Shrimp Empanadas (Empanadas de Camarones)

Shrimp Empanadas (Empanadas de Camarones)

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
4443 Calories
285g Fat
310g Carbs
157g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 4443
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 285g 365%
Saturated Fat 79g 395%
Cholesterol 976mg 325%
Sodium 7533mg 328%
Total Carbohydrate 310g 113%
Dietary Fiber 15g 54%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 157g
Vitamin C 25mg 125%
Calcium 2077mg 160%
Iron 25mg 136%
Potassium 2032mg 43%
*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.)

This recipe for empanadas is made with a delicious filling of shrimp, cheese, and Spanish-style tomato sauce.

Feel free to change up this recipe with different flavored tomato sauces, Italian for instance, and by using different cheese blends, such as a Mexican four-cheese blend.

Directions are given for a homemade empanada dough, but it can be purchased in specialty markets in the form of frozen discs, usually 10 discs per pack.

Empanadas are ideal for appetizers, finger foods, lunches, and meals on the go. They also work well for family meals or get-togethers with such side dishes as fried plantains and black beans and rice, for instance.

Ingredients

For the Empanada Dough:

  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 large egg white

  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons shortening

For the Shrimp Filling:

  • 8 ounces tomato sauce

  • 3 tablespoons sofrito

  • 10 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and cleaned

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 cups shredded Colby jack cheese

  • Canola oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

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

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Empanada dough ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a medium bowl, beat the water, egg, egg white, and vinegar together. Set aside.

    Beat the water, egg, egg white, and vinegar together

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together 3 cups of flour and salt.

    Whisk together flour and salt

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Cut the shortening into the flour mix with a pastry blender or 2 butter knives.

    Cut the shortening into the flour mix with a pastry blender

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour the liquid ingredients from the first bowl into the center.

    Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour in liquid ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Mix the wet and dry ingredients with a fork until the dough becomes stiff.

    Mix the wet and dry ingredients with a fork

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it just until all the flour is incorporated, and the dough is smooth.

    Knead the dough on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but never more than 24 hours. If you want to keep the dough longer than 24 hours, you can freeze it.

    Dough wrapped in plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Make the Shrimp Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Empanada shrimp filling ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the tomato sauce and sofrito to a simmer.

    Bring the tomato sauce and sofrito to a simmer in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Pat the shrimp dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Shrimp on a plate plus salt and pepper

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Place the shrimp into the saucepan with the tomato sauce mix. Add the cheese and stir thoroughly.

    Shrimp, tomato sauce mix, and cheese in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Cook the shrimp until it turns pink, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp because it will become rubbery.

    Shrimp sauce mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool before filling the empanadas.

    Shrimp filling in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Filling and Frying the Empanadas

  1. Roll the empanada dough out on a floured surface until 1/8-inch thick.

    Rolled out dough

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Cut the dough into circles with a round cookie or biscuit cutter. For large empanadas, use 6-inch cutters, and for smaller ones, use 3-inch cutters.

    Cutting out pieces of dough

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Place the shrimp filling by the spoonful into the center of the circles. 

    Shrimp filling on top of pieces of dough

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Fold the dough over the filling into a half-circle shape, and crimp the edges with a fork. If the edges won't stay sealed, you can dip the fork in water before crimping or use an egg wash. Do not overfill the empanadas. They will burst, and you will lose your filling in the oil.

    Fold the dough over the filling into a half-circle shape and crimp the edges with a fork

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Heat a few inches of oil in a heavy-bottom pot over medium heat until the oil reaches 375 F.

    Pot of oil with thermometer

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Fry the filled empanadas at 375 F for 1 to 2 minutes per side. They should be lightly golden. Drain on paper towels. Cool slightly before serving.

    Shrimp empanadas (empanadas de camarones) on a paper-towel-lined plate

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • Make sure the empanadas are sealed tightly so they don't break open and leak out all of the delicious filling.
  • If frying, don't overcrowd them; work in batches so they can cook evenly.

Recipe Variation

  • Instead of frying, the empanadas can be baked in a 375 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly golden. Use egg wash if baking, as that helps to give them that golden brownish color.

How to Store and Freeze

  • If your empanadas are cooked, and there are any leftovers, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for two to three days.
  • Empanada dough can be made in advance and kept wrapped in the refrigerator for up to two days. Or freeze the dough, tightly wrapped, for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before rolling out and using.