These baked apple empanadas are made with homemade empanada dough, a classic apple pie filling, and an icing sugar glaze. They're surprisingly easy to bake or fry, with simple ingredients and a super delicious end result.
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Think of apple empanadas as these empanadillas with an apple pie instead. It's a truly delicious spin on the classic holiday dessert, with a little Puerto Rican twist.
If you've had the chance to try Puerto Rican recipes, you've likely had some form of homemade empanada dough.
It's surprisingly simple to make and fill with whatever you enjoy, like this classic apple pie filling.
Here are all of the ingredients you will need to make these apple empanadas from scratch:
- empanada dough discs (can be homemade or store bought)
- a pinch of salt
- brown sugar
- Granny Smith apples, cut into small bite sized cubes
- cornstarch + water, whisked together to make a slurry
- egg + water for the egg wash
- powdered sugar
- milk (can be a plant based milk)
See recipe card for quantities.
Make the empanada dough. See this recipe for directions.
Make the apple pie filling. In a saucepan combine butter, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar over medium low heat. Cook until the butter and sugar become liquid and bubbly.
Add the apples to the pan and toss gently to coat with the caramel sauce. Cook for a few minutes before adding the cornstarch slurry and tossing again to coat.
Fill the empanadas. Once the filling begins to thicken and the apples begin to soften, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, add a tablespoon or two of the filling into the center of the empanada discs.
Seal the empanadas. Add a dab of water around the border of the circle of dough and fold half of the circle over the other. Use a fork to crimp the edges shut so that none of the filling leaks out.
Important: sealing the empanadas tightly is especially important if you plan to fry them to prevent filling from leaking out and splattering dangerously.
Bake. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush with a mixture of egg and water. Bake the empanadas for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. (See note for instructions on how to fry).
Add the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk. Drizzle over the empanadas and enjoy!
To fry the apple empanadas, heat a few cups of oil in a frying pan and fry empanadas on each side until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Baked vs. Fried Empanadas
You can either bake or fry these once you've got them filled and sealed (reference image above: left=fried, right=baked).
If baking, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush them with an egg wash made with an egg beaten with water.
To fry the apple empanadas, heat a few cups of vegetable or canola oil in a frying pan and fry empanadas on each side until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Homemade vs. Store Bought Dough Options
When it comes to empanada dough, there are so many different ways to make it that it's quite versatile.
The filling options you can create based off of this recipe are endless. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Peach Pie - instead of apples, try chopped peach pieces and go for a peach pie theme
- Cherry Pie - use cherries instead of apples for a cherry empanada treat
- Picadillo - this classic Puerto Rican recipe is used to make empanadillas, my personal go-to filling
What to Eat it With
While these are really delicious on their own, you can also skip the icing sugar glaze and go with a different topping:
- dulce de leche ice cream
- coconut whipped cream
- a dusting of sugar and cinnamon before they go in the oven
- or stick with a classic pairing with all things apple pie, vanilla ice cream
You will need a rolling pin if you plan on making the empanada dough yourself. Or you can use your hands.
If you plan to bake the empanadas, you will need a pastry brush to brush on the egg wash.
You can make these and store them in an airtight bag or container the fridge for up to 5 days. I like heating them up in a toaster oven.
The dough can be made ahead, rolled out and frozen months in advance if desired.