This is my easy recipe for homemade empanada dough for frying. The process to make this empanada dough for frying is very similar to the empanada dough for baking. A few differences are that this dough doesn’t include egg, has a little bit less butter, but adds baking powder and little bit of orange juice. The orange juice gives the dough a nice flavor, while the baking powder give the empanadas that light fluffy texture when you fry them.
You can use the regular baking empanada dough and fry it, however I prefer the texture that you get from this variation when making fried empanadas. I mainly make this dough to prepare empanadas de viento or fried cheese empanadas, but it can also be used to make any type of fried empanada with the filling of your choice. This is mainly a savory fried empanada dough, though if you want you can add a small amount (~1 tablespoon) of sugar to give the dough a slightly sweeter taste. This will work well with fillings like cheese or cheese and jam/fruit preserves.
How to make empanada dough for frying
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tablespoon of sugar – optional if you want a hint of sweetness in the dough
- 1 stick of butter 1 stick = 4 oz
- ¼ cup or 4 tablespoons of orange juice
- ~2/3 cup sparkling water or still water add more if needed
- Your choice of fillings
- Oil for frying
- Mix the flour, salt, sugar (if using), and baking powder in a food processor.
- Add the pieces of butter and pulse until mixed.
- Add the orange juice and sparkling water – start with ½ cup of water and then add more as needed, pulse and mix until clumps of dough start to form.
- Form a ball with the dough and knead lightly.
- Place the dough in bowl, coat with small amount of oil, cover and let rest at room temperature for about an hour.
- To make the empanada discs or rounds, you can either roll out the dough into a thin layer and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate). Or you can make several small balls of dough, about 1.5 oz to 2 oz in weight, then use a tortilla press or a rolling pin to roll them out – they don’t need to be perfectly round. It's really important to get the discs very thin since they cook very quickly when you fry them, if after cutting out the round shapes or pressing them with a tortilla press, they are still thick, try rolling each disc a little more until it is very thin. Some people also use a pasta machine to get the dough very thin.
- The empanada discs can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator or freezer to use later.
To fill, assemble, and fry the empanadas:
- Use a spoon to place your choice of filling on to the center of each empanada disc.
- Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges, first pressing gently with your fingers, then use your fingers to gently twist the edges of the empanada. You can also use a fork to press down and seal, or one of those empanada molds if you have one.
- If you have time, I recommend chilling the empanadas for 30 minutes to an hour (or longer if you are making them ahead of time), before frying them.
- The empanadas can be fried either a deep fryer or a simple frying pan, just make sure to have enough oil to cover at least half the empanada if using a pan. Heat the oil, it should bubble when you add the empanadas to the oil, and fry each empanada until they are golden on each side. Don’t overcrowd the pan and if any of them break/leak remove it immediately from the oil.
- Place the fried empanadas on paper towels to drain any extra oil.
- Serve warm.
Step by step photos for the preparation of the empanada dough for frying: