Gluten free jalapeño & cheese empanadas

Gluten Free Jalapeño & Cheese Empanadas

Spicy three cheese empanadas with mozzarella, extra mature cheddar and parmesan + finely chopped pickled jalapeños. I made these earlier this week and oh my gosh they were so good.

The recipe is so simple and easy / pretty much the same as arepas i.e just pre-cooked cornmeal, salt, water and olive oil.

I always use the brand P.A.N. which is by far the best and made especially for arepas/empanadas. As a bonus, it’s also certified gluten free. ? You can find it here and there in various corner shops around London and sometimes in the world section of large supermarkets in the UK (I occasionally find it in Tesco). But if all things fail, you can purchase it online from many different websites like Sous Chef UK.

Gluten free jalapeños and cheese empanadas made with P.A.N. pre-cooked cornmeal

Gluten free jalapeños and cheese empanadas made with P.A.N. pre-cooked cornmeal

Gluten Free Jalapeño & Cheese Empanadas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Perfect crispy jalapeño and cheese empanadas made with P.A.N. pre-cooked cornmeal / an easy and naturally gluten free South American classic.
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Venezuelan / Colombian
Serves: 6-8 small empanadas
For the empanada dough:
  • 150g / 1 cup pre-cooked cornmeal (I use P.A.N. which is certified gluten free and the best for this)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200-235g / 1 cup water
  • 15g / 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Vegetable oil (to fry)
  • Optional: ½ tsp turmeric (for colour - if using white pre-cooked cornmeal)
For the filling:
  • Extra mature cheddar
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Pickled jalapeños

FRYING TIME: about 4-5 minutes per batch



  1. Grate some cheese into a bowl. It’s really up to you what you use. I chose a mixture of shredded mozzarella and extra mature cheddar with a touch of parmesan for extra flavour.
  2. Finely chop a handful of pickled jalapeños and mix with the grated cheese.

How to make gluten free empanada / arepa dough


  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Then slowly add the water and mix well with a spatula until the dough comes together. NOTE: the quantity of water needed can vary depending on the brand of cornmeal you use and whether you use a cup or a scale to measure your quantities (as cups aren’t very precise). So add the water slowly, little by little, until it looks right (like in a the picture collage above). With P.A.N. flour, 200g of water is usually perfect.
  3. Finally, add the olive oil. Mix with a spatula first and then switch to kneading the dough with your hands until you have a smooth crack-free dough ball. If the dough feel a little too dry/is cracking a bit, add a bit more water (half a teaspoon at a time).
How to make gluten free empanadas - step by step
These pictures are actually from a previous recipe, with pulled pork and cheese ?, but you know, same process.


  1. Divide the dough into equal portions. This recipe yields about 6 to 8 small/medium empanadas.
  2. Roll each portion into a smooth ball between your palm and then flatten the dough between a folded sheet of baking paper (to prevent sticking – like in the picture collage above) until it’s about half a centimetre thick.
  3. Smooth any cracks around the edges with your fingers or the spatula. Then carefully flip it over to make sure it’s not sticking.
  4. Add some filling in the middle, leaving enough space around the edges to prevent the content from spilling out.
  5. Then carefully fold your empanada in half using the sheet of baking paper and press the edges closed, tucking in the filling.
  6. Finally, smooth any cracks and imperfections with your fingers.
  7. Then, using a fork, create little dents all along the surface of the edges (but don’t go all the way through the pastry).



  1. Pre-heat your oil to 180C (356F) and fry your empanadas for about 4-5 minutes, until crispy and golden. Note: be careful not to overcrowd your fryer or pan, cook them in batches. If you don’t have a fryer, you can easily use a saucepan with a couple of inches of oil and use a food thermometer to track the temperature.
  2. Let your freshly cooked empanadas rest on kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil.
  3. NOTE: you can also bake them until crispy (with some olive oil brushed on top) or even pan fry them, but of course it’s not quite the same texture-wise.

Hope you enjoy them! 🙂

Kimi x

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