Fried Bean And Cheese Empanadas

Fried Bean And Cheese Empanadas

I’ve been making Fried Bean And Cheese Empanadas for a while now. When I first started sharing my food creations back in 2011 I made a potato corn and cheese version of these empanadas… at the time I was calling them ‘Presley’s Pantry Veggie Gourmet Empanada/Pockets!’ – I know that’s a mouth full. I had decided to share them back then after hosting my extended family over for dinner one night. It was something to document since they had been a huge hit.

The empanadas pictured above are made almost the same with a few adjustments to the recipe. These are completely gluten-free, and simplified with just beans cheese and jalapeño. I whipped up a tasty salsa roja to pour over the top. This recipe is pure comfort food for a day when you want to wrap everything up in a little tight pocket and eat it away. It reminds me of an empanada I had on the streets of Mexico City with just cheese and rajas and if only for a second… transports me there.


Ingredients for Fried Bean And Cheese Empanadas:

  •  2 1/2 cups Masa Harina ( I used Bob’s Red Mill )
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cups warm-hot water 
  • 8 oz. Oaxaca cheese or pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno
  • 2 cups vegetable oil


 In a large mixing bowl add Masa harina, baking powder, and salt.  Mix with a fork to combine.  Then add warm water and mix with hands or in a stand-up mixer till soft and dough comes together, but is not sticky.

Cover dough with a damp towel, and allow to rest for 30 to 40 minutes.

Make salsa while masa rests.

Divide masa/dough into 12 equal parts, then roll each part into a 2 inch ball. Keep masa/dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent masa/dough from drying out.

Take a piece of plastic and cover working area of the tortilla press or between two heavy book. Then place a ball of masa/dough in the center and press down to make a flat disk.

Let’s fill our empanadas…. Start with a heaping tablespoon of refried beans, and place on one side of masa/dough. Then add a little under 1/4 cup of cheese on top and add in a jalapeño pepper.

Folding Time:

Gently fold half of masa over to close empanada. Press down with fingers all along the edge to seal both ends together.

Once edges are sealed. Fold 1/4 inch of edge in to make a perfect fold.

Place empanada on a cookie sheet lined with foil and topped with plastic wrap while you assemble the rest and are ready to fry. Remember to keep them covered as you do not want them to dry out.

Add 2 cups vegetable oil to a large frying pan and place over a medium high heat. Allow to get hot.  Add up to 3 empanadas/pockets at a time and fry on each side for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Serve warm with a teaspoon of salsa poured over the top.

Ingredients for Salsa Roja:

  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ onion
  •  salt
  •  5 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 chile de arbol
  • 3 yellow chile (guero)
  • 2 jalapeño chile
  • 2 serrano chile
  • 5 stalks green onion 
  •  1/2 cilantro leaves
  •  1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • water 


Pour 1 tablespoon vegetable oil into a small frying pan over medium flame.  Once hot add in onion pieces and garlic cloves.  Brown on all sides then remove from the pan and set to the side.

In one large lidded pots (between 8 and 9 quarts) fill halfway with water over a medium flame.  Add 1 tablespoon salt to water pot. Cover with lid and bring to a boil.  Once boiling add tomatoes, chile de arbol, serrano, jalapeños, and yellow chile. Cover with lid and let boil for 30 minutes.

While waiting for your chiles to boil, chop the green onion and tear the cilantro.

In a blender add boiled tomatoes, chile de arbol (remove stems), fried onion, fried garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, serrano chiles (remove stems), jalapeño chiles (remove stems), yellow chiles (remove stems), 2 cups of water that chiles boiled in, and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend for 30 seconds.

Once blended pour tomato onion blend into a big bowl. Next mix in cilantro and green onion.