Idaho Potato Empanadas a la Huancaina


It’s week two in our Idaho Potato quest to try and take over the world! I’ve been watching The Animaniacs on Netflix lately. Sorry. If you recall, last week I shared my exciting news that I teamed up with Idaho Potato to bring you a handful of new and exciting potato recipes in the month of July! It’s basically a partnership dream come true. Last week was a Wedge Salad with roasted Idaho potatoes on top. A salad with potatoes on it should be illegal, but thankfully for you and I, it’s not. So let’s make it now and let’s eat it all the time. Let’s also be thankful that such things exist. This week, however, I’m taking one of my family’s favorite Peruvian dishes (Papa a la Huancaina) and turning into something new and exciting. These Idaho Potato Empanadas a la Huancaina are the perfect party appetizer. They’re great warm, room temperature or cold and can be made in advance. Go ahead and be the hostess with the mostess. Show off your skills and your love of food with this delicious appetizer or snack. I’ll warn you now though and tell you that these are incredibly addicting. Don’t fight it. My noe piece of advice is, don’t fight it. 

Just a friendly reminder that I’m also hosting a GIVEAWAY each week in the month of July for a signed copy of my book The Slider Effect along with a special prize. We’re on week two as well, and you have until tomorrow to enter for a chance to win. Head on over to these S’mores Eclairs to get all of the details! Also, if you’re in San Francisco or Bay Area, I’m currently in SF and will be at the Williams-Sonoma in Union Square this Saturday July 16th at 12pm doing a demo and signing copies of my book. I’d love to see you there! Stop by, grab a book and enjoy some free sliders. I’ll be showing you how to make my favorite slider from the book, Fried Zucchini Sliders and I promise it’ll be a real party. I hope to see you there! If anything, enjoy these empanadas because they’re out of this world and they’re calling out your name. 


Let’s start by making the empanada dough. This is the basic empanada dough I always use when making empanadas. If you recall, I made these Beef and Potato Empanadas on the blog a while ago. It’s the same dough. But just in case, I’ll refresh your memory. 


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, masa harina, baking powder, and salt. Add the melted butter and water and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. It should be slightly sticky and not dry at all. 

**Note: Masa harina is prepared corn flour that can be found at most well-stocked grocery stores. Sometimes it’s in the flour/baking aisle, and other times you can find it in the hispanic foods section.**


Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or over night. If you leave it overnight, remove from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling. While the dough is chilling, make the mashed potato filling. Boil the potatoes on the stove top until fork tender, drain and then mash together with butter, milk, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and scallions. Let cool to room temperature. 


Once the dough has chilled, roll out to a large circle about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out into about 3-inch round circles and then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Fill with about 2 teaspoons of the potato filling and sprinkle with cheese. 

**Note: Make sure to not overfill the empanadas as you don’t want the filling to ooze out of the pastry during baking. Also, overfilling it will make it a little difficult to fold over and crimp.**

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Fold over the empanadas and seal with a fork. Arrange on a baking sheet about 2-inches. Brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

**Tip: These empanadas can be frozen right before baking. Fill just and seal and then place on a baking sheet, close together. Place in freezer until frozen through. Transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag and keep in freezer until ready to bake. To bake off, place the empanadas in the fridge the night before and then bake off as directed the day of.**


You can also freeze the empanadas after they’ve baked. Just wait for them to cool down completely, and then place them in a freezer bag. You can keep them in there for up to 2 months and reheat them in the oven! 


Anyhow, to make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. The main ingredient that makes this sauce what it is and gives it that yellow color is this Peruvian Aji Amarillo Paste (hot yellow pepper paste). 

**Note: This might be a little tricky to find in supermarkets. I’ve only ever found it in specialty hispanic foods markets. But luckily, you can easily find it on amazon for nothing and have it shipped out to you!**

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Traditionally this huancaina sauce is served on top of plain sliced boiled potatoes and is served cold as a starter. We eat it all the time when we go to our favorite Peruvian restaurant. 


Serve the empanadas either hot or at room temperature (I’ve eaten them straight from the fridge and they’re awesome). When you get ready to serve them, place them on top of lettuce (so you can wrap the empanada in lettuce) and pour the sauce over each and garnish with a black olive slice. That’s how that cold potato dish is served. 


These are great for parties and gatherings because you can make a bunch and feed a crowd. Also, you can easily make them in advance to make it easier on yourself. The sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

**Note: The sauce can also be frozen in a container or freezer bag with all the air removed, for up to 1 month. Just thaw out in the fridge the night before using. You might have to thin it out with a bit of water.**

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Also, if you want to keep things traditional, then just make the original dish! It’s super easy. bring a few Idaho potatoes to a boil until fork tender. Drain, let cool completely, and the peel with a pairing knife. Cut into slices and serve the sauce over the potatoes on a bed of lettuce and garnish with a black olive. Don’t forget to give these Roasted Idaho Potato Wedge Salads from last week! 


**Thank you for your continued support of the occasional sponsored post on this site. They help keep the blog going, allowing me to continue to share my recipes with you on a weekly basis. I never want my sponsorships to feel forced, which is why I only partner with companies I feel very passionate about and actually use on a regular basis.**

Idaho Potato Empanadas a la Huancaina

These Idaho Potato Empanadas a la Huancaina are new and exciting and a great way to switch up your appetizer and snack game. Give these a try!
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes



  • 1 1/2 cups masa harina*
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 large egg whisked with a splash of water for egg wash


  • 3 medium Idaho russet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Huancaina Sauce

  • 1/4 cup aji amarillo paste*
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 saltine crackers
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco*
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 hard boiled egg peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives for garnish
  • 6 to 8 green leaf lettuce leaves for garnish


  • To make the dough, combine the masa harina, flour, baking powder, salt, melted butter and water. The dough should be wet but not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Place the diced potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk, salt, pepper, garlic and scallions. Set aside and let cool completely.
  • Roll out the chilled empanada dough on a lightly floured work surface to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut out the dough. Reroll any leftover dough and cut out as well. Fill each with 1 tablespoon of potato, a bit of cheese and then fold over and crimp with a fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to about 375 degrees F.
  • Brush the empanadas with the egg wash and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  • To make the sauce, in a blender, combine the aji amarillo, vegetable oil, crackers, queso fresco, evaporated milk, egg, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Serve the empanadas on a piece of lettuce, top with the huancaina sauce and black olive slices.


*Masa harina is a corn flour made from corn that has been soaked in lime water. It can be found in most large super markets in the flour aisle.
**Aji amarillo paste is a Peruvian hot yellow pepper paste. You can find it in specialty stores in their Hispanic foods aisle or online.
***Queso fresco is a creamy, soft and unaged Mexican cheese. Most super markets carry it in the cheese aisle.
Author: The Candid Appetite

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