Sweet empanada cookies

Empanada cookies are a delicious and unique sweet treat that is incomparable to any other cookies out there. They are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, with a crunchy exterior that gives way to an ooey-gooey center.

We made a lot of cookies during our lifetimes, but none, absolutely none of them can’t beat the taste of empanada cookies.

These unique cookies have been around for centuries, and they have been consistently popular in certain parts of the world due to their versatility and ease of preparation.

With endless possibilities for fillings and flavors, these cookies can be customized for any occasion or taste preference. Let your creativity shine as you explore the world of empanada cookies.

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cookie empanadillas

Why you’ll adore these empanada cookies

These cookies are somewhat unique and special. During December, when everyone is making chocolate chip cookies, I’m usually obsessed with empanada cookies.

The dough for empanada cookies is made from only three ingredients you almost always have already at home. At the same time, it’s so different and sooooo tasty that you are definitely going to try making them again and again.

It’s easy to make them; in fact, if you have children, this is going to be a lot of fun for them. You don’t need any special equipment for these cookies, and what’s best about this dough is that it’s made from simple ingredients that you usually already have at home.

You can make even healthier versions of these delicious cookies by using wholemeal flour and replacing a significant amount of butter with sour cream. In fact, the cookies will still bake even if you replace the butter completely.

Most often, these cookies are filled with jam, but guess what, they taste great as well when filled with chocolate, Nutella or vanilla cream. If you don’t like them sweet, try out or caprese empanadas.

And another awesome thing about them is that they will last for a long time. like biscottini. They won’t become stale, and they won’t get stiff and crumbly so quickly, which makes them absolutely perfect Christmas cookies.

Just a small hint – they go perfectly well with homemade elderflower tea.

empanada cookies with sugar

Equipment you’ll need

Baking sheet

Parchment paper

Cookie cutter or a glass

Rolling pin

Empanada cookies ingredients

FLOUR -The recipe is usually made with all-purpose flour, but we’ve done this many times with whole-grain flour and even with corn flour. So get creative and use what you got.

BUTTER – Butter is a crucial ingredient in empanada cookies, lending a rich and savory flavor to the sweet treats. However, the traditional recipe actually included pork lard instead of butter, which definitely gives the empanada cookies a very unique and irresistible taste. Give it a try; you will be surprised how good they taste!

SOUR CREAM – With the addition of sour cream to the dough, these cookies become softer and even more creamy and flavorful.

JAM – Traditional empanada cookies, sometimes also called jam pockets, are usually made with homemade plum jam. But they taste absolutely heavenly with other types of jam, like apricot jam, strawberry jam and mango jam,… Not to mention, they are great when filled with chocolate or Nutella. We suggest you get creative with the filling and use what you have.

POWDERED SUGAR – Because the dough doesn’t contain sugar, we sprinkled the cookies when freshly baked with powdered sugar. If you have a simple coffee grinder at home, you can make your own powdered sugar; there’s no need to buy premade sugar in the market.

VANILLA SUGAR – A package of vanilla sugar is added to the dough, although if you don’t have it, you can freely skip it. The dough will still taste perfect without vanilla sugar.

SALT – Right. You can’t imagine salt in cookie dough. Well, adding a teaspoon of salt will definitely add to the depth of the taste and make the dough softer to assemble the cookies.

BAKING POWER – A packet of baking powder equals one teaspoon of baking powder. Baking powder can be replaced with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar. Traditionally, empanada cookies used to be made entirely without baking powder. They will bake and taste so yummy without it that nobody won’t even notice you haven’t used it.

How to make empanada cookies


STEP 1: In a bowl, mix together the butter and the sour cream using a hand mixer or a food processor. Keep the butter at room temperature before using it; it should be soft enough to mix it into the dough easily.

If your butter is stored in the refrigerator, melt it until it becomes soft on low heat; it is best if you use a double pot with hot water.

STEP 2: Add the flour to the mixture. Mix well until all ingredients combine. Knead it (using your hands) until you get a very soft dough ball. Then, return the dough to the bowl and cover it with plastic foil.

