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Homemade Empanada Dough

Empanada Dough made from scratch is flaky, delicious, and buttery, and you can fill them with your favorite foods! With this easy recipe, you can make fresh empanadas in less than an hour. So tasty you will wish you had tried it sooner!

tray of unbaked empanadas

Empanada Dough

An empanada is a small, crescent-shaped, buttery pastry that can be filled with just about anything, making them versatile in flavor and perfect for any occasion.

Also known as “hand pies,” empanadas can be made as a savory snack or appetizer, filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. They can also be made to be sweet, filled with chocolate or fruit.

You can bake or fry empanadas, and both ways work great, but they will taste slightly different depending on how you cook them.

This homemade empanada dough recipe bakes them in the oven, but I have used my air fryer to cook them in my recipe for Mexican Street Corn Empanadas

I’ve included some of my other favorites below, but don’t be afraid to make your own new creation – let me know what you come up with in the comments!

What is an Empanada?

Empanadas originated in Latin and Filipino regions. The Spanish word “empanada” comes from the verb “empanar” which translates as “enbreaded” or wrapped and coated in bread.

There are so many empanada recipes, one of my favorites is Caprese Empanadas, made with creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, rich sun-dried tomatoes, and spicy arrabbiata!

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labeled picture of ingredients

Ingredients Needed

Flour – We have used all-purpose flour here but you can use pastry flour or cake flour.

Butter – Unsalted is best, but you can also use lard or margarine, just make sure to keep it at room temperature for this recipe. 

Cream Cheese – Plain cream cheese is ideal, and it also needs to be at room temperature. You can use full fat, reduced fat, or fat free.

Salt – Seasoning to enhance flavors.

Egg – Egg, especially egg yolk, is the main binding agent in pastry, keeping it together while also making it flaky!

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How to make empanada dough

First: In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Add the flour and salt and beat into the butter and cream cheese. The dough will be lumpy.

Second: Use your hands and press the dough together to form a ball. Knead the dough, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or longer.

Third: Roll the dough out and cut it into circular discs with a pastry cutter or small bowl. Add the fillings and seal the edges.

Fourth: When ready to bake, preheat the oven, brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

What type of dough is used for empanadas?

Empanada dough is a type of pastry dough. It’s buttery and flaky, but is firmer so that it is robust enough to hold filling inside to be able to pick it up and eat it, rather than having to use cutlery like other pastry.

Can you buy empanada dough?

Empanada dough is probably sold in your local supermarket. The most popular brand I’ve seen is GOYA, but others are available too. If you want to add your own fillings then you can buy their ‘discos’ which is just the pastry in a disc shape as seen in the last step before adding the filling in this recipe.

baked empanadas on a baking sheet

Is empanada dough the same as pie crust?

It is similar but, when baked or fried, empanada dough tends to be firmer than pie dough so it doesn’t get soggy from the fillings.

Are empanadas better baked or fried?

If you want a moist and flaky crust for your hand pie, then frying is the way to go. If you’re aiming for a dryer finish then baking is for you. I have both fried empanadas (in the air fryer mostly) and baked them and I like both textures.

If you do opt for baking this tasty pastry then I recommend brushing them with egg wash before baking them to a golden brown color.

What can you substitute for empanada dough?

If you cannot make empanada dough from scratch or get a hold of genuine empanada pastry, then the closest thing would be puff pastry or pie crust.

unbaked empanada brushed with egg wash

How do you seal empanada dough?

Seal the dough around the edges of your filling by pressing down on it with your fingers and then with a fork.

How to store

Store empanadas in the fridge in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap for up to 5 days.

Can I freeze the dough?

Yes! Empanadas will freeze quite well for 1-2 months. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap, then seal them in freezer bags or an airtight container. Defrost them by leaving them at room temperature, and once defrosted they can be reheated in the air fryer.

Tapas Tips & Tricks

  • Be sure to chill the dough before rolling to keep it from sticking. This dough holds together well and rolls out smooth. It is good to chill, but won’t roll out until it has warmed up a bit from being in the fridge. It will also warm up slightly as you begin to roll it out.
  • You can use part of the dough and then refrigerate the rest for another day, just store leftovers in plastic wrap and in an airtight container.
  • Keep the dough covered with a slightly damp towel to keep them from drying out while you are working, especially if you haven’t pre-made the filling. 
  • For best results, seal the edges firmly to keep the filling from leaking when baking.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

dough on a mat with text

Making Empanadas from scratch empanada dough really is easier than you think and they taste so much better than store-bought! Get creative and mix the flavors up for your next dinner party!

More Empanada Flavors To Try

Round grey tray of empanadas.

Empanada Dough

Yield: 16 discs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Empanada Dough comes together quickly and can be filled with your favorite fillings!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until well combined.
  2. Add the flour and salt and beat into the butter and cream cheese. The dough will be lumpy.
  3. Use your hands and press the dough together to form a ball.
  4. Knead the dough for one minute, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or longer.
  5. When you are ready to use the dough, you can cut it in half and roll it out, or cut each half into 5 to 6 even sized pieces. Each piece can be rolled out into a circle and then a medium sized bowl can be placed face down on the dough and pressed down to cut the dough in a circle. Or you can roll out the large piece of dough and cut multiple circles out. Gather any remaining dough and roll out for another circle.
  6. Place the filling in the middle and fold the dough over, pressing the edges together. Then use a fork to seal the edges.
  7. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Whisk together the egg and water. Brush over the empanadas and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Be sure to chill the dough before rolling to keep it from sticking. This dough holds together well and rolls out smooth. It is good to chill, but won’t roll out until it has warmed up a bit from being in the fridge. It will also warm up slightly as you begin to roll it out.
  • You can use part of the dough and then refrigerate the rest for another day, just store leftovers in plastic wrap and in an airtight container.
  • Keep the dough covered with a slightly damp towel to keep them from drying out while you are working, especially if you haven’t pre-made the filling. 
  • For best results, seal the edges firmly to keep the filling from leaking when baking.
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 78mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

    This nutrition information was generated via a third party. I can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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