How to make empanada dough for baking

How to make 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. 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

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How to make empanada dough for baking
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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

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 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)
  • 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:
  1. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.
  2. Add the butter and pulse
  3. Add the egg and the water or milk (in small increments) and continue pulsing until a clumpy dough forms.
  4. To make the empanada dough by hand, follow the same instruction but use your hands to mix the ingredients together.
  5. 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).
  6. 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 eat 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.
  7. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator/freezer to use later.
  8. Assembling and baking the empanadas:
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.


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

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.


Homemade baked empanadas

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

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

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

This post was last modified: July 17th, 2016 by Layla Pujol


  1. Stuart Slater says:

    I used this recipe for my second ever batch of empanadas, after using shop bought pastry. It was much, much better and I’m making more today. I work in a shop that sells pastry products, maybe I should introduce empanadas to rural Wales.

  2. Thank you! I never made an empanada and this was a great recipe especially since they are baked instead of fried! Much healthier :)

  3. Nina Chagas says:

    I want to make this recipe for my daughter Halloween Bday party next week but I want to make them the day before. Is it ok I assemble them the day before? And should I put them in the freezer or the fridge?. I wanted to leave them ready to put straight in the oven for the next day. Thanks so much;)!

  4. Fatimah says:

    Best recipe I’ve ever made! Foolproof!!

  5. Katie VB says:

    I made mushroom and manchego empanadas using your dough recipie and they were so perfect, thank you so much. I served them with a spicy salsa verde, very delicious xx

  6. I just made the empanadas, using your recipe. All by hand, I don’t have a processor, but hey I’m from Argentina. I use the unbleached flour from trade joe’s and it’s a really good recipe very fitting for oven… The only thing I will do the next time is to add more salt. Other than that, Perfect! Thank you!!!

  7. Yogi Garcia says:

    Tried your recipe twice so far. My friends and I are are enjoying them. The time involved to make them is minimal and therapeutic. The end result rewarding. Where I live there are no places that make empanadas. I like having the option of what to put in them and the sizes. Look forward to working my way through recipes.

  8. HappyChef says:

    I used this recipe this weekend and it was perfect. Simple ingredients. The dough was easy to work with and came out flaky and tasty. Thank you so much!

  9. I made it with half organic coconut flour and half all-purpose flour and right now them babies are cooking in the oven. Can’t wait to see and taste the result! Doing this for my fiancé who gets home in 30 minutes. Soooooo excited! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  10. Thank you for this recipe!!! I had been using a fried empanada recipe and it just wasn’t the same. Yours saved the day so thanks again!

  11. Thanks for the recipe! I’m looking forward to making these tomorrow. Do you think I can sub the butter for coconut oil?

  12. Baked empanadas sound amazing! I wonder if the recipe can be halved since my food processor can only handle 3 cups (Cuisinart Mini Prep) and from past experiences trying to do 3c of flour will just be a disaster with this processor.

    • Yes, it can be halved, use a small egg or place a large one in small bowl, whisk it and use half (you can save the other half to brush the empanadas before baking).

  13. Hi Laylita, if i use vegetable shortening instead of butter in the dough. Is that possible?

    Yes, you can do that.

  14. Unfortunately I do not have a food processor, would a hand mixer work? It has the dough attachments? If not I’ll try making it by hand.

    • Hi Melissa – If you made any type of pastry dough (pie/tart/pizza/etc) when the mixer before then it should work also for the empanada dough. Personally I haven’t tried with a hand mixer – mine is very weak and doesn’t any dough attachments.

  15. I needed 1/2 cup of water,because it was really dry…It was hard to roll out,but life is hard without a food processor..
    Anyway,they are not as beautiful as yours,but they are 70% whole wheat and that’s enough for me..:D

    • It’s definitely more work without a food processor and whole wheat is even harder. My mom usually does a mix of 50/50 regular flour to whole wheat flour and it also makes the dough easier to roll. Another option is to use milk instead of water.
      Also, when I first started making empanadas they didn’t look very pretty, it’s really one of those things where the more you make them, the easier it gets.

  16. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe. I made pumpkin empanadas! They turned out flakey and yummy! Will make for Thanksgiving this year. Thanks again! Going to try many more of your recipes…saved you as a favorite!


