How to Make Empanadas for Frying

  • 01 of 07

    It's Easy to Make Your Own Empanadas

    Fried Empanadas
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Perhaps you've enjoyed an empanada—a sort of a hand-held enclosed pie where the dough is wrapped around either a savory or sweet filling—and wondered if you could make your own. Thankfully, it is easy to put together your own empanadas once you have mastered making and shaping the dough. This step-by-step is an example of assembling traditional beef empanadas, but this dough works for any empanada recipe.

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  • 02 of 07

    Make the Empanada Dough

    Shaping the empanada dough
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    The empanada dough is simple to make, using ingredients you probably have in your fridge and pantry, like eggs and flour. Once you put this dough together it is time to roll and shape the empanadas, but the dough can also be frozen for later use.

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  • 03 of 07

    Roll out and Cut the Empanada Dough

    Flattened Empanada dough
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Place the empanada dough on a floured countertop. Roll out the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick layer. You want to avoid rolling the dough too thin or your empanadas may leak when you fry them.

    Next, you need to cut the dough into circles with round cookie cutters or biscuit cutters. For large empanadas, use 6-inch cutters; for empanaditas (mini empanadas) use 3-inch cutters. If you don't have these kinds of dough cutters handy, you can use a coffee can (rinse it out first), or other metal can. Continue cutting until you fill up the dough with circles (the dough recipe makes about 10 6-inch circles).

    Remove the excess dough from around the cut out circles. Don't move the circles themselves, as they may lose that perfect shape and make it harder to seal them.

    If you put a hole in the dough by accident, it is better to just roll it out again rather than trying to patch it. Any patched areas are likely to come loose during frying and you will lose your filling.

    If there is enough scrap, combine and re-roll the remaining dough to cut out.

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  • 04 of 07

    Place the Filling in the Middle

    Flattened Empanada with Filling in the Middle
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Your filling should be chilled so it doesn't soften the dough before you fry the empanadas. It is also better to use a filling that is not too wet, as that can make the dough soggy and prone to leaking when fried.

    Place your filling of choice in the center of each circle.

    Keep the filling at least 1/2 inch away from any edge of the circle as that area needs to be only dough in order to crimp it well for frying.

    You may be tempted to place more filling than recommended, but this could result in the empanada bursting when it is fried. Stick with your recipe recommendation.

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  • 05 of 07

    Crimp the Edges and Chill

    Crimp the edges of the empanadas
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    You need a very good seal for frying empanadas. When frying, the empanadas move around and any weak spots will result in leaks or completely burst empanadas. Use a double seal technique.

    • Carefully fold the dough over the filling to form a semicircle.
    • Pinch the edges together with your fingers.
    • Crimp down the edges with a fork to seal.
    • If the edges won't stick together, wet your finger and rub it along the inside edge of the dough and try again.

    Now chill the empanadas for 20 minutes in the refrigerator so the dough and filling will be firmer to handle and remain intact in the fryer.

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  • 06 of 07

    Frying the Empanadas

    Empanadas Frying in Batter
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Finish the empanadas by deep-frying in vegetable oil at 360 F for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until lightly golden.

    Fry the empanadas in batches so they do not crowd each other or make the oil temperature drop too low so that it doesn't immediately seal the dough.

    Drain on paper towels and serve warm with salsa or guacamole on the side.

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  • 07 of 07

    More Empanada Fillings

    Beef Empanadas
    Philip Wilkins / Getty Images

    Once you've learned how easy it is to make empanadas, you'll want to try them with different fillings. Just use the basic dough recipe and have fun with the following empanada recipes: