Empanada Dough Recipe - Masa para Empanadas

Rolling out dough for empanadas
Lara Hata/Photodisc/Getty Images
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: Enough for 10-12 large empanadas
Ratings (43)

This recipe produces a slightly sweet pastry that contrasts perfectly with savory fillings. Empanada dough is less flaky than pie crust (although you can substitute frozen pie crust dough in a pinch).  It has a more tender texture that soaks up the filling in a pleasing way.

This dough can be used for baked or fried empanadas. If you are going to fry the empanadas, omit the egg yolk and roll the dough out slightly thinner (less than 1/4" thickness).

Empanadas can have many different types of filling - beef, chicken, beans, cheese, etc.  Check out this list of empanada recipes for some great ideas:

Everything about Empanadas

And enjoy some tips and techniques for making pretty empanadas (that don't leak in the oven!) here:

How to Fill and Shape Empanadas

What You'll Need

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 12 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 3/4 - 1 cup water
  • 2 egg yolks

How to Make It


  1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar.
  2. Blend the butter and shortening (or lard) into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or with two knives, until fairly well blended.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cups water. Stir in the 1/2 cup of the water/egg mixture, a little bit at a time, until the dough starts to come together smoothly. Keep kneading the dough, adding more of the water/egg mixture as needed (you may need a few tablespoons extra of water), until the dough is smooth. The dough will seem a bit shaggy until it has thoroughly chilled.  Taste for salt and add more if needed.
  1. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour. (The dough can also be kept for 1-2 days in the refrigerator).  When ready to use, the dough should be soft and smooth, and not elastic - if you poke a hole in the dough with your finger, the indentation should remain.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and roll into desired thickness before cutting.  
  3. Makes enough dough for 10-12 large empanadas.

Guide's Response to User Reviews
"Thank you for the comment about using a pie crust. I agree that it is not as good as empanada dough. If you want to make small appetizer-size empanadas and want to deep fry them instead of bake them, thinly rolled out pie crust does work well. Sometimes puff pastry (masa hojaldre) can also be used for baked empanadas, as in this recipe for ham and cheese empanadas." - Marian Blazes, Guide to South American Food