Introduction: Easy Empanadas

Picture of Easy Empanadas

Supermarket pizza dough has changed my life. Not only does it let me make fresh pizza on a whim with my daughter, but it also lets me throw together any number of savory dishes that call for a bread crust. This easy empanada recipe is essentially a calzone filled with Mexican ingredients. -- Lygeia Grace, Senior Food Editor, Real Simple

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Taco night is a sure thing. The little ones get to play "build a taco." Your husband gets the beef he'd prefer on a nightly basis. And you don't spend hours preparing fancy dishes no one likes anyway. How to get some variety while not straying too far from success? Stay with the Mexican theme, but try substituting easy empanadas. The melt-in-your-mouth goodness of these golden-crusted pockets will silence any grumbling come Taco Tuesday.

1 package refrigerated pizza dough (about 1 pound)
Flour for the work surface
1 16-ounce can refried beans
1 1-pint container fresh salsa
1 8-ounce package shredded Cheddar
Sour cream (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Step 1: Roll

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Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each into an 8-inch round on a lightly floured surface.

Step 2: Spread

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On half of each round, spread some of the beans.

Step 3: Top

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Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the salsa

Step 4: Sprinkle

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Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons of the cheese.

Step 5: Fold

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Fold over the other half of each round, covering the filling, and press the curved edge with your thumb to seal.

Step 6: Brush

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Spread 1 teaspoon of the oil on a baking sheet. Transfer the empanadas to the sheet and lightly brush the tops with the remaining oil.

Step 7: Bake, Serve

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Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.


Ryz3D (author)2016-08-06

I was looking for EMPs... lol, EMPanadas :D

roselia (author)2011-01-09

i like empanadas with cheese and crabmeat, which is tasty

jradi (author)2010-07-25

In the international section of your grocery, you may be able to find empanada dough already rolled out and cut into perfect circles. Goya sells them in a package, 12 for about $1. They stay frozen for months, defrost overnight and you can make a dozen empanadas in about 15 minutes - no mess at all.

sweller (author)2010-04-06

"This easy empanada recipe is essentially a calzone filled with Mexican ingredients."

To the contrary, I'd say a calzone is an Italian empanada. ;-)

Clayton H. (author)2010-02-07

I made some very delicious desert fruit filled empanadas in a cooking class once. they were very good.

OverlordAdriel (author)2010-02-07

As a great philosopher once said : "Wheres the beef?"

love em geeks (author)2010-02-04

these photos are awesome! nice job

(X_X) (author)2010-01-17

I love empanadas! :D Im surely gonna try baking these ones thanks for the instructable =) 

Ginger Magnus (author)2009-08-03

These are a huge hit at my house. I'm usually playing host to all sorts of events and usually do the cooking. Its my house, I don't phone for piazza. I have made these for the past few gatherings, piazza filling, green chile/ground beef, and taking one comment's advice, Black Forest Ham, Sharp Chedder, and Tart apples. That one was the crowd fevered! I also took a 9 inch pie crush and made a giant tazone (taco calzone) that was a bit unwieldy but good none the less. Thank you for the inspiration!

Tobita (author)2008-02-10

do you cook your food in a sanitary clinic? looks SOOOOO CLEAN O_O

shadesofsisyphus (author)Tobita2008-02-12

Not only that, but these pictures are FANTASTIC!! I mean seriously, they should be in a cookbook!! and the exclamation points are most definitely required for both statements

Calorie (author)shadesofsisyphus2008-10-10

Just to point out the obvious, but this is a professional article that has been transfered from to this site. Real Simple has a series for the site. The pictures look so awesome because it is a professional photo shoot.

I agree, the pictures are amazing.

atombomb1945 (author)2008-08-21

Where do you get the pizza dough at? Is it the mix where you have to add the liquid, or is it a pre-made thing? I am guessing with the frozen part, it is something that is pre-made.

YADIRAMAMA29 (author)2008-08-12

DELI!!!!!! THANKS!!!!!

Shifrin (author)2008-01-08

These look really great, maybe I can make it "My own" By adding a couple of secret ingredients.

Haha like weed??? MARY JANE!!!!

Admiral Puffinfresh (author)2008-07-09

1) THOSE PICTURES ARE AMAZING. 2) Your bean spread looks like poopie. XD 3) Great instructable. Looks delicious. Mouth watering.

flower child (author)2008-05-15

Cant wait to try you could use so many different fillings Thank You

bruno13069 (author)2008-02-12

Looks almost like a Cornish Pastie with a different edge crimp. How about one of those filled with shaved ham, sliced cheddar, and thinly sliced apples?

Wolf Seril (author)2007-11-06

Do you have like a professional photographer? Those pics are beautiful. Anyway, does anyone have suggestions on how to make a cinnamon-apple filling (like the ones from taco bell)? I know from making my own pop tarts homemade is always better, but I dont know where to start. I assume you would fry it.

unclesam (author)2007-09-28

For a variation of flavor, flakier crust, use pre-made (or scratch) pie crust. Use food can, etc, to cut rounds from the crust, which is sold already rolled flat; gather the scraps and roll flat to make one more round. A filling variation: canned ROAST-beef hash, made by folks who also sell corned-beef hash; spread a little mustard over hash filling before folding over the dough to close. Sweet variation: fill crust with canned fruit pie filling. With pie dough, no need to oil pan or top of dough. U.S.

The Mariner (author)2007-09-03

Wow ! Is there anything pizza dough cannot do ? Between this mouth-watering creation & the Stromboli, meal-time is covered.

Thanks !

mewsabella (author)2007-08-23

Lygeia, you are a genius. Thank you.

carlos66ba (author)2007-08-16

And the filling is also completely different!

carlos66ba (author)2007-08-16

That's no freaking empanada! That's a mex-calzone. Empanadas have completely different dough (more like puff-pastry).

snipegoat (author)2007-08-16

can yo but other ingreadiants in it like beef or instead of salsa, tomatoes and lettues (shreaded)

Danny (author)2007-08-16

omg just lookin through your instructables is making my mouth water!! ima go bake a cake sor something now XD

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