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

4.41 from 5 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.


25comments inFlaky Round Empanadas with Piloncillo

  1. 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!

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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 😉

  4. 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!

  5. 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 😉

  6. 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!

  7. 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 😉

  8. 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 😉

  9. 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 😉

  10. 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 😉

  11. 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!

  12. 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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