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Cheese & onion empanadas

Cheese & onion empanadas

This knock-out recipe comes from Nicolas Modad, the cofounder of Porteña, an Argentinian street food specialist in Borough Market, London. His fellow cofounder, Federico Fugazza, says: “Argentinian empanadas are made with beef mince, but more recently cheese ones like this have become popular. The sugar on top is optional (and not traditional) but adds a lovely shine and flavour contrast.” 

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  • Makes10
  • CourseSnack
  • Prepare1 hr
  • Cook1 hr
  • Total time2 hrs
  • Pluscooling

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  • 2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 300g Gruyère or Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 150g ball Essential Mozzarella
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp caster sugar, for sprinkling (optional)


  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 125g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled


  1. For the pastry, put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs (alternatively, pulse the flour, salt and butter in a food processor). Gradually add up to 75ml cold water, mixing with a cutlery knife (or pulsing again in the food processor), then use your hands to bring together into a dough. Shape into a flat disc, wrap in a food bag or baking parchment and chill for at least 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, put the oil in a large frying pan over a low-medium heat and add the onions with a pinch of salt. Gently sauté for 22-25 minutes until soft and golden. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese until mostly melted, then set aside to cool.

  3. Cut the pastry in half and put one piece on a lightly floured work surface. Thinly roll out to about 0.2cm thick. Use a small bowl (12-14cm diameter) to cut out circles – you should get about 5 – rerolling as necessary. Layer on a plate with baking parchment between the circles. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4, and grease 1 or 2 large baking tray(s) with oil. To assemble, cut the mozzarella into 10 chunks, then divide between the pastry circles, putting onto one side of each circle. Heap the onion mixture on top, then dip your finger into a small bowl of cold water and use to dampen the edge of half the disc. Fold the pastry over the top and seal in a half-circle, ensuring there are no pockets of air. Use your fingers to crimp and twist the edge, pressing down firmly to seal. Repeat for each circle, then put the empanadas onto the greased tray(s). Chill for at least 30 minutes.

  5. Brush the tops of the empanadas with the beaten egg and sprinkle over the sugar, if using. Bake for 30-35 minutes until deep golden. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.


Typical values per item when made using specific products in recipe


1,620kJ/ 389kcals



Saturated Fat












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