Homemade empanada dough is a quick and easy recipe that is perfect for filling with sweet and savory mixtures. With just 4 ingredients, you can whip up delicious, flaky baked empanadas that will tantalize your taste buds and delight your guests!
🌟 Why this recipe works
Empanada dough is a delicious and versatile pastry dough that can be used to make all kinds of traditional savory or sweet empanadas, like beef empanadas, chicken, ham and cheese, egg and cheese, or cherry jam.
This easy empanada dough recipe requires only five simple ingredients that you already have in your pantry and about 10 minutes of prep time. Plus, it can be prepared in advance to store in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to use it.
The key to a great empanada is a flaky, tender crust that holds up well against the filling without getting soggy. To achieve this, you need a combination of all-purpose flour, milk, egg, and butter.
The butter helps create the flaky texture while still holding the dough together, and the egg for extra binding power and to give it an attractive golden color when baked. Finally, salt is added for flavor, and milk helps to make the dough soft and pliable.
Not only is this easy empanada dough recipe a great option for savory or sweet fillings, but it's also super versatile and can be used in all kinds of recipes like turnovers, pasties, pierogies, or Mexican pescadillas.
Whether you're looking for a traditional empanada dough or something more creative, this recipe will give you the perfect start.
🍽 Key Ingredients
With just 5 pantry staples, you can make empanada dough that is perfect for any filling. Here's what you need:
All-purpose flour - A few cups of all-purpose flour will give your dough that chewy texture.
Salt - Salt enhances the flavor of your dough.
Butter - Unsalted butter provides a flaky texture and helps to give it a golden shine.
Egg - The egg provides binding power to help keep the dough in place while baking. When baking empanadas, you'll need an egg wash mixture to brush over the tops to create that signature golden brown color.
Liquid - Empanada dough can be made with milk or water, but we're using milk as it helps to make the dough softer and more pliable.
If you don't have the ingredients for this empanada dough recipe, here are a few substitutions to try:
For a lighter texture, use olive oil instead of butter.
Plain yogurt can be used in place of milk for extra tang.
For a nuttier texture, whole wheat flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour. Alternatively, you can use a gluten-free version to make gluten-free empanada dough.
🔪 How to make
This empanada dough recipe is pretty simple to prepare, and once the ingredients are combined and kneaded together, you can roll out the dough to your desired thickness, cut it into circles, fill it with your favorite filling and bake until golden brown.
- Cut the butter into small cubes.
Mix the flour and salt in a food processor, then add the butter and pulse until the butter has coated the flour mixture.
Add the egg first, then pour the milk in bit by bit and continue pulsing until a clumpy dough forms.
Remove the dough from the food processor and split the dough into 2 large balls. Flatten the balls into discs, then roll out the first disc using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until you have a thin sheet.
Cut out round disc shapes using a pastry cutter, round molds, or a small plate. The disks should be around 5-6 inches in diameter.
Roll out the second dough and make another batch of small discs.
Cover each empanada disk with plastic wrap and place them inside a container in the fridge or freezer. Or make these delicious beef empanadas.
💭 Cooking tips
Don't leave the dough uncover
When making homemade empanada dough, it is best to cover the discs immediately or fill them to prevent them from drying out and cracking.
Without a food processor
To make this dough by hand, follow the same instructions but use your hands to mix the ingredients together.
📖 Recipe Variations
Looking to put a twist on your empanada dough? Here are some variations you can try to make it even more delicious.
Sweet empanada dough
To make a sweeter empanada dough, add ½ cup of granulated sugar to the dry ingredients and use 2 eggs instead of 1.
Empanada dough for frying
To make fried empanadas, add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the flour and use 4 tablespoons of orange juice and ⅔ cup of sparkling water for the liquid instead of milk and water. Fill them and fry them in hot vegetable oil.
Chocolate empanada dough
For a chocolate-flavored empanada dough, add ¼ cup of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and use two eggs instead of one.
🥗 What to serve with
When the time comes to fill the flaky empanada dough, you can choose from a variety of savory and sweet fillings. Here are a few tasty empanada recipes for you to try at home:
If you love pizza, then you're going to enjoy these pizza pockets. The filling is a mixture of cheese, pepperoni, olives, onion, bacon, and pizza sauce. It tastes similar to a calzone and is perfect for a quick snack or lunch.
These hearty baked beef empanadas are filled with a succulent ground beef mixture. The filling has a slightly spicy flavor that pairs perfectly with the flaky empanada crust.
Cherry pie filling
Who doesn't love a cherry pie? Enjoy the flavors of this classic dessert in empanada form. Use the filling from our cherry pie chimichangas recipe and bake them until golden brown.
There are so many more recipes out there, from chicken to ham and cheese or even egg and cream cheese. Once you have the empanada discs, the world is your oyster for filling them!
🙋 Frequently asked questions
Is empanada dough the same as pie dough?
No, empanada dough is slightly different from pie dough. The main difference is that pie dough uses more butter and as a result, has a higher fat content.
Is it better to fry or bake empanadas?
It depends on personal preference. Baked empanadas are usually lower in fat and calories, but frying gives them a delicious crispiness and golden-brown exterior.
This empanada dough recipe is perfect for storing to fill and bake when you're ready.
Refrigerating - Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Allow them to come to room temperature before filling them and baking.
Freezing - To freeze empanada dough, place them between parchment paper in an airtight container or a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
If you have leftover dough, roll it into a ball and cover it with plastic wrap before storing it.
🍳 Related recipes
If you're looking for more baking ideas like empanadas or more Mexican inspirations, we have you covered with these 37 fun things to bake and 30 easy Mexican breakfast recipes. Whatever you're in the mood for, we have something to suit your taste.
👪 Serving size
This homemade empanada dough recipe yields 12 empanada discs, but depending on the size of your round mold or cutter, you may get more out of it.
Empanadas are easy to make and perfect for baking or frying. You can use it as a base for many different fillings, either savory or sweet. Experiment with the variations mentioned above or create your own unique flavor combinations - the possibilities are endless! Enjoy this tasty treat with family and friends.
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- 3 cups All-purpose flour
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon Salt
- 6 ounce Unsalted butter - 1 stick of butter = 4 oz
- 1 Egg
- ¼ to ½ cup Water - or milk adjust as needed to obtain a soft and smooth dough
- Cut the butter into small cubes.
- Mix the flour and salt in a food processor, then add the butter and pulse until the butter has coated the flour mixture.
- Add the egg first, then pour the milk in bit by bit and continue pulsing until a clumpy dough forms.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and split the dough into 2 large balls. Flatten the balls into discs, then roll out the first disc using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until you have a thin sheet.
- Cut out round disc shapes using a pastry cutter, round molds, or a small plate. The disks should be around 5-6 inches in diameter.
- Roll out the second dough and make another batch of small discs.
- Cover each empanada disk with plastic wrap and place them inside a container in the fridge or freezer.