Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gluten Free Empanadas Dough

Empanadas dough from Julia and Julieta on Vimeo.

Empanadas are a traditional dish from Argentina. They are also big in other countries in South America, with slightly variations.
Today we’ll show you how to make traditional beef empanadas, with gluten free dough (quite an adventure…!).
Now, we tested a few recipes, and not all of them worked out great. So here goes the one that worked best. In the video you’ll learn proper preparation, but we think that the following recipe makes a better dough (the one in the video came out a little dry).

Gluten Free Empanada Dough:


2 cups gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup of water

The best way to make a perfect dough is to use a food processor and work as fast as you can. You want to avoid the butter to get warm and to change the texture of your dough. If you work the dough and get your butter warm, your dough will get greasy and shapeless. A big disaster!
But very easy to avoid.

Make sure you keep the butter in the fridge until the very last minute. Get iced cold water.
Place gluten free flour mix, 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum, the water, the butter cut in cubes and salt in the food processor. Make it work until it takes the shape of a ball. Or until you see that a big ball of dough gets rounded and spins as a ball all together. Stop in immediately, get it out of the machine, cover it with film and to the fridge for at least 30 minutes - better if you wait 1 hour.

Once your dough is well rested and cold, sprinkle some gluten free flour on your kitchen table and work it a little bit. Don’t work it too much.
Now you have 2 options: either you use a rolling pan, get it thin and cut perfect discs with a mold (a tea plate or dessert plate will help), or you get balls and make them into circles with the rolling pan. We find the latest the easiest. But maybe you like your food to look pretty and perfect… so you have the option.

To make the empanadas, place a disc on your left hand, and moist your index finger with water. Wet half of the border of your disc. Then place the filling in the middle. Close it, press the border, and pinch it to close it better and give it the nice empanada shape. You’ll see us doing it on the video, it’s actually not difficult at all, but it takes practice.

Cook them on a 350 degree preheated oven for about 30 minutes.

In Argentina you typically find tons of different fillings and flavors. We even make sweet ones for dessert or for the afternoon mate, with quince paste or sweet potato paste.
Some of the most traditional fillings you’ll find are beef, ham and cheese, corn, spinach, tomato cheese and basil, tuna, and chicken.
Check here our recipe for beef empanadas.
There’s an empanada store almost in any block! And they all offer about 20 to 30 different fillings. Ordering empanadas on the phone is the easiest and most common thing to do in Argentina whenever you have friends over, or are just tired after work and want something easy and tasty. We definitely miss them!


  1. I am happy to have discovered your blog. It is lovely and I love empanadas! I will be back :)

  2. Thank you! we'd love to hear how they go!

  3. I love your photos.This really gave me a huge craving for empanadas. I would love to try this recipe.

  4. Thanks Alisa! I really enjoy doing food photography

  5. Julia & Julieta:

    iMil gracias! My father is Argentine and I've always had empanadas, sandwiches de miga, medialunas and all of the other delicious treats from Argentina for Christmas. I was just put on a gluten-free diet and was mourning the loss of these delicacies this Christmas. I'm going to attempt to make the discos tonight. Any suggestions on what type of flour to use? It seems as if there are so many gluten-free flours to choose from. I want to make sure I get the one that will work best and least dry.

    Un Besito...

  6. Hi Cynthia! we usually use a mix from Red Mill - I think the important thing is that you don't touch the dough much, make it quickly and store in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes before rolling. Happy holidays!

  7. HI, can you post recipes without xantham gum? I get major gummy tummy, like most people. :) Thanks!

  8. Thanks! After a few years in Argentina, my kids only like the Argentine variety. With a new need for a gluten free we have felt a major loss. Thanks for renewed hope. We can't wait to try the recipe.

  9. Hi! Does the recipe in the video take lard, instead of butter? If yes, can you tell me how many tablespoons? Thanks, Ceci

  10. Yes, you can either make them with lard or butter - we found that using lard changes the texture... in a positive way :)
    8 Tablespoons is the equivalent to 1 stick. Hope you try them!

  11. can you deep fry the empanadas!! thank you

  12. Thanks for the recipe!! We are dealing with lactose as well as gluten intolerance, has anyone tried this with a non-dairy butter substitute?

  13. So the video is significantly different than the printed recipe. 3 1/2 TBS lard vs. 8 TBS in the printed recipe; 2 cups of water vs. 3/4 cup in the printed recipe; 2 1/2 cups of flour (it looks like, or is it 3 cups?) vs. 2 cups in the printed recipe.

    Can you tell me what the finished dough looks like, especially for the video recipe? Is it flaky?

  14. Hi there, please note that after several tests, the recipe noted here is better than the one in the video. Preparation in the video is correct, so follow the same steps.
    From the blog post:"Now, we tested a few recipes, and not all of them worked out great. So here goes the one that worked best. In the video you’ll learn proper preparation, but we think that the following recipe makes a better dough (the one in the video came out a little dry)." Hope you try it!

  15. I'm going to try your recipe. Thanks for the video demo.

  16. So how many empanadas does this make?

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