Recipe of the Week: Empanadas from Scratch

October 19, 2009


Ever since we moved to Uruguay, we find ourselves picking up Empanadas frequently. Il Lolo is our favorite, but MLCalentitas seems to be open more frequently, so we often go there.

Empanadas are great, but we are tired of going out for them. We decided we wanted to make Empanadas from scratch. We’re sure glad we did, they came out fantastic. 

Here’s the recipe… we hope you enjoy.

Empanada Dough Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lard (or vegetable oil)

Empanada Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup steak or chicken, pre-cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 1 cup Magro cheese, grated
  • (or your favorite fillings)

Other Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Extra flour for work surface


  1. Beat the water, egg, egg white and white vinegar in a bowl and set aside
  2. Mix the flour and salt in a separate bowl
  3. Cut the lard into the flour mix (use a pastry blender or two butter knives)
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix with a fork until it becomes stiff
  5. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth
  6. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (do not keep longer than 24 hours)
  7. Make several small balls out of your empanada dough
  8. Lightly flour your work surface
  9. Place a ball of dough on your floured work surface
  10. Roll the dough out into a 1/8-inch thick layer
  11. Cut the dough into circles with round cookie cutters or a bowl (we used a 5.5 inch round Tupperware bowl)
  12. Remove the excess dough from the circle
  13. Place filling in the center of the circle
  14. Fold the circle and contents into a semicircle (the dough is stretchy, so don’t worry, it shouldn’t break easily)
  15. Crimp the edges with a fork (If the edges won’t stick together, wet your finger and rub it along the inside edge of the dough and try again)
  16. Continue until all of the dough is used up
  17. Add 1-2 inches of vegetable oil to pan and heat to 180° – 200°  C (360° – 400°  F)
  18. Deep fry the empanadas for 1 to 2 minutes per side (they should be lightly golden)
  19. Drain on paper towels and serve warm

Tips and Modifications:

  1. You can freeze the dough if you want to keep it longer than 24 hours
  2. Makes about 16-18 empanadas
  3. We like dipping our empanadas in hot sauce

Share a comment about your variations and modifications for empanadas.

Be Sociable, Share!


Ximena October 19, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Hi! it’s good to know you’re learning to enjoy Uruguayan food. I add chopped green olives and some chopped hard-boiled egg to my beef empanada filling. Some other easy and delicious fillings are cheese and onion, cheese and ham, cheese and olives ( you can tell I love cheese, don’t you?:)). Also I prefer baked empanadas to the fried ones,and they’re healthier, too.
I really like your blog!
Regards, Ximena

Brian and Chrystal October 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Hi Ximena, I love the cheese and onion ones! We thought about baking them, but ended up frying them instead. How long do you bake yours for?

Previous post:

Next post: