Spinach and Cheese Empanadas

Christina Hunter Korn, Food & Culture Editor

Although empanadas exist all over the world, empanadas are extremely popular in Latin American countries. They are often enjoyed at any point throughout the day. Here is just one of the many variations of empanadas that you can try!

Ingredients: Pie Crust

  • 2 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar, optional
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • ½ cup ice water

Instructions: Pie Crust

  1. Mix flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl, then add butter.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits with a few larger bits are fine)
  3. Measure 1/2 cup of water in a cup. Add ice and stir. Measure 1/2 cup of water (since the ice will have melted). Drizzle cold water into flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every tablespoon added. Do not add any more water than necessary: stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. 
  4. Transfer pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and not feel too sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the dough. Form it into a ball.
  5. Tightly wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours

Ingredients: Filling

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten, for optional egg wash


  1. Roll out pie crust, and using a 4-inch biscuit cutter or a circular glass, cut out approximately 12 circles, ½-inch thick. Keep re-rolling the crust until you have used as much as possible. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté olive oil, onion, minced garlic and spinach until the spinach has wilted.
  3. In a large bowl, combine egg, ricotta cheese, parmesan, and salt. Mix. Stir in spinach mixture until it is well combined.
  4. Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, fill each pie crust circle with a dollop of filling. Fold the crust in half and pinch edges. Seal by pressing the tines of a fork along the edge. Repeat with all circles.
  5. Place empanadas on a non-stick or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops with beaten egg yolk for a rich color (optional). Bake for 18-22 minutes in a 425°F oven.
  6. Leave them to cool on the baking sheet, remove, and enjoy!  

This piece also appears in our March 2022 print edition.