Fried cheese empanadas // Empanadas de viento

Empanadas de viento {Fried cheese empanadas}

Empanadas de viento or fried cheese empanadas are the most delicious traditional Ecuadorian empanadas – they are filled with cheese (and diced onions if you want), fried until crispy, and served sprinkled with sugar. These are truly my favorite empanadas of all time, the combination of the gooey cheese and onions inside a crispy fried empanada and topped with sugar is delicious. I would eat these every day if I could (probably not a healthy idea), these empanadas de viento are the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack with a hot cup of black coffee. The most important part is making sure the empanadas are sealed well, I seal them four times: first with my fingers, next with a fork, then with my fingers twisting and folding the edges, and finally with the fork again. It also helps if the empanadas rest for about an hour in the fridge before frying them, this might seem over the top just to seal an empanada, but I have experienced them leaking while they are being fried and it is very messy.

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Fried cheese empanadas // Empanadas de viento
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Fried cheese empanadas // Empanadas de viento

Recipe for empanadas de viento or fried cheese empanadas, these delicious traditional Ecuadorian empanadas are filled with cheese, fried until crispy, and served sprinkled with sugar.


  • 15 medium size or 25 small empanada discs (use this recipe for homemade empanada dough for frying or store bought empanada discs)
  • ~2 ½ cups grated cheese (you can use quesillo, mozzarella, monterey jack, Oaxaca or any other cheese that melts well or a combination of your favorites)
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion (optional)
  • ½ cup sugar for sprinkling
  • Oil for frying


  1. Mix the grated cheese and chopped onions together.
  2. Spoon the cheese filling on the center of the each empanada disc.
  3. Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges, first pressing gently with your fingers, next use a fork to press down and seal, finally twist and fold the edges of the empanadas and then use the fork again for the final sealing.
  4. Chill the empanadas for at least an hour, this will help them seal better and prevent leaks.
  5. Fry the empanadas either in a deep fryer or in a frying pan, if using a frying pan add enough oil to cover at least half of the empanada, let the oil get very hot and fry each empanada until they are golden on each side or about a minute per side.
  6. Place the empanadas on paper towels to drain any excess oil, sprinkle generously with sugar and serve warm.

Fried cheese empanadas

Homemade fried cheese empanadas Cheese empanadas

 These fried empanadas also make a great appetizer, or according to Nicolas a great dessert. We had an argument about that, “they’re NOT a dessert” was my reply, he insisted “but they have sugar on top, so that makes them a dessert”. Anyway I wasn’t very successful, so if you would like to consider these a dessert then go ahead (but they’re not). Either way they are yummy and extremely easy to make, especially if you cheat and use the store bought empanada discs.

Place the cheese mix on the center of each empanada Refrigerate the empanadas for an hour before frying

Fry the empanadas in hot oil until golden on each side Sprinkle the cheese empanadas with sugar

Empanadas de viento Fried empanadas

Ecuadorian empanadas de viento

Fried cheese empanadas {empanadas de viento}

This post was last modified: August 18th, 2016 by Layla Pujol


  1. Thanks for the recipe. The only change I made is that I cook the onions with achiote and then once cold mix with the cheese and fill the discs. That’s how my family made them and the achiote adds flavor.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Laylita! You are the best!!!

    Today, I finally decided to make empanadas de viento and let me tell you, they were a success!! They tasted and looked exactly like the ones my mom used to make for us in Ecuador! Because I don’t have a food processor, I had to make the dough by hand, but it wasn’t difficult to make or to roll it out because it wasn’t sticky. I cut your recipe in half, and got 8 medium sized empanadas. My husband was feeling a little dubious about the onion-cheese-sugar combination, but ja, ja, ja…. in the end, he looked quite delighted while licking his fingers. Thanks again for helping us bring little pieces of Ecuador to our homes and hearts!!

  3. I made these yesterday for breakfast! Thanks to you! My mom used to make the dough with LARD! Your recipe was pretty close to hers in flavor and texture. She always added raisins and chopped, hard-boiled egg, which made it heaven for me.

  4. Ileen Cuccaro says:

    I sure would love the recipe you used for the dough it looks amazing flaky and crisp

  5. Fantastic receipe..although I don’t know how traditional putting onions inside is?

    • Frank – Onions are a must have, if you haven’t had with onions you should try. I know that some of the street vendors don’t always add onions, but I always remember adding onions when making them with friends/family, and to me it feels like they’re missing something if they don’t have onions.

  6. I am so excited to find this recipe. I just came back from Quito and I absolutely loved the cheese empanadas with cheese! I can’t wait to make them!

    I was also happy to find the recipe for mote because I brought some dried mote back from Ecuador.

  7. this is my favorite food of all time! My Ecuadorian family makes them at EVERY holiday along with humitas and torta de yuca. (it’s like a potato pancake with cheese in it, not sure if you’ve had it).

    It is my favorite comfort food. That and arroz con huevos y queso.

