| | | | | | | | |

Apple empanadas {with cinnamon empanada dough}

This is my easy recipe for apple empanadas with a spiced cinnamon dough. These sweet empanadas are baked and topped with cinnamon sugar.

Homemade apple empanadas with a cinnamon dough, served with a dulce de leche sauce

En Español

These dessert empanadas are a type of baked hand pie or fruit turnovers. I’ve made several variations of apple empanada recipes, some using a simple sweet empanada dough, but I love the extra flavor that the cinnamon adds to the dough – as well as a hint of lemon zest.  You can also replace the cinnamon with pumpkin spice or add some ground cloves, all spice, etc to the dough. Feel free to make it your own and infuse it with the flavors that you love. For a cheater easier version, you can also use store bought empanada discs or pie dough, but the homemade dough is definitely worth the extra effort.

Jump to Recipe
Baked apple empanadas sprinkled with cinnamon sugar

The apple filling can be prepared in different ways, for this recipe I’m using the easiest option which consists of fresh diced apples tossed with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon. Another filling option is to pre-cook the apples with a type of unprocessed brown cane sugar called panela, also called piloncillo or papelón. You can also make a sweet empanada variation filled with apples plus dulce de leche or milk caramel.

Easy apple empanadas with cinnamon dough

I prefer to bake these apple empanadas, but you can also fry them if you prefer. In that case I would recommend using the empanada dough for frying (you can still flavor it with ground cinnamon). These apple empanadas are brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar when they come out of oven.  You can serve them alone or with a sweet dipping sauce. I made a very simple dulce de leche sauce to go with them. A simple crème anglaise custard sauce would also make great accompaniment. Even straight up dulce de leche works as well.

Homemade baked apple empanadas with sweet cinnamon dough

Apple empanadas {with cinnamon empanada dough}

Homemade apple empanadas with a spiced cinnamon dough. These sweet empanadas are baked and topped with cinnamon sugar.
4.88 from 25 votes
Print Pin Your Questions and Comments
Course: Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: Latin American, Spanish
Keyword: Apples, Cinnamon, Dessert empanadas, Empanada dough, Empanadas, Sweet empanadas
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Resting time: 1 hour
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 20 -25 small empanadas or 12-15 medium large empanadas


For the spiced cinnamon empanada dough:

  • 3 cups flour all purpose
  • ¼-½ cup sugar adjust to your preference – but keep in mind that additional sugar will make the empanada dough more delicate to roll out
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder – can also add some ground cloves, all spice, nutmeg or pumpkin spice powder mix
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest – optional
  • 8 ounces butter 8 ounces = 225 grams = 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut in small chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-4 tablespoons of milk add more if needed

Apple filling:

  • 4 apples cored and diced – peeled or not based on your preference
  • 4 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Juice of ½ lemon

For sprinkling on top:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter melted
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar regular or brown
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon


To make the cinnamon empanada dough:

  • Place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse until well mixed.
  • Add the cinnamon (and other spices / lemon zest), mix well.
  • Add the pieces of butter and pulse until well mixed.
  • Add the eggs and 2 tablespoons of milk and mix until dough clumps start to form.
  • If the dough is still dry you can add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a smooth consistency.
  • Remove the dough from the food processor, split into 2 large balls, you can flatten them gently and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.

Simple apple filling:

  • Place the diced apples in a medium sized bow. Sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and vanilla extract on top.
  • Mix well and let sit until ready to assemble the empanadas.

To shape the sweet empanada discs:

  • Option 1- On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the chilled dough until you have a thin layer. Use round pastry cutter to cut out small rounds or discs of dough. Gently place the empanada discs on lightly floured layers of wax paper. Refrigerate if they won’t be used immediately.
  • Option 2 – Cut the dough into small chunks and shape each chunk into a ball form. The number of dough balls will be the number of empanadas that you would like to make, you can get 12-15 medium/larger empanadas or 20-25 smaller ones. I usually go for 18-20 for the perfect dessert size.
  • Next roll out each ball of dough until you have a round shape, don’t worry if it isn’t perfectly round. A useful tool to flatten the balls of dough is a tortilla press – a good heavy one is the best.
  • Make sure you place the dough on a lightly floured wax paper or film wrap paper (saran) to keep it from sticking.

Apple empanada assembly:

  • Place a spoonful of the apple filling on the center of each empanada disk.
  • If using the perfectly round cut out discs from option 1 above, then gently fold the empanada disc and press the edges together using your fingers. You can use a fork to press down on the edges and seal the empanadas; or you can use your finger to twist and crimp the edges.
  • If using the less perfect discs from option 2 above, then fold the empanada disc and gently press to seal, then use a round bowl or a round cutting mold to cut any excess dough, this should give a perfect round half circle/half moon shape. You can then seal them with a fork or gently crimp the edges.
  • For best results I like to refrigerate the empanadas for at least 30 minutes before baking them.

Baking the apple empanadas:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 F / 190 C
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden on top.
  • Remove the empanadas from the oven and let them cool down for about 10 minutes.
  • Brush the top of each empanada with the melted butter and then sprinkle the sugar cinnamon mix on top.
  • Can be served warm or cold, alone or with a sweet dipping sauce.


To make the dulce de leche dipping sauce, in a small saucepan heat up ½ cup of cream (or half and half) and stir in 4 tablespoons of dulce de leche, mix well until you have a smooth sauce. You can also add a teaspoon of vanilla.
Simple apple empanadas with cinnamon dough made from scratch

Step by step preparation photos for homemade apple empanadas – with spiced cinnamon dough:

Step by step preparation for homemade apple empanadas or baked fruit turnovers

Similar Posts


  1. Layla, thank you so much for this recipe. I am making them for guests on Saturday and did the assembly today. This is my first time making empanadas and the dough was very fragile and sticky to work with. Different than my other sweet pastry doughs. Thank goodness you suggested the tortilla press. After I refrigerated my dough the first time I made into 1.8 ounce balls and put it back in the refrigerator until I was ready. That press made it super simple. Almost the exact size of my 3” empanada press. I bought that press when I moved to NH because I couldn’t get good tortillas but have not used it since moved back to Southern California. I baked off a couple right away to see if the taste was great and they were awesome. I bet they’ll be a huge hit for my taco bar. My other dessert will be flan. I will definitely bookmark your webpage.

  2. Hey Layla,

    Some time ago I believe you mentioned you were going to publish a book. If you have done so already, I would like to purchase a copy….. or two..

    Please let me know. Happy Thanksgiving. Feliz Dia De Gracias. (If I remember correctly).

    1. Hi Carlos – I did publish a book earlier this year, however at the moment it’s only in Spanish. It’s called Yo Cocino Latino and you can find it on Amazon.
      I’m still working on an Ecuadorian cookbook, hopefully for 2022.
      Happy Thanskgiving!

Leave a Reply