Golden and Crispy: Your Guide To Making The Most Delicious Empanadas

Empanadas most likely originated in Spain before being brought to South America. As they developed in South America, the empanada continued to evolve. New recipes were formed all across the continent.

With all the options available, choosing the right empanadas recipe can feel quite daunting. Let us help you choose with our all-encompassing guide! Check out below a breakdown of how to make the most delicious empanadas.

The Empanada Dough

When it comes to the dough, there are two main methods you can try. One way is the simple flour dough. This is a great recipe for beginners learning to make empanadas.

Flour Based Dough

  • Mix together 1 cup of water, 2 egg, and 2 egg whites. Set aside.
  • Mix 6 cups of flour and 2 teaspoons of salt.
  • Cut shortening into the flour mix.
  • Lay the flour mix on a flat surface. Create a small well-like dent in the center. Pour the liquid mix into the flour center.
  • Mix together and knead until the mix becomes a hard dough. Make sure to smooth the dough out.
  • Flatten out the dough with a rolling pin and cut 6-inch circles. You can also use a bowl or any circular cutter to create the disks. Use the excess dough to roll out and create more disks.

For a more traditional method, you can also make empanadas out of corn dough.

If making dough from scratch is too intimidating, you can also find pre-made frozen empanada dough. These packages are commonly referred to as “empanada discos”.

The Filling

Empanada Fillings of black beans, shredded chicken, rice and peppers
Various Empanada Fillings

Once you have the dough in place, you can fill an empanada with pretty much whatever you want! Beef, Shredded chicken, or pork make for savory empanadas.

Typically, empanadas are appetizers. But if you’re like me, I devour a bunch at a time, making it my main course.

If you’re looking for dessert empanadas, try cheese and guava. Also, a simple black bean empanada is perfect for your vegan friends.

Chicken Empanadas

  • Place chicken breast in a large pot of water. Add bay leaves for taste.
  • Bring the water to a boil and then back to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Be sure to allow the chicken to completely cook through.
  • Allow chicken to chill. Break apart the chicken into shredded pieces and set aside.
  • In a skillet, cook bell peppers, onion, and garlic.
  • Add in seasoning for taste. For chicken, we recommend black pepper, paprika, and cayenne.
  • Mix in your shredded chicken. Let sit until cool.

Beef Empanadas

  • Over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic until lightly cooked.
  • Add ground beef with choice of seasonings. We recommend salt, pepper, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Add to your taste.
  • Add water and tomato paste.
  • Stir occasionally until the beef has been browned completely and excess water has evaporated.
  • Set aside and allow the filling to chill.

Pork Empanadas

  • Bring your pork roast butt to a boil in a large pot with water.
  • Add in diced up onions and garlic. Use seasonings to taste. We recommend cumin and bay leaves.
  • Once the water begins to boil, bring the heat down to a simmer and let sit for 1.5 hours.
  • After letting the pork simmer, pour out the remaining liquid.
  • Bake the pork for one hour in a 375 degrees oven. The pork should pull apart with minimal effort.
  • Set aside and allow the filling to chill.

Black Bean Empanadas

  • On a skillet, cook onions until they brown. Throw in garlic and tomato paste to cook for around 1 minute.
  • Add seasonings to taste. We recommend salt, pepper, oregano, and paprika.
  • Pour in black beans into the skillet. Mash a good portion of them into the mix so they take the flavor and shape.
  • Set aside and let cool.

Apple Empanadas

  • In a heated pot, mix together peeled and diced apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and ground cloves.
  • Cook for around 15 minutes, or until apples start leaking juice.
  • Set aside and let cool.

Cheese and Guava Empanadas

  • Add a sliced layer of white cheese to a single side of the dough. Be sure to leave at least an inch away from the border of the disk. You can also use cream cheese, which may be easier to spread.
  • Place cubed pieces of guava on top of the cheese. You can also use guava paste, which may be more manageable.

Take a spoonful of your preferred filling and place it within a slice of dough. Careful not to overfill it, as this could cause the empanada to burst while cooking. Fold the dough over to create a sealed pocket in the shape of a semi-circle. Use a fork to gently pinch the touching borders. This will ensure that your empanada will seal and stay intact while cooking. Flip around and repeat the fork action.

Cooking Methods

You can either bake or fry empanadas. Each method creates a different effect. Baking, as opposed to frying, is widely considered healthier. Frying empanadas though often create a crispier effect. Both ways will successfully cook your empanadas.

Baking Empanadas

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Brush each empanada with a light coat of oil.
  • Cook empanadas for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Pull and let cool for serving.

Frying Empanadas

  • Fill a deep pot with enough vegetable oil to fully submerge empanadas.
  • Heat the oil to 350 degrees.
  • Carefully submerge 2-3 empanadas. Cook until they develop a golden brown color.
  • Dry on a plate lined with paper towels. Let cool for serving.

Experimenting With Empanadas

Once you have the basics down, try and create your own fun empanada mix. You never know what may taste amazing! To try something different, check out our other Latin recipes! Or read on and learn all about Argentinian empanadas

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