Divine Dinner Party

Sweet or Savory (but Always Scrumptious!)
Mexican Empanada Recipes

Have a "taste of the border" at your next meal with some wonderful Mexican empanada recipes. The best word for the empanada? It might be: "maravillosa"! With its sweet or spicy filling enveloped by a flaky crust, the Mexican empanada is a staple of South American diets-- and aren't restricted only to Mexico.
Empanadas can be stuffed with beef or chicken alongside spicy jalapenos and served for lunch or dinner, or filled with sweet fruit and sprinkled with cinnamon to make a great dessert. These little half-moon morsels are both versatile and way tasty. Maravillosa is right!

Baked or Fried? It's no doubt that baked empanadas are far healthier for you than fried ones, but, let's face it: the fried ones taste better. Want to make something that tastes more like the real thing? Break out your deep fryer. Want to opt for healthy? Brush 'em with oil and bake them. Still delicious, but different.

My Favorite Mexican Empanada Recipes

The recipes below represent my favorite savory and sweet empanadas... starting with the best one of all: the dessert empanada (of course!). Then you'll find a the best recipe for authentic empanada dough before concluding with a spicy beef empanada filling that makes a great (and hearty!) meal at any time of the day.

Sticky-Sweet Dessert Empanadas with Fruity Filling

Recipe for Sweet Fruity Mexican Empanadas It's hard to go wrong with any combination of sweet and flaky dough, sticky-sweet filling and a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. Can you say yum?

You'll see a lot of Mexican dessert empanadas that contain tropical fruit (pineapple or pineapple and coconut are really popular and SO delicious), but that can be swapped out for peaches, apples or even berries.

Although these are typically for dessert, they can also make a fun, different, and wonderfully decadent breakfast, too!

Hint: Want a more pie-like empanada? Swap out the preserves for your favorite pie filling, or make your own filling. Or check out my recipe for yummy strawberry dessert empanadas right here. Mmm.

  • Ingredients:
  • 6 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/3 to 2/3 of a cup of sugar or powdered sugar (to taste)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon (to taste)
  • 1 cup of fruit preserves


1. Combine room temperature butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. With your electric mixer on medium, stir the butter and cream cheese mixture until it is fully combined. Add the flour slowly, a little at a time, with the mixer speed set on low until the dough is fully formed.

2. Roll the dough into a large ball. Cover the dough with a cloth and place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 1 or 2 hours until the dough is easy to work with.

3. While the dough is chilling, set your oven to 375 degrees F and allow it to preheat. Place a large cookie sheet on a flat surface and line it with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper to prevent the dough from sticking. Then, stir the cinnamon and sugar together in a separate bowl. Move both out of the way.

4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. When it is 1/8 of an inch thick, cut the dough into 3 inch diameter circles with a knife or cookie cutter.

5. Gently put 1 teaspoon of fruit preserves in the center of each circle. Lightly wet the edges of the dough with water before folding each circle in half so that the fruity filling is fully enveloped. Press the edges together with your fingers or a fork.

6. Lay the empanadas 1 to 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheet. Bake them for 12 or 14 minutes, or until their crust is browned.

7. After the empanadas are removed from the oven, dip each in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Allow them to cool before eating.

Uber-flaky and Rich Empanada Dough Recipe

The secret to making the best empanadas lies in the dough. When making these hearty meal-ready pastries, it is Mexican empanada recipes that contain lard, stock and eggs that will fully support and complement a meaty filling perfect for lunch or dinner.

Anti-lard all the way to to core? I know a lot of people are. So you can opt for shortening instead, but you'll get the best and most authentic empanadas if you use actual lard.

  • Ingredients:
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of either shortening or lard
  • 3/4 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 large egg
  • Oil for frying


1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl. Use knives, forks or a pastry cutter to chop in the lard or shortening until a coarse texture forms and all of the ingredients are well mixed.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, and then add the chicken broth, mixing the two together. Add the broth and egg mixture in with the flour mixture, and then knead with your hands until the ingredients form a soft dough. Place a cloth over the bowl and then refrigerate it for around 30 minutes.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is 1/4 of an inch thick. With a knife or a cookie cutter, slice the dough into circles with a 4 or 5 inch diameter. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each circle.

4. Fold each dough circle in half in order to fully enclose the filling. Press the edges together with your fingers or a fork. Place the uncooked empanadas on a lined cookie sheet, and then refrigerate them for 3 hours.

5. Pour oil in a pan and heat to 350 degrees F. Fry the empanadas for 6 or 7 minutes, flipping as needed, until they are brown and their fillings are fully cooked.

Spicy and Hearty Beef Empanada Filling Recipe

savory spicy beef empanadas
The versatility of empanadas is what makes them an easy staple in your chef's repertoire . This particular recipe comes in handy after a long, hard day at work, when you need something easy to eat that is both tasty and filling.

Mexican empanada recipes like this one can be made with ground or shredded beef, chicken or pork, although this particular one uses ground beef, which makes it simple to put together.

Empanadas are so wonderful! But if you're not afraid to get your hands dirty, why not try out that holy grail of Mexican cooking: the homemade tamale?

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of oil
  • 2 lbs of ground beef
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green or black olives
  • 2 chopped hardboiled egg
  • 2 boiled and diced potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: 1. Place the onions, garlic and oil into a large pan. Sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat until soft.

2. Add the ground beef to the pan in order to brown it, stirring as necessary. When the beef is fully browned, add the broth and olives to the pan. Let the mixture simmer.

3. Cook until the liquid has reduced and there is almost none left. Remove the pan from the heat, and then add in the eggs and potatoes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.

4. Spoon the mixture into your circles of already prepared empanada dough, and then cook as instructed.

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Take a look at Easter Dinner and Party Planning for recipes, edd dye tips, assembling Easter baskets, and more!

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