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Sweet Plantain Cheese and Bean Empanadas

Enjoy a traditional delicious Costa Rican treat!

This is a recipe handed down to me from my grandmother. Enjoy!

An “empanada” is a patty or turnover traditionally made of wheat flour or corn flour and stuffed with either a sweet or salty filling. Plantain empanadas are unique in that they are made of sweet plantain and stuffed with a bean and cheese filling making them versatile and very wholesome.

It’s the perfect treat to accompany a warm cup of Costa Rican coffee. Toss aside the traditional bagel or croissant and have a delicious and nutritious cheese and bean plantain empanada instead. The first time you make these you’ll wish you made more!


Serving Size:  Makes 12 Empanadas


For Empanada:

  • 3 large sweet plantains. Tip: The darker the sweeter but don’t let them get too ripe or it will be a bit more challenging to make them.
  • 1 cup of grated fresh white or mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup of wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. of Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract (optional)

For Filling:

  • 1 can of refried beans (approximately 16 oz.)
  • ½ cup of grated mozzarella cheese


  • Cook the plantains in a pot of boiling water until they are al dente. If you over cook them they will be harder to make.
  • Mash up the plantains and add the cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. You may want to use more, less or no sugar depending on your taste and the ripeness of your plantains.
  • Once you have a uniform mass, form little balls.
  • For the filling: Mix the refried beans and mozzarella cheese.
  • Flatten the balls into a tortilla on wax paper (with gloves or floured hands) and spoon in a ball a filling on one half of the tortilla.
  • To shape the empanada, fold the other half of the tortilla and set aside on wax paper.
  • Repeat the process until you have made all of the empanadas.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with unsalted natilla (sour cream).

Crispy Traditional Option: Add vegetable oil such as canola to a grill or large pan and fry the empanadas on both sides until golden or pan. Set aside to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Healthy Option: You may also place each of the empanadas on a cookie or baking sheet and bake at 350 until golden.

Variations: You can make the filling all cheese, add a bit more sugar to the mix or top with cinnamon and powered sugar for a yummy desert empanada. Or for the more daring tastes, make the filling with beans and add a bit of chile habanero sauce that will spice things up!

How did your Empanadas Turn Out?

Please feel free to like and share this tasty recipe with your peers. If you tried it, please share how your experience was in the comments below. We welcome all of your suggestions and comments as well.

This recipe is brought to you by Toad Hall Hotel in Arenal Costa Rica.

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