  17. Making these with my 5 year old today. Vegetarian black bean and corn ones (had some tomato-corn salsa left over in the fridge), and chorizo fillings. Thank you so much for the very accessible recipe! We had fun rolling out the dough together. :-)

  18. Do you need use a special dough blade attachment for the food processor?

  19. Laylita:
    Great recipe! Quick&easy / well actually making the empanadas took me ages ;) but wasn’t expecting anything else. Te dough was delicious and the filling too (made your turkey empanadas, but instead of turkey I used roasted chicken). Thanks a lot!!!!

  20. Hi Laylita,
    I wanted to let you know that after trying another recipe from a “Spanish Tapas” book and throwing the 2 batches out. I remembered your recipe, so I printed it and it saved the day! My mini Empanadas turned out great! I made a total of 85. I still have about 40 left, I had more food that I really needed at my party. They are frozen and I am vacuum packing them in my foodsaver, for the guys for Christmas snacks. My guys can eat. LOL. Love your recipe, next time I want to do some sweet ones. Do you have any ideas for Sweet ones?


  21. Hi! I make empanadas frequently, but just dread frying (due to how unhealthy frying is). I have always used Goya Empanada Discos. I tried baking them, but they were never as good! Not as flaky and didn’t have the same crunch as frying.

    Last year I bought a dough press on clearance to make “personal pies” and left it sitting in my cabinet for a year. I decided I would try it this past weekend when I had to make a bunch for a party and figured it was worth a try. It worked GREAT to make my empanadas!! I’m sooo excited that it took out such a huge amount of the work of keeping all my filling in while crimping with the fork. Soooo now I want to make them more often, but I’m REALLY not wanting to fry them. My filling is always the same, I brown ground turkey in sofrito, adobo, sazon, curry, tumeric, and some other seasonings like Emmerils and Mrs. Dash. Then I put the ground turkey with a slice of cheese in my dough, seal and fry. It’s really just the frying that prevents this from being down right healthy!

    You’ve got me excited about trying different fillings, too! My SIL makes a breakfast version with scrambled eggs, bacon, salsa, and cheese and I grew up with these as mini apple pie turnovers (I’m from the south, my husband is Puerto Rican).

    Since I want to make these more often and I’m a huge health nut, I just can’t bring myself to frying these all the time. So, I went searching for a dough that will bake well and found your recipe. I’m going to try this tomorrow!!

    Finally, here’s my question. What temp do you bake and how long? Do you brush them with egg?? I’m sorry I don’t see the answer, skimmed over some questions hoping someone else asked it and I wouldn’t have to bother you, but I didn’t see it right off.
    P.S. I’m just getting a blog off the ground that I started playing around with a while back. Would you mind if I link to this recipe? I’d love to write all of this up to share :)

    • Hi Catherine – I usually put the baking temperature and time on the recipes with the filling, but my general rule of thumb is to bake medium sized empanadas (same as store bought size) at 400F for about 20-25 minutes. If they are smaller I bake them at 375F for 15-20 minutes. Exact baking time and temperature can be adjusted based on your oven. I do brush them with egg yolk right before baking, it helps give them that nice golden glow. Fine with me if you link to this recipe :)

  22. I was wondering if you can use this for other fillings instead of just meat fillings or others.. Like fruit fillings for kids?

  23. These look so yummy! I want to pre-make the empanada dough discs for a party. Can they be frozen ahead of time? I plan to put freezer paper between the layers.

  24. Ojitos RF says:

    Awesome recipe! I was searching for a recipe that came close to what my mom quoted me and this is it! The only variation is I added a little (1tsp) baking powder and 1 tsp cinnamon….fantastic! For the filling, since I wanted a dessert, I boiled some sweet potatoes, added some butter, cinnamon, sugar and pureéd it all in my food processor (very little butter or else it will be too runny to be a filling). I wanted to cry when I took the first bite, because I was overflooded with memories of my grandma and my youth. Thank you for sharing!

  25. I’m making two different kinds. One is with caramelized onions, mushrooms, spinach and cheese. The others are shredded pork w/ small diced cooked potatoes and a couple of slices of stuffed pimento olives. I can’t wait. The dough was really easy to make and I guesstimated on the water. I love the ease of the dough prep!

