Empanada Dough: Cooking with leftovers


chicken empanadasMmmmm…..Empanadas…..made from leftovers!

Empanadas leftovers

The two thing I like best about cooking with leftovers:

  1. The work’s already been started, cutting back on time and effort.
  2. Redemption!!! It you weren’t too thrilled with how something turned out the first time, here’s your chance to cook it up again and make the modifications you feel it needs.

Well, upon wanting to use leftovers from a dinner where I may have over done it on the appetizers, I came across a recipe for empanada dough that I’m quite pleased with. I had to make adjustments due to my need to use what I already had in the fridge,  my unwillingness to  do anymore grocery shopping, and the size/ quantity of the recipe. I’ve noted these adjustment below, in the event that you too need to make some adjustments. The empanada shells came out tender but flaky and buttery. I think it creates a lovely texture and the dough it easy to work with and stretch over your filling.

My left overs this weekend consisted of :


I had made two kinds of green salsa, one that I clearly liked better than the other. I used the one I favored less for my empanada filling…it seemed like a good alternative to letting it sit sad and alone in the refrigerator as I proceeded to finish the little I had left of my favorite.



COOKED (and under seasoned) SHREDDED CHICKEN

In fear of doing my usual over seasoning, this poor chicken was left with a little less flavor than it deserved. The green salsa and onions really helped it out. Yay! happy marriage.



It’s a pretty big bag for two people. I may need to come up with several creative uses.


And so….I made dough and then empanadas


empanada dough

Empanada Dough adapted from Macheesmo

Makes enough dough for approximately 25 – 4 inch rounds


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter – does not need to be softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup heavy cream (The original recipe calls for milk. All I had was cream. I had a scant cup of heavy cream to which I added a splash of water to complete the 8 0z)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, the flour, the salt, and the seasoning.
  2. cut the butter into large cubes and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, combine the butter into the flour until the texture is that of small crumbs.
  3. Add the egg yolk and the cream or milk to the flour mixture. Using a spoon or silicone spatula, mix and combine the ingredients until a dough begins to form.  Use your hands to kneed the dough a few times and create a smooth dough. Separate the dough into two equal pieces.
  4. Cover and refrigerate dough while you work on your filling.
  5. When you are ready to make your empanadas, place one piece of dough onto parchment and roll out to 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Using a round cutter cut out your rounds and place them on a baking sheet.
  7. Place your filling onto the center of each round of dough.
  8. Fold the dough over the filling, pinching the edges to create a seal, and forming a half circle shaped hand pie.
  9. Using a fork, press down along the edges of each pie to improve the seal and poke holes on the top of the pie.
  10. Repeat steps 5-9 with the remaining dough
  11. Now you may either freeze or prepare your empanadas for baking.


Freezing your empanadas

  1. To freeze your empanadas, place your prepared but uncooked empanadas on a baking sheet, in a single layer.
  2. Place the sheet with the empanadas into the freezer and freeze until firm.
  3. Transfer the frozen empanadas into a freezer bag, for prolonged storage. Write the date on the freezer bag.
  4. Use within a month’s time


Baking your empanadas


  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Prepared empanadas


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush each empanada with an egg wash (make the egg wash by mixing one egg with a tables spoon of water)
  3. Bake freshly made (unfrozen) empanadas for approximately 25-30 minutes
  4. Bake frozen empanadas for approximately 35 minutes

chicken empanadas

Filling:(if you’re wondering)

For the filling, I just used leftovers. I reheated the chicken with the “salsa verde” aka green salsa, and caramelized onions.

I then set the meat mixture aside to cool for a bit, as I prepared my cheeses.

In a small food processor, I combined fresh mozzarella, low moister (aka regular) mozzarella, and the shredded cotija. I processed the mixture until the cheeses achieved a soft pliable texture of large crumbs. It will first form small crumbs (I didn’t want to use small crumbs of cheese because I thought they would roll off the top of my empanada filling), just keep processing. Then, it will eventually form larger crumbs. And if you process it long enough….you could possibly end up with a big soft cheese ball/ cheese dough. How fun!!! The amount of time it takes to form the larger crumbs, or a cheese dough….depends on the amount of moisture.  If it’s taking too long, just add more fresh mozzarella.


Happy Empanada Eating!!!

leftovers empanadas



2 comments on “Empanada Dough: Cooking with leftovers

  1. This is such a good idea!

  2. Using leftovers truly is an art. This inspires me to do better at it. Great post! Mouth watering picture too!!

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