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Empanada Dough

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Empanada Dough is a crazy delicious dough that can be used for both savory and sweet treats. It’s easy to make and quick too!


Main image for Empanada Dough


This easy empanada dough recipe is the best way to make flaky, buttery pockets.

And you can fill them with your favorite ingredients! 

Savory beef empanadas or dessert empanadas oozing with guava paste or dulce de leche. It works for all of them!

The recipe makes a flaky and tender dough, thanks to a secret ingredient – frozen butter!

It’s an easy dough recipe that even beginners can master.

This dough for empanadas can take regular empanadas from good to unforgettable.

And you can prepare it ahead of time for stress-free cooking later.


flour, garlic powder and salt in a bowl


What Ingredients Are in Empanada Dough?

You can find these ingredients in any grocery store:

  • All Purpose Flour: Just regular white flour works best. 
  • Garlic Powder: Adds a subtle flavor. Feel free to skip for sweet empanadas.
  • Salt: Just a pinch.
  • Butter: Frozen and grated for the flakiest dough.
  • Egg Yolks: Makes the dough tender. 
  • Ice Cold Water: You need it very cold for flaky dough. 
  • Vinegar: A secret touch for extra tenderness.
  • Beaten Egg: For a golden brown, shiny finish.

Pro Tip: Grating and refreezing the butter will help you get that perfect flaky texture.


Frozen butter grated into a bowl


How to Make Empanada Dough?

Making your own empanadas is easy! Here’s how:

  1. Start by mixing the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Add the frozen grated butter using your hands until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks, cold water, and vinegar, then add to the flour mixture.
  4. Gently mix until a consistent ball of dough forms, then let it rest in the fridge.
  5. Divide the dough, roll it out, fill, fold, and seal your empanadas before baking to golden perfection.

Pro Tips: 

  • Don’t overwork the dough! Handling it just enough to bring it together keeps it light and tender.
  • When putting in empanada fillings, be careful not to over fill! You don’t want to add too much!


frozen grated butter added to flour mixture


Can You Use Pie Dough for Empanadas?

Yes, you can use pie dough for empanadas if you’re in a pinch! You’ll see we did using this beef empanada recipe

I think the best empanadas are always made with a homemade empanada dough recipe.

The texture and flavor go better with the classic fillings of empanadas. 

Especially more savory fillings. 

This Beef Empanada Recipe is one that you’ll particularly love if you’re looking for some fillings to go with your dough.

But this Flaky Buttery Crust is great for sweeter fillings if that’s what you’re going for.


butter and flour mixture mixed together with hands


How to Store Empanada Dough?

Storing empanada discs is super simple!

Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight bag. Be sure no air gets in! That’ll help keep it fresh longer. 

You can keep it in the refrigerator if you plan to use it within a day or two.

Or you can freeze it if you want to save it for longer. 


egg yolks, water and vinegar added to the center of flour and butter mixture.


Can You Freeze Empanada Dough?

Absolutely you can freezer empanada dough! Freezing it is a great way to have it ready whenever the craving strikes!

Just make sure it’s well-wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. 

When you’re ready to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.

And Boom! Yummy dough ready to go!

How Long Does Empanada Dough Last?

In the refrigerator, fully wrapped empanada dough can last up to 3 days. 

In the freezer, it can last for up to 3 months. 

Always check the dough for any signs of spoilage before use. 

Especially if it’s past it’s prime! It’s homemade and so much better than store-bought empanada dough. 

But that also means it doesn’t have any preservatives so it won’t last for weeks in the fridge.



Is Empanada Dough Vegan?

Traditional empanada dough recipes, like this one, are not vegan. All the butter and egg!

But you can make vegan empanada dough by substituting the butter with a vegan alternative.

Then use a flaxseed mixture instead of eggs.

Fair warning though! I haven’t actually tried subbing that stuff myself. So I can’t guarantee how it would turn out. 

How to Roll Empanada Dough?

Rolling homemade empanadas is easy! 

On a lightly floured surface, take one of the divided dough pieces and roll it into a circle.

It should be about 5 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. 

Use a rolling pin and make sure to keep the dough even.

That way you get perfect empanadas every time!


dough formed in a bowl


How to Seal Empanada Dough?

Sealing your flaky empanadas means all  the delicious filling stays inside while they bake. 

So it’s pretty important!

Place the filling on one half of the rolled-out dough. Fold the other half over. 

Then use your fingers to pinch and seal the edges. 

For an extra seal, you can crimp the edges with a fork or make little folds for a traditional look.

Is Empanada Dough the Same as Pie Crust?