STEP 3: Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour until the butter in the dough hardens again, enough that you’ll be able to roll it with the rolling pin and form the cookies.

Now preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C.

chilling empanada cookies dough


STEP 4: When the dough is chilled enough to easily work with it, sprinkle a clean, flat surface with a little bit of flour. Using a rolling pin (or an empty bottle if you don’t have one), roll the dough out. When rolled out, it should be about three millimeters thick.

STEP 5: With a cookie cutter or an empty glass (diameter of about 7 cm) cut round discs from the dough. Top the discs with a teaspoon of your favorite jam. Be careful not to add too much jam because it might leak out of the cookies while baking.

Knead the leftover dough again and roll it out to make another batch of the discs. Repeat until you have any dough left.

STEP 6: Finally, fold the discs over and press down the round edge firmly with your fingers. After that, press the edges again using a fork.

empanada cookies before baking


STEP 7: Reload the cookies to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Bake at 375 F/190 C for about 12 – 14 minutes until the cookies look golden and yummy. Do not worry if the edges are a bit more baked; when you dip them in the powdered sugar, it won’t be seen at all.

STEP 8: Let the cookies rest for a few minutes. While still warm, dip them or sprinkle them with powdered sugar. The sugar is entirely optional, the cookies will absolutely taste great if you eat them without.

baked empanada cookies

Food nutter’s tips

  • You can prepare the cookie dough in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Make sure you keep it in an airtight container or cover the dough with plastic foil.
  • The dough needs to be chilled enough to form the cookies. The butter in the dough starts solidifying in the refrigerator in about 15 minutes. If the dough is too soft, it will be hard to roll it out, and it will stick to the surface. Also, it will make it much harder to form and place the cookies on the baking sheet.
  • Don’t add too much jam to the cookie discs. It will be hard to press down the edges if they are full of jam. The cookies might open when baking with the jam leaking out of them. The recipe works best if the jam is not entirely liquid when forming the cookies.
  • The ingredients in the recipe are enough to make at least two baking sheets of cookies. When preparing one batch, refrigerate the rest of the dough so it won’t get too soft when assembling the cookies.
Empanada cookies filling

Substitutions and variations of empanada cookies

  • Use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour if you wish to prepare gluten-free empanada cookies. Besides that, be careful not to fill the cookies with a filling containing gluten, like Nutella or premade vanilla cream. The cookies will taste absolutely perfect without the powdered sugar.
  • For a healthier variation of the cookies, use whole-meal flour and sugar-free jam. They are delicious. The dough gets slightly harder to roll out, but once rolled out, it’s very easy to form the cookies.
  • Another delicious variation of empanada cookies can be made with corn flour or buckwheat flour. Because these flours are gluten-free, for the cookies to be firm enough, replace only 1/2 of all-purpose flour with corn or buckwheat flour.
  • Get creative and fill each batch of the cookies with another type of jam or marmalade. You can top the dough discs with chocolate chips, Nutella, vanilla cream or sweet cottage cheese and raisins.
  • Empanada cookies were made with lard instead of butter by the original recipe. If you’re not a strict vegetarian, give it a try; they taste so great you won’t be able to stop eating them.


As mentioned, you can prepare the cookie dough in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days. The dough can be frozen (stored in an airtight container or a plastic bag) and stored in the freezer for up to three months. It’s best to thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

Baked cookies will last for at least a month if stored properly. They won’t dry, and if they get soft, they taste even better.

The best way to store them is in a dry, cool place in a covered cookie box. If the cookies are stored in an airtight container or a plastic bag for too long, they might get too soft.

One of the easiest and most efficient ways is storing the empanada cookies in an empty shoe box wrapped in two large pieces of parchment paper.

Plum jam empanada cookies


Can I fry these empanada cookies instead of baking them in the oven?

No, the dough in this recipe contains a large portion of butter. It’s suitable for baking in the oven and not meant for frying.

Why is my empanada cookie dough so soft?

