Chilean Cheese Empanadas are very popular in Chile; they are a classic appetizer, but also popular as snack or lunches. Empanadas abound throughout Latin America with different fillings and doughs.
In this case, the recognizable touch is the use of Chilean cheese: Chanco “queso de Fundo” cheese. It is a ripe cheese with a milky flavor that melts very well. In the USA the nearest cheeses are the Havarti or Muenster.
In the recipe, I explain how to make them fried or baked. It is essential that the dough is left thin so that it is crispy after cooked.
You can buy the dough premade frozen and use this plastic empanada sealer/press (affiliate link) if in a hurry.
Maybe you are interested in the recipe: Cheese and Shrimp Empanadas.
Chilean Cheese Empanadas
for 20 medium empanadas, 30 small
- 1 cup of cold milk
- 1 cup of hot water
- 1 tablespoon of fine salt
- 1 kilo of all-purpose flour
- 2 whole eggs
- 180 grams of warm shortening or melted lard or butter
- 800 grams of Havarti cheese or any cheese that melts well in pieces 4 cm x 1 cm
- Make a brine with milk, water, and salt, stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
- In a large bowl put all the flour, add the eggs, incorporate stirring with a wooden spoon or with a fork or with the tips of the fingers. You want to obtain sand of different thicknesses.
- Add the butter and work a little more in the same way, at this point you will only have crumbs, not a dough yet.
- Continue working the dough while adding the brine until you obtain a soft and elastic dough. This will take about 10 minutes of kneading by hand. If you need more moisture, to form a dough, keep adding water or milk without salt.
- Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C or the oil to fry at 350F or 180C too.
- Separate the dough into 20 portions or 30 and cover with a damp cloth.
- Work each portion individually, roll into a thin dough (3 mm.), cut into a circle. I do not recommend extending half of the dough and cutting several circles at once, because there are going to be a lot of dough left and each time you re-roll it gets harder. With this method, they make sure that their empanadas are pretty since the dough will have sufficient flexibility.
- Place a piece of cheese on one side of the circle. Close the edge with milk, press firmly and make the folds or close using a fork.
- Brush with an egg beaten before taking to the oven. Do not brush if frying.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until they are golden, watch them during cooking if they are puffy, bury a toothpick to deflate them, so they do not open.
- Or fry on one side and then the other, it’s fast, about 2 minutes per side.
- Serve hot. To reheat put the empanadas in the oven at the same temperature for 15 minutes.