Apple Empanadas (Spanish Apple Hand Pies) Recipe

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Apple Empanadas (Spanish Apple Hand Pies) Recipe: Apple hand pies made in the Spanish way are called baked apple empanadas. They are a tasty treat for the afternoon or a rustic dessert. To make an easy empanada, use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter and stuff apples that smell like cinnamon. They’re warm and bubbly after a quick bake in the oven!

When I lived in Barcelona, I made it my goal to eat every kind of dessert in the cases of the shops in my neighborhood. These apple empanadas are a memory of those times. A group of sweet empanadas caught my eye one day, right next to the spicy beef and tuna empanadillas. I had never thought to make sweet empanadas before! I quickly saw that they looked a lot like apple hand pies and turnovers, so I enjoyed the sweet version of my favorite afternoon snack.


I found that apple stuffing was the most frequent. The baked hand pies are slightly sour, sweet, and seasoned with spices. People in the Barcelona area call them crestes de poma, but people all over northern Spain call them empanadillas de manzana.

I quickly learned that apple empanadas are great for breakfast, dessert, or merienda (afternoon snack) during the fall and winter. Yes, Spain really does get cold!When I make apple empanadas at home, I don’t make them as big as the ones you get at coffee shops. Because they are smaller, they are the perfect light treat that won’t make you need a nap afterward.


I also make the dough with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, which is what most people do. The oil gives the food a lovely fruity taste. Even better, you don’t need to chill the dough before putting it together.

Apple chunks are cooked in cinnamon, lemon zest, and vanilla extract on the stove for the filling. The tastes are the same as a regular apple pie, but the dough is stronger and easier to work with.


Apple Empanadas (Spanish Apple Hand Pies) Recipe


For The Dough:

  • 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup tepid water

For The Filling:

  • 3 large sweet or semisweet apples (about 24 ounces), peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

For The Topping:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Make the dough-Toss the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor a few times. Add the olive oil slowly while the food processor is going. As you add half of the water, keep running the food processor. While the machine is still running, scrape the sides and bottom of it to spread out any dry or wet spots in the dough. Start up the food processor again and slowly add the rest of the water until the dough forms a ball.
  2. Knead the dough.Put the dough on a clean surface and knead it by hand for about 30 seconds, or until it comes together and there are no more dry bits of flour. It’s important that the dough is smooth and not sticky. Put a lid on the dough and let it rest while you make the apple filling.
  3. Come up with the apple filling – Warm up the olive oil in a big sauté pan that doesn’t stick over medium-high heat. Add a piece of apple to test the temperature once the oil is glowing but before it starts to smoke. As soon as the pan is hot enough, the apple should gently sizzle. If you need to, change the heat. Spread the apples out in the pan so that they are almost all in one layer. Add the rest of the apples and the sugar and cinnamon. For 5 to 10 minutes, stir the apples every now and then until they start to turn brown.
  4. Finish putting it in – Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon peel, vanilla extract, and lemon juice, and toss the apples to coat them all. Leave alone until it’s safe to touch.
  5. Warm the oven up – Put a rack in the middle of the oven and heat it up to 400°F. Put parchment paper or a plastic baking mat on the bottom of a baking sheet.
  6. Roll out the dough – Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. One piece of dough at a time should be worked on, and the others should be covered so they don’t dry out. Each piece of dough should be rolled out into a circle about 5 inches across. Although the olive oil in the dough should keep it from sticking to the table, you can add a little flour to the dough and work area if it starts to stick.
  7. Make the empanadas full – Put two large tablespoons of the apple filling in the middle of the dough. Start at one end of the empanada and fold up and twist one of the edges with your thumb and fingers. Roll the two edges together toward the middle of the empanada. Hold the rolled edge in place by gently pinching it. Twist and fold the sides in this way until you get to the other end of the empanada. You could also press and seal the sides together with the tines of a fork. Do this again and again until all the dough is used up. Roll, stuff, and close.
  8. Bake – Spread out the empanadas on the baking sheet that has been lined with foil. Mix the egg and a tablespoon of water together in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to lightly cover the tops of the empanadas with the egg wash. Then, sprinkle them with a lot of sugar. Put it in the oven for 25 minutes or until it turns golden brown.


  • Calories: 219.2kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 26.4g
  • Protein: 3.7g
  • Fat: 10.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.6g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 7.6g
  • Trans Fat: 0.002g
  • Cholesterol: 13.6mg
  • Sodium: 103.6mg
  • Potassium: 40.5mg
  • Fiber: 0.9g
  • Sugar: 2.5g
  • Vitamin A: 20.8IU
  • Vitamin C: 0.4mg
  • Calcium: 8.3mg
  • Iron: 1.6mg


Q1. What to Serve with Apple Empanadas

Spaniards tend to eat pastries for breakfast or during an afternoon coffee break instead of after a meal. Serve these apple hand pies with a cup of coffee, tea, or a carajillo, and enjoy the merienda.

Q2. How to Seal Empanadas

It can be tricky to seal and crimp empanadas, especially with this olive oil dough that doesn’t stick as much as traditional dough. Sealing the empanadas properly not only looks nice but also keeps the filling’s juices from leaking onto your sheet pan.


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