How To Cook Embutido + Mistakes You Might Be Making

IMAGE Bianca Laxamana

The meatloaf is not unknown to the Filipino. We have our own version and it's called the embutido. This meatloaf-inspired version is easy to make. There are no special tools needed to make it, just the basic know-how to put delicious ingredients together, cooking, and then preparing it well. 

However, everyone can make mistakes, especially if it's their first time making a recipe. For the Filipino embutido, mistakes can mean a crumbled embutido, an embutido that's not tasty, or even an embutido that just doesn't look right.  

Prevent a failed embutido by avoiding these mistakes when you make embutido recipes. 

embutido meat filling on foil ready to be rolled

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

Mistake 1: The embutido crumbles.  

The most common challenge of making embutido is that it doesn't hold its shape. There's an easy fix to this and it's using eggs. A binder such as eggs is important because it's what will keep the meat together as well as keep it moist while it's cooking. You may want to use fewer eggs but that is the biggest mistake you can make. 

The ratio of meat to eggs is a delicate one. It can mean the difference between a crumbled embutido and an embutido that has an eggy coating. Here's a quick radio: for every 1 kilo ground meat you are using, add at least 2 to 3 large eggs. You'll be able to tell if you need that third egg because of the other ingredients you'll add. These other ingredients should help absorb excess liquid and the egg will help bind the other ingredients to the ground meat. 

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how to roll embutido in foil
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

Mistake 2: You rolled it loosely. 

Another reason why your embutido might have crumbled is that you didn't roll it tightly enough in the foil. When you add the meat mixture to the foil, roll the embutido like you would lumpia and remember these tips:

  1. 1. Use a long sheet of foil. You need enough to be able to roll the foil several times around the meat.   
  2. 2. Add a hefty mound of the meat mixture to one end, form it into a log, and then fold the end of the foil over the meat log.   
  3. 3. Start rolling. Roll it well by tucking in the foil under the meat mixture as you roll.  
  4. 4. Wrap it even more tightly at the end by twisting the ends.

For the tightest wrap, twist the ends in opposite directions so each twist can help the other be tighter.  

use a steamer to cook the Filipino meatloaf or the embutido
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

Mistake 3: You don't cook it long enough.

You might be too eager but let the embutido cook thoroughly in the steamer before you remove it. The problem with not cooking it long enough is that unless you take it's temperature or break one open, you can't tell it's cooked through.


Here's the good news: you can cook it longer than necessary because it's steamed and it won't dry out if you go over the recommended cooking time by 10 minutes. 

This classic embutido recipe is easy to make.
Photo by Majoy Siason

Mistake 4: You slice it when warm.

Normally, embutido can be served without frying it, but this doesn't mean you can serve it immediately from the steamer. The embutido needs to cool before it can be sliced easily or you may end up with crumbled embutido slices.


Like most food, the cooler it is, the more firm it will be. To make perfect slices, let the embutido cool or even chill it overnight before slicing and then warming it up on a plate in the steamer or frying it for those perfectly crisp edges. 

Are you making any of these embutido mistakes? Correct yourself the next time you tackle this recipe so you can serve a perfect meal that's not only delicious but looks good enough for any banquet, too.  



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!


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