While I love a classic fried empanada, baked empanada has its advantages. If you're looking for a healthy empanada dough with no butter, this vegan-friendly, easier, quicker, lighter alternative calls for oil instead, and it can be combined with any sweet or savory fillings.
By- Last reviewed . Published Nov 19, 2011
Why we ❤️ it
I've had a lot of requests over the years for baked empanadas; for some reason, it always stayed in the back of the queue, but I wanted to try something different: This dough is made with oil instead of butter, which makes it easy to make in the tropics (or any climate), and can be served to vegans.
Most importantly, these are quite easy to make.
Through trial and error (many trials, to be exact; you don't want to know how many), I got a firm, elastic, and crunchy dough that bakes beautifully and makes some gorgeous empanadas.
No butter dough advantage
This dough has the great advantage that – unlike butter – it is easier to work with in a hot kitchen (which is always in our country). Another advantage of this dough is that it has a neutral flavor, so you can use whatever filling you like, sweet or savory.
On the downside, this is not the flaky, crumbly dough that results from deep frying the empanadas, nor the buttery ones made traditionally with butter. But they are good in their own right and so much easier to work with, never mind that I hate deep frying with the fury of a thousand Santo Domingo drivers at peak hour.
Grilled chicken breasts.
We have many empanada filling recipes on the blog. You can fill these empanadas with our very popular beef fillings, creamy chicken, pulled chicken in tomato sauce, apple and pork, or any of our two vegan fillings.
- Reheating: I found that unlike deep-fried empanadas these do not get soggy and flat after a few minutes. Hours later (like 7 hours). I popped the last 8 of these in the oven, reheated them, and served them to my family for dinner. They were nearly as good and firm as when they came out of the oven the first time.
- Decoration: These were absolutely fun to make (I made some with flower cutouts for my kid), but for this season, holly and berries.
- Vegan Baked Empanadas: For a vegan empanada, use your favorite milk substitute but substitute baking powder for the baking soda. Instead of egg, paint with a mixture of a teaspoon of sugar, half a tablespoon of oil, and a tablespoon of the milk substitute you use. Note that the golden color will not be as intense.
- Storage: These empanaditas cannot be stored raw. If you have to make them in advance, keep the dough wrapped in plastic film and the filling aside and assemble shortly before serving. Or you can bake them and reheat them before serving. I reheated mine 7 hours after making them, and they were almost as good as when they were freshly made. Reheat them in the oven, never the microwave.
About this recipe
Fried empanadas are the norm in our country, though we would enjoy being served South American empanadas, but working with butter is a bit more involved in our very hot and humid climate.
This recipe helps with that, and while not exactly the same flavor and texture of South American-style empanadas, it is still tasty and crispy, and can be reheated easily without loss of crispiness, so they are perfect for parties and celebrations
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Healthy Empanada Dough [Recipe + Video] No Butter Baked Empanadas
1. Mixing the dough
- In a mixing bowl mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Add ¼ cup of oil and ¼ cup of milk. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.Knead lightly until the dough is smooth and elastic (about a minute). If the dough is too dry add more milk by teaspoons. If the dough is too shaggy add more flour by the tablespoons. It's best if the dough is just a bit on the dry side.Wrap in plastic film and let it rest at room temperature for an hour.
2. Form the empanadas
- Remove dough from the film and divide the ball into halves, then again until you have 16 balls.Roll out a ball with a rolling pin until it is about 3/32" thick (about 2 mm). Add a tablespoon of the filling in the center and fold over. Cut into a half-disk (3.5" diameter) with a cup or whatever you have. Remove the excess dough. Press the edges with a fork and place it on a greased baking tray.Repeat with the rest of the dough.
3. Make decoration (optional)
- What to do with the leftover dough? Use cookie cutters to cut leaves, flowers, or whatever is appropriate for the occasion. Place them on the empanada after you brush them with the egg, then brush the decoration with egg too. Also super helpful to cover small holes in the pasties if they occur during the process.
- Brush the empanadas with the egg wash, and bake in preheated oven at 450 °F [235 °C] for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.Remove from the oven and cool for a couple of minutes on a wire rack.
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.