Empanadas are a beloved staple of Latin American cuisine, featuring a crispy crust and a variety of delicious fillings.
Whether baked or fried, empanadas are a versatile dish that can be customized to suit any taste.
One crucial component of this beloved dish is the cheese filling.
Choosing the best cheese for empanadas can make all the difference in creating a delicious and satisfying meal.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 cheeses for empanadas, as well as some alternative options to consider.
Additionally, we’ll offer some tips for making empanadas that are sure to impress.
So, let’s dive in and discover the perfect cheese for your next batch of empanadas!
How to Pick the Right Cheese for Empanadas
When it comes to choosing the perfect cheese for empanadas, there are a few things to consider. Here are some tips to help you pick the best cheese for your filling:
- Flavor: The flavor of the cheese should complement the other ingredients in your empanada filling. For example, a mild cheese like mozzarella or queso blanco would pair well with a vegetable filling, while a more flavorful cheese like cheddar or pepper jack would be better suited to a meat filling.
- Texture: The texture of the cheese is also important. You want a cheese that will melt and blend well with the other ingredients. A stringy cheese like mozzarella or a crumbly cheese like feta might not be the best choice, as they can be difficult to work with.
- Melting properties: The cheese should melt easily and evenly, without separating or becoming oily. Good melting cheeses include Monterey Jack, cheddar, and pepper jack.
- Saltiness: The level of saltiness in the cheese should be considered, especially if you’re using other salty ingredients in the filling, like olives or capers. A less salty cheese like queso fresco or ricotta would balance out the flavors nicely.
- Tradition: Finally, consider the traditional cheeses used in the type of empanada you’re making. For example, if you’re making an Argentine-style beef empanada, consider using queso de bola or provolone, which are commonly used in that region.
The 10 Best Cheeses for Empanadas
Now that you know what to look for when choosing a cheese for your empanadas, let’s dive into the top 10 cheeses that are perfect for this tasty dish. In no particular order, here they are:
- Queso Fresco: A crumbly, mild cheese that’s perfect for vegetable or chicken empanadas.
- Monterey Jack: A versatile cheese that melts easily and has a mild flavor, making it a great choice for a variety of fillings.
- Cheddar: A classic cheese that adds a sharp flavor to beef or pork empanadas.
- Provolone: A semi-hard cheese with a smoky flavor that pairs well with beef or sausage empanadas.
- Pepper Jack: A spicy cheese that’s perfect for adding a kick to chicken or vegetable empanadas.
- Queso Blanco: A mild cheese that melts easily and is perfect for cheese and spinach or mushroom empanadas.
- Oaxaca: A stringy, melty cheese that’s perfect for beef or chicken empanadas.
- Cotija: A crumbly, salty cheese that’s perfect for adding a savory kick to vegetable or beef empanadas.
- Manchego: A Spanish cheese with a nutty flavor that pairs well with ham and chicken empanadas.
- Gouda: A creamy, smoky cheese that’s perfect for ham and bacon empanadas.
No matter what kind of empanada you’re making, one of these cheeses is sure to be the perfect addition to your filling.
7 Alternative Cheeses for Empanadas
If you’re looking to mix things up a bit, there are plenty of other cheeses that can be used in empanadas. Here are 7 alternative cheeses to consider:
- Ricotta: A creamy, mild cheese that’s perfect for vegetable empanadas.
- Blue Cheese: A pungent cheese that adds a bold flavor to beef or chicken empanadas.
- Feta: A tangy cheese that’s perfect for Mediterranean-style empanadas with olives, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Fontina: A buttery cheese that pairs well with ham and chicken empanadas.
- Swiss: A nutty cheese that’s perfect for chicken or mushroom empanadas.
- Asiago: A hard cheese that adds a sharp, tangy flavor to beef or pork empanadas.
- Brie: A creamy cheese that’s perfect for empanadas with fruit, such as apple or pear.
5 Tips for Making Delicious Empanadas
Now that you know the best and alternative cheeses to use for empanadas, let’s go over some tips for making sure your empanadas turn out delicious:
- Use cold dough: If you’re making your own dough, make sure to use cold ingredients and refrigerate the dough before rolling it out. This will help create a flaky and crispy crust.
- Don’t overfill: It can be tempting to stuff your empanadas full of filling, but too much filling can cause them to burst open during cooking. Aim for a 2-3 tablespoon filling-to-dough ratio.
- Crimp edges tightly: To prevent filling from leaking out of the edges, make sure to crimp the edges of the empanada dough tightly together.
- Ventilate: Cut a small slit or poke a hole in the top of each empanada before baking or frying to allow steam to escape and prevent the filling from getting too hot.
- Brush with egg wash: Brushing the tops of your empanadas with egg wash before baking will create a beautiful golden brown crust.
In conclusion, choosing the right cheese for your empanadas is key to creating a delicious and satisfying meal. The top 10 cheeses we’ve discussed, as well as the alternative options, offer a range of flavors and textures that can elevate your empanada fillings.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations until you find your perfect match! And remember, following some basic tips like using cold dough, crimping the edges tightly, and brushing with egg wash can take your empanadas to the next level. We hope this article has inspired you to try out some new cheese and empanada combinations, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with!
The 10 Best Cheeses for Empanadas
- Queso Fresco
- Monterey Jack
- Pepper Jack
- Queso Blanco
- Select your favorite cheese from this article.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep some delicious cheesy Empanadas in 30 minutes or less!