  26. My father always says that the secret in empanadas is the dough: “El secreto esta en la masa”. This dough recipe is by far the best I have tried. I do not have a food processor so I hand-worked mine, and it was not too bad. I did end up needing 3 more tablespoons of water. I made them with whole wheat flour and with a simple but tasty tuna filling. For the filling I fried some diced onions and garlic, added diced jalapenos, added 2 cans of white albacore tuna, salt and pepper, and some tomato sauce. They are amazing, I am enjoying them at this moment.

    Thank you for this recipe, I will be trying more recipes from your website soon!

  27. I’m making these right now. I whipped up a filling of ground turkey and red, orange, and yellow bell peppers seasoned with taco seasoning. They smell delicious and I’m sure they’ll taste that way too. Thanks so much!!!

  28. Just wondering, can I make up empanadas the night before and put them in the fridge and bake them the next morning?

    Yes, I do that all the time

  29. Love this simple recipe! Instead of water I use milk or buttermilk for a little extra richness. I also increased the amount if liquid by a tablespoon or two depending on how the dough comes together. For added ease, I use a tortilla press to make the rounds so I don’t have to roll and cut! Hope this helps.

  30. Hi Laylita!

    This blog is fabulous. I am also a fellow Seattleite currently living in Santiago Chile , writing food blog about my experiences. To help me get started I did some research and your blog is my absolute favorite for South American cuisine. I just used this empanada dough recipe and it turned out awesome. I made pino empanadas and cheese, tomato and spinach. Thanks so much!!!!

  31. this is great!

    my mom always brought the masa whenever she went to Argentina, but after a while it got tiring.
    do you have to use a food processor or can you use a mixer (ie: Kitchen aid)?

    I use a food processor.

  32. Delicious! Haven’t had empanadas in 11 years and this completely hit the spot today when I made them from scratch! My husband loved the crust as well! Thanks!

  33. Hi Laylita,

    I just wanted to thank you so much for sharing your empanada dough recipe. My daughter had a class project and her topic was on the country Chile and had to bring a food item. I was so happy when I found your recipe it was so easy and so yummy! I had to make enough for 20 and I made them smaller and it actually made 25 perfectly.Her class said it was so……. good! My family wants me to make some for them asap! This is a recipe keeper! I will be adding this to my recipe collection!

    Thanks so much!

  34. wonderful . easily made and delicious .

  35. thanks for the recipe I really likes to cook. one of this days i will try to make empanada.

  36. I was looking for an empanada dough recipe and I came across your site. Tried it, and voila..baked up awesomely! thanks for sharing this recipe. More power!!

  37. Hi Layla,

    I have used your recipe to make empanadas for my office lucheon and it was a huge HIT! Thank you so very much for sharing your recipe with the rest of the world. I made meat and then cheese and spinach empanadas for them. This week end I am going to make apple and also sweet potatoe empanadas for them.

    Thank you again,

    Karen in Colorado

  38. Laylita I want to thank you for sharing your recipes. I just found your site this morning and am very anxious to try as many recipes as I can :) Cooking helps me with my divorce so I will be cooking with your recipes in my free time. Thank you

  39. Hi Laylita,

    I don’t have a food proccesser can I just do it by hand?

    Yes, it’s more work and you might need a little extra liquid.

  40. I have read a lot of recipes for empanadas, but have not seen any using black beans in the filling. I plan to make some using cheese, onions and black beans. So you think this will work?

    That sounds yummy!

  41. I found your blog after googling for an empanada dough. THANK YOU, the dough recipe was fabulous! I bloomed some saffron in the water and let it cool. I mixed cooked chicken with sauteed onions and peppers and added chipotles in adobo. My fiance loved iy, thank you, they baked up beautifully!

  42. Hello, I am so glad that I found this site. so far I have made empanadas with peach filling, also homemade, and today I am making them with beef. My kids and husband love them. Thank you so much for this quick and easy recipe.


  43. Michelle says:

    Hi Laylita,
    I was wondering if this dough can be used if I am frying my Empanadas, have you ever tried it?

    Hi Michelle – It should be fine, however when I make fried empanadas I make a different variation of the dough, adding a little bit of baking powder to it, here’s the recipe I use for fried empanadas:

  44. I have to say I really enjoy empanadas myself and this recipe worked out really well for me..Thank you so much!!

  45. Claudia says:

    Buenas noches a todos. Me dio mucha alegria encontrarme con esta receta. Yo naci en Buenos Aires y vivo en los EEUU desde 1976. Yo nunca hize la masa siempre la consigo congelada en los supermercados latinos. Voy a probar esta receta pronto. Gracias Clau

    Hello everyone my name is Claudia and I am from Argentina. I love empanadas. I always buy the dough frozen from a Spanish grocery store. Next time I make empanadas I will make the dough from scratch.