While empanada shells and pie crust share some ingredients, they’re not quite the same. 

Empanada dough is typically less flaky and a bit sturdier than pie crust.

That makes it hold up better to the filling and folding process. 

Savory hand pies and sweet dessert empanadas are usually made with an empanada dough for that reason.

Pie crust doesn’t usually include eggs yolks and vinegar. But that’s what makes it durable enough.

In a pinch of course, you can use the pie crust. But I still recommend sticking to the empanada dough if you can.


dough cut into 12 equal parts.


Why Do You Freeze Butter for Empanada Dough?

Freezing butter is so important to make empanada dough! 

It allows small pieces of solid butter to be distributed throughout the dough.

Then as the empanadas bake, the butter melts. 

This makes steam pockets that lead to a beautifully flaky and tender crust. 

And then you get your perfect dough texture! Sturdy. Flaky. Delicious.

Can You Air Fry Empanada Dough?

Yes, you can definitely air fry empanada dough! 

Air frying is a great alternative to baking. 

It’s actually a quicker way to get a crispy and golden brown exterior without deep frying. 

Just brush your prepared empanadas with a some egg wash. Then place them in the air fryer basket.

Make sure you leave a little space between each for air circulation. Then air fry until they’re golden and delicious. 

It’s actually a healthier option but you still get great taste and texture.


12 dough balls laid out on cutting board with one being rolled into a circle.


What to Serve with Empanadas?

Empanadas can be served as a main dish or a snack. Which means you have a lot of options! Traditionally they are Mexican so one of these side dishes would go well: 

Have fun making your own Empanada Dough with this easy recipe! It’s perfect for any filling. From savory to sweet, you’re going to love it!

Yield: 12 Servings

Empanada Dough

12 dough balls laid out on cutting board with one being rolled into a circle.

Making flaky Empanada Dough at home has never been more fun! This simple recipe is perfect for all your favorite savory and sweet fillings.

Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes


  1. Freeze butter for a minimum of two hours. Grate butter with a cheese grater and return to the freezer (if if only for a few minutes, it needs to be as frozen as possible).
  2. Combine flour, garlic powder and salt
  3. Add the grated butter and use your hands to incorporate into the flour mixture. It will be slightly clumpy
  4. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and butter mixture.
  5. Whisk together egg yolks, ice water and vinegar
  6. Pour egg yolk mixture into the hole in the flour and butter mixture
  7. Use hands to mix together and form into a ball
  8. Rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  9. Preheat oven to 375*F
  10. Cut the ball into 12 equal pieces. To do this, cut the ball into fourths. Then cut each fourth into three pieces.
  11. Roll each cut piece into a ball
  12. Roll the ball into flour until the entire ball is coated
  13. Use a rolling pin to roll the ball out into a circle that is 5 inches in diameter. The dough should be 1/8 inch thick.
  14. Take the rolled piece of dough, and add filling to one side. Add no more than three Tablespoons of filing.
  15. Fold the other half of the empanada on top, and pinch the edges together
  16. Starting on the one corner, fold the dough upward at a 45* angle and pinch
  17. Using one hand, hold the corner that was just pinched. With the other hand, pinch the dough upwards again. Continue doing this around the entire empanada. there should be little folds of dough in between each pinch
  18. When you get to the other corner, pinch it in like you did with the very corner
  19. put empanadas on a baking sheet with parchment paper
  20. take the beaten egg, and brush each empanada with it using a pastry brush.
  21. Bake in the oven for 24-26 minutes, or until the tops are gulden brown.


It is essential to use frozen butter and ice water. refreezing the butter after it has been grated is also essential. the frozen butter ensures that there will be pickets of butter in the dough when the empanadas go into the oven. this will create a wonderful flaky crust.

The first pinch of the empanada is very important. there needs to be a good seal to make sure none of the filling leaks while it is being baked

Picking up the empanada and using both hands to pinch makes the process much easier.


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Wednesday 20th of March 2024

Delicious - we had a family cook day last weekend and we used your recipe. They turned out amazing!

Beti Micevska

Wednesday 20th of March 2024

The empanada dough was fantastic! It was flaky and just the right kind of buttery. Really enjoyed it!

Katerina Petrovska

Wednesday 20th of March 2024

This empanada dough was great! It was soft, flaky, and had a light buttery taste that worked well with different fillings. Definitely a keeper!


Wednesday 20th of March 2024

This was great! I have used pie crust before, and it was okay, but this dough worked SO MUCH BETTER.

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

Wednesday 20th of March 2024

It's really fantastic! Can't wait to make this at home again!

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