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Ecuadorian Fried Cheese Empanadas

Get ready for a real treat! Empanadas are a great side dish or main entrée because you can alter the filling to be anything you want! The sky is the limit but today we are sticking with the classic cheese empanada. Chef Brandon takes a stab at his wife’s traditional fried cheese empanadas recipe on Cooking Creations.



3 C.                All-Purpose Flour

1 Tsp.            Salt

1/2 Tsp.        Baking Powder

8 Tbsp.         Cold Butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 C.            Cold Milk or Water         


1/4 C.            White Onion, minced

1 Tbsp.         Butter

1 1/2 C.        Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded

1 Qt.              Vegetable Oil for frying

1/4 C.            Granulated Sugar


Empanada Dough

1.) Place flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk until mixed.

2.) Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to “cut” the butter into the flour until the mixture is crumbly and there are no large pieces of butter. The smaller the pieces of butter the better and the more flavorful pockets you will have in your crust.

3.) Add the milk or water, two tablespoons at a time, and mix gently with a fork. Adding small portions will make it easer to fold in. Continue to mix until the dough comes together and is not too dry or soggy.

4.) Knead the dough a few times with your hands until it is relatively smooth.

5.) Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes (or refrigerate for several hours – up to overnight). While dough is setting prepare the filling.


1.) Melt the butter in a small skillet and add the minced onion. Cook over medium-low heat until the onion is translucent and fragrant.

2.) Remove from heat and let cool.

3.) When it has cooled, place the onion with the shredded cheese in a bowl and toss to combine. Now it is time to create your empanadas.


1.) Divide the dough into 16 equal balls. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and then let the dough rest for five minutes.

2.) On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a thin six-inch diameter circle, letting the dough rest for several minutes if needed to the dough relax and stretch.

3.) Brush the edges of the dough lightly with water.

4.) Place 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the filling mixture in the middle of the dough and then fold the circle of dough in half and seal the edges firmly. Fold the edges of the dough into a decorative seam.

5.) Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

6.) Heat several inches of vegetable oil in a deep skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when a piece of dough sizzles gently in the oil.

7.) Cook the empanadas in batches flipping them once until they are golden brown.

8.) Carefully remove the empanadas from the oil with a slotted spoon, spatula, or tongs, and place on a paper towel lined plate.

9.) Sprinkle the tops of the empanadas with a teaspoon of sugar as a soon as you place them on the plate.

10.) Let empanadas cool for five minutes before serving.

At first we were unsure about adding the sugar to a cheese and onion filled dish, but the sugar added just the right amount of surprise and depth. Don’t you think? Now that you have these cheese and onion filled empanadas down, what are you going to add to your filling next time? Share photos on social media with #FourWindsCasino or by emailing photos to social@fourwindscasino.com. Tune in to more Cooking Creations with Chef Brandon on our Instagram and Facebook accounts for step by step videos.

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