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How to make empanada dough (easy homemade recipe)

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Craving some sweet empanadas? Then read on for a step-by-step guide on how to make empanada dough from scratch!

large ball of empanada dough for sweet empanadas, empanadas dulces

This is actually a super simple recipe with only 3 ingredients: cream cheese, all-purpose flour, and butter.

That’s all you need for this super authentic Mexican recipe. Well, that plus whatever delicious filling you decide to add inside.

How to make empanada dough for sweet empanadas

First Step:

Bring your butter and cream cheese to room temperature. Then mix until well combined. You do not need a hand mixer or kitchen aid for this. It can easily be done by hand or with a mixing spoon.

Second Step:

Add in your flour and mix until well incorporated. The consistency is quite thick and, similar to the previous step, is best mixed by hand or with a mixing spoon.

Third Step:

small ball of sweet empanada dough on a tortilla press

Roll into 30 g balls (about golf ball sized) and use a plastic lined tortilla press (or rolling pin) to flatten into an empanada disk that you can fill with whatever sweet fillings you like.

To seal your empanadas, you can use the fork method for a more traditional seal or the flatten & twist method, which I prefer most (it’s prettier).

sweet empanadas ready to be baked, empanadas dulces

Sweet empanada fillings

You can fill your empanadas with whatever you’d like but here are some different filling ideas to get your started:

  • dulce de leche
  • sweetened pumpkin
  • cinnamon apple

My personal favorite filling is dulce de leche (cajeta).

Bake your empanadas.

This dessert empanada dough recipe is meant to be baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Once baked, immediately dip each empanada in a bowl of cinnamon sugar and then place on a plate to cool.

As long as your dessert empanadas are still warm, the cinnamon sugar should adhere to the pastry no problem.

sweet empanadas coated in cinnamon sugar on a plate ready to eat, empanadas dulces

As far as taste, I would describe these as almost cookie like. Kind of like a shortbread cookie but stuffed with a sweet melty filling and topped with cinnamon sugar. An absolutely delicious, melt in your mouth dessert.

Yield: 24 empanadas

empanada dough (for sweet empanadas)

empanada dough (for sweet empanadas)

This is an empanada dough recipe for sweet empanadas that are baked in the oven and filled with dulce de leche/cajeta, nutella or a sweetened pumpkin filling.


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 sticks of butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Mix butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
  2. Add in your flour and mix by hand until a soft dough forms
  3. Roll into golf ball sized balls of dough & flatten into disks using a tortilla press or rolling pin
  4. Fill with your desired sweet filling, fold & seal.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  6. While still warm, dip each empanada into a cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.
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