How to Make Perfect Empanada Dough

Empanada Dough Close Up

Note: This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

Wanna know how to make a perfect empanada? I have the recipe for you!
This recipe can hold all of your empanada fillings, but not take away from the flavor.
All while having no soggy bottoms!



I just discovered the culinary joy that is empanadas. I literally cannot believe that I have lived this long and I never heard of an empanada, until Maria Empanada opened near my home. I am now completely obsessed with this little pocket that can be filled with so many amazing flavors.

What is an Empanada?

Empanada comes from the Spanish word empanar, which means to coat or wrap in bread. The recipes are closely guarded family secrets and can vary from household to household. However, one thing all recipes have in common is the dough is rolled out, filled, and then folded over into a half-moon shape and baked or fried.

Empanada Dough Nine on a Plate
Empanada Dough – Nine on a Plate

Let’s talk Empanada Dough

In researching how to make an empanada, I came across many recipes that were similar to pie dough. Actually, they were the same as basic pie dough. The result was a dry and flaky empanada where the flavor of the dough was stronger than the filling. I did not like the result and wished for a dough closer to the dough at Maria Empanada.

I kept going back to the drawing board. Researching different fillings and watching interviews with the owner of Maria Empanada to determine why her empanada shell was different. The best I could tell was that she incorporated margarine and baking powder while removing vinegar, from her recipe. This seemed to be very different than any other empanada recipe I could find.

It took a few tries, but I developed a dough recipe that forms a nice shell, has a bit of a crunch, and complements any empanada filling. This dough is different from Maria’s because I have added sugar and warm milk. However, I felt it was just perfect and I am very excited by how it tastes and holds up against soggy bottoms.:)

Empanada Dough Four on a Plate
Empanada Dough – Four on a Plate

How to Make Empanada Dough

First gather all your ingredients. Most of them you will already probably have in your kitchen.

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 large egg yoke
  • I large egg (optional)
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  1. Using a whisk, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. These are your dry ingredients.
  2. Add the margarine into your dry ingredients and mix until the flour resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add the egg yolk and the milk in small amounts until the dough starts to form.
  4. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  5. Remove the dough and roll out to 1/8 on an inch thickness. Cut the dough into circles. The size of your empanada depends on personal preference and what you are cooking. Here is the general rule of thumb I use when making empanadas.
    • Appetizer empanada – use a pastry mat or a bowl, cut the dough into 6-inch rounds.
    • Main course empanada – use a pastry mat or a plate, cut the dough into 8-inch rounds.
    • Dessert empanada – use a drinking glass to cut about 3-inch rounds.
  6. Fill empanada with the desired filling/s.
  7. Fold in half and pinch into shape. For a traditional look, you can press your fork into the dough where you just pinched the dough together.
  8. For a golden shinny look brush with a beaten egg. This is called an egg wash.
  9. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Empanada Filling Ideas

The fillings are incredibly vestal. You name it, you can make it into an empanada. Examples include:

  • Breakfast: Eggs, potatoes, bacon, etc.
  • Argentinian: Steak, red bell peppers, hard-boiled eggs, green onions, green olives
  • Meat: Ham and cheese
  • Meat : Pizza – Cheese, marinara and pepperoni
  • Vegetarian: Corn, bell pepper, and cheese
  • Vegetarian: Spinach and parmesan cheese
  • Vegetarian: Pizza – Cheese, olives, and marinara
  • Dessert: S’mores – Chocolate and marshmallow
  • Dessert: Nutella (there is nothing better than Nutella)
  • Sauces: Empanadas can be served with or without sauce. Choose a sauce that goes with your filling. I love southwest fillings and used Authentic New Mexico Red Chile sauce with my corn empanada. My Colorado Style Green Chile recipe would also make a great sauce.

The combinations are endless. As a general rule if you like it in the form of a burrito, pizza, samosa, or hot pocket then I bet you will also like it as an empanada.

Empanada Dough Inside an Empanada
Empanada Dough Inside a Corn and Authentic New Mexican Red Chile Sauce Empanada


Amazon Links/Affinity Links
(An affinity link means at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase I will earn a small commission.)

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 5, Technical – Cornish Pasty/Empanada

I was so excited to take on this challenge because it gave me a great excuse to make my current obsession, an empanada. How are an empanada and a Cornish pastry related you ask? Well, it turns out that an empanada is very similar to a Cornish pasty. What surprised me was that many cultures have similar versions of a Cornish Pasty/Empanada. What they all have in common is they are a pastry that is folded in half and baked. Traditionally these pastries are made with meat. Thankfully there are many vegetarian versions that taste great, dare I even say better?

The most challenging part of this challenge was finding the right dough. So many of the recipes are really pie doughs. That type of dough is much drier than what I am used to eating at the empanada store by my home. When I could not find the right dough recipe I watched many videos and ultimately created my own. I was excited about this challenge and I am proud of the outcome.

Count: 13 down, 265 to go!

The Ultimate Antioxidant Detox Salad
This ultimate antioxidant detox salad has every color in the rainbow, is very nutrient-dense, incredibly delicious, and whole-food nutritious.
Check out this recipe
Ultimate Antioxidant Detox Salad - Finished
Empanada Dough Close Up

How to Make Perfect Empanada Dough

How to make the perfect empanada dough that can hold all of your fillings, but not take away from the flavor, while having no soggy bottoms!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
resting time 1 hr
Course Appetizer, Dessert, Main Course
Cuisine American, argentinian, hispanic, spanish
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • No special equipment needed

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Using a whisk, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar to fully incorporate all ingredients. These are your dry ingredients.
  • Cut the margarine into small pieces and using your hand's mix margarine into the dry ingredients. The result should look like bread crumbs.
  • Add the egg yolk and the milk in small amounts until the dough starts to form.
  • Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with the heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring the dough together.
  • Flatten the dough into a disk, then wrap in cling wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least1 an hour.
  • Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness and cut into desired circles using a pastry mat, bowl, plate, or glass. See notes for circle size suggestions.
  • Fill empanada with the desired filling/s and then fold in half and pinch into shape.
  • Whisk an egg and brush the top of the empanada with an egg wash for a shiny golden look.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes

The size of your empanada depends on personal preference and what you are cooking. Here is the general rule of thumb I use when making empanada’s I use the following guidelines.
  • Appetizer empanada – use a pastry mat or a bowl, cut the dough into 6-inch rounds.
  • Main course empanada – use a pastry mat or a plate, cut the dough into 8-inch rounds.
  • Dessert empanada – use a drinking glass to cut about 3-inch rounds.  
* Depending on the size of empanada you make will determine the number of servings.  To increase the recipe size, click on the desired multiplier in the upper right-hand corner of the recipe.
* The traditional shape of an empanada is a folded circle. However, there are many different ways to shape the dough. I like to make dessert Nutella empanada’s that look like dumplings. Bottom line, have fun making different shapes.
Keyword Empanada, empanada dough, How to make empanada’s, vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!