Recipe of the Week: Cuban Empanada de Queso

When I was growing up, the best thing ever was a homemade pepperoni role. Coming from a primarily Italian neighborhood, these were the staple of our town. Now if I could transition this into something equally delicious and specific to the Cuban culture, it would be the empanada de queso (or cheese turnover). I have to tell you that these are both delicious, addicting, and highly enjoyed by all. You can also experiment with adding chicken, ham, or other meats to make this a new breakfast staple for your home. 

Cuban Empanada de queso



3 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

1 egg

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 scant cup ice water

3 cups coarsely grated manchego cheese or (Mozzarella, Asiago, or Monterey Jack) as substitutes if unavailable.

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water)


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and vinegar. Slowly add the water, as needed, mixing to form the dough, until well blended. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and knead gently until the dough becomes smooth, only a few seconds. Wrap well and chill for 30 minutes.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the chilled dough to 1/8 inch thick (keep the other half refrigerated until ready to use). Cut out 3-inch circles. Place a small mound of cheese into the center of each circle. Brush egg wash around the edges of the dough. Fold the edges up forming a pouch, and seal.

3. Refrigerate the empanadas on greased or parchment lined baking sheets at least 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

5. Brush the empanadas with egg wash and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Serves 4

Now eat and Enjoy!