Recipe For Ilocos Empanada

Discover the Crispy Delight of Ilocos Empanada: A Flavorful Filipino Street Food Adventure! Get ready to tantalize your taste buds.

Ilocos Empanada

    Ilocos Empanada

  • Cuisine: Filipino
  • Category: Snack
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: 250 calories

Ilocos Empanada is a beloved Filipino street food hailing from the Ilocos region in the northern Philippines. It's renowned for its distinctive orange color, crispy shell, and flavorful fillings. This delightful snack encapsulates the rich culinary heritage of the Philippines and has become a popular delicacy enjoyed not only in its place of origin but throughout the country.

The hallmark of an Ilocos Empanada is its vibrant orange hue, which comes from the use of annatto oil in the dough. The dough is made from rice flour, giving it a unique texture that's both crunchy and chewy after deep frying.

The fillings typically consist of a savory mixture of ground pork, grated green papaya, carrots, garlic, and green onions. These ingredients are combined to create a well-balanced blend of flavors and textures.

Making Ilocos Empanadas is a meticulous process that involves shaping the dough into thin, round wrappers and carefully enclosing the flavorful filling. These empanadas are then deep-fried until they achieve a golden, crispy perfection. They are often served with a side of Ilocos vinegar or a dipping sauce of your choice, adding a tangy contrast to the savory and slightly sweet filling.

Ilocos Empanada is more than just a snack; it's a cultural icon that represents the ingenuity of Filipino cuisine. The balance of flavors, the play of textures, and the vibrant colors make it a sought-after treat not only in the Philippines but also among food enthusiasts worldwide, offering a delicious glimpse into the diverse culinary traditions of this tropical archipelago.


Explore the authentic Ilocos Empanada recipe - a Filipino street food sensation! Learn to make this crispy delight in minutes.


  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup annatto oil (achiote oil) for the dough (you can make this by heating annatto seeds in oil and straining)
  • 1 cup ground pork
  • 1 cup grated green papaya
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Ilocos vinegar or your preferred dipping sauce

Method Instructions

    Prepare the Dough:
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine rice flour, water, salt, and annatto oil.
  2. Knead the mixture until you have a smooth, pliable dough.
  3. Divide the dough into small balls and flatten them into thin, round wrappers. Set aside.
  4. Make the Filling:
  5. In a separate bowl, mix ground pork, grated papaya, grated carrots, chopped green onions, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Make sure everything is well combined.
  6. Assemble the Empanadas:
  7. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of each rice flour wrapper.
  8. Fold the wrapper in half, sealing the edges by pressing them together. You can use water to help seal the edges if needed.
  9. Make sure the empanadas are tightly sealed to prevent any filling from leaking out during frying.
  10. Deep Fry:
  11. Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or pot.
  12. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the empanadas in the oil.
  13. Fry until they turn golden brown and crispy, usually around 5-7 minutes.
  14. Serve:
  15. Remove the empanadas from the oil and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  16. Serve hot with Ilocos vinegar or your preferred dipping sauce.
  17. Enjoy your homemade Ilocos Empanada! It's a flavorful and satisfying snack or meal that's sure to please your taste buds.

Recipe Video

Ilocos Empanada

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Recipe Tags: Ilocos Empanada, Ilocos Empanada Recipe, Recipe


Serving Ilocos Empanada is a delightful experience, and it's typically enjoyed as a handheld snack or meal. Here's how to serve Ilocos Empanada:

  1. On a Plate: Place one or more Ilocos Empanadas on a plate, allowing them to sit side by side. This presentation is suitable when you're serving empanadas as a meal or as part of a larger spread.
  2. With Dipping Sauce: Serve your Ilocos Empanadas with a dipping sauce of your choice. Traditional options include Ilocos vinegar, vinegar with garlic and chili, or a sweet and spicy vinegar-based sauce. You can also get creative and offer other sauces like ketchup, soy sauce, or a garlic mayonnaise dip for variety.
  3. Garnish: For an extra touch of authenticity, you can garnish the empanadas with some freshly chopped green onions or cilantro. This not only adds a pop of color but also enhances the overall flavor.
  4. Napkins: Empanadas can be quite crispy, and the fillings may be juicy, so it's a good idea to provide napkins for your guests to keep their hands clean while enjoying this delicious treat.
  5. Enjoy: Encourage your guests to pick up an empanada, dip it in the sauce, and take a bite. The combination of the crispy, flavorful shell and the savory filling is a culinary delight!