The dough needs to be chilled before assembling the cookies. If the dough is not cold enough, it will get sticky, and harder to roll out and much harder to form the cookies. Also, if the dough is too soft, the cookies might break while baking.

Can I freeze the empanada cookies?

The empanada cookies will last for at least a month when stored correctly in a dry and cool place. You can also store them in the freezer for up to 3 months, packed in an airtight container or a zip-lock bag. Baked cookies should be thawed at room temperature.

More food nutter’s sweets

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Simple fruit tarts with puff pastry

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Puff pastry cinnamon rolls

empanada cookies
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Empanada cookies

Sweet and delicious jam filled empanada cookies
Servings 6
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 4 cups flour (500 g)
  • 1.1 cup butter (250 g)
  • 0.75 cup sour cream (180 g)
  • 1 packet baking powder (16 g, optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar (optional)
  • jam or chocolate for the filling


  • In a bigger bowl, mix together the butter and sour cream. The butter should be at room temperature to be mixed easily.
  • Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture. Place the dough on a clean surface, sprinkled with flour and knead until all ingredients are well combined, forming a soft dough ball.
  • Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably one hour. In meantime, preheat the oven to 375F/190 C.
  • As before, sprinkle a clean surface with flour and roll out a half of the dough (about three millimeters thick). Return the rest of the dough to the refrigerator.
  • With a cookie cutter or an empty glass (diameter of about 7 cm) cut round discs from the dough. Knead the leftover of the dough again and make another batch of the discs and repeat until you have any dough left.
  • Top the discs with a teaspoon of your favorite jam. fold the discs over and press down the round edge firmly with your fingers. Press the edges again, this time using a fork.
  • Reload the cookies to a baking sheet, covered with parchment pape and bake for about 12-14 minutes at 375 F/190C until the cookies look crunchy and golden.
  • In the meantime; prepare another batch. When the cookies are baked, let them rest for a few minutes, then sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional) while they are still warm.
  • Enjoy 🙂


  • Prepare the dough in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can store the dough in an airtight container or plastic bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator. 
  • Make sure that the dough is chilled enough before assembling the cookies. If the butter in the dough is melted, it will be hard to roll it out and form the cookies. 
  • To prevent the leaking make sure you don’t top the discs with too much jam. 
  • When preparing one batch of cookies, keep the rest of the dough refrigerated. 
  • The empanada cookies will last for more than a month if stored properly in a dry and cold place. Prefer storing them in a cookie box instead of an airtight container. The simplest way to store them is in an empty shoe box wrapped in two large pieces of parchment paper. 
  • For a very tasty and healthier variation, use the same amount of whole-meal flour and sugar-free jam. Gluten-free empanada cookies can be made from gluten-free flour using the same recipe. 
  • The tastiest empanada cookies were originally made with lard instead of butter. It is absolutely well worth trying out. 
  • With a little bit of creativity, you can make each batch of cookies with another filling. Try out different types of jam, chocolate, Nutella and/or vanilla cream. 
Calories: 200kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: european
Keyword: cookies, empanadas, empanadilla


Calories: 200kcal

If you liked these awesome cookies, please rate the recipe in the comments below.

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  1. 5 stars
    This is spot on, gluten free and no sugar, always my preferred combo….

  2. 5 stars
    Filling is really amazing! I will definitely try this recipe. Can I use clarified butter instead of butter?

    1. I’m glad you liked it; these cookies are really such a nice treat 🙂 You can make them in batches with different fillings, but the homemade jam was, and still is, a traditional filling that’s most widely used. I’ve never tried to make them with clarified butter, but I’ll try it out and let you know! It should work out fine, as the clarified butter is even less susceptible to high temperatures.

  3. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness, these look delicious! Thanks for sharing on Happiness is Homemade on LifeasaLEOWife.com. I’d love to have you come by & share on Crafty Creators Link Party as well. It has a different audience & I’m sure they would love this recipe too. It’s open Thursdays at 6am through Monday nights at 11:59. Hope to see you there!
    Niki | Life as a LEO Wife

    1. Thanks, it’s always a pleasure to meet you there 🙂

5 from 3 votes

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