Sweet Apple Cinnamon Empanadas

Empanadas don’t have to be savory—dessert empanadas are a lot of fun to make, and everyone loves them. These apple cinnamon empanadas (with a touch of caramel dulce de leche) also make excellent breakfast pastries.


For the Pastry:

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

  • 4 to 5 firm green apples, such as Granny Smith
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons dulce de leche, optional

For Baking:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sugar, for sprinkling, as needed


Make the Pastry Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly.

  3. Add the chilled butter and cream cheese pieces to the bowl and pulse several times, just until mixture starts to come together.

  4. Add the vanilla and pulse twice more briefly.

  5. Turn dough mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Bring the dough together into a disk, wrap with the plastic, and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Peel and core the apples and then cut them into small cubes.

  3. Add apples to a saucepan with the butter, sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir apples over medium heat, cooking until they are just tender.

  4. In a small bowl, mix a tablespoon or two of water into the cornstarch until smooth.

  5. Add cornstarch mixture to the apples and cook, stirring, until mixture starts to thicken.

  6. Remove apples from heat and stir in the dulce de leche, if using, until well mixed.

  7. Chill apple mixture for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Shape and Bake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. To shape the empanadas, roll out dough (in 2 or 3 batches) on a floured surface to about 1/4- to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut circles of dough about 5 to 6 inches in diameter.

  3. Wet the edge of a dough circle slightly, all around the perimeter. Place one scant tablespoon of filling in the middle of the dough.

  4. Fold the circle in half, enclosing the filling, and pinch the edges together firmly to seal, flattening and extending them slightly as you pinch them.

  5. Fold and crimp the flattened edge over itself decoratively. Repeat with remaining empanadas.

  6. Chill empanadas for about 1 hour for best results (or 15 minutes in the freezer).

  7. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  8. Mix egg yolk with a little bit of water and brush over empanadas. Sprinkle empanadas with sugar.

  9. Bake empanadas until puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

  10. These are best eaten warm and can be reheated in a low oven.


  • Chilling the formed empanadas overnight before baking will help prevent the filling from escaping.
Sweet Apple Cinnamon Empanadas

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