Baked Cinnamon Apple Empanadas

We all have things we’re a little bit embarrassed about. Looking back at my early Collegiate Cook posts (like, ahem, this one), I have a lot of cringe-worthy moments. Dark, blurry photos, or recipes without photos at all, the occasional typo — hey, it happens. For years, this post has been a big one. My Baked Cinnamon Apple Empanadas recipe immediately rose to popularity, becoming an SEO hit, but I was never happy with the crust. And neither were you guys.

Clearly, we all craved a baked empanada that would have a buttery, flaky crust — without the greasiness (or hassle) of a fried turnover.

My initial recipe went super-healthy, calling for whole wheat crust and absolutely no butter and shortening, getting its fat from egg yolks. It created a crunchy, chewy crust that was more like a tortilla than a pie shell. Not very satisfying. Here’s what it looked like:

Cinnamon Apple Empanadas

After several tests, I changed the recipe, coming up with something lighter and pillowier. It’s gotten rave reviews. I hope you like it too.


My favorite part? This recipe eschews the standard egg wash for a flavorful swipe of cinnamon-sugar goodness on the outside of the dough, and the apple filling is basically an autumnal wonderland in your mouth.


Baked Cinnamon Apple Empanadas Recipe

Utensils required: saucepan, stovetop, mixing bowl, spoon, rolling pin (or can of soda wrapped in a resealable bag), cutting board, oven mitts, baking sheet, oven, measuring cups, fork

Baked Cinnamon Apple Empanadas


  • Crust:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ? cup shortening
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • Filling:
  • 2 large apples, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg


  1. First, make the crust: Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a spoonula to chop in the shortening as much as possible. Pour in the water, mixing everything until it forms a slightly sticky dough. Set aside.
  2. Next, the filling: Pour the chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 7-9 minutes. Turn off the burner, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. As the oven heats, roll out the dough as thin as possible (about ¼ inch or so). Use a 3-inch cookie cutter -- or trace the mouth of a large cup with a knife to make even circles of dough. Set each circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top with a teaspoon of the baked apple mixture, then fold over the dough until it forms a semi-circle.
  4. Use a fork to crimp the edges of each empanada so the filling doesn't ooze out. Brush the top of each empanada with the leftover juices from the filling. It creates a cinnamon-sugar glaze that gives the crust extra flavor. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the empanadas have turned lightly golden.
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10 Comment

  1. […] pie. (Blasphemy, I know, especially when you have a classic recipe on hand like this one, or these oven-baked apple empanadas. […]

  2. […] Sure, you could go out and buy a rolling pin, but then you’d have to find a place to store it, and let’s face it: How often do you use one anyway? A wine bottle or soda can wrapped in plastic wrap can work just as well. Just don’t try to drink the soda immediately afterward. (Curious how well it works? It was used to make these Baked Apple Empanadas.) […]

  3. Susanna says:

    I followed this recipe to a tee and unfortunately they were not good. They tasted like flour tortillas with apple filling. Actually the filling was very good I will make it again. Sorry I will not be making this recipe again. I think it needed some sort of butter or something that would make them fluffy.

  4. Hi Susanna,

    Thanks so much for your feedback. I’m sorry you didn’t like the empanada’s exterior. We’ll revisit this recipe and look at ways to make the dough fluffier. We liked this crust because it retained some crispness, whereas a lot of empanadas turn out mushy and floppy when baked.

    If you come across any recipes you love, please feel free to send them our way! We’re always learning.

  5. […] 1. Oven-Baked Apple Empanadas […]

  6. […] Baked apple empanadas was one of the first recipes created for Collegiate Cook, and it’s been one of the most popular ever since (albeit a distant second to the 3-ingredient cookie dough truffles, after Buzzfeed featured ‘em). However, I wasn’t always as sold on the crust. It was a crispy, whole wheat, healthy-ish dough, which is great, but if you’re a flaky, buttery pie crust aficionado, you wouldn’t be satisfied with that empanada casing. […]

  7. Hey Susanna! After a few rounds of testing, we created a version with a flakier, softer crust: We hope you like it!

  8. suzan says:

    hi,can you use tin apple pie filling?or do you really have to use fresh apples.

  9. You can definitely use apple pie filling! Look for one that uses diced apples — whole apple slices might be a bit too big for these empanadas. Happy baking!

  10. Selena says:

    Try using Pillsbury grande crescents for the crust. It is a simpler method to the entire recipe. You can also deep fry the empenadas instead of baking. Those are also very good with some vanilla ice cream.

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