Masa Para Empanadas: Empanada Dough

Masa para empanada dough

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Chill: 60 mins
  • Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
190 Calories
17g Fat
8g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 190
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 43mg 14%
Sodium 422mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 2g
Calcium 24mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you've wanted to learn how to make empanada dough, then you've come to the right place. This recipe produces a slightly sweet pastry that contrasts perfectly with savory fillings. Empanada dough is less flaky than pie crust (although you can substitute frozen pie crust dough in a pinch). It has a more tender texture that soaks up the filling without becoming soggy.

This dough can be used for baked or fried empanadas, which are both great handheld dishes. The term empanada roughly translates to "wrap in bread," a fitting name as they are made by wrapping the dough around a filling. If you are going to fry the empanadas, omit the egg yolk and roll the dough out slightly thinner (less than 1/4-inch in thickness).

Empanadas are originally from the northwest of Spain, but many Latin American countries have their own recipes. Empanadas can have many different fillings including beef, chicken, beans, cheese, and yes, even pizza toppings. Some restaurants make sweet empanadas by filling them with fruit pie filling or chocolate. Once you've made this dough, you can choose to go as traditional or creative with the filling as you please. Just seal them tightly to make sure your empanadas don't leak in the oven.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (divided, or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 3/4 cup lard (or vegetable shortening, chilled)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for empanada dough
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the salt and the sugar.

    Sift flour into bowl
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  3. Blend the chilled butter and lard or shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or with 2 knives until fairly well blended.

    Add chilled butter
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cup water. Stir in the 1/2 cup of the water-egg mixture, a little bit at a time, until the dough starts to come together smoothly.

    Whisk egg yolks with water
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  5. Keep kneading the dough, adding more of the water-egg mixture as needed (you may need a few tablespoons extra of water), until the dough is smooth. The dough will seem a bit shaggy until it has thoroughly chilled. Taste for salt and add more if needed.

    Keep kneading dough
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour. When ready to use, the dough should be soft and smooth, not elastic. If you poke a hole in the dough with your finger, the indentation should remain.

    Cover dough
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll into desired thickness before cutting.

    Turn out dough
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  8. Use in your desired recipe and enjoy.

    Empanada dough
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Recipe Tips

  • If you decide you'd like to make the dough in advance, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • To keep fried empanadas crispy, let them drain over a cooling rack set on a baking sheet, which allows the air to circulate around all sides, preventing sogginess.