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How to make empanada dough for baking

Homemade empanada dough for baking

This my easy recipe for making empanada dough for baking, it step-by-step photos and video. You can make the dough by hand or using a food processor (or a stand mixer).

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Easy recipe for empanada dough

Making homemade empanada dough is not as hard as you might think, especially if you have a food processor. And even if you don’t have one, it is still pretty easy to make by hand because the dough doesn’t need be overworked, and requires minimal kneading.

Recipe for traditional baked empanadas

Empanadas, also known as turnovers or hand pies, are one of my favorite foods. They’re so versatile and can be made with an infinite number of delicious fillings – you can be as creative as you want with empanada fillings. Empanadas are also the perfect way to use leftovers, especially when a) you don’t enough for a full meal of leftovers and b) you want something different.

Video Recipe

How to make baked empanadas

Other empanada dough recipes:

How to make empanada dough for frying 
Recipe for sweet empanada dough (for dessert empanadas)

If you want more empanada recipes, you can also check out my All about Empanadas: The Empanada 101 Guide

Store bought empanada discs vs homemade empanada dough

These days it is very easy to find the empanada discs already made (frozen) in Latin grocery stores, and even though I was skeptical at first, they are actually quite good. However, homemade always taste better and fresher.

Recipe for homemade empanada dough for baking

Another benefit of making homemade empanada dough for baking is that you can customize the dough by adding spices or herbs that will add flavor and complement or contrast with the fillings. You can also make a large batch of homemade empanada dough, roll it out and cut it into discs, then freeze the discs (separate with wax paper) for later use.

How to make empanada dough
How to make baked empanadas

How to make empanada dough for baking

Easy recipe with step-by-step photos and video for homemade empanada dough.
4.71 from 4899 votes
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Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Argentina, Ecuadorian, Latin, South American
Keyword: Easy empanada recipe, Empanada dough for baking, Homemade empanada dough
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 -15 medium size or 20-25 small empanada discs
Author: Layla Pujol


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz unsalted butter (1 stick of butter = 4 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water or milk adjust as needed to obtain a soft and smooth dough


Making homemade empanada dough:

  • Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.
  • Add the butter and pulse
  • Add the egg and the water or milk (in small increments) and continue pulsing until a clumpy dough forms.
  • To make the empanada dough by hand, follow the same instruction but use your hands to mix the ingredients together.
  • Split the dough into 2 large ball, flatten slightly into the shape of disks. The dough can be used immediately or refrigerated until ready to use (1-2 days max).
  • Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate). You can also make small individual balls with the dough and roll out each individual ball to a round shape (doesn’t need to be perfectly round) – if you have a tortilla press you can use it to flatten the dough balls.
  • Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator/freezer to use later.

Assembling and baking the empanadas:

  • To assemble the empanadas or turnovers, place a spoonful of the filling on the middle of each empanada disc. The amount of filling will vary based on the size of the empanada, but in general, it’s easier to seal an empanada that isn’t overstuffed. Also, the more you make empanadas, the easier it becomes to stuff them to the max and still seal them properly.
  • To seal the empanadas, fold the disc and seal the edges by pressing the dough with your fingers. If you’re having a hard time sealing the edges, you can use brush the inside edges with egg white, it will act as a glue for the empanadas. You can also use a fork to help seal the edges, just press the top of the fork against the edges. To the repulgue or churito, the curl type seal, use your fingers to twist the curl the edges. There are also empanada molds that you can buy and will help seal the empanadas.
  • For best results, I recommend refrigerating for at least 30 minutes the empanadas before baking – this also helps them seal better and prevents the filling from leaking out.
  • If you want your empanadas to have a nice golden finish, then you can brush them with egg wash (a whole egg whisked or egg yolk plus a few drops of water whisked).
  • Bake the empanadas in a pre-heated oven. I usually bake them at 375F-400F, the temperature will vary based on the oven and the size of the empanadas. I bake the smaller sized empanadas at 375F. The baking time also varies (again based on the oven and size), but it’s in the range of 18-25 minutes – the empanadas will be ready once they are golden.


