Cold Filling Is The Key To Avoiding Soggy Empanadas

Empanadas are a delicious multicultural culinary experience. We love to eat these hand-held pockets of flavorful filling wrapped in crust, no matter what part of the world they represent. Whether baked or fried, the texture of the exterior is key to a successful empanada — the filling should be safely enclosed in tender, browned dough without leaking. You know how we feel about soggy bottoms on pies, and that goes double for a handheld pie! One key to achieving empanada nirvana is ensuring that the filling is cold before the empanada is folded so that it doesn't bubble out and dampen the crust.

The best empanadas have a rich, moist filling that contrasts with the baked dough exterior. The moisture in the filling comes to a simmer in the oven, expanding as it heats. If the filling expands too much, it can push through the sealed edge of the empanada. By chilling the filling, you are giving the pastry the necessary time to become golden brown and delicious before the filling has a chance to leak out.

Tips for the perfect empanadas

Our favorite tip to share for perfect empanadas is to make the filling the day before. You can refrigerate or freeze most fillings, then make the dough and fold up the empanadas later. Folding empanadas is fun to do with friends — make several fillings in advance to chill, and then enjoy a tasty activity together the next day. But, if you're eager to get your empanadas in the oven, even a quick stint in the freezer will help cool the filling enough to prevent leakage; fifteen minutes should do the trick. Always spread hot filling out in a thin layer for faster, safer, and more even cooling.

As you fold your empanadas they may become warm in the heat of your kitchen, so be sure they are cold before baking or frying. Chilling both the filling and the dough will keep the liquid inside where it belongs and keep the edge sealed, preventing bursting and that dreaded soggy bottom.