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The 9 Best Empanada Dough Substitutes

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In this article, I will show you how best to use these substitutes and create your own perfect faux-empanada bite. I’ll also take you on a journey around the world and introduce you to a plethora of international stuffed pastry foods.

Here are the 9 best empanada dough substitutes:

A woman rolling dough to make homemade empanadas

1. Pie Dough

Pie dough is the best option to use as a substitute for empanada dough because of its flakiness and the tendency to sop up flavors well. Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, pie dough takes well to both baking and frying. Just roll it out and treat it like you would the empanada dough.

2. Panzerotti Dough

Panzerotti is a European version of our beloved Hot Pockets, a pizza pocket if you want. It’s a slightly softer version of pizza dough and can be baked or fried. 

It’s made with all-purpose flour, oil, water, salt, and activated yeast, so the finished product will be a bit more bread-like than your standard empanada. After you combine the ingredients and knead the dough, leave it to rest. Use it the same as empanada dough from here on out. 

3. Canned Biscuit Dough

Canned biscuit dough is another great empanada dough substitute. Just take it out of the can, flatten it, and fill it with your empanada stuffing. Deep fry it and leave it in a bowl lined with paper napkins –the napkins will collect the excess oil leaving you with yummy warm goodness.

4. Pierogi Dough

Pierogi are a type of Polish dumpling with soft, elastic, buttery dough. They lend well to sweet and savory fillings and, if deep-fried, will make an excellent empanada dough substitute. After filling and crimping the dough, cook it and then fry it in 500°F oil in an electric fryer until golden brown.

5. Naan Bread Dough

Stuff your naan bread! Fill the center and fold the dough in half. Press the edges together to keep the filling from spilling out, fry it in a pan for a few minutes and transfer into a 480°F oven for 5 minutes. Enjoy your Indian-inspired empanada –this is culinary fusion at its best!

6. Crêpes

To add a touch of French cuisine to your dish, try crêpes with empanada stuffing. You can purchase crêpe mix at the grocery or use a recipe at home, and prepare them as normal for use as an empanada dough substitute. Just fold the crêpe as you would a burrito, transfer it to a pan, and fry it. You can also bake it in the oven. 

7. Dumpling Wrappers

When using the dumpling wrapper, keep in mind you will get a much lighter and thinner version of an empanada. The dough is made only with flour, salt, and water, so the mouthfeel will be very different, but it can still do the trick. Just don’t forget to cook or steam your stuffed dumpanada before frying it.

8. Pasty Dough

Pasty is a British handheld shortcrust baked meat pie. Like the pie crust dough, it makes an excellent empanada dough substitute. Unlike the empanada dough, however, it doesn’t contain eggs. It is still a great alternative giving you a sturdy, flavorful vessel for the empanada filling.

9. Bread Slices

If you are in a pinch and don’t have the time or the ingredients, try this sliced bread alternative. Cut off the crust of your slices, and lay them in twos on some cling film, slightly overlapping them. Fold the cling film over the slices and roll them out using a rolling pin. This will make your bread slices fuse together. Then fill them with your empanada filling and crimp them with a fork. Brown them on a skillet with lots of butter and enjoy your very own bread empanadas.

Is Empanada Dough the Same as Pizza Dough?

Empanada dough is not the same as pizza dough. Made with all-purpose flour, butter, egg, salt, and water, empanada dough is flaky and tender, unlike pizza dough, which is chewier and bread-like. Pizza dough still makes a good substitute if need be.

Can You Use Puff Pastry for Empanadas?

You can use puff pastry to make empanadas. Puff pastry is much flakier because it’s made by layering butter and folding the dough, making the water in the butter puff the layers. Puff pastry can be deep fried like empanada dough, but it’s best to use frozen pastry in that case.

Can You Buy Pre-made Empanada Dough?

You can always buy pre-made fresh or frozen empanada dough in case you find the whole process of dough making too tedious or if you simply don’t have time to make it yourself. 

Where to Buy Empanada Dough

You can buy empanada dough in most supermarkets. It is usually available in discs and found in ethnic food aisles. The most famous empanada dough is from the Goya brand. 

You can even find Goya empanada dough available on Amazon in case it isn’t available at your local grocery.

Homemade empanadas ready to cook

What Is Similar to an Empanada? 

Some foods that are similar to an empanada include samosas, spring rolls, and calzones. Some lesser-known versions of an empanada include pastel, a fast-food dish from Brazil, and gyoza, a Japanese dish resembling a pot sticker. 

Every corner of the world has its own version of empanadas. It seems like it’s a universal thing; every country likes to wrap their food in bread. Be it sweet or savory, there is nothing like a fried or baked treat you can enjoy with your family around the Sunday table or on the go.

Empanada Versions From Around the World

Here are some well-known dishes and some you have never heard about:

  • Samosa is a popular Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian dish. It’s usually loaded with spiced potato and deep fried, often with chutney on the side.
  • Spring rolls – originate from Southeast Asia but are popular worldwide. They consist of a wrapper and cooked vegetables, sometimes with the addition of pork, chicken, or shrimp.
  • Jiaozi – are Chinese dumplings filled with meat and vegetables folded in the shape of a Chinese sycee. They are boiled, pan-fried, or steamed.
  • Gyoza – is a Japanese version of Chinese pot stickers.
  • Calzone is a folded pizza. Need I say more?
  • Vetkoek is South African fried dough stuffed with curry mince or cheese and syrup.
  • Pastel is a Brazilian fast-food dish. It’s a pie with a thin crust filled with a sweet or savory filling, fried in vegetable oil.
  • Lihapiirakka – meaning ‘meat pie’, is a popular Finnish handheld pie made from doughnut dough filled with ground beef and rice. 
  • Khuushuur is a Mongolian wheat flour dough filled with beef, mutton, or camel ground with onions and spices. The Khuushuur is then fried or deep-fried and is perfect for eating on the go.
  • Coxinha – a Brazilian drumstick-shaped street food snack, is a dough prepared with chicken stock, filled with chopped chicken meat, coated in batter and bread crumbs or cassava flour, and deep-fried.
  • Burek – is a Balkan flaky pie originating from the former Ottoman Empire. It’s made with phyllo dough and ground beef or cottage cheese. Burek is also a cornerstone of a great feud in the Balkans between the people who claim burek can be filled with cheese and the purists who claim the only real burek is a meat-filled one.
  • Haliva – is a fried turnover filled with potatoes or Circassian cheese. It originates from Circassia, now a historical region on the northeast shore of the Black Sea.
  • Chapssal doughnut – is a Korean doughnut made from glutinous rice flour that gives this dessert a crispy outside and a chew on the inside. It’s filled with red bean paste and coated with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Bánh gối – is a Vietnamese dumpling filled with meat, vegetables, mushrooms, and vermicelli. This is a Vietnamese version of Chinese yau gok.
  • Jiandui or Sesame ball – is a glutinous rice flour pastry coated in sesame seeds. It’s most often filled with lotus seeds, black beans, or red bean paste.

Recap

The nine best substitutes for empanada dough:

  1. Pie dough
  2. Panzerotti dough
  3. Canned biscuit dough
  4. Pierogi dough
  5. Naan dough
  6. Crêpes
  7. Dumpling dough
  8. Pasty dough
  9. Bread slices

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For more, don’t miss Do Corn Tortillas Need to Be Refrigerated? | Storage Guide.

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