flaky round empanadas with piloncillo


Flaky Round Empanadas with Piloncillo

Flaky Round Empanadas with Piloncillo


Recipe Yield

12 coyotas

Cooking time

35 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.63 from 8 votes


For the starter:

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar
  • 1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast 1/4 ounce, or 1 package
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the dough:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (may use half vegetable shortening and half butter, or may use all vegetable shortening)

For the filling:

  • 1/2 pound grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar about 1 3/4 cups
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

To Prepare

To prepare the starter:

  • Combine the lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon piloncillo or dark brown sugar, and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together until the yeast has dissolved. Whisk in the 1/2 cup flour and combine well. Cover and place in a warm, draft-free spot until foamy and bubbling, about 1/2 hour.

To make the dough:

  • Add the 1/4 cup water, the 3 cups flour, salt, and butter to the starter and place the bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn on low speed and as soon as the ingredients are blended together turn the speed to medium. Beat for 5 to 6 minutes, until the dough gathers around the dough hook, slaps against the bowl and is very smooth.
  • Remove the dough and shape into a ball. Butter one or two baking sheets. Divide the dough into three equal pieces, then divide each of these pieces into 8 equal pieces (24 in all). Roll each of the small pieces into a ball and place on the buttered baking sheet or sheets. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft free area of your kitchen for at least an hour and up to 2 hours.
  • Arrange your oven racks in the lower and upper thirds, and preheat to 375°F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a 5-inch tortilla-like round, about 1/8-inch thick. If you want perfect rounds you can trim your rolled out rounds with a 4 1/2- to 5-inch cookie cutter.

To make the filling:

  • In a bowl, combine the grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar with the 2 tablespoons flour and mix well.
  • Spoon 2 tablespoons filling onto the center of twelve of the dough rounds. Cover with the other 12 rounds and press together well to seal. Go around the edges with a fork and press to seal and also to decorate. Make a small hole in the center of each coyote with the tip of a small knife, or gently cut an approximately 1/2-inch line through the top dough, taking care not to cut through to the bottom round. Place six coyotas on each parchment covered baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 to 22 minutes, switching the sheet trays front to back and upper to lower halfway through, until golden brown and filling is bubbling and bursting out of the hole or cut line on top.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Once completely cooled, keep covered.


54comments inFlaky Round Empanadas with Piloncillo

  1. Christina Grubb

    Jul 27

    Hi Pati, I made these Coyotas for my husbands birthday and they were absolutely fantastic!!!
    I used Los Gallos flour and beautiful piloncillo I bought in San Carlos Sonora Mx.
    Thanks for the perfect recipe 😁👍🏼
    Love your beautiful cooking.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 20

      Thanks so much Christina, so happy to hear everyone enjoyed the Coyotas. Happy birthday to your husband!

  2. Claudia Montoya

    Jul 02

    Me encanta que te encante
    Comer, conocer , viajar,aprender,compartir lo que disfrutas y sobre todo, el tiempo que disfrutas con tus hermosos y sinpaticos e inteligentes hijos al lado y con el apoyo de un gran esposo. Dios les bendiga.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 03

      Muchisimas gracias Claudia y lo mismo para ti y tu familia 🙂

  3. Mary Jo

    Jan 22

    Saw your show on PBS and had to make these. SO DELICIOUS. Makes me want to go on a tour with you to get the true taste of Mexico! THANK YOU.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 30

      Yay,happy you loved these empanadas Mary Jo!

  4. Victoria Corrigan

    Oct 15

    Dear Pati… these look soooo amazing… gaaaah! Do you ever add cinnamon, or would that not be traditional? (I adore cinnamon…) 😊

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 24

      By all means add some cinnamon and enjoy!

  5. Amalia Mastrodomenico

    Sep 24

    Muchísimas gracias por compartir tu receta tan deliciosa, mis nietecitas quedaron enamoradas de tan deliciosas empanadas, eres la mejor Chef Mexicana y eres un orgullo para nosotros los Mexicanos.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 11

      Que linda Amalia, mil gracias! Abrazos para ti y para las chicas!

  6. Mike Sherman

    Sep 21

    Hi Patti,

    Can you make this using pyllo dough??

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 11

      Not these ones Mike, here the piloncillo in the flaky dough is key 🙂

  7. Sandra

    Sep 17

    Delicious 😋 I’m gon make.. thank you.im sure my kiddies will love 💞

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 26

      Yay, hope all the family likes the Coyotas Sandra!

  8. Helen Hilton

    Aug 18

    Delicious coyotas, from Sonora! Thank you for sharing

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 05

      My pleasure Helen!

  9. Anonymous

    Jun 10

    I am going to try to make them “coyotas”thanks for the recipe sincerely,Sara

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 13

      You are going to love them Sara, un abrazo!

  10. Luz Granados

    May 01

    Delicious, in my country there are some like these the names are Calabazos, love 💘 😋.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 10

      Que rico!

  11. Esperanza

    Nov 30

    I made the cayotas with pumpkin filling this month and it was YUM! Fun to try new things.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 28

      Excellent idea, glad you liked them Esperanza!

