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Venezuelan Cheese and Ham Empanadas | Mommyhood's Diary

Venezuelan Cheese and Ham Empanadas

These to-die-for Venezuelan Cheese and Ham Empanadas are filled with gooey cheese and savory ham. This recipe is sure to please just about every cheese lover and will become an instant favorite!!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Venezuelan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 156kcal



  • 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.


Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 554mg | Potassium: 108mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 1mg