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Venezuelan Cheese and Ham Empanadas | Mommyhood's Diary

Venezuelan Cheese and Ham Empanadas

Course Main Course
Cuisine Venezuelan
Keyword cheese, empanadas, venezuelan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12



  • 1 1/2 cup Kraft Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup sliced ham, chopped


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional, see notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups Harina P.A.N (pre-cooked white maize meal)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Oil to fry (I use corn oil)
  • Guasacasa for serving (optional)



  •  In a medium bowl mix shredded cheese and ham. Set aside.

Make the dough:

  • Wash your hands. In a medium bowl add water, salt, and sugar. Mix until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Mix Harina P.A.N, flour, and baking powder in a bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients to the water and mix/incorporate with your hands, making circular movements and breaking with your finger the lumps that may form. Let rest 5 minutes to thicken. The dough should be firm enough holds its shape without cracking when molded. If it is too soft add a little more of harina P.A.N; if too hard add a little more water.

Form the empanadas:

  • Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and form into little balls (golf ball size).
  • Flatten each ball between two sheets of plastic until it is approximately 5 inches (see notes). Put a heaping spoon of filling in the center of the empanada. Using the plastic sheet, carefully fold over the dough into a semicircle. Trim into a half-moon shape with a knife, or press down with the round edge of a bowl.

Fry the empanadas:

  • Heat 2 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350º F. Fry the empanadas in batches until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet; keep warm in the oven at 300º F.
  • Serve hot.


SUGAR: the sugar is totally optional. I like a touch of sweetness in my empanadas but some people don't so adjust to your liking.
To flatten the dough many people use a tortilla press, which they say it's pretty convenient, but I don't have one so I do it with my hands or with a cutting board, and it works perfectly. 
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Please note that nutritional information is a rough estimate and it can vary depending on the products used.