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Authentic Mexican Fried Empanadas Recipe

Inside: Continue reading to find out how to make authentic Mexican fried empanadas which is a popular street food throughout Mexico and that is easier to make than you might think. 

Mexican empanadas on a black plate and topped with pico de gallo, lettuce, and crema

Street food, commonly known as “antojitos” in Mexico, is very popular and there is a good reason. It is usually inexpensive, fast, and delicious! One of the most popular antojitos is empanadas. You can find them throughout Mexico and there are many different varieties and ways to make them. 

I previously shared a recipe for baked empanadas, which are delicious and have a distinct flavor. Today, I am going to share how to make the more common type of empanadas in Mexico, which are made with corn masa and fried to perfection. 

As you can see in the picture below, these empanadas are good for all ages. My 4 year old went through three of them in no time!

4 year old eating empanadas

What are fried Empanadas?

Empanadas are made by pressing freshly prepared corn masa into a tortilla, filling it, sealing the edges and then frying it until it is golden brown. You can fill it with cheese, beef, chicken, or anything else that you are craving.

Most commonly, you will find cheese empanadas and ground beef empanadas in Mexico. After they are fried, you can top them with fresh lettuce, pico de gallo, salsa, and crema. 

You should be aware that it is virtually impossible to only eat one, so it is a good idea to make as many as possible to make sure everyone gets enough. 

Adult hands pulling apart a cheese empanada

How do you make empanadas?

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The first step to make empanadas is to purchase prepared corn masa. You can usually find this in any Mexican market if you are in the US, and in Mexico of course you can find it just about anywhere. To get it ready for empanadas, you should add 1 cup of flour for each pound of masa, 1 teaspoon of salt, and about 1/2 cup of water. You will add the water a little at a time until reaching the desired consistency as shown in the images below.  

The easiest way to make the tortillas is to get a high-quality tortilla press like this one. With the tortilla press, you will be able to make multiple tortillas in short order and have them ready to fill, seal, and fry. I always add plastic wrap or a cut up ziploc bag to the bottom of the tortilla press and the top to prevent the masa from sticking. 

You will start by adding a  ball of masa (roughly 1/4 cup) to the tortilla press and then pressing it down flat.  

empanada on a tortilla press before frying it

After preparing each tortilla, add your desired filling. If you are making cheese empanadas, you will want to use a cheese that melts easily. Some examples are Queso de Oaxaca or Queso Asadero, or even Mozzarella Cheese. I usually make some cheese empanadas and some ground beef empanadas. For my ground beef filling, check out the recipe below. 

Ground beef filling for an empanada

It is important to then fold the tortilla over and press the edges together with a fork or just with your fingers. Having a good seal is important so that the filling doesn’t escape when you start frying. 

After the empanadas are prepared, you will heat the oil (vegetable, avocado, or another type of frying oil will work). The ideal temperature is between 350 and 365 degrees fahrenheit. If the oil it too hot, you will risk burning your empanadas, so you will want to avoid that. 

You will add the empanadas to the hot oil, making sure they are covered on both sides. Sometimes I will use a pot rather than a pan so that I can make sure they are completely immersed.

You should only fry 3-4 at at a time so that you can make sure that you don’t burn them. Once the empanadas are golden brown on both sides, remove them from the oil and add them to a large bowl that is lined in paper towels.

fried empanadas on a black plate before adding lettuce and garnishments

Once they have cooled down a bit, remove them from the bowl and serve on a plate. Then top them with lettuce, salsa, pico de gallo, and crema. 

Mexican empanadas on a black plate and topped with pico de gallo, lettuce, and crema

These are very addicting, and I am sure that you will enjoy them. Let me know in the comments below how they turn out for you. 

Other Mexican Street Food That Youl Should Try

Check out these other recipes for antojitos that taste great and are easy as well.

Mexican empanadas on a black plate and topped with pico de gallo, lettuce, and crema
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4.08 from 14 votes

Authentic Mexican Fried Empanadas

Continue reading to find out how to make authentic Mexican fried empanadas which is a popular street food throughout Mexico and that is easier to make than you might think. 
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: empanadas
Servings: 12 Empanadas
Calories: 418kcal


For the Masa

  • 1 Lb Prepared Corn Masa
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Cups Oil For frying

For the Ground Beef Filling

  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • 1/4 Onion Finely Chopped
  • 1/4 bunch Cilantro Finely Chopped
  • 1 Tomato Finely Chopped
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Lemon Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Paprika

For Cheese Filled Empanadas

  • 2 Cups Queso de Oaxaca or other melting cheese


For the Masa and Empanadas

  • Add the prepared masa to a large bowl and then add the flour, salt, and a little bit of the water.
  • Stir, adding more water until you reach the desired consistency. It should be thick enough that it doesn't break up when you make a tortilla, but thin enough that it won't take too long to cook through. See images
    empanada on a tortilla press before frying it
  • Form balls with about 1/4 cup of masa and flatten the tortilla using a tortilla press with plastic wrap on the top and bottom. Add the filling (ground beef or cheese) and fold over using the plastic wrap to assist and seal the edges with your fingers or a fork.
  • Heat oil to about 350-365 degrees fahrenheit in a pot or a frying pan and add the empanadas 1 or 2 at a time. You will fry the empanadas for approximately 3-5 minutes each until golden brown.
  • Serve with lettuce, pico de gallo, salsa, and crema.

For the Ground Beef

  • Heat the ground beef and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until cooked through, adjusting seasonings to taste.


Serving: 1Empanada | Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 769mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 271IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @mylatinatable or tag #mylatinatable!


Empanadas on a black plate and being opened and ready to eat

4.08 from 14 votes (12 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating

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James R. Hart

Monday 8th of May 2023

I’m very thankful that I found this website. I was in New Mexico while in the Air Force years ago and fell in love with authentic Mexican cuisine. Even though my disabilities prevent me from cooking as much as I want to I can find good recipes when I want! Thank y’all!


Monday 30th of January 2023

The empanadas turned out great. I baked instead of frying and added ricotta to the meat. Why are the dough(s) different from your baked vurses the fried empanadas? I opted for this one because you have the corn masa in the ingredients. I find the taste more authentic.


Saturday 16th of April 2022

If I may make a suggestion: pounds for one ingredient and cups for another ingredient in this case do not add up. One pound of masa equals 4 cups, 4 cups of masa with one cup of flour and half a cup of water doesn’t come close to getting it moist, never mind wet. I needed a total of two cups of water to get the dough correct.


Monday 30th of January 2023

@Sally, I had to double the water...


Thursday 22nd of December 2022

@Rae, Agreed! I have never found a recipe that uses masa that includes enough water to wet the dough. When a friend in Mexico showed me how she makes her dough, it was clear it is all by feel. She doesn't measure anything, and she starts with a very wet dough (like mashed potatoes consistency) and kneads it as it absorbs water and thickens, gradually adding a bit of masa if needed, until it doesn't stick to her hands. I start with about 2.5-3 cups of water and a rough estimate of 1 cup of flour with 4 cups of masa, a ratio loosely based on observing a kind Mexican vendor who showed my inquisitive daughter how to make empanadas. The vendor also did not measure anything, just eyeballed it.


Monday 15th of March 2021

I can’t wait to taste this. I’m making it right now.

Tuesday 6th of December 2022

@Beekite, liar you already made it

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