Sweet or savory, empanadas make a versatile treat

Rui Correia, chef and owner of Douro Restaurant in Greenwich, Conn., is back with must-try empanada recipes. From savory chicken to puréed sweet potato, these filled-pastry variations are perfect for the holidays.

Sweet and savory empanadas
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  • For empanada dough

    • 1 qt. water
    • 3 oz. butter
    • Pinch of salt and pepper
    • 2 1/2 pounds all-purpose flour


Baking Directions:

For the empanada dough:Bring water and butter to a boil. Turn off heat. Add flour to water in 3 parts and stir with a wooden spoon until a ball forms. You can also stir the dough in a Kitchen Aid mixer with dough hook. Dump dough onto a table dusted with flour and knead until smooth and tightly bound together.Cover dough with damp cloth and let it rest for 1/2 hour.Once the dough has rested, cut it in half and roll out each half until they are 1/8-inch thick. Cut out 3-inch disks from rolled out dough. If you can find empanada dough in your local shopping market, save yourself some work and buy already prepared dough and cut it into disks!For chicken empanada filling:Put left-over chicken in food processor and add mayo for moisture. Add chopped parsley and hot sauce. Pulse until smooth.For meat empanada filling:Sautée ground beef in olive oil with garlic and parsley. Add tomato purée and season with salt and pepper. Note: All filling should be added to dough cold. If meat is hot when you close the empanada, you will create steam, and they will explode when frying.Add filling to half of disk and brush the edges with egg wash. Fold the empanada in a half-moon shape and press the egg-washed edges firmly with a fork.Dip the empanadas in egg wash and roll them around in panko crumbs set aside for frying. Fry empanadas in a pan with hot oil. For dessert empanadas:Make empanada dough (as shown above). Roast a sweet potato in the hot oven until tender. Add cinnamon and purée until smooth. Add filling to disk as you did in the previous recipe, but take warm water and rub the dough’s edges until they are starchy enough to press close without having to use an egg. Then fry the dough nude, without breading. After frying, brush the outside of the empanadas with maple syrup and roll in cinnamon sugar mix. Enjoy!

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