Whether you're serving Ilocos Empanada as a snack, appetizer, or main course, the key is to savor the delicious contrast of textures and flavors that this Filipino street food offers. It's a perfect dish for gatherings, parties, or whenever you're craving a taste of Filipino cuisine.


  1. Prepare the Dough Correctly: Ensure that the dough is pliable and not too sticky. You can adjust the amount of water or rice flour as needed while kneading to achieve the right consistency.
  2. Use Annatto Oil: The annatto oil not only adds color but also imparts a unique flavor to the dough. Make it by heating annatto seeds in oil until it turns orange, then strain the seeds out.
  3. Filling Balance: Aim for a balanced filling mixture. The combination of ground pork, grated papaya, carrots, green onions, and garlic should be well-proportioned to create a harmonious flavor profile.
  4. Seal the Empanadas Well: Make sure to seal the edges of the empanadas tightly. You can use a little water on the edges to help seal them effectively and prevent the filling from leaking during frying.
  5. Consistent Size: Try to make your empanadas a consistent size for even cooking. This not only ensures uniformity but also helps in estimating the frying time accurately.
  6. Maintain Oil Temperature: When frying, keep the oil temperature consistent. Too hot, and the empanadas might burn; too cold, and they'll absorb too much oil. Aim for around 350-375°F (175-190°C).
  7. Drain Excess Oil: After frying, place the empanadas on paper towels to drain excess oil. This step helps keep them crispy and less greasy.
  8. Experiment with Fillings: While the classic Ilocos Empanada filling is traditional and delicious, don't hesitate to experiment with variations to suit your taste. You can try different proteins or even create vegetarian versions.
  9. Dipping Sauces: Offer a variety of dipping sauces to cater to different preferences. Sweet and tangy vinegar-based sauces, as well as spicier options, are popular choices.
  10. Enjoy Fresh: Ilocos Empanadas are at their best when freshly fried. Serve them immediately for the ultimate crispy experience.

Note: Making empanadas can be a bit time-consuming, but the end result is well worth the effort. With practice, you'll become an expert at crafting these delectable Filipino treats.

Ingredient Substitutes

If you're looking to make Ilocos Empanadas and need ingredient substitutes, below are some options you can try:

  1. Rice Flour: If you can't find rice flour, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour, although the texture of the dough will be slightly different.
  2. Annatto Oil (Achiote Oil): If you don't have annatto seeds to make annatto oil, you can use paprika or turmeric powder as a natural coloring agent. Keep in mind that this won't provide the same flavor as annatto, but it will give a similar vibrant color.
  3. Ground Pork: Ground chicken or ground beef can be used as alternatives to ground pork. Vegetarians can use plant-based ground meat or a mixture of finely chopped vegetables for a meatless version.
  4. Green Papaya: If green papaya is not available, you can substitute it with green mango, which will provide a similar crunch and tangy flavor.
  5. Carrots: Carrots can be substituted with sweet potatoes or jicama for a different twist on the filling.
  6. Green Onions: Chopped chives or regular onions can be used instead of green onions.
  7. Garlic: Garlic powder or garlic paste can be used as a substitute for fresh minced garlic.
  8. Dipping Sauce: While traditional Ilocos Empanadas are served with vinegar-based dipping sauces, you can experiment with other sauces like hot sauce, salsa, or a sweet chili sauce if you prefer different flavors.


As you savor the flavors of your homemade Ilocos Empanada, you've embarked on a culinary journey through Filipino street food. Share the joy and relish this delectable treat with family and friends. Happy cooking!

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