In Puerto Rico, empanadillas are what most other Latin cultures call empanadas. Pizza empanadas might be the easiest type of empanadas to make! Only 4 ingredients are needed to make these ooey, gooey treats.
Whenever I visit Puerto Rico, I make sure to eat all kinds of empanadas…or I should say empanadillas. Puerto Ricans call these pockets of happiness empanadillas, because empanadas refer to a completely different dish. The most unique empanadas I’ve had are pizza empanadas. I’ve never seen them outside of Puerto Rico, but that’s ok, because these might be the easiest type of empanadas to make! You only need four 4 ingredients to make these ooey, gooey treats, and I’m absolutely certain they’ll quickly become a family fave. Every time I make these pizza empanadas, I’m taken straight back to the island.
Is empanada dough the same as pizza dough?
Empanada dough is a simple non-yeasted dough made with flour, water, shortening and salt. It’s much more similar to pie dough than pizza dough. We’ve included a recipe for homemade empanada dough (for frying) at the bottom of this post.
Are empanadas like calzones?
In many ways, yes! Many cultures have some sort of recipe that involves a filling surrounded with dough. In Puerto Rico, we’re big fans of crunchy fried food stuffed with delicious things, like rellenos de papa. But empanadas feature a pastry dough that’s similar to pie dough, while calzones feature a yeasted dough, similar to pizza dough.
Can you bake empanadas instead of frying them?
Yes, if you use my homemade empanada dough, as it works for both fried and baked applications. However, if you use frozen empanada discs, make sure they’re labelled for baking. The traditional Goya brand of empanadas discs don’t work for baking.
What are some common fillings for empanadas?
There’s nothing you can’t put into an empanada, I think I’ve seen it all. The fillings in Puerto Rico vary from picadillo (ground beef) to cangrejo (crab) to chapin (local fish), but you can even fill them with sweet fillings, like guava paste and cheese, or banana and nutella.
How do you keep empanadas crispy?
The best way to keep empanadas crispy is to place them on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. If you’re frying multiple batches, throw the whole setup into a low oven to keep everything warm as you keep frying and adding to the rack.
Want more delish recipes? Check out our other empanada recipes!
- Chicken Empanadas
- Cheesesteak Empanadas
- Buffalo Chicken Empanadas
- Crab Empanadas
- Colombian Empanadas
- Cuban Sandwich Empanadas
Pizza Empanadas (Empanadillas De Pizza)
This Puerto Rican and Italian fusion snack will become a staple treat in your repertoire.
Homemade Empanada Dough
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup shortening or unsalted butter
- 1 cup ice cold water
- 10 empanada discs frozen or homemade
- 1/3 cup marinara sauce
- 8 oz pasteurized mozzarella cheese not fresh mozzarella, it's too watery
- canola or vegetable oil for frying
To Make The Homemade Empanada Dough
In a food processor, add the flour and salt. Add the shortening or butter and pulse 1-15 times, until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
While pulsing, add about 3/4 cup of the water. Pulse 5-10 times, until the dough just comes together in a loose ball. Add remaining water a tablespoon at a time if all the flour has not been moistened.
Turn out onto a clean surface and gently knead into a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 days if not using immediately.
Divide dough into 10 pieces and roll each piece out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into rounds using a cookie cutter or tracing a bowl with a knife. Discs can be filled immediately and cooked.
If not using immediately, stack on top of each other with a piece of parchment or wax paper between each disc. Place in a zip bag and refrigerate for 1 day or freeze. If using from frozen state, allow the discs to thaw at room temperature for about 10-20 minutes before using them in a recipe.
To Make The Pizza Empanadas
Preheat about 1 inch of oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Lay a slice of cheese onto the sauce (you can break the cheese into pieces if needed).
Seal both sides of the empanadas tightly by pressing down on the edges with a fork.
Fry the empanadas for 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown.
Drain the empanadas on a plate lined with paper towel sheets and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.