The Best Baked Apple Empanadas – Easy Recipe

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Nothing says “fall” like apples and cinnamon! These baked apple empanadas combine both ingredients in perfect harmony. With a dollop of whipped cream on top, it just might become a new favorite fall dessert!

Baked apple empanadas on plate with coffee in background

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Welcome to our Autumn Blog Hop!

Autumn Blog Hop graphic with text "There's No Place Like Home"

To kick off the fall season, my blogging friends and I are sharing some of our favorite recipes with you today! You’ll find everything from savory soups to sweet treats in this collection.

My sweet friend Rachelle from My Hubbard Home has organized a wonderful group of ladies to bring you loads of fall inspiration, including recipes, shopping guides, decor, crafts, and more! If you’re visiting from my dear friend Paula at Virginia Sweet Pea, welcome and thanks for clicking over!

Make sure you see what my friends are sharing at the end of this post, and check back throughout the season to stay up to date.

Easy Baked Apple Empanadas

If you’re new to my blog, you may not know that I’m a Mexican food fanatic! I share a mix of decor and crafts on this site, but authentic Mexican recipes hold a special place in my heart. This recipe for apple empanadas (Mexican pastry turnovers) is no exception.

Baked apple empanadas on white plate with whipped cream on top

Unlike my pumpkin empanadas, these empanadas have more of a flaky pie crust and require pre-cooking the filling before baking. You may choose to enjoy them à la mode or with a serving of fresh whipped cream, much like you would an apple pie.

Recipe Notes for Baked Apple Empanadas

The Empanada Dough

Some people prefer their empanadas with a flakier, puff-pastry type dough, while others like a thicker pie-crust texture. The recipe I’m using below is based on an all-butter pie crust recipe. It does tend to crumble, but that flakiness also gives a lighter touch to the empanadas.

Empanada dough in food processor before forming discs
Empanada dough after mixing dry ingredients with butter

Instead of making homemade empanada dough, you can always simplify the recipe by buying frozen puff pastry shells.

The Apple Filling

Some apple empanada recipes call for using Mexican piloncillo (brown sugar) instead of regular brown sugar. As a matter of preference, I like to use light brown sugar, as I think it allows the full sweetness of the apples to shine through.

Apple filling on round empanada dough before pressing closed
Cooked apple filling on raw empanada dough before baking

Speaking of apples, you have plenty of choices to make for this recipe. I love using Granny Smith apples for baking because I like the slight tartness of the flavor and good texture. It doesn’t get overly mushy either unless you cook it longer in the pot.

Slicing Granny Smith apples for apple empanada recipe
Dicing Granny Smith apples for apple filling

You’ll also notice I cut my apple cubes quite small (about 1/2 an inch) because I don’t find large cubes as appetizing in a small pastry pocket. I think you get more filling this way, too!

Tip: Dice apples into smaller pieces for a smoother empanada filling.

With the juicy, spice-infused apple filling, you’re not limited to making just empanadas! For a fun party appetizer, you can always buy mini filo dough shells, fill them with the apple mixture, and top them with whipped cream. You can also create a whole apple pie with the same ingredients.

Sealing and Preparing Empanadas for Baking

The art of the empanada lies in how you shape it and seal it. There are various options for “sealing the deal,” from crimping with a fork to fancy folding with scalloped edges.

Apple empanada shape with scalloped edge

First, I roll out the empanada dough to form a disc about 1/8-inch thick. Then, I fold the top of my disc over just short of the bottom edge. Finally, I roll up the bottom edge to cover the top edge and crimp along the edges, much like you would with a pie.

Tip: To avoid burning the edges, don’t crimp them too thin.

The final step before baking empanadas is brushing on a egg wash and sprinkling the tops with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Sprinkling cinnamon and sugar on top of apple empanadas before baking

I use egg whites for my egg wash because this provides nice subtle browning without making the empanadas too shiny.

One variation I’m planning to try is sprinkling sea salt and cinnamon on top. I think the combination of apples and sea salt might delight the senses! Let me know if you try it!

Make-ahead Options

The best part about this recipe is you can make the dough ahead of time and leave it in the refrigerator for up to two days. The apple filling will last 5-7 days refrigerated in an airtight container.

