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Ecuadorian Fried Cheese Empanadas white plate

Ecuadorian Fried Cheese Empanadas

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  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 empanadas
  • Diet: Vegan


These golden and flaky fried vegan cheese empanadas are simple to make, delicious, and make the perfect party food or snack!


  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (24g) vegetable shortening 
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 300g all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon (8g) baking powder
  • ~12 tablespoons shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
  • Sugar, as desired


  1. In a small pot, add in the water, vegetable shortening, and salt. Heat over low heat just until the shortening is melted, mixing often, and then set aside.
  2. In the meantime, grab a large bowl and mix together the flour and baking powder.
  3. Add 1 cup of the water mixture into the flour bowl and mix with a spatula until well combined.
  4. Switch to mixing with your hands and continue adding the water mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time, until a smooth dough forms.
  5. Flour a clean work surface. Transfer the dough onto the surface and knead until smooth, about 8-10 minutes. If the dough is too wet, add flour about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until it is smooth. If the dough is too dry, add more liquid about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until it is smooth.
  6. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover it with a wet kitchen towel. Rest for 30 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, heat 2-inches of oil over medium heat to about 350°F. 
  8. Divide the dough into 12 balls. Feel free to weigh them if you would like for them to be uniform, but it is not necessary. Place all but one of the dough  balls back into the bowl and cover them up again with the wet towel so they don’t dry out! Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for the empanadas to rest after rolling. 
  9. Roll each ball, one at a time, into a thin disk, about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Add a heaping tablespoon of vegan cheese into the middle of the disc. Fold the bottom of the disk over the cheese to meet the top, and then use your fingers to seal the edges. Next, either braid the edges or use a fork to seal the empanada. Set the finished empanada onto the lined baking sheet and continue with the remaining dough.
  10. Add about 2 tablespoons of sugar to a small bowl and set that aside. Line a large plate or additional sheet with paper towel to drain excess oil later on after cooking.
  11. Place the empanadas into the hot oil. Once the bottoms are golden, about 2-3 minutes, flip them and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes more.
  12. Transfer the empanadas to the paper towel lined plate or baking sheet and immediately sprinkle them with a heavy pinch of sugar. Continue cooking the remaining empanadas.
  13. Serve warm and enjoy! 


  • Please note that this dough is ideal for frying, not baking. 
  • These empanadas are best when eaten the day of making them. You can store them in an airtight container on the counter for about 2-3 days (they get hard and stale fast, unfortunately) and just reheat them in a convection or toaster oven to get them nice and crispy! 
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Side, Snack
  • Method: Fried
  • Cuisine: Ecuadorian