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Empanada Dough

Make empanadas at home from scratch with this easy empanada dough recipe! With just a few ingredients, this post will show you how to make empanada dough, which is ideal for frying with sweet or savory fillings. It can also be frozen like Goya empanada dough discos for use at a later time.

Empanada dough recipe for frying

Empanada Dough

It’s finally here! This empanada dough recipe is long overdue!

I have to admit, I usually just buy the frozen discos from the grocery store. Empanada dough is not hard to make, it’s just more time consuming.

However, if you’re going to take the time to make your own dough, you might as well make a double or triple batch and freeze the extras.

That way you have your own empanada discos on hand whenever you need them.

I use this dough to make empanadas/empanadillas and pastelitos/pastelillos.

If you aren’t sure what those are, they are handheld pies stuffed with sweet or savory ingredients and then fried.

Emapanada dough recipe for homemade empanadas

Can you bake them? Absolutely, but they won’t have the same crispy texture, they’ll be kind of chewy.

If you’re going to bake them, I recommend brushing the outside with a beaten egg for a crispier, golden crust.

If you want baked empanadas, I’d recommend using a pie crust recipe (from scratch or the refrigerated kind).

Pie dough is specifically made for baking and this dough is better fried.

My favorite filling is picadillo, which is a ground beef filling.

These Puerto Rican empanadas are called pastelillos.

I also like sweet guava empanadas stuffed with cream cheese and guava paste, or fun pizza empanadas.

I will post those recipes on the blog soon, but I wanted to make sure you guys had this recipe first.

Not everyone has access to the premade dough!

UPDATE: you can click the links above for the posted empanada recipes!

First step is to mix the dry ingredients together.

Next, you’ll need to cut in or distribute the fat. Some people use butter, others use shortening.

I like the texture of shortening myself, but butter has better flavor.

Empanada dough recipe from scratch

Work the shortening into the flour using a pastry cutter or a fork until the dry ingredients have the texture of chunky sand.

You don’t want to use your hands since the warmth will begin to melt the shortening. Cold fat is what gives the crust a flaky texture.

I use my grandma’s antique pastry cutter to do this, but this one is a great option from Amazon.

Plus you can get free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Did you know you can get a FREE 30-day trial of Prime every year??

We used to do that every year until my husband went back to school and now we get Prime Student for 50% off.

Anyways, after you’ve got the shortening cut in, add the liquid and mix until it forms a shaggy dough.

It’s best not to add the water all at once. You can always add more if needed.

It won’t quite stick together, so knead it with your hands until a smooth ball is formed.

At this point it’s ready to be used in a recipe, or you can roll it out, cut into rounds and freeze for later use.

Empanada dough recipe for freezing

To recap:

  • You can freeze empanada dough after rolling out into discs. Stack them on top of one another with a piece of wax or parchment paper between each one, then place them in a freezer bag. Pull out the amount of wrappers you need when ready to cook and let thaw for 10-20 minutes before filling.
  • This dough can be baked instead of fried. Brush the outside of the empanadas with a beaten egg and bake at 425°F for about 10+ minutes. Cook time will vary based on filling and size. Follow the directions of the recipe you’re using.

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Make empanadas at home from scratch with this easy empanada dough recipe!

Empanada dough recipe for frying

Empanada Dough

Yield: 10-12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Make empanadas at home from scratch with this easy empanada dough recipe! With just a few ingredients, this post will show you how to make empanada dough, which is ideal for frying with sweet or savory fillings. They can also be frozen like Goya empanada dough discos for use at a later time.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup ice cold water


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the shortening until the flour resembles chunky sand.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour and add vinegar and about 3/4 cup of the water. Stir with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. Add remaining water a tablespoon at a time if all the flour has not been moistened.
  3. Turn out onto a clean surface and gently knead into a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 days if not using immediately.
  4. Divide dough into 2-10 pieces (whatever is easiest to work with) and roll out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into rounds using a cookie cutter or tracing a bowl with a knife.
  5. Discs can be filled immediately and cooked. If not using immediately, stack on top of each other with a piece of parchment or wax paper between each pastry. Place in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for 1 day or freeze.
  6. If using from frozen, allow to thaw at room temperature for about 10-20 minutes before proceeding to recipe.


The amount of empanadas will vary depending on size. This dough will produce about 10-12 5-inch discos.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 152Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 178mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below! Or tag @kitchengidget on Instagram with the hashtag #kitchengidget


Saturday 30th of July 2022

Hi! I'm so intrigued by all the positive comments to try this recipe. But I would like to ask if coconut flavor can be added to this it?


Friday 5th of August 2022

Do you mean an extract? If so I think that would work!


Saturday 5th of February 2022

Hi, ok, just saw an episode of King of Queen’s and started googling recipes, think I found a filler but wasn’t impressed on dough recipes, found ok, but what I did find someone doing was chicken stock instead of water. Has anyone ever tried that before. Thought I’d ask before I subbed the water on yours….thank you


Sunday 6th of February 2022

I've never heard of that but extra flavor can never hurt in my book. Omit the salt if using salted chicken stock and let us know the results if you try!


Thursday 5th of August 2021

This was a great dough! I've made empanadas a few times with different recipes, sometimes baking, sometimes frying, and this one plus my deep fryer made my best ones yet.

I ended up just dividing the dough into ten and rolling them out into less-than-perfect circles, which worked fine. They were big enough to do a good crimping around the edges to avoid leaking. I filled mine with black beans and peppers and onion and served with fresh salsa. So good. Will keep this recipe for next time!


Thursday 5th of August 2021

The black bean filling sounds amazing! Thank you for taking the time to comment.


Tuesday 11th of May 2021

Tried making empanadas for the first time. Found a great meat filling recipe I tweaked slightly for a simple trial run. It was fantastic. Next was the dough. I tried this recipe doubling it. It was so good and easy to work with. Some people said they used shortening or lard because its easier to work with than the butter. However others preferred the flavor the butter gave the dough. I wanted the best of both. I used butter flavored shortening. Instead of worrying about size of cutters I made even size balls and flattened between sheets of plastic wrap on a tortilla press. Worked out great and we had two dozen empanadas done in about 15-20 minutes.


Tuesday 11th of May 2021

That's genius!


Sunday 12th of July 2020

Thanks for the great recipe. Rolls out so easy. I used lard. The hardest part was finding the right size cookie cutter. I finally settled on a 4-1/2 inch Tupperware canister. My husband said I could fill them with a turd and they would still be good. 😂 I'm not going to try that. I used leftover taco filling with some beans and corn. A lot of recipes I found online say to bake them, but if I bake them, they wouldn't be empanadas anymore. They would be pasty pies. I might try that in the wintertime.


Tuesday 14th of July 2020

Turd. Haha! Thanks so much for sharing!

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