Recipe: Venezuelan Empanadas

19 Oct

Empanadas are like Venezuelan hot pockets or calzones.   We usually serve them as appetizers (small ones), or as a main dish with delicious fillings and dipping sauces.   Empanada fillings are as varied as Arepa fillings, and we use some of the same fillings that we use in Arepas as well.   The most common and easy to prepare are cheese empanadas, and they are the most popular amongst kids.   We also have exquisite ones like lobster, or Cazón (small shark), and common ones like ground beef, shredded chicken, shredded meat.   Then there are big ones like filled with Pabellón (Shredded beef, black beans and plantains), or combination ones like cheese and beef, or even ham and cheese.   One thing is for sure; you will like them no matter what is in them.   Another great thing about empanadas is that they are a great way to re-purpose your leftovers, and no one will complain about eating the same thing for lunch that they had the night before for dinner, because everyone loves empanadas.   So keep that in mind when you have leftovers, and you don’t want them to go to waste.

Ingredients for Venezuelan Empanadas

Ingredients for Venezuelan Empanadas

What You’ll Need:

– 1 Cup Harina PAN
– 1 ¼ Cup Water
– ½ Teaspoon Salt
– 1/3 Teaspoon Sugar
– Vegetable Oil (enough to fry all the empanadas)
– Your Empanada Fillings (Cheese, beef, chicken, pork, etc.)
– Clear Plastic Wrap (Cling Wrap)
– Bowls

Preparation

1. Just like the Arepas: Add the Harina PAN into a mixing bowl, then add the salt and the sugar to the water and stir it.   Now little by little add the water and knead and mix the dough using your hands.   You must knead the dough until the mix is soft, firm and has a uniform consistency without any grains.

Knead the Dough

Knead the Dough

2. Once the dough is ready, make a big ball out of it, and then split into 4 equal parts.

Split Into Equal Parts

Split Into Equal Parts

3. Set up your cooking space as shown in the picture below in order to have:
a) Your Dough
b) Your Fillings (I have beef and shredded Queso Blanco cheese here)
c) A bowl with warm water with a little bit of oil in it.
d) A bowl to shape your empanadas with
e) A large enough piece of Cling Wrap

Set Up Your Cooking Space

Set Up Your Cooking Space

4. Grab one of your four sections of dough and form a ball.

Form A Ball

Form A Ball

5. Begin to flatten the ball into a disk shape using the entire length of your hands, also use the water with oil to moisten your hands so that the dough doesn’t stick to them.
6. Flatten the ball until it is less than 0.25” thick.

Flatten

Flatten

Flatten More

Flatten More

Done

Done

7. Place about two to three tablespoons of your filling right below the center of the circle.

Add Filling

Add Filling

Add Any Filling

Add Any Filling

8. With both hands grab the top of the Cling Wrap and carefully fold the circle in two, so that you have a semicircle.

Fold Circle Into Semicircle

Fold Circle Into Semicircle

9. Press the Cling Wrap with your fingers over the top dough towards the bottom dough, in order to close the empanada.

Semicircle

Semicircle

Press Edged to Close Empanada

Press Edged to Close Empanada

10. Now use the extra empty bowl as shown to cut the excess dough and make the famous empanada moon-shape.

Use Empty Bowl

Use Empty Bowl

Cut Out Empanada Shape

Cut Out Empanada Shape

11. Open the Cling Wrap and remove the excess dough, which you can add to the remaining dough to make the rest of the empanadas.

Empanada Shape

Empanada Shape

Open Cling Wrap

Open Cling Wrap

Remove Excess Dough

Remove Excess Dough

Empanada Shape Done

The Perfect Empanada Shape

12. Carefully remove the empanada from the Cling Wrap, so you can make the rest of them.

Carefully Remove from Cling Wrap

Carefully Remove from Cling Wrap

Set Aside

Set Aside

13. You can begin to fry them immediately if you have someone else to help keep an eye on the ones in the pan, so you can continue making the other ones and not burn them.

Fry Empanadas

Fry Empanadas

14. Also, it is a good idea to mark them so you know which ones have which filling. In case someone doesn’t want one of the fillings. I use one dot for cheese, two dots for beef, and three dots for beef and cheese.   But you can use whatever you want.

Mark Your Empanadas

Mark Your Empanadas

15. Once you have all your empanadas ready, it’s time to fry them.

Fried Empanada and Remove Excess Oil with Paper Towels

Fried Empanada and Remove Excess Oil with Paper Towels

16. Once they are golden, take them out and lay them on paper towels to remove the excess oil.
17. Serve and enjoy.   Be careful, they are hot!

Venezuelan Empanadas

Venezuelan Empanadas

¡Buen Provecho!

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18 Responses to “Recipe: Venezuelan Empanadas”

  1. Dorothy Salcedo July 7, 2012 at 12:25 #

    Thank you so much for sharing all your receipes, soy Americana de naciemiento pero Venezolana de corazon. Tengo 47 anos aqui t todavia no puedo encontrar apio

    • mwolowicz July 9, 2012 at 04:21 #

      Dorothy,

      Thank you for your comment. What part of the US do you live in. Your best bet is to try to find a Latin market. The Latin markets down here in Florida import the apio from Dominican Republic. My grandma noticed that it still does not look like Venezuelan apio to her, but when I cooked it it tasted te same. So maybe you could find a similar product from a different country, like the arracacha. Also look for Goya products online. They sell some frozen Colombian arracacha, that maybe you could buy online.