Empanada with apple filling served with homemade whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles on top with green apples and cinnamon sticks alongside plate

Freezing Options

Once you have prepared your apple turnovers, you can always freeze the unbaked turnovers in parchment paper to cook at a later date. They should last up to 3 months or so, and you can bake them directly without thawing. I prefer freezing them before baking (as opposed to after baking) for the freshest, flakiest crust.

Raw apple empanada before baking

Freezing especially comes in handy when planning an event or holiday dinner. (Who doesn’t love single-serve desserts at a party?!)

Serving Suggestions

One of my pet peeves is a cold apple empanada! I highly suggest eating them slightly warmed. If you can grab one about 5 minutes after it leaves the oven, even better!

Baked apple empanada on fork with whipped cream dripping off fork

Top it with homemade whipped cream and a few sprinkles of ground cinnamon, and you’ll be in heaven!

Pin it for later!

Pin reading Baked Apple Empanadas featuring image of an apple empanada topped with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles
Baked apple empanadas with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles on top

Baked Apple Empanada Recipe

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

This delicious baked apple empanada recipe combines rich flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla packaged in a flaky crust. It's the perfect single-serve dessert for any occasion!

Ingredients

Apple Filling

  • 2-3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • Dash of ground cloves

Empanada Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (about 2 1/2 sticks), cold and cubed
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water, as needed
  • 1 egg white

Instructions

Apple Filling

  1. In a medium-sized pot, combine the diced apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1/4 of the cinnamon with a dash of ground cloves.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the apples are soft and the mixture becomes juicy and well blended (about 15-20 minutes).
  3. Let the apple filling cool completely, or refrigerate for up to 5-7 days.

Empanada Dough

  1. In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pulse slightly to mix. If you don't own a food processor, you can simply stir the mixture and then use a pastry cutter to combine ingredients later.
  2. Add cold butter cubes and pulse until the mixture begins to clump into bean-size pieces.
  3. Add water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse gently until the dough sticks together but is not overly moist.
  4. Knead the dough to form a disc and press flat. Wrap in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  6. Place the dough on a floured surface, and begin forming small balls to your desired size. Then roll the balls into circles about 1/8-inch thick, and place them on plastic wrap or parchment paper. Lightly flour the dough as you work to prevent sticking and tearing.
  7. Fill the dough with about 2 tablespoons of apple filling, leaving enough gap to the edge to fold the pocket in half.
  8. Seal the edges of the empanada together forming a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges slightly with your fingers, or use a fork to seal to imprint a design. Just be sure not to press the edges too thin or they will get overcooked in the oven.
  9. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet, either greased or lined with parchment paper. Cut a few slits in the top of the empanadas to release steam while baking.
  10. Baste the tops of the empanadas with egg white.
  11. Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle on top.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Notes

You can use any remaining apple filling to make mini-tarts or as a topping on ice cream.

If you're short on time, you can also use store-bought frozen pastry dough.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 99mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 2gSugar: 17gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram and tag @firstdayofhome!

Continue Your Tour!

I hope you enjoyed putting another recipe in your stash this season! Don’t forget my friends have plenty of good treats for you below. Next on your stop is my friend Carol from Bluesky at Home (bolded below)!

Tour Participants

My Humble Home and Garden / Thistle Key Lane / My Hubbard Home / Karins Kottage / Mantel and Table / Virginia Sweet Pea / First Day of Home / Blue Sky At Home / Calypso in the Country/ My Family Thyme / The Painted Apron
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26 Comments

  1. Hello! This empanada recipe looks amazing!
    I am in the middle of making them now actually, I diced up the apples like you did in the video. But it was pretty juicy once the apples were soft. I am hoping they thicken up as they cool. Any suggestions?
    Thank you because they smell amazing.

    1. Hi Jennifer! I suppose it depends on the type of apples you’re using, but yes, mine did dry up a bit after they cooled. If you use a slotted spoon to place them in the dough, that might help to prevent it from being too juicy. A strainer could help as well to remove some of the juices before filling the dough. Best of luck!

    1. Thank you, Lynne! They’re actually pretty easy to make. The dough isn’t as difficult as other crusts that I’ve made in the past, though it is a bit crumbly. I hope you enjoy them!

