Empanada Dough

4.43 from 7 votes

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Like pie dough, this easy, flakey, and buttery Empanada Dough is a versatile recipe that you’ll want to know how to make! Not only is this recipe the key ingredient in my beef empanadas, but it can also be used to make a wide variety of sweet and savory hand pies like these ones found here.

clear mixing bowl with empanada dough ball inside
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I know that the idea of making homemade dough can be intimidating but believe me when I say that even a small child could successfully make this easy empanada dough from scratch!

All you’ll need to get started is some all-purpose flour, butter, eggs, and cold water. And in just 25 minutes, you’ll have a smooth and pliable dough ready to be baked into crispy and chewy empanadas! You’ll hardly even have to knead this dough—it’s that easy!

top view of a clear mixing bowl with empanada dough ball inside

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Is an easy way to elevate your favorite empanada recipe.
  • Comes together quickly and can be stored in the fridge for several days before use.
  • Uses ingredients that you likely already have on hand.
  • Can be stuffed with both sweet and savory fillings to make a wide variety of dishes.
mixing bowl with ingredients for the empanada dough

What are Empanadas?

My empanada dough is meant to be used to make beef empanadas! Empanadas are a flakey and buttery pastry that originated in Spain. Although today, the dish is enjoyed in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. These pastries are usually served as street food and are very similar to a savory hand pie. They can be either baked or fried. Empanada dough is most often filled with ground beef, but it can also be stuffed with cheese, chicken, and beans or sweet fillings like custard, fruit purées, or chocolate.

Recipe Ingredients

  • All-Purpose Flour—Gives this empanada dough a light, flakey, and slightly chewy texture.
  • Butter—Salted. You want your butter to be very cold while making this dough. I like to freeze it prior to baking.
  • Eggs—One will be used to bind the dough, the other will be whisked into an egg wash.
  • Cold Water—Just a little bit will moisten the flour and help your homemade dough come together.

How to Make Homemade Empanada Dough

clear mixing bowl with dry ingredients for empanada dough

1. Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut the cold butter into the flour. Continue combining the ingredients until the mixture is crumbly.

clear mixing bowl with empanada dough recipe

2. Add the cold water and one egg. Mix until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

clear mixing bowl with empanada dough recipe

3. Transfer the empanada dough onto a floured surface and knead until pretty smooth.Place the empanada dough back into the mixing bowl and allow it to chill in the fridge.

clear mixing bowl with empanada dough ball inside

4. Use the chilled empanada dough to make homemade beef empanadas!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is empanada dough usually filled with?

The most popular mixture to fill empanada dough with is a spiced beef, vegetable, and potato mixture. However, this flakey and buttery empanada dough can be stuffed with any sweet or savory filling!

Is empanada dough the same as pastry dough?

Empanada dough is similar to pastry dough (aka pie dough) but is not the same. Pastry dough tends to be flakier and more delicate than empanada dough. However, some less authentic empanada recipes will call for you to use pie dough instead of empanada dough. I find that homemade beef empanadas are much more flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth than empanadas made with pastry dough.

Can you buy premade dough for empanadas?

Yes. At certain specialty grocery stores, you can buy premade empanada dough. However, most of the time when people are in a pinch, they’ll make their empanadas with store bought pie dough. This is a good option if you’re in a rush or don’t have the energy to make your own homemade empanada dough. However, I find that my family always enjoys my empanadas more when they’re made with this homemade empanada dough!

side view of a round plate with two empanadas stacked on it

Expert Tips

  • The colder your butter and other dough ingredients are, the flakier your finished empanadas will be. I recommend letting your butter, eggs, and water chill in the fridge or even freezer for at least 15-20 minutes before making your dough.
  • Try not to over knead this empanada dough. You want the dough to come together and be somewhat smooth, but it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth or super stretchy. If too much gluten develops, your dough will be chewy and dense instead of light and flakey.
  • Chill the finished dough for as long as possible before using it to make empanadas! Especially if it’s hot in your kitchen when you’re making this recipe.
  • I usually bake this empanada dough, but it’s sturdy enough that it will hold up during frying.
  • You can store your finished empanada dough in the fridge for up to 5 days before baking.
  • To help your homemade empanada dough brown in the oven, brush it with an egg wash before baking.
raw empanadas on a baking dish

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side view of a round plate with two empanadas stacked on it
4.43 from 7 votes

Empanada Dough

Like pie dough, this easy, flakey, and buttery Empanada Dough is a versatile recipe that you’ll want to know how to make!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 large empanadas


  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg for egg wash,, optional


  • In a large mixing bowl, use a fork or pastry cutter to combine the flour and butter. Mix the ingredients together until the butter is broken down into small pea sized chunks.
  • Add the water and an egg. Use a large spoon to stir the ingredients together until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand for 3 minutes before returning the dough to the mixing bowl.
  • Allow the empanada dough to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. This gives the butter time to get cold again.
  • When you are ready to use your empanada dough, divide the ball into 8 equal sized pieces and roll each piece into a disc.
  • Fill your empanada dough as desired and bake for 20 minutes at 375°F.


  • You can store your dough in the fridge for up to 5 days before using it. You can keep your dough in the freezer for up to 2 months before using it.
  • The egg wash is not necessary but will give your empanadas a more golden brown color.
  • Chilling the dough is important because you don’t want the butter to be too soft when it goes in the oven. If your butter is too soft your dough may spread too much.
  • If you are using unsalted butter, add a teaspoon of salt to your dough.
  • You don’t have to make 8 empanadas with this recipe, you can cut them much smaller and make up to 24 smaller empanadas. 


Serving: 1 empanada, Calories: 252kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 51mg, Sodium: 100mg, Potassium: 53mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 384IU, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 2mg
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