simply place the uncooked empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet—not touching each other—and freeze until solid. Transfer over into a plastic container or freezer bag. They will keep in the freezer for up to three months. They can be baked frozen, just pull out the amount you want and bake, adding a few more minutes to the baking time.