    Does anyone know how to make Pascualina dough?

  46. I just wanted to stop and say Hello.. I’m an Argentinian born, Canadian raised uber-foodie and it’s lovely to see a blog that celebrates our cuisine! I can’t find any argentinian food here, so I’ve been cooking it myself from recipes my abuela teaches me whenever I head back there with a crazy craving. I find it easier to communicate/read in English, even though Spanish was my first language – so it’s nice reading about all my favourite things in English!

    Thanks again, and keep up the awesomeness
    Buen Provecho!


    Hi Victoria – Thank you for stopping by, you can also find some great Argentinian recipes at From Argentina with Love and also at La vida en Buenos Aires y afines.

  47. This is great! What is the machine you are using to mix with called?

    It is a food processor, you can find them in the kitchen section at most stores. I also use it to blend the corn for the humitas, as well as to make the dough for the empanadas de verde.

  48. I tried out your dough recipe and made some meat empanadas. They are fantastic! I’m so glad I found your recipe.

  49. Ed Soyyo says:

    Soy latinoamericano, mi mama siempre preparaba empanadas, pero nunca logre conseguir su receta. Hoy tengo una gran alaegria el logar esta receta, la cual voy a preparar mañana

  50. Nicole from Sydney says:

    Hi Laylita

    Thank you for sharing your empanada dough recipe. I loved them when I lived in Maputo and I have been keen ever since I got back to Australia to find an easy recipe. Your site looks fantastic for a basic cook like me to dabble in some yummy cooking.

    Best Nicole

  51. can you use margarine instead of butter?

    Hi Joshua – I hardly ever use margarine, but if you use it instead of butter it should be fine.

  52. I wish you had posted this last Christmas! I made desert empanadas for a crowd of 20 and slaved away mixing and kneading dough. Your food processor method looks so much easier. I must try it this year! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  53. Thanks so much for sharing your quick empanada recipe with excellent photos. It looks wonderful (and easy!). I’m trying it tonight and stuffing with seasoned turkey and mixed veggies (kinda a jamacian style) but I’ve bookmarked your site as I want to explore more. Sites like yours make the Internet special!

  54. Hi Laylita I want to try your recipe, but you don’t state the temperature to bake it or how long. Can you let me know?

    Hi Sylvia – I’ve added some links to the empanada filling recipes -where temperature and time are indicated – but for the most part I bake them at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes (or until they started to get golden on top).

  55. Laylita,
    Thanks! I’ve been a fan of empanadas since before I can remember, and everywhere I go I have to try them! I just recently made some for a family in Hawaii using Opa, a yummy white fish. They were a big hit, and your recipe had been what helped me get a new perspective on making the dough. Muchísimas gracias! =)

    Hi Kaitiki – Thanks for the feedback, fish empanadas sound delicious!

  56. Gabriel says:

    im going to try the recepie looks good and easy to make. t/y

  57. I am a big fan of dumplings in all forms. Growing up in Japan, I ate a lot of gyoza, shumai, and manjyu. They have many different forms of dumplings.

    I have never made empanadas but I had them many times. I am glad that I have recently run in to your blog. Going through it, appears to me that you have perfected your empanada recipe. I especially like the leek empanadas. I am going to try making couple with out making my home made dough. But rest assured, I will be trying it from scratch.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  58. Hola Layla,

    My father was born and raised in Argentina (hey Vanessa!), and he taught me how to make empanadas. I use a different dough recipe, but I see that yours has an egg, which must make the dough a bit more elastic. I’ll give it a try next time. Thanks!!


  59. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’m hoping to make empanadas really soon.

    Great blog btw.

  60. this recipe sounds great. my father is from argentina and i grew up loving empanadas. living in ny, it was real easy to find them in queens. i live in nc now and i haven’t been able to find anywhere that sells them and I tried fixing my own using a Cook’s Illustrated recipe but it didn’t compare. I’m definitely going to try making these this weekend. They look delicious.

  61. Very easy to make, if you can make tart dough you can make these.

  62. These look so great…I always wanted to make these, ate them quite a bit when living in NYC! Thanks for sharing process photos.

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