Comprehensive Guide To Empanadas Oven Recipe

Empanadas are delicious pastry pockets filled with a variety of savory and sometimes sweet fillings. The crisp, golden crust and the warm, flavorful filling make empanadas a mouthwatering treat. If you want to learn how to make empanadas in the oven, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover every aspect of empanadas oven recipe, from the food science behind the perfect crust to various filling options, and essential tips to ensure flawless results.

Food Science: Perfecting the Crust

The key to a perfect empanada crust lies in understanding the food science behind it. The ideal crust should be flaky, yet sturdy enough to hold the filling without becoming soggy. Achieving this balance requires attention to the ingredients, fat distribution, and baking technique.


  • All-purpose flour: To achieve the desired flakiness, all-purpose flour is the go-to choice. It has enough gluten to provide structure without making the crust tough.

  • Fat: A mixture of butter and shortening is often used to maximize the flakiness of the crust. Butter adds a rich flavor, while shortening helps guarantee a tender texture.

  • Liquid: Ice water is the common choice for the liquid component. The cold temperature prevents the fat from melting prematurely, ensuring a flakier crust.

Fat Distribution:

Cutting the fat into small pieces and incorporating it into the flour mixture is crucial for a successful empanada crust. The fat should be distributed unevenly, leaving small pockets throughout the dough. These pockets create steam during baking, resulting in a flaky texture.

Baking Technique:

Preheating the oven to the right temperature is essential. A hot oven promotes proper rising and browning of the crust. Generally, a temperature between 375°F (190°C) and 400°F (200°C) works well.

Culinary Details: The Art of Selection and Cleaning

Before embarking on your empanada oven adventure, it’s important to pay attention to selection and cleaning. Follow these culinary details to ensure you start with the freshest ingredients and a clean workspace.

Ingredient Selection:

  • Flour: Use fresh all-purpose flour without any signs of insects or mold.

  • Fats: Choose high-quality butter and shortening that are well within their expiration dates. Opt for unsalted butter to have better control over the saltiness of the overall empanada.

  • Fillings: Select high-quality ingredients for your fillings. Whether you’re using meat, vegetables, or cheese, freshness and proper handling are imperative to achieve the best flavor.

Cleaning and Sanitation:

Before getting started, ensure your kitchen is clean and sanitized. Here are some essential steps to follow:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.

  2. Clean all work surfaces, cutting boards, and utensils with hot, soapy water.

  3. Sanitize surfaces using a food-safe sanitizer or a homemade solution of water and bleach.

Preparation: Filling and Assembling Empanadas


Once you have gathered all the ingredients and cleaned your kitchen, it’s time to prepare the empanada filling and assemble the pastry pockets.

Filling Options:

The beauty of empanadas lies in their versatility. Here are some traditional and creative filling options to consider:

  • Beef: Classic Argentinean-style empanadas often feature a flavorful ground beef filling seasoned with onions, garlic, and aromatic spices.

  • Chicken: Tender shredded chicken mixed with bell peppers, onions, and a touch of spice creates a mouthwatering empanada filling.

  • Vegetarian: A medley of roasted vegetables, goat cheese, and fresh herbs make for a delightful vegetarian filling option.

  • Dessert: For a sweet treat, consider filling empanadas with caramelized apples, cinnamon, and a touch of sugar.

Dough Preparation:

Making empanada dough from scratch is straightforward. Follow these steps for a perfect result:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and a pinch of salt.

  2. Add the diced butter and shortening into the flour mixture.

  3. Use your fingertips to work the fats into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

  4. Gradually add ice water and mix until the dough comes together.

  5. Form the dough into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.

Assembly Technique:

  1. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick.

  2. Using a round cutter or a glass, cut out circles from the dough, roughly 4-6 inches in diameter.

  3. Place a spoonful of filling on one side of each dough circle.

  4. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, then use a fork to crimp the edges, sealing the filling inside.

  5. Repeat the process until all the dough circles are filled and sealed.

Tips and Variations: Elevate Your Empanada Game


Now that you have the basics covered, let’s explore some tips and variations to take your empanada game to the next level.

Tips for Success:

  • Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling. This ensures the gluten relaxes, preventing a tough crust.

  • Brush the empanadas with an egg wash before baking to give them a beautiful golden color.

  • Place the assembled empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet to prevent sticking and make cleanup easier.

  • Prick the top of each empanada with a fork before baking to allow steam to escape and prevent fillings from bursting the dough.

