How to Make Empanadas: A Delicious Guide

Empanadas are a popular dish in many Latin American countries, known for their delicious fillings and crispy crusts. These savory pastries can be filled with a variety of ingredients, such as meat, cheese, vegetables, or even sweet fillings like fruit or chocolate. If you’ve ever wondered how to make empanadas at home, you’re in luck! In this article, we will guide you through the process of making empanadas from scratch, providing valuable insights and tips along the way.

The History of Empanadas

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s take a moment to appreciate the rich history of empanadas. The word “empanada” comes from the Spanish verb “empanar,” which means to wrap or coat in bread. Empanadas have been enjoyed for centuries and have roots in various cultures, including Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

These delightful pastries were introduced to Latin America during the colonization period and quickly became a staple in the region’s cuisine. Each country has its own unique take on empanadas, with different fillings, shapes, and cooking methods. For example, in Argentina, empanadas are often baked, while in Colombia, they are typically fried.

The Basic Empanada Recipe

Now that we’ve explored the background of empanadas, let’s get down to business and learn how to make them. Here is a basic empanada recipe that you can easily follow:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • For the filling: (choose your favorite)
    • Ground beef, onions, and spices
    • Shredded chicken, bell peppers, and cheese
    • Spinach, feta cheese, and garlic


  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the cold butter and mix with your hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add the ice water, a little at a time, and mix until the dough comes together. Be careful not to overmix.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape them into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Using a round cookie cutter or a glass, cut out circles from the rolled-out dough.
  7. Place a spoonful of your chosen filling in the center of each dough circle.
  8. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape. Use a fork to seal the edges by pressing them together.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 with the remaining dough and filling.
  10. Place the empanadas on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with the beaten egg.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden brown.
  12. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to make empanadas, let’s explore some tips and variations to enhance your culinary experience.

Tips for Perfect Empanadas

Making empanadas can be a fun and creative process. Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect empanadas:

1. Experiment with Different Fillings

One of the best things about empanadas is their versatility. Feel free to experiment with various fillings to suit your taste. Whether you prefer traditional meat fillings, vegetarian options, or even sweet fillings for dessert empanadas, the possibilities are endless.

2. Don’t Overfill

When adding the filling to the dough circles, be careful not to overfill them. Overfilling can make it difficult to seal the empanadas properly and may cause them to burst open during baking. A spoonful or two of filling is usually sufficient.

3. Seal the Edges Properly

Sealing the edges of the empanadas is crucial to prevent the filling from leaking out. Use a fork to press and crimp the edges firmly together. You can also use a little water or egg wash to help seal the dough.

4. Preheat the Oven

Make sure to preheat your oven before baking the empanadas. This ensures that they cook evenly and develop a golden, crispy crust.

5. Serve with Dipping Sauces

Empanadas are delicious on their own, but they can be even more enjoyable when served with dipping sauces. Consider pairing them with chimichurri, salsa, or a spicy aioli to add an extra layer of flavor.


1. Can I freeze empanadas?

Yes, you can freeze empanadas before or after baking them. If freezing before baking, assemble the empanadas and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze them for a few hours until firm, then transfer them to a freezer bag. When ready to bake, simply place the frozen empanadas on a baking sheet and add a few extra minutes to the baking time.

2. How long do empanadas stay fresh?

Freshly baked empanadas can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you have leftovers, refrigerate them and consume within 3-4 days. Reheat them in the oven or microwave for a few minutes before serving.

3. Can I make empanadas gluten-free?

Yes, you can make gluten-free empanadas by using a gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose flour. There are many gluten-free flour options available, such as almond flour, rice flour, or a pre-made gluten-free flour mix.

4. Are empanadas only savory?


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