Traditional Potato Empanada Recipe – Costa Rica

This Costa Rican potato empanada recipe combines freshly mashed potatoes stir-fried in white onion, red bell pepper, cilantro and garlic and then placed inside a freshly made corn dough and fried into a golden half-moon shape. A delightful snack or appetizer.

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About Potato Empanadas

Potato empanadas are made from a corn-based dough, and therefore gluten-free. The dough is formed into a circle, stuffed with a potato filling consisting of roughly mashed potatoes stir-fried in a traditional Costa Rican sofrito. These potato empanadas happen to be vegan, and since they are a popular Costa Rican street food, they are a great option for vegan travelers to Costa Rica.

Empanadas in Costa Rica are generally enjoyed as a sort of snack- an accompaniment to the coffee tradition that happens mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or basically anytime two ticos are together. (I’m kidding- sort of.) 

Some people will also eat empanadas for breakfast as they are quick to make, filling and super delicious. Otherwise, empanadas are a street food in every sense of the word. You can find empanadas vendors hawking their wares along beaches, at soccer games, and even at busy intersections.

Related post: 20+ Best Places For Your Next Costa Rica Vacation

Costa Rican Potato Empanada Recipe

Ingredients:

 

Kitchen Tools:

  • mixing bowl
  • empanada press or tortilla press with plastic inserts
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • skillet or frying pan (I use a cast-iron skillet)

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Maseca and salt. Add the water all at once and stir until completely combined. You can use a spatula for this, or just use your hands (which is way more fun.)

Roll the dough into 8 balls. I do this by dividing the dough into halves and then halves of the halves and so on. 

Place one dough ball between the two pieces of plastic in your tortilla press and press down until a circle is formed. Remove the top plastic piece. 

Place about 2 tablespoons of potato filling on half of the empanada and fold in half. A lot of people try to place the filling right int he middle of the dough and then it’s hard to fold. And, at least for me, the filling then busts out of the seam and I have to start all over.

In oil that is medium-hot (maybe about 200 degrees Fahrenheit), fry the empanadas for about 10 minutes. This ensures that the dough on the inside is cooked through and the outside is crispy and golden brown. 

Drain excess oil and serve.

Substitutions

Some people use chicken bullion like Maggi in place or the salt. Some people just mash potatoes and add Lizano instead of making the while potato recipe, but I don’t think that’s nearly as delicious. 

You can use Maseca blanca or amarilla, but don’t buy the Maseca for tamales. It’s different and it won’t work. 

Variations

So many! And we’ve got them all:

Serving Suggestions

Serve with hot coffee, agua dulce, or your favorite hot tea. Always serve with extra Salsa Lizano.

You can also try an empanda arreglada, which is an empanada covered in shredded cabbage and then drizzled with ketchup and mayonnaise. 

When you purchase an empanada from a street vendor, expect the seller to hand it to you wrapped in a napkin (most likely grease-stained) and possibly in a plastic bag.

FAQ

None.

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Printable Recipe

Yield: 8 empanadas

Traditional Potato Empanada Recipe

Traditional Potato Empanada Recipe

This Costa Rican potato empanada recipe combines freshly mashed potatoes stir-fried in white onion, red bell pepper, cilantro and garlic and then placed inside a freshly made corn dough and fried into a golden half-moon shape. A delightful snack or appetizer.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 cups corn masa (like Maseca or similar)
  • 1 and one half cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Costa Rican boiled potatoes
  • Kitchen Tools:
  • mixing bowl
  • empanada press or tortilla press with plastic inserts
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • skillet or frying pan (I use a cast-iron skillet)

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Maseca and salt. Add the water all at once and stir until completely combined. You can use a spatula for this, or just use your hands (which is way more fun.)
  2. Roll the dough into 8 balls. I do this by dividing the dough into halves and then halves of the halves and so on. 
  3. Place one dough ball between the two pieces of plastic in your tortilla press and press down until a circle is formed. Remove the top plastic piece. 
  4. Place about 2 tablespoons of potato filling on half of the empanada and fold in half. A lot of people try to place the filling right int he middle of the dough and then it's hard to fold. And, at least for me, the filling then busts out of the seam and I have to start all over.
  5. In oil that is medium-hot (maybe about 200 degrees Fahrenheit), fry the empanadas for about 10 minutes. This ensures that the dough on the inside is cooked through and the outside is crispy and golden brown. 
  6. Drain excess oil and serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 299mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g
Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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