Chipotle Pulled Pork Empanadas

Empanada Dough

Really the best - this is the proper dough that turns out with the giraffe like pattern that's the hallmark of a good empanada!

This is a beautiful, slightly lean dough. It makes 12 five-inch rounds of dough (you’ll need to use the scraps) about 1/8th of an inch thick. You can see how beautifully flaky this dough bakes up in Empanadas.

This works very well with four cups of filling, 1/3 of a cup in each Empanada.

Chipotle Pulled Pork Empanadas

Marvelous Empanadas made from leftover pulled pork

Empanada Dough

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: medium
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  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup very cold butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (or Vodka)
  • A glass of ice water; you’ll use a third of a cup, perhaps more

Add flour and salt to a bowl, whisk together. Add the butter, tossing to separate the pieces and coat them with flour. Working by hand, pinch the pieces of butter into the flour, forming a good amount of larger flat pieces the size of a nickel or so as well as smaller bits.

Mix egg and milk together. Measure 1/3 a cup of the ice water and a tablespoon of vinegar and add to egg mixture and very quickly (you don’t want to coddle the milk with the vinegar) drizzle the egg/milk/vinegar/water mixture over the flour while tossing with a fork until mostly incorporated.

Turn out on a counter and rub across the mixture two or three times with the heel of your hand, smooshing it as you go. By now, the pastry should be mostly coming together with a few dry areas. Work on those areas by pinching and pushing them into the dough. If necessary add a few sprinkles of water to moisten. The dough should “feel” fairly dry and there may be a few bits that aren’t well incorporated. You should see chunks of butter, through-out.

Gather the dough together into a pile, gently flatten into a squarish shape, wrap in parchment paper or plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Overnight is fine, too, and wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for a day or two or frozen for 1 month. If refrigerated more than an hour, leave the dough at room temperature for 5 to 20 minutes before rolling out.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough, from the center to edges, 1/8″ thick. Cut into five-inch rounds. You’ll need to reroll the scraps, but to keep them tender, layer them on top of one another, cover with a clean damp cloth and let the rest a few minutes. You can fill the others as you wait. Then just roll the scraps out; the dough should stick together just fine.

Cover the rolled out rounds with a damp cloth as you fill the Empanadas.

For filling and baking, please see my Chipotle Pulled Pork Empanada post.

from the kitchen of


23 thoughts on “Empanada Dough

  1. Can you elaborate on “rub across the mixture two or three times”, please? I’m not sure what you mean by that. The dough is resting now, so it may be moot for today’s attempt, but just wanted to know for next time.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Mark, I was pretty out of touch until late tonight, so I’m sorry I didn’t see your comment right away! I hope it turned out well for you. It’s really very forgiving. I really just take my hand and with my fingers curved a little, run the heel of my hand right across the top of the dough and all the pieces, rubbing into them, pushing it as I go. It’s just a big smooshy rub. That’s it. Two or three times.

      I recently switched to a new blog format and have been finding odd little things happening – like the pictures in my slide show don’t show the captions. I’m going to add them back in so it is clearer in the future.

      • FrugalHausfrau

        Ok, pics and captions are fixed now. I’m mortified that I didn’t catch this issue before because the captions would have helped you out, Mark.

  2. Barbara

    Excellent dough. Much better than the one I’ve been using. Yours is more tender and flavorful. I made it in a food processor and it worked out nicely. After pulsing the butter into the flour, I added the egg and milk and pulsed it a few times. Then I added the vinegar and water last and finished the mixing. It came together into a good-handling, moist dough. After chilling, I divided it into 12 pieces and rolled each one separately into the 5″ circles. Worked fine. Took your advice about filling it in my handβ€”good idea. I had leftover pulled pork that I dolled up with poblano, onion, and chipotle. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Barbara, I’m so happy you stopped by to comment. I think you’re the first person who’s made these that’s stopped back! It’s nice to hear.

      I had tried several different doughs before “fiddling” around to get this one! I haven’t used the food processor for this dough, but I do for so many others. Your food processor instructions are spot on – a little pulsing, no overmixing!

      And you are making me hungry for them again! πŸ™‚

  3. Pingback: Spiced Pork Empanadas – the little marathon chef

  4. Great tutorial! You added an egg to your dough, something I haven’t tried. I’m going to use your recipe for sure…this week I’ll give it a go. Again, thank you of your wonderful suggestions!

    • I do for the empanadas but not for regular pie dough! But this smooshing (like a French fromage) and pinching method works great to get wonderful flaky pie crust or emapanda dough! I start out the same way for my Cornish Pasties. (Yet another type of pie dough)

  5. I’d like to give this dough a try … it sounds pretty easy. I think my chipotle in adobo/marinara sauce pulled turkey legs would be great as a filling. πŸ™‚

    • Aw, c’mon! From a premiere baker like yourself! πŸ™‚ The thing is you just have to trust it is all going to work out in the end. I never make pastry that I don’t have a little fit of anxiety about it! Even now!

      I think the key is to touch it as little as possible, keep some of the butter in BIG chunks, not pea size like you always hear, and not processed until it looks like gravel or sand, and keep it cold. πŸ™‚

      I’ll be looking forward to seeing a dessert empanada from you sometime now, with an Aussie flair! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! πŸ™‚

      I use a wordpress theme, Twenty-fourteen. When I add a photo, I press add media and it takes me to the “Insert Media” page. On the left hand side I have a choice to “Create Gallery.”

      When I click on “Create Gallery” it brings me to a page where I can highlight the media files (photos) in my WordPress. I’m able to highlight the ones I want and on the bottom right, push a button that says “Create Galleries.”

      On the page that pops up, “Edit Gallery” on the right hand side there are options and a drop down menu that says “Thumbnail Grid.” Push on the down arrow and highlight “Slideshow.” Then press “Insert Gallery” on the bottom right. Your slideshow will appear wherever your cursor was, just like a photo does. It won’t look like a slideshow, but when you view your post, it will.

      I hope that helps! Let me know if you need any clarification or more information! πŸ™‚

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