  12. Jackie

    Nov 14

    Would it be okay to add some chopped pecans? Gracias and I love your recipes!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 28

      Of course, go ahead and enjoy!

  13. Judy Figueroa

    Aug 28

    Oh my gosh Pati, you have no idea how happy my heart is because of the coyotas episode..My father is from Batuc/Hermosillo Sonora..every time we would vist Sonora it’s a must to bring back tortillas de harina y coyotas.. I have made them for years but with beer instead of yeast. I cant wait to try your recipe to bad I dont have juju(which by the way it’s my nickname at work) to help.. I thank you so much for sharing the beauty of sonora & the Mexican region to the world..forever grateful.. judy aka juju bee

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 18

      So glad you liked this recipe and the episode Juju Bee! Un abrazo grande 🙂

  14. Anna Laura Barraza Almazan

    May 22

    I can’t wait to make these. My family is from Caborca, Sonora and we have always brought back Coyotas when we visit. We have often wondered how these are made and this evening you taught us how. On another note, thank you for including Sonoran cuisine in your repertoire of recipes.
    I look forward to making Coyotas soon!
    I love your show!

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 23

      Awesome Anna Laura, please let me know how you liked the Coyotas! I loved my time in Sonora, what an amazing place and delicious food 😉

  15. Mary

    Feb 06

    Just saw these made on PBS and I was salivating. Cannot wait to try them!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 10

      Hope you will like them Mary!

  16. San Carlos Charlie

    Feb 01

    Totally forgot about the jamoncillo option in Sonora! Too many choices!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 01

      Too many DELICIOUS choices 🙂

  17. Irela Amador

    Jan 31

    I’ve been searching for a recipe for the beloved coyotas that I grew up eating in Tijuana. My grandmother and mother were from Sonora, Mex. I’m so glad I came across the exact episode about flour where you showed how to make them. It was meant to be. They came out delicious!! Thank you Pati for making these and sharing the recipe! 🤗👍

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 01

      Thanks for letting me know Irela, I am SO happy the coyotas brought sweet memories back 😉

  18. San Carlos Charlie

    Jan 31

    Around my corner of Sonora, coyotas seem to be evenly split between piloncillo and cajeta. Tough decision!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 31

      I know! Piloncillo I think is more traditional but cajeta…YUM!

  19. Rose Figueroa

    Jan 13

    Hola ! Made your Coyotas recipe. Came out good . Except my brown sugar didn’t bubble over. I think I’ll try raspberry filling next time. Thanks for sharing recipe.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 17

      Piloncillo bubbles more than brown sugar, but I am sure they were awesome as well. Raspberry sounds like a great idea Rose 😉

    2. Judith Figueroa

      Aug 28

      Hi my fellow Figueroa,
      You have to use piloncillo..i know it’s hard to crush but zap it in the microwave for a few seconds it softens the sugar cone a bit place it in a zip lock bag & go at it with a hammer until it’s all crushed then your good to go.. hope that helps ..

  20. Sarah

    Jan 12

    Pati !
    I enjoy your show so much — you have such a wonderful energy. I especially enjoy the episodes when you cook with your boys.
    I will definitely try my hand at these Coyotas and was wondering how the piloncillo differs in taste to brown sugar.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 17

      Thanks for the kind words Sarah! Piloncillo’s sweetness is much deeper and it is healthier as it is not refined. Give it a chance if you can, you will love it!

  21. Joanna Hernandez

    Dec 07

    I loved the dough, but the piloncillo is too sweet for me. Can you suggest another ingredient for the filling?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 09

      Piloncillo is the traditional filing of Coyotas Joanna, but you can try dulce de leche or guava paste instead 😉

  22. Tania

    Nov 22

    I just made these and they came out delicious

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 02

      Aren’t they amazing Tania? I just love Coyotas, mmmm 😉

  23. Patricia Macias-Najar

    Nov 11

    I sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar before baking. I ran out of piloncillo so I filled some with apple pie filling. These are delicious. My Uncle and husband loved them. Thank you!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 22

      Yum! Great ideas Patricia, so glad you made this recipe your own 😉

  24. Lucia Soria

    Nov 08

    Hi Pati,
    I followed the recipe as posted. The coyotas came out light on top is there something i can add before baking to make it brown like bottom? Such as brushing egg white ?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 11

      Yes Lucia, you can brush with some egg wash, just keep in mind that the coyotas are not supposed to be brown, just slightly golden color 😉

  25. Ted Douglas

    Nov 01

    If you add chopped figs and some chopped walnuts to the piloncillo filling it makes for something very tasty!

    Vale la pena probarlo!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 03

      Oh, great idea, thanks Ted!

  26. Sylvia Dana

    Oct 17

    How do you grate the piloncillo, I find to hard to grate!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 19

      You can use a standing grater or a very sharp knife and make small cuts in a slicing motion. It is hard to do it, no doubt. I’ve heard of people using a hammer! 😉

    2. Pati fan

      Nov 12

      I used a mallot and then with smaller chunks I used my food processor.

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