How to make empanada dough

Making 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. 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.

How to make homemade empanada discs

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. 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.

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

Homemade baked empanadas

How to make empanada dough for baking

Yield: 12-15 medium size or 20-25 small empanada discs

How to make empanada dough for baking

Easy recipe with step-by-step photos for homemade empanada dough.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), chilled and cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 tbs water


    Making homemade empanada dough:
  1. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.
  2. Add the butter, egg and water until a clumpy dough forms.
  3. To make the empanada dough by hand, follow the same instruction but use your hands to mix the ingredients together. To make it easier to incorporate the butter you can freeze it and then grate it into the flour mix.
  4. Form a ball, flatten slightly, and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate).
  6. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator/freezer to use later.
  7. Assembling and baking the empanadas:
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.

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 discsYou can also use an upside down bowl, cup or lid as a mold How to make empanada dough for baking

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

Empanada dough recipe


Some empanada filling recipes:

Cheese empanadas

Leek empanadas

Swiss chard, beet and goat cheese empanadas

Mushroom and cheese empanadas

Meat empanadas