Fried Cheese and Corn Empanadas

This recipe for Fried Cheese and Corn Empanadas is from the State of Tabasco, a gulf-coast state in the south of Mexico. Dig in!

Home to a rich, tropical cuisine, Tabasco has several regions and cities that each have their own specialties, like the oysters from Paraíso, the longaniza sausage from Teapa, or the head cheese from Jalpa de Méndez.

Commonly found throughout Tabasco are fried empanadas, which can be stuffed with a variety of fillings ranging from fish to plantains. These fried corn empanadas with cheese are some of the simplest, but still very delicious. They’re one of my family’s favorite empanadas, due to the unique flavor you get when you mix the sugar in the cheese.

I know that some of you may be left wondering how good these taste with the sugar, but if you cook them, I’m certain that you won’t be disappointed! You’ll want to make them all over again to share with your friends and family.

So, without further ado, let’s prepare these delicious cheese empanadas.

For the salsa use the recipe for Tomato Habanero Salsa, it pairs really well with this fried corn empanadas with cheese

Fried Cheese and Corn Empanadas
Cuisine: Mexican
  • 1-1/2 cups of masa harina
  • 1¼ cups of warm water*
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of queso fresco, crumbled**
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil (to cook the empanadas)
  • 2 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons of Cotija cheese or Queso Fresco, crumbled (for topping)
  • Salsa of your choice
  1. Mix the masa harina, salt, and water in a bowl. Knead well until the dough is soft. Add more water as needed (see note above). Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized balls, and cover with a wet kitchen napkin.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium-size frying pan. In a bowl, mix the Queso fresco with the sugar.
  3. Place one ball of masa between 2 plastic sheets in your tortilla press. Press down on the tortilla press to form a circle and then remove the top plastic.
  4. Place 2 tablespoons of the queso-sugar mix in the center of the dough circle. With the help of the bottom plastic sheet, fold the circle in half and seal the edges very well. If you don’t seal the edges well, the filling can ooze out when frying, and cause the oil to splatter.
  5. Place the formed empanadas into the hot oil and cook, turning them once they have a golden-brown finish. Cook for about 2 minutes per side. When done, remove from the oil and place on a plate that’s covered with paper napkins (to absorb any excess oil).
  6. Right before serving, mix the shredded cabbage with the lime juice. Serve the empanadas topped with a portion of the cabbage, a drizzle of your favorite salsa, and a sprinkle of some Cotija cheese.
After adding the water, you will need to add a couple more tablespoons of extra water until the dough gets a nice soft texture. The amount needed will depend on the area where you live and the humidity or dryness of the environment.
Make sure the queso fresco is cold. This will keep it from melting too easily and oozing out of the empanadas.


Mely Martínez

Hi! I’m Mely Martínez, a Mexican school teacher, home cook and food blogger. I moved to the United Stated about 10 years ago, after living in Mexico my whole life. Now I love to share home-style recipes of authentic Mexican Food.

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