How to make empanada dough for baking

Step by step photos of how to make homemade empanada dough:

Add the butter, egg and water to the flour to make the empanada dough
How to make empanada dough for baking
How to make empanada dough for baking
Homemade empanada dough recipe
Roll out the dough into a thin sheet
Use a round dough mold to make the empanada discs
You can also use an upside down bowl, cup or lid as a mold
How to make empanada dough for baking
How to make homemade empanada discs
You can either roll out a thin sheet of dough or form the dough into several small balls
Roll each ball out into a circle form
You can also use a tortilla press to make the empanada discs
Fill the empanadas with your choice of filling
Use a fork to seal the empanadas
Or make a repulgue or churito by twisting the edges
For a golden glow, brush the empanadas with egg wash before baking
Bake the empanadas at 375F to 400F for about 18-25 minutes
How to make empanada dough for baking
Homemade baked empanadas
Empanada dough recipe
Homemade baked empanada dough recipe
Easy homemade baked empanadas from scratch

Empanada recipes (including fillings) that you might like:

Empanadas mendocinas {Argentine beef empanadas}
Recipe for empanadas mendocinas, traditional Argentine meat empanadas, filled with beef, onions, paprika, hot pepper powder, cumin, oregano, hard-boiled egg and olives.
Check out this recipe
Argentinian empanadas filled with beef picadillo
Bacon jalapeño cream cheese empanadas
Recipe for bacon jalapeño cream cheese empanadas, aka jalapeño popper empanadas or hand pies. These mouthwatering empanadas can be baked or fried. Served with a creamy avocado cilantro salsa.
Check out this recipe
Bacon jalapeño cream cheese empanadas recipe
Fried cheese empanadas // Empanadas de viento
Recipe for empanadas de viento or fried cheese empanadas, these delicious traditional Ecuadorian empanadas are filled with cheese, fried until crispy, and served sprinkled with sugar.
Check out this recipe
Ecuadorian fried cheese empanadas recipe
Beef empanadas {Empanadas de carne}
Easy and delicious recipe for homemade beef empanadas, made with a meat picadillo filling of ground beef, onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, and achiote (annatto).
Check out this recipe
Beef empanadas
Choriqueso empanadas
Mouthwatering empanadas filled with chorizo and cheese, can be fried or baked. Served with a creamy avocado sauce.
Check out this recipe
Swiss chard, beet and goat cheese empanadas
Easy recipe for vegetarian empanadas or hand pies filled with chard, beets, goat cheese and oregano.
Check out this recipe
Swiss chard, beet, and goat cheese empanadas
Tuna fish empanadas
Easy to make recipe for homemade tuna fish empanadas made with a filling of tuna fish, onions, bell peppers, olives, capers, paprika, and oregano.
Check out this recipe
Baked tuna fish empanadas
Apple empanadas {with cinnamon empanada dough}
Homemade apple empanadas with a spiced cinnamon dough. These sweet empanadas are baked and topped with cinnamon sugar.
Check out this recipe
Chocolate dulce de leche empanadas
Chocolate dulce de leche empanadas made with a homemade chocolate empanada dough and filled with creamy dulce de leche or caramel
Check out this recipe
Dulce de leche empanadas
Gingerbread pear empanadas
Gingerbread empanada dough filled with caramelized ginger pears that were cooked in a syrup of panela or piloncillo and spices.
Check out this recipe
Empanadas made with gingerbread dough

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    1. Either option will work. If freezing them raw just make sure the filling is fulling cooked (if using a meat filling) and also bake them from frozen (do not defrost before baking).

  1. This is the best empanada dough I’ve ever tried!! EVER! And we have tried many in our household (husband is Puerto Rican). We love empanadas but the fried food of the region can just be way too heavy and greasy. This is a flawless recipe. I used milk. The recipe yielded 15 empanadas for me. Family loved them, even the pickiest eater in our family ate two! Thank you SO much Layla for sharing this recipe. It is my new go-to, after endless YouTube video watching and googling recipes, the search is over. Look no further.

  2. Your recipe calls for less ingredients, is easier to work, and has better flavor than the recipe I’ve been using for years. This is the first time I’ve been happy with how the dough turned out. Thank you! I’ll definitely be switching to this recipe from now on.

  3. So this was my first time making empanadas. I was on a different site and had made up all the filling – went to roll out the dough from that site and it was terrible, like wet but dry and falling apart at the same time? I don’t know how that happened. I googled a second recipe to save the dough, and yours came up Laylita! So great! This dough was so easy to work with and delicious. Thanks for saving my first attempt at these!!

  4. Hi, was wondering if I can use a mixer instead of a food processor? I only have a small food processor and I wanted to make alot.

    1. I keep them frozen for up 2-3 months, I wrap them in plastic wrap and then put them in a freezer bag. It’s easier to freeze them already shaped and filled (freeze them on wax paper on a tray, then transfer to freezer bags once fully frozen), then you can just bake them directly.

  5. In your video to make the meat for the empanadas, you add garlic and achiote but I don’t see any written recipe anywhere with those exact measurements. Please advise, thank you.

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