This sweet empanada dough is quick and easy to make, perfect for enjoying delicious treats with minimal effort. With just 5 ingredients, you’ll have homemade empanada dough ready in no time to fill with your favorite sweet fillings!
🌟 Why this recipe works
Sweet empanadas are a Mexican and Spanish favorite that are eaten year-round, often as part of a special event or celebration.
There are many types of empanada dough recipes for different cooking needs. You can make savory empanada dough – perfect for baking savory empanadas such as beef empanadas or empanada dough for frying – the best dough that holds firm and produces a super crisp exterior when fried.
This sweet empanada dough recipe is not only simple and easy to make - but it also results in an irresistibly flaky, buttery pastry that is perfect for filling with your favorite sweet fillings.
The key to successful sweet pastry dough is the combination of all-purpose flour and butter, which, when combined, create a luxurious texture with just the right amount of crispiness. Adding sugar to the mix helps craft that perfect sweet flavor, while a pinch of salt helps to bring out all the other flavors.
What makes sweet empanada dough even better is that you can make it ahead and fill and bake them when you're in the mood for something sweet.
🍽 Key Ingredients
With 5 pantry staples and an oven, you can make the best sweet empanada dough that is buttery and flaky.
Flour - All-purpose flour gives you the best texture for empanada dough.
Sugar - To give the dough the sweetness they need for all your tasty fillings.
Salt - Just a pinch of salt will help round out the flavors.
Butter - Unsalted butter helps give the pastry that lovely golden hue and flaky texture.
Egg - The egg will act as a binding agent, helping the pastry dough come together and stay together.
Liquid - Cold water or cold milk helps to bind the dough together and gives it that perfect softness.
If you don’t have the exact ingredients on hand, fear not! Here are some great substitutions to make this recipe work for you.
Substitute the butter for lard. Lard has a higher fat content than butter, so it’s great for making extra flaky pastry.
If you’re looking for a healthier option, use coconut sugar or 2 teaspoons of monk fruit. You can also use brown sugar.
🔪 How to make
Making sweet empanada dough is easy and can be done in a few simple steps. All you need to do is combine the ingredients together and knead the dough until it's pliable. Here's how to do it!
Combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and sugar in the food processor bowl.
Add the unsalted butter, eggs, and liquid to the flour mixture until a large ball of dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for 3 to 4 minutes to make it soft.
Cut the dough in half and flatten the 2 balls into thick discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes to chill.
Lightly flour the surface again and roll out each dough disc until they are flat. You want them to be as thin as a coin.
Cut rounds out of the flattened dough with a pastry cutter, a small plate/bowl, or a cup. Choose the size of your preference.
Fill the empanadas dough immediately or cover them with plastic wrap and store them to use later. Or you can bake them right away!
💭 Cooking tips
Don't overdo the sugar
It's important to not add too much sugar when making sweet empanadas because it will become harder to roll out the dough. It becomes softer, the more sugar is added to it - if you want to make it sweeter, sprinkle sugar over the dough once it is filled.
To ensure a light and flaky pastry, it’s important to incorporate cold butter into your dough. Cut up the butter into small pieces and then use a pastry cutter or mixer until you have pea-sized pieces of butter throughout. Coldness is key here - if the butter starts to melt, just pop the dough in the fridge for a few minutes before continuing with your recipe.
Filling and baking
Once you have your empanada discs, it’s time to fill and bake them. Fill each disc with your favorite filling, then brush the edges of each disc with some egg wash to help it stick together and again on top to give them a nice shine before baking them for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F until golden brown.
📖 Recipe Variations
If you want to give your sweet empanada dough more flavor without changing the recipe, you can do with some of these great variations.
Chocolate empanada dough
For a chocolatey flavor, add ½ cup of cacao powder to the flour mixture.
Cinnamon empanada dough
Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of nutmeg to the flour for a bit of sweet and savory spice.
Pumpkin empanada dough
Making pumpkin empanada dough is perfect with pumpkin pie filling. Just add 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice and ½ teaspoon of allspice to the mixture for the best pumpkin dessert empanadas.
🥗 What to serve with
Once have the sweet empanada dough ready, you will need to fill them with something sweet! Here are a few empanada recipes suggestions to try at home:
Chocolate is one of the best fillings for empanadas, pies, cakes, and basically anything! Everyone loves it, and it can be mixed with other ingredients, like chocolate and banana, chocolate and strawberry, or chocolate and nuts.
Use white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or Nutella. No matter the combo, I am sure it will be a hit!
Another favorite is condensed milk, sweetened cream cheese, or dulce de leche! They're sweet and creamy, making them perfect for filling dessert empanadas. You can also add some nuts or fruit to the mix, making a delicious and unique empanada.
If you want to make apple empanadas, use finely chopped apples mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can also try cherry pie filling (check out these cherry pie chimichangas for the filling recipe). Blueberry, strawberry, or raspberry jam are also great sweet filling options.
🙋 Frequently asked questions
Why is my empanada dough tough?
If your dough is too tough, it means that you used too much flour when making the dough. Try adding a bit more liquid to the dough to make it softer.
Can I use this dough recipe to make pie dough?
Yes, you can use this dough to make a sweet pie crust or other pastries. Just remove the egg from the mixture and use 12 ounces of butter. You may need a tablespoon or two extra of liquid to bind the dough.
This sweet empanada recipe is perfect for refrigerating and freezing purposes if you're preparing the sweet dough in advance.
Fridge - Leftover dough can be refrigerated for up to five days. Make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap before placing it in the fridge.
Freezer - The dough can also be frozen in an airtight container or bag for up to three months. Wrap the discs first in plastic wrap, then transfer them to your container or freezer bag.
Note: Allow the cooled discs to come to room temperature before you fill and bake empanadas.
🍳 Related recipes
These tasty sweet empanadas are typical Mexican cuisine that is served for breakfast, lunch, or a tasty after-dinner snack.
For more delicious Mexican breakfast ideas, try these 30 easy Mexican breakfast recipes, or for a sweeter breakfast - give one of these 35 best sweet breakfast ideas a try. There's something for everyone!
👪 Serving size
This sweet empanada dough recipe yields around 18 medium-sized discs, but depending on the size of your pastry cutter or plate, you could make more or less.
This easy pastry dough is an excellent base that can be used to create a delicious variety of treats. Whether you are looking for a quick snack or a special dessert, this empanada dough is sure to please! With endless possibilities of fillings and variations, you can make empanadas that are sure to become a family favorite.
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Try one of my comfort dessert recipes for your next meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!
Sweet Empanada Dough
- 3 cups All-purpose flour
- ¼ to ½ cup Sugar
- pinch Salt
- 16 ounces Butter - 2 sticks, 8 ounces (225grams) per stick, cut into pieces
- 2 Eggs
- 2 to 4 tablespoons Cold water - or cold milk
- Combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and sugar in the food processor bowl.
- Add the unsalted butter, eggs, and liquid to the flour mixture until a large ball of dough forms.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for 3 to 4 minutes to make it soft.
- Cut the dough in half and flatten the 2 balls into thick discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes to chill.
- Lightly flour the surface again and roll out each dough disc until they are flat. You want them to be as thin as a coin.
- Cut rounds out of the flattened dough with a pastry cutter, a small plate/bowl, or a cup. Choose the size of your preference.
- Fill the empanadas dough immediately or cover them with plastic wrap and store them to use later.