How to Make Empanadas

Kids love these hand-held goodies that can be savory or sweet! Here are six empanada recipes to make for – or with – your kids.

Empanadas are thought to have originated in Spain before making their way to the New World. Popular throughout South America, there are as many variations for empanadas as there are cookie recipes. But the basics are the same: taking pieces of stretchy dough and stuffing it with some sort of minced filling. Hello fun kid job! Often the size of a small calzone, empanadas are usually baked, but can also be fried for added crispness. Try some of these ideas – like easy beef, cheesy chicken or veggie. Make empanadas for dessert, too, like baked apple or chocolate!

Crescent Moon Empanadas

Skip making your own empanada dough and use premade refrigerated pie crusts instead. For this recipe for crescent moon empanadas, roll out the pie crust and cut into 3″ rounds using a cookie cutter. Fill with cooked ground beef that’s been seasoned with taco mix and paired with corn, black beans, green chiles and shredded cheese.

Easy Beef Empanadas

Here’s another simple recipe for easy beef empanadas from Pillsbury. This version uses crescent dinner rolls as the outside shell for a fluffier finish. The filling is milder, too, with ground beef flavored with red onion, cumin, chili powder, and tomato sauce. Bake until golden!

Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

Stir together cooked, shredded chicken with finely shredded Mexican-style cheese and chipotle-favored mayo to create these cheesy chicken empanadas from Kraft. This recipe also calls for premade pie crusts. To make the empanadas a bit fancier, brush with egg whisked with batter and then sprinkle with chili powder before baking. The empanadas will have a shiny exterior and a splash of color.

Easy Veggie Empanadas

Besides meat, you can stuff empanadas with other ingredients, like veggies. This easy veggie empanadas recipe from The Simple Kitchen includes spinach, butternut squash, corn and cheese. Fill empanada wrappers (available at some specialty grocers) and bake until just golden. Serve with fresh chimichurri as a dipping sauce.

Baked Apple Empanadas

These baked apple empanadas from Goya are like pieces of pie you can hold in your hands. Can you say kid pleaser?! Oh yeah! Cook Granny Smith apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and a touch of lemon juice and then use the mixture to fill puff pastry pieces. Bake to gooey perfection.

Chocolate Coconut Empanadas

With a cookie-like outside and a melty filling on the inside, these chocolate empanadas from Ghirardelli are sure to be a hit with your kids. It’s chocolate stuffed with chocolate – drizzled with chocolate! This recipe makes 18 empanadas, so you might want to make a double batch.


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