      MW

    • Margarita Laabichi August 26, 2012 at 07:45 #

      Aqui el apio se llama parsnip y lo venden en Publix o cualqier supermercado. Lo venden en una bolsa plastica y lo ponen junto a las zanzhorias.

      • mwolowicz September 15, 2012 at 20:38 #

        Margarita,

        Thank you for your comment. When I first started looking for Apio, I also though (by my mom’s physical description of Apio) that Parsnip was the closest thing I had. I did buy Parsnip and made the same Apio soup recipe with Parsnip. I have to admit, it tasted very, very similar to Apio. But as I soon found out, it just wasn’t it. True Venezuelan Apio is hard to find, but the closest thing I have found is the Celery Root (only the ones imported from Central and South American countries, though).

        MW

  2. Daniel June 3, 2014 at 18:20 #

    Does the beef have to be precooked before it gets fired? #pleaseanswerASAP 🙂 thank you!

    • mwolowicz June 3, 2014 at 22:01 #

      Daniel,

      Thank you for visiting the blog and for your question. I hope I am answering on time. Yes, the beef or any other filling like chicken or pork, or even fish has to be cooked before you make the empanadas.

      Hope that helps.

      MW

  3. Brian September 2, 2016 at 18:13 #

    Epa! I love your blog! I was a foreign exchange student in Caracas in the early 90s, and fell in love with Venezuelan cuisine. Yours is the best site I have found that nicely elaborates the essential Venezuelan dishes that I miss SO MUCH! Thank you!

    • mwolowicz September 5, 2016 at 13:58 #

      Brian,

      Thank you for visiting the blog, and thank you for your comment. I am glad you enjoy the blog. Thanks for the kind words, it makes me happy when others find joy in comming accross my blog. I know I haven’t added any new content in this past year, but I think I have the basic staples of Venezuelan cuisine in here for those like you who miss it. I hope you can use some of my recipes and enjoy them… Please write back if you do, and if you liked them, post a photo of your own if you can.

      Thanks again,

      MW

  4. thatborderlinegirl September 4, 2016 at 08:32 #

    I always wondered if it matters if you use white or yellow corn flour?

    • mwolowicz September 5, 2016 at 13:50 #

      Dear thatborderlinegirl,

      It doesn’t really matter, unless you have a brand of corn flour that tastes different from yellow to white. The empanadas can technically be made with both yellow and white corn flour. Some people might find that it tastes different even if it’s the same brand, and some people might prefer one brand over another. Me, personally, I would always prefer the White Harina P.A.N. corn flour.

      Thanks for visiting the blog, and thank you for your question!

      MW

      • thatborderlinegirl November 6, 2016 at 09:58 #

        I got lucky and found one grocery store that sells P.A.N. so I bought it and have been making empanadas with it all the time! There are some brands of yellow corn flour that I’ve bought which require oil or melted butter to properly form the dough, so it definitely makes me happy that P.A.N. easily forms a dough with just water. ^_^

        • mwolowicz November 6, 2016 at 20:25 #

          Theborderlinegirl,

          Thank you for your reply. Could you let the rest of the readers know the name and location of the store where you found Harina P.A.N. ?

          Thank you!

  5. Marcos February 4, 2017 at 19:37 #

    Hi! I’ve made this recipe a couple of times and get great reviews. Can they be made ahead of time? I was thinking of making the masa and filling them and then putting them in the fridge until right before guests arrive…

    • mwolowicz February 5, 2017 at 13:28 #

      Marcos,

      Thank you for visiting the blog and thank you for your comment. I am glad you have received positive reviews when recreating this recipe. When I was a kid my mom used to make all the empanadas first, and then fry them; instead of making one and frying it, and then making another and frying it, which is a bit cumbersome. I think you could make them in advance and keep them in the fridge and only fry them when your guests arrive. However, I wouldn’t make them a whole day in advanced. Maybe just a couple of hours only. The reason is I think the dough will start to crack in the fridge. Also, I would thaw them out a bit before frying them.

      MW

  6. Sarah April 11, 2017 at 11:31 #

    What would you do to adapt this recipe to make dessert empanadas? I am think sweet potato/yam if you have a recommended recipe for the filling.

    THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!!!

    • mwolowicz May 27, 2017 at 10:42 #

      Dear Sarah,

      I have had “desert empanadas” before in many different occasions and places. However, I believe that it would be a completely different recipe and ingredients. Probably not using Harina P.A.N..

      Thank you for your question, please visit back soon.

      MW

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 5 Flavorful Latin Recipes – Juana la Iguana - August 28, 2017

    […] They eat empanadas in many parts of Latin America, and they are out of this world. In countries like Venezuela, they are made the same mass as the arepa, and are filled and fried. In Chile or Argentina, among other countries, they are made with wheat flour and baked. I love both ways! Here is a recipe with cornmeal. See the recipe here.  […]

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