Baked Apple Empanadas: Recipes, Variations, and Perfect Pairings

Baked Apple Empanadas: Recipes, Variations, and Perfect Pairings

Baked apple empanadas blend traditional Latin American cuisine with a classic dessert twist. Originating from Spanish and Portuguese culinary traditions, empanadas are now a staple in various countries, including Argentina, Mexico, and Spain. These pastries, typically stuffed with savory fillings, are popular in festivals and family gatherings. By incorporating apple filling, baked apple empanadas mesh the warmth of apple pie with the portability of an empanada, making them unique.

  • Dough: A mixture of all-purpose flour, butter, and a pinch of salt creates the perfect pastry casing. Pre-made pie crusts can be used for convenience.
  • Sugar: Both granulated and brown sugar enhance the sweetness and add depth.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves give a warm, aromatic flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: A splash of lemon juice prevents the apples from browning and adds a touch of acidity.
  • Egg Wash: A beaten egg, brushed on the empanada before baking, renders a golden, crisp exterior.

How to Make Baked Apple Empanadas

Preparing the Apple Filling

Choose fresh, firm apples for the filling. Peel and core 2 large apples, then chop them into small pieces. In a medium bowl, mix the chopped apples with 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to prevent browning and enhance flavor. Stir all ingredients until the apples are well-coated. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Choosing the Right Dough

Opt for a dough that’s easy to roll and shape. You can either use pre-made pie crusts or make your own. To make your own dough, combine 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup cold, unsalted butter cut into small cubes. Pulse in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

Assembly and Baking Tips

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. Use a round cutter to cut out circles, approximately 4-6 inches in diameter. Place a spoonful of apple filling in the center of each dough circle. Fold the circle over the filling to create a half-moon shape, then use a fork to crimp the edges and seal the empanada. Brush the top with a beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water to give a golden-brown finish. Arrange the empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden and crispy. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information

Caloric Content

Baked apple empanadas generally offer around 200 calories per piece, depending on size and ingredients. The caloric value primarily derives from the dough, which contains butter and flour, and the apple filling, which includes sugars and spices. Considering a medium-sized empanada, it can provide an average of:

  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Fats: 8g
  • Protein: 3g

Ingredients with higher sugar content will increase the overall caloric count. Knowing this helps you manage your daily caloric intake effectively.

Dietary Benefits

Baked apple empanadas contain essential nutrients, offering some dietary benefits. Apples, the primary ingredient, are rich in dietary fiber, aiding digestion. In a single empanada, you can expect about 2g of fiber. They also provide antioxidants like vitamin C, contributing to your immune health.

The use of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves adds more than just flavor. Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar levels, while nutmeg and cloves possess anti-inflammatory properties. Opting for a recipe with less sugar or using sugar substitutes can make these treats even healthier.

By incorporating these baked pastries into your diet in moderation, you can enjoy a delicious dessert while benefiting from the nutrients it provides.

Regional Twists

Regional variations of apple empanadas showcase distinct flavors. In Mexico, empanadas de manzana often have a spiced apple filling with cinnamon and sugar, served with a dusting of powdered sugar. Argentine versions, known as empanadas de membrillo, blend apples with quince paste, creating a sweet-tart flavor profile. Puerto Rican apple empanadas feature a mix of apples, raisins, and a hint of rum for added richness. Each region enhances the basic apple empanada recipe with local culinary traditions, aligning their flavors with cultural preferences.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

Vegan and gluten-free apple empanadas cater to dietary restrictions without compromising flavor. Use dairy-free butter or coconut oil for the crust in vegan recipes, and replace eggs with flax or chia seeds mixed with water. For gluten-free variations, substitute all-purpose flour with blends like almond, coconut, or a premade gluten-free flour mix. The apple filling remains similar, with fresh apples, spices, and a touch of sweetener like agave syrup or maple syrup. These adjustments ensure everyone can enjoy delicious apple empanadas.

Pairing Suggestions

Beverages to Complement Baked Apple Empanadas

Choosing the right beverages enhances the enjoyment of baked apple empanadas. Warm drinks like cinnamon-infused apple cider or spiced chai tea complement the rich flavors. The hints of cinnamon and spice in these teas align well with apple empanadas. For those who prefer cold beverages, sparkling apple cider or a crisp apple ale offers a refreshing balance to the dessert’s sweetness.

  • Warm drinks: Apple cider, chai tea
  • Cold drinks: Sparkling apple cider, apple ale

Occasions for Serving Baked Apple Empanadas

Baked apple empanadas suit various occasions due to their versatile nature. They make an excellent dessert for family gatherings and holiday celebrations, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, because they embody the warmth and comfort of home-baked desserts. These empanadas also fit well at potluck parties, where their portable size and ease of serving make them convenient.

  • Family gatherings: Thanksgiving, Christmas
  • Parties: Potluck, casual get-togethers


Baked apple empanadas offer a delightful blend of tradition and innovation, making them a versatile treat for various occasions. Whether you’re catering to dietary preferences with vegan or gluten-free options or looking to pair them with the perfect drink, these empanadas are sure to impress. Their adaptability ensures they’ll be a hit at family gatherings, holiday celebrations, or casual get-togethers. So, why not add baked apple empanadas to your culinary repertoire? They’re not just a dessert—they’re an experience.

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