Making homemade empanada dough is not as hard as you might think, especially if you have a food processor. And even if you don’t have one, it is still pretty easy to make by hand because the dough doesn’t need to be overworked. This dough can be used for baked or fried empanadas, which are both great handheld dishes.

The term empanada roughly translates to “wrap in bread,” a fitting name as they are made by wrapping the dough around a filling. If you are going to fry the empanadas, omit the egg yolk and roll the dough out slightly thinner. Empanadas are originally from the northwest of Spain, but many countries in Latin America have their own recipes. Empanadas can have many different types of filling including beef, chicken, beans, cheese, and yes, even pizza.

Some restaurants have even begun making sweet empanadas by filling them with fruit pie filling or chocolate. Once you’ve made this dough, you can choose to go as traditional or creative with the filling as you please. Make sure your empanadas don’t leak in the oven.


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 tablespoons lard (or vegetable shortening, chilled)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water
  • 2 egg yolks


  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar.
  3. Blend the butter and shortening (or lard) into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, or with two knives, until fairly well blended.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cups water.
  5. Stir in the 1/2 cup of the water-egg mixture, a little bit at a time, until the dough starts to come together smoothly.
  6. Keep kneading the dough, adding more of the water-egg mixture as needed, until the dough is smooth.
  7. The dough will seem a bit saggy until it has thoroughly chilled. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
  8. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour.
  9. When ready to use, the dough should be soft and smooth, not elastic.
  10. If you poke a hole in the dough with your finger, the indentation should remain.
  11. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll into desired thickness before cutting.