    1. Thanks, Debra! I actually totally replaced all the photos in this post today! I made a second batch that came out a little more…photogenic. My kids have been enjoying them for sure! Happy Fall!

    2. I made these today and they are wonderful. I had one concern about the juice as well. I used 3 granny smith apples like you called for. I actually thought about putting in a tablespoon of cornstarch next time. What are your thoughts.

      Sincerely,
      Barb Mauro

      1. Hi Barb! It’s so wonderful to know that you enjoyed the recipe. I do think you could try cornstarch. Perhaps cooking the apples a little less time will also help to prevent them from being too runny. I’ll have to experiment with the cornstarch idea and report back. It always works well to thicken stews and other saucy dishes, though. Thanks for commenting! Best wishes, Crissy

  2. Wow! I am very excited to try your empanada recipe! I love anything with a crust and of course apples! This is a win win for me! So fun to be in this blog hop with you and I am loving all the amazing recipes!
    Hugs,
    Karin

    1. Thanks, Karin! I’m with you. Give me all the apple crumbles, pies, cobblers, tarts, empanadas! I can’t get enough, especially during the fall. I’m so glad we got to be on this hop together. I agree that there are so many wonderful recipes to try, and it’s a beautiful thing to share part of your family’s traditions with others.

    1. Thank you, Carol! Anything with apple is a winner with me in the fall. The smell that fills your home when you bake them ain’t bad either! Thanks for stopping by! Always good to hop with you.

  3. I love apple desserts, especially in the fall. I’m eager to try this as I’ve never had an empanada. I’ve had lots of apple pie slices but not an empanada. Hot with a scoop of ice cream on the top is how I’d like mine.

    1. You’ve never had an empanada?! I’m shipping one over right away! 😉 Just have your ice cream ready when it arrives. I think someone with another apple recipe suggested vanilla bean ice cream pairs well, and I have to agree. I hope we can visit sometime in person soon so I can pack some with me. Big hugs, Crissy

  4. Oh I love empanadas and your apple ones sound like the perfect fall treat! I love your suggestion of using frozen puff pastry shells or filo cups as another option! Thank you Crissy!

    1. Thank you, Jenna! Yes, tonight my boys enjoyed just the empanada filling with whipped cream. It’s hard to go wrong with apples, sugar and cinnamon!

      I hope you have a wonderful fall and stay safe out there! Best wishes, Crissy

  5. Oh boy! I’m trying this as soon as I possibly can – yummm! Thanks for all the great tips Crissy. It’s so nice to know the little secrets. 🙂

    It’s so nice to be sharing this blog hop with you! Hope you’re well and happy over there!

    1. Thanks, Barbara! This is one of my favorite flavors. Anyone who likes apple pie will enjoy this as well.

      I hope you have a great start to the season in your beautiful home!

  6. These look amazing – and I’m sure they smell amazing as well. I like that you can make the dough ahead of time. So convenient. Thanks for sharing and great hopping with you!
    Shelley

    1. Hi Shelley! Yes, I have to say my home smells pretty amazing right now! Sometimes I walk outside just to walk back in and smell it again. Ha! It’s always so fun to hop with you. I really enjoyed seeing your chili too! -Crissy

  7. Your apple empanadas look fabulous, Crissy! I can’t wait to try making them. I especially love the fact you can make the filling and crust ahead of time. The whipped cream and cinnamon accent adds a special touch. Thank you for sharing this harvest time recipe!!

    1. Thank you! The whipped cream really adds a lot to the flavor. Yes, I’m all about making things ahead of time, especially when entertaining. I hope you enjoy the recipe! -Crissy

  8. Crissy, your mini apple empanadas are so cute. Giving us the options on making/cooking and freezing them is appreciated. I don’t always have the time to prepare and bake, and like you I want a flaky warm dessert to eat. These sound like a perfect fall treat!

    Thanks for participating in the blog hop, it’s great to have you along!
    Hugs,
    Rachelle

    1. Rachelle, thanks so much for the kind words and for organizing such a wonderful hop! I’ve enjoyed seeing many great recipes, and I’m looking forward to switching up my fall menu with all these great ideas.

      I hope you have a wonderful start to the season! Big hugs, Crissy