Abuela's Apple Empanadas

Abuela's Apple Empanadas recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Chill Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total: 4 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
562 Calories
22g Fat
91g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 562
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 144mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 91g 33%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 58g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 7mg 37%
Calcium 100mg 8%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 303mg 6%
*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.)

These sweet treats are sometimes made with leftover dough from meat empanadas. After cooking chopped fresh apples with sugar and raisins to make the filling, the empanadas are fried after dinner for a much-anticipated dessert. Whether you're making a big batch of empanadas or not, these crisp and sweet apple empanadas are worth making all on their own.

This recipe makes a delicious dessert, breakfast, or a snack. Apple empanadas are perfect for fall celebrations or an unexpected addition to a cookie tray.


For the Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 pinch fine salt

  • 1/2 cup good-quality lard, or vegetable shortening

  • 1 large egg

  • 3/4 cup water

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided

  • 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 cup raisins, softened in warm water and drained

  • Vegetable oil, or shortening, for frying

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, these empanadas are broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Empanada Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Abuela's Apple Empanadas dough ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Use a fork or a whisk to toss the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl.

    flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Cut in the lard with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

    lard mixed with the flour mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl, then stir in the water.

    beat egg in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and knead it until a dough forms. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

    empanada dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Make the Apple Caramel Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Abuela's Apple Empanadas filling ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Bring 1 cup of water to a simmer in a shallow pan. Add the apples and cinnamon and simmer until the apples turn fork-tender and the water evaporates. (Add a little more water, if necessary, for the apples to fully cook.)

    apples and cinnamon in a pan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. In a small saucepan, add the sugar, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Warm it over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a simmer.

    sugar, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. When it turns a dark golden color (or reaches 335 F/168 C on a candy thermometer), take it off the heat, but continue stirring constantly.

    sugar mixture cooking in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Quickly fold in the cooked apples and softened raisins. If the filling begins to harden before you assemble your empanadas, return it to the stove and keep it warm over low heat.

    apples added to the sugar mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Assemble and Fry the Apple Empanadas

  1. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the empanada dough to 1/4-inch (6.3-millimeters) thick.

    rolled out empanada dough

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Cut out 4-inch (10-centimeter) circles for small empanadas, 5-inch (13-centimeter) circles for medium ones, or 6-inch (15-centimeter) circles for large ones.

    empanada dough pieces

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Place 1, 2, or 3 tablespoons of filling in the center of the small, medium, and large dough circles respectively. Fold the dough over to form a semi-circle, and use a fork to press the edges together.

    filling dough with apple empanada filling

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Refrigerate the prepared empanadas for 3 hours before you cook them.

    empanadas on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pan to 350 F (177 C). Deep-fry the cold empanadas in batches for 6 to 7 minutes or until they turn golden brown.

    empanadas frying in oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Drain the empanadas briefly on a metal rack or several layers of absorbent paper before you serve them.

    Abuela's Apple Empanadas on a wire cooling rack

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


  • Caution: The filling may be very hot.