Flavorful Variations:

  • Spicy Kick: Add a touch of heat to your filling by incorporating finely chopped jalapeno or a pinch of cayenne pepper.

  • Cheesy Delight: Introduce a creamy element by mixing shredded cheese into the filling. Cheddar, mozzarella, or a mix of your favorite cheeses work beautifully.

  • Sweet and Savory: Combine sweet and savory flavors by adding a drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of brown sugar to your meat fillings.

Doneness Checks: Mastering the Perfect Bake

oven baked empanadas

Properly checking for doneness is an important step to ensure your empanadas are perfectly cooked through.

Visual Indicators:

  • Color: The crust of a fully baked empanada should have a beautiful golden brown color.

  • Texture: Gently tap the crust with your finger; it should sound hollow or slightly thump when it’s fully baked.

  • Juiciness: If using fillings that contain meat, the juice should run clear without any pinkness, indicating it’s safely cooked.

Internal Temperature:

Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the filling. Depending on the type of filling, the temperature should reach a safe level, such as 165°F (74°C) for poultry-based fillings.

Recipe: Classic Beef Empanadas

oven baked empanadas

Here’s a classic beef empanada recipe to get you started. Enjoy!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • Pinch of salt

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, diced and chilled

  • 1/4 cup shortening, chilled

  • Ice water

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, sauté until translucent.

  2. Add the ground beef to the skillet, breaking it up with a spoon. Cook until browned.

  3. Stir in the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.

  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and shortening, and mix with your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

  6. Gradually add ice water, mixing until the dough comes together. Form into a ball, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out circles.

  8. Spoon a portion of the beef filling onto each dough circle, then fold and seal the edges.

  9. Place the empanadas on the prepared baking sheet and brush with an egg wash.

  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

  11. Let them cool slightly before serving and enjoy!

Overcooking and Undercooking: Dealing with Kitchen Mishaps

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, mishaps occur in the kitchen. Here’s how to handle overcooked or undercooked empanadas.

Overcooked Empanadas:

If your empanadas come out overcooked and excessively browned, there are a few ways to salvage them:

  • Slice off the excessively browned crust, allowing the lighter, softer part to shine.

  • Serve the empanadas with a dipping sauce or salsa to add moisture and flavor.

  • Alternatively, chop the overcooked empanadas into small pieces and use them as tasty croutons for soups or salads.

Undercooked Empanadas:

Discovering undercooked empanadas can be disappointing, but there’s still hope:

  • Return the undercooked empanadas to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes, checking for doneness regularly.

  • If the filling is already cooked, consider slicing the empanadas into smaller pieces and pan-frying them until golden and crispy.


Congratulations on mastering the art of empanadas oven recipe! From the food science behind the perfect crust to culinary details, filling options, preparation tips, and variations, you are now equipped with knowledge to create mouthwatering empanadas. Experiment with different fillings and techniques, and elevate your empanada game to delight friends and family with your delicious creations. Remember to pay attention to the doneness checks to ensure perfectly cooked empanadas, and don’t worry if mishaps occur – there are creative ways to salvage overcooked or undercooked results. Enjoy the process and savor the flavors of this delightful pastry!

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  • FAQS On Empanadas Oven Recipe

    What Ingredients Are Typically Used In An Empanadas Oven Recipe?

    Empanadas are typically made with a filling of meat, vegetables, and spices, which can vary depending on the recipe. The dough for the empanadas is usually made from flour, water, and butter or lard.

    How Can I Prepare The Dough For My Empanadas?

    To make the dough for your empanadas, start by combining flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add in cold butter or lard and mix until it forms a crumbly texture. Slowly add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling and cutting into circles for the empanadas.

    How Long Should I Bake My Empanadas In The Oven?

    The baking time for empanadas can vary depending on the size and thickness of the dough. Generally, empanadas are baked at 375°F for 20-25 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.

    Can I Freeze My Empanadas Before Baking?

    Yes, you can freeze your empanadas before baking. Place the filled and folded empanadas on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the empanadas to a freezer bag or container and label with the date. To bake, simply add 5-10 minutes to the baking time.

    What Are Some Popular Empanada Filling Options?

    Some popular empanada filling options include ground beef with onions and spices, chicken with green peppers and cumin, or a vegetarian option with spinach and feta cheese. Other creative options include pulled pork, shrimp and cheese, or even a dessert filling like apple and cinnamon.