Empanada Dough

Prep 15 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 40 mins

Wondering how to make Empanada Dough? Then you’re in the right place! Learn the best way to make flaky, tender empanada dough, and follow an easy tutorial on how to fold it, too.

Crimped empanadas on a cutting board.

An Easy Recipe for Flaky Empanada Dough

If you’ve never made your own empanadas, you’re missing out. It’s time to fix that. Making them from scratch might sound intimidating, but it’s really not; they only need 5 ingredients and 15 minutes of prep work!

This Empanada Dough recipe is so flaky and buttery, and once you pop one of these folded masterpieces into your mouth, you’ll want to make a batch every day of the week. You might not have the time to do that, but you’ll want to. Trust me. Anyway, whether you decide to fill them with beef (like my Cheese Beef Empanadas) or chicken, these golden empanadas are simply a must-try recipe!

What are Empanadas?

The name ’empanada’ comes from the Spanish verb ’empanar,’ which means “embreaded.” Fitting, right? Empanadas are turnovers that consist of baked, or fried, pastry dough, which is then filled with whatever meat or other filling you like.

Empanada disks with crimped empanadas.

Recipe Ingredients

Let’s go over the 5 ingredients you’ll need to put this dough together. You probably have all of them within your kitchen right now!

  • All Purpose Flour: other flours could work too, but I get the best results using all-purpose.
  • Unsalted Butter: you’ll need 1 stick + 6 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into cubes.
  • Salt: for seasoning. Omit if using salted butter.
  • Warm Water: to help the dough stick together.
  • Egg: at room temperature and whisked.
Ingredients for empanada dough.

How to Make Empanada Dough

Empanada dough is really easy to make – you don’t even need a food processor. You’ll have to put a little time into making sure that the weight of each ball of dough is equal before you roll out the circles, but it’s totally worth it in the end. Empanadas make the BEST filling snack or light dinner.

Slice the Butter: Use a pastry cutter, a fork or your hands to cut the butter into the flour until it forms a crumbly consistency. Sprinkle in the salt and stir.

Butter sliced up into flour.

Mix the Dough Together: Pour in the water and egg and stir together until it forms a clumpy dough.

Knead the Dough: Drop the dough out onto a counter or a smooth surface and press the dough together until it forms a ball. Then knead the dough for about 5 minutes.

Form the Dough into Circles: Cut the dough into 22 – 25, 1.5-ounce pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll them out evenly into 5 to 6-inch circles with a rolling pin.

Tips for the Best Dough

Still have some questions about what makes for the best empanada dough? Here are some tips:

  • Use the Dough Immediately: If you let the dough sit out without a towel over the top, it will start to dry out and crack. It’s best to use the dough as soon as you make it.
  • Refrigerate the Dough: If you can’t use it immediately, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. You may actually want to do this anyway to achieve even flakier dough.
  • For Glossy Empanadas: To get glossy, golden empanadas, brush a bit of egg wash (1 beaten egg with 2 tablespoons of water) on the tops before baking.
  • To Prevent Soggy Empanadas: Remove the empanadas from the pan as soon as they are done baking to prevent the bottoms from getting soggy from any filling that may have spilled out during the baking process.

How to Press the Empanada Edges Together

So what’s the best way to fold the dough? There are a couple of options. You an do it by hand, with a fork or even with an empanada press.

I usually go with the fork method because I find it to be the easiest for me. Here’s how the whole process goes:

Preheat the Oven: When you are ready to fill and bake the empanadas, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Press the Edges Together: Add 2-3 tablespoons of filling to the center of each empanada round and pinch the edges together. Use a fork to press the edges together or to form a classic empanada design with your hands, press and twist the edges of dough together.

Bake the Empanadas: Bake the filled empanadas for 25-27 minutes or until light and golden on top. Let them cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Stack of dough in circular disks.

Filling Ideas

There are so many delicious fillings to use for empanadas. You really can’t go wrong, but here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Chicken: Chicken Empanadas are always a hit in our household with the kids.
  • Beef: these Cheesy Beef Empanadas are Jorge’s favorite!
  • Vegetables: veggies and cheese are delicious empanada filling options.
  • Nutella: that’s right! Dessert empanadas are an experience you need to have too!

How to Store Leftover Dough

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days before using. 20 minutes before filling and baking, remove the dough from the fridge and to let the butter warm up a bit.

Can You Freeze This Recipe?

Sure! You can stack the circles between pieces of parchment paper in a freezer bag or an airtight container for 1-2 months if need be.

Yield: 22-25 empanada disks

Empanada Dough

Crimped empanadas on a cutting board.

Want to learn how to make flaky Empanada Dough? It's really easy! Fill this homemade turnover with whatever meat (or vegetarian filling) you like, and enjoy a light, buttery dinner!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 stick + 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 egg, at room temperature and whisked

Instructions

Cubed butter sitting on top of flour in a bowl.

1. Use a pastry cutter, a fork or your hands to cut the butter into the flour until it forms a crumbly consistency. Sprinkle in the salt and stir.

2. Pour in the water and egg and stir together until it forms a clumpy dough.

3. Drop the dough out onto a counter or a smooth surface and press the dough together until it forms a ball. Then knead the dough for about 5 minutes.

4. Cut the dough into 22 - 25, 1.5-ounce pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll them out evenly into 5 to 6-inch circles with a rolling pin.

5. When you are ready to fill and bake the empanadas, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Six unbaked empanadas on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

6. Add 2-3 tablespoons of filling to the center of each empanada round and pinch the edges together. Use a fork to press the edges together or to form a classic empanada design, press and twist the edges of dough together.

Overhead image of 6 baked empanadas on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

7. Bake the filled empanadas for 25-27 minutes or until light and golden on top. Let them cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

If you let the dough sit out without a towel over the top, it will start to dry out and crack. It’s best to use the dough as soon as you make it.

To get glossy, golden empanadas, brush a bit of egg wash (1 beaten egg with 2 tablespoons of water) on the tops before baking.

Remove the empanadas from the pan as soon as they are done baking to prevent the bottoms from getting soggy from any filling that may have spilled out during the baking process.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days before using. 20 minutes before filling and baking, remove the dough from the fridge and to let the butter warm up a bit.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

22

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

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Comments

6 Responses
  1. Mildred

    Dear Jessia I’m Puerto Rican,
    I make this in special occasions, al the time you can freeze them just make sure you put wax paper under the them and make sure you sprinkle flour on the wax paper,also make sure they are not touching,do the same to next layer,but before you do the next layer sprinkle more flour on the empanda before you start on the next layer so they don’t stick and continue the same .My mother showed me to do this when I use to helped her

  2. Thelma Pillepich

    Hi, Do you think that the cooked and cooled empanadas can be frozen and then eaten at room temp, as in, taken on a hike and eaten when thawed? Do you think they would hold up well in the thawing process?

    1. Jessica

      Hi Thelma! Hmmm, maybe? I honestly have never tried something like this. I do freeze the uncooked (but stuffed!) empanadas and then cook them while frozen. But I have not tried cooking, freezing and letting thaw and eat without reheating. I feel they may not be great at room temperature? Wish I had a definitive answer for you! Good luck and enjoy your hike!!

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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