Savory Empanada Recipe

Cultures all over the world have their version of “pocket food” – for example, samosas in India, curry puffs in Malaysia and Singapore and the pasty in the United Kingdom.
The dough recipe offered here is easy and delicious. But if you want to make less of a mess and speed things up, you can use store-bought prepared dough. Lucca Deli in the Mission District in San Francisco stocks really good empanada pre-rolled dough disks that take out most of the work.  In a pinch, you can use almost any store bought dough and roll it out to size.
Empanadas freeze really well. Throw some par-baked ones on a tray to freeze and then store them in zip top bags. To re-heat, just bake for a little longer.
Empanadas can be sweet or savory; the  possibilities for fillings are endless. Your little ones will enjoy deciding what to put in their portable pocket and “design your own food” caters well to even the pickiest of eaters. Hosting an empanada-making kitchen play date is another fun idea. The kids will love rolling out the dough, filling the empanadas and perhaps giving their individually designed empanada a unique and interesting name.
To add spice, try chimichurri, which is a vinegar, olive oil and herb dipping sauce from Argentina. You can also use it on grilled steak or roasted chicken. The kids can make a batch by themselves in a blender.
Below are some ideas for savory fillings for empanadas.  One of our favorite sweet versions combines banana and dulce de leche (an Argentine milk caramel).
Ideas for Savory Empanada:
Roll the dough into 3-4-inch circles.  Put 1-2 tablespoons of filling of choice on one half and fold over and crimp sides with a fork.  Brush with egg wash.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until empanadas are golden brown.
Ham and Gruyere cheese
Salami and goat cheese
Mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese
Roasted vegetables
Chicken, corn and cheese
Chorizo and scrambled egg
Mushroom and cheese
Spinach and ricotta cheese
Tuna with corn and peppers
Chimichurri – Argentine Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, avoid stems
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar (Use less if you want it less tart.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Process ingredients in a food processor.  Check seasoning and correct as needed.  You can add a pinch (or more) of chili flakes. We omitted them to make the dipping sauce kid-friendly.
Empanada Dough from Gourmet Magazine

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar


  1. Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
  2. Beat together egg, water and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. Mixture will look shaggy.
  3. Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together. Knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together.
  4. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.

Stacie Dong and Simran Singh are San Francisco moms with a passion for cooking and exploring the world through food. On their blog, A Little Yumminess (, they share recipes from around the world, favorite foodie destinations and ideas for raising adventurous eaters. They also teach classes, camps and private cooking workshops.


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