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Empanadas Fritas de Queso - Chilean-style Fried Cheese Empanadas

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These fried empanadas are filled only with melted cheese, and as empanadas go they are quick and easy to make. Despite their simplicity, they are my absolute favorite (maybe because they are fried?). Experiment with the filling - some people like to add a little bit of chopped onion or use a variety of cheeses. I prefer whole milk mozzarella cheese, which melts beautifully. You can also bake these empanadas with good results.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or lard, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 16 ounces whole milk mozzarella, or other meltable cheese
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl.

  2. Gently mix the vegetable shortening into the flour.

  3. Place the milk and water in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Stir the hot liquid into the four mixture. Add more water (1 tablespoon at a time) if mixture seems to dry and crumbly, or add more flour if mixture is too wet and sticky.

  4. Knead dough gently until well mixed and homogenous. Divide dough into 16 portions, and roll each piece into a ball. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.

  5. Grate or finely chop cheese.

  6. Roll each ball of dough into a 6-7 inch diameter circle. Place one ounce of cheese in the center of each dough circle.

  7. Fold dough in half over the cheese to form a semicircle. Press down firmly along edges to seal. Roll edge inward over itself and press down again to seal. Crimp edge decoratively with fork, pressing to seal.

  8. Heat several inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a deep sided skillet, pot, or deep fat fryer. Fry empanadas in batches, turning at least once, until golden brown. Drain empanadas on paper towels.

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