  8. Are fried empanadas less likely or more likely to crack?

    The answer is both, on the one hand they cook faster (5-6 minutes) so if they’re sealed well then they are less likely to crack. However, since they are cooked in hot oil, they move around more than the ones sitting on the baking pan, so they are more fragile. Also, if an empanada leaks in the oven it is not as bad as if it leaks the filling into hot oil.

  9. Maria Belen says:

    It’s my firts time on your website, and I LOVE it. I’m from Guayaquil and can’t wait to try some of my favorite Ecuadorian dishes you have posted. GREAT work

  10. alejandra says:

    Hola Layla,, soy ecuatoriana de Loja, buscaba una receta para empanadas de viento, y encontre la suya, esta pagina es muy buena y la tentacion no mata ahora voy a preparar la carne bisteck en salsa de coco y tomate, … no se como saldra pero le avisare,
    he preparado carne en salsa de pina y en tomate de arbol, (separados) y los dos platos me salieron esquisitos.


  11. I grew up in Puerto Rico and these, or a variation of it) were an all time favorite. I never had them with sprinkled sugar nor cheesy onions, but we did have them stuffed with picadillo de carne (seasoned ground beef) or with pizza cheese and sauce.

    My 12 year old LOVES the pizza ones I make.

    I’m gonna try the cheese and onion one of these days :)

  12. I was thinking about how empanadas remind me of our lebanese (and levantine) “sambusek”. Same idea.

  13. Thank you so much for the recipe – while my family is from chile this recipe looks similar to what I’ve had growing up. i can’t wait to try and it and see how it turns out.

    thank you for this!

  14. these empanadas are so good……
    those are delicious
    if you taste one of these your tongue is going to heaven
    i proved and really those are delicious

  15. Looking at all your wonderful recipes almost brought me to tears. I miss Quito so much and have always wanting to try Ecuadorian cooking here in the States. But my fear has been that not having quite the same ingredients would ruin it. Your website has given me hope! Thank you.

  16. Hey Laylita,

    Thank you sooo much for this great recipe. I made these wonderful “empanadas” for my husband this past week and he absolutely loved them. I just have a quick question. I would like to make “empanadas” for some guests next week, but because of limited time I was wondering if I could make the dough a day in advance? what is your suggestion?

    Hi Ana – I’m glad you like these empanadas, you can make the dough a day in advance, you can even assemble the empanadas, keep them refrigerated and just fry them the next day.

  17. ALEjANDRA says:


    Everythink looks delicious, especially the empanadas is there other ingredients you can stuff it with instead of cheese?

    Thank you so much

    Hi Alejandra – Yes, you can also stuff them with ground beef or chicken or vegetables or fruit. A reader on my Spanish blog reminded me that in Ecuador they are also sometimes stuffed with sweet plantains (previously cooked & mashed).

  18. aleprusita says:

    Hi Laylita.
    Happy New year!!!…your site is the best gift i found this season. I’m ecuadorian (de Ibarra) and i love and miss ecuadorian food. I tried couple of your recipes, arroz con chorizo y camaron, come y bebe and the empanadas de viento…what can i say…it is glory!!!! thank you sooooo much…mil gracias.


  19. Valentina says:

    Hi Laylita,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful site! My boyfriend is Ecuadorian…and I can’t wait to surprise him with some of his favorite home-town dishes!!! Thank you so much!


  20. Laylita,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures, my boyfriend is Ecuadorian I am Mexican and it is really tough to cook his favorite receipes with out pictures I can never tell if I did it right if I don’t know how they look like, love your website.

  21. Dear Lalita,
    All your recipes are amazing!!! and the pictures, I can describe it!!!
    Thanks from the bottom of my heart

  22. Hi Y, I have a recipe for baked cheese empanadas right here:

  23. I love that last photo of the empanada with the cheese spilling out. Is it possible to bake your empanada dough recipe instead of frying?

  24. Thank u for the blog! I love it!

  25. Hi Farida, Thank you for your comments. I love Pirojki and the ones you made you look very cook, I’ll have to try making some one of these days.

  26. Hi Layla, I just discovered your site through Gretchen’s Canela & Camino. What a beautiful blog you have! I love your recipes and your pictures are gorgeous! I am going to subscribe to your blog now.

    By the way, these empanadas look so delicious! I recently made stuffed pies Pirojki and posted them on my blog and some of my viewers likened them to empanadas.

    Keep up the good work. It’s a beautiful site. I am thinking about trying some recipes from here. Cheers!

  27. Hi,
    I just found your site and I’m so excited to go over all the recipes. I just moved to Quito with my family at year ago and I am still completely lost when it comes to a lot of the food. I love to cook, though, so I know that your site will be a great help. Plus I like the kid-friendly section, since I have some picky eaters.
    Looking forward to more happy reading and cooking!

  28. MrsDocChuck says:

    My husband has gained a lot of weight since being confined, but I will allow him a terat or two each week. He adores anything wrapped up in dough and deep fried, so these will be at the ready, should his behavior warrent pampering.

  29. Those look so professional. I want them..

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