The Best Gluten-Free Empanada Dough

The Best Gluten-Free Empanada Dough

The Best Gluten Free Empanada Dough

Dear Reader, you are cuckoo for empanadas.

I, on the other hand, am also crazy for melamine.

Today, we both win.

First, the empanadas. Wanna know how I know that there’s nothing you won’t do for a good gluten-free empanada? Okay, fine. I’ll tell you.

If you have a blog, you already know this, so feel free to zone out. For the rest of us …

On the back end of a blog, there are all sorts of goodies: half baked posts awaiting their turn in the sunshine, referrers to your site, and, my personal favorite, Search Engine Terms. This is where you get to see what sort of Internet searches readers did on engines like Google that led them to your blog. It’s a perverse sort of thrill for me, ’cause I only know about the searches people did that led them here. If they were looking for something and found it elsewhere, well, I’ll never know and I can’t learn from that. I read it every day, though, since I’m naturally quite curious, and because every once in a while there’s a BIG payoff. See if you can spot it below.

Apparently, if you’re only 13 and you’re craving nudity, what you do is come here. To this site. And get your jollies.

How do I get my jollies? Melamine. You know how I love you, Buttercup, but lately, I have been cheating on you. With melamine. I am head-over-heels for this stuff. See that plate and dipping bowl above? Is it fine china? Not this time! It’s none other than indestructible, unavoidable, irrepressible {although not microwaveable, but he who is without fault may cast the first stone} melamine.

Let’s get back to your jollies, though, shall we? You love empanadas. I love empanadas. And I love you. And this is the king of all empanada dough recipes. It rolls out smooth, like buttah, yet it’s still sturdy. And when you bite into it after it’s cooked, it’s as tender and flaky as any traditional empanada I have ever had in Spain.

The Best Gluten Free Empanada Dough

Empanada Dough 2.0
Recipe Type: Appetizer/Entree
Author: Nicole@ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 36
Primo gluten-free empanada dough
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (e.g., Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or cream (low-fat is fine, nonfat is not, nondairy substitute is fine)
  1. In a medium saucepan, place the wine, water, butter and shortening and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is simmering (about 3 to 4 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and dump in the flour and xanthan gum. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together (it will happen quickly). Add the milk/cream by the tablespoonful, and knead into the dough until it is smooth.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface and knead until fairly smooth. Do NOT flour the kneading surface.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for an hour. This is an important step.
  4. After the dough has rested, roll until it is about 1/8-inch thick (the width of a nickel), and use a 3-inch biscuit cutter (or smaller or larger, if you prefer) to cut into rounds.

Bean flour blends are not true all-purpose gluten-free flours.
Pamela’s baking mix and Pamela’s bread mix are not all-purpose gluten-free flours, nor were they meant to be. They have all sorts of additional ingredients, like baking powder, baking soda and sugar, and then yeast and sugar, respectively.
Yes, you really do need the wine for flavor. It’s worth opening a bottle.


P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! With your support, I can keep the blog going and going!

Like this recipe?

Comments are closed.

  • sally
    September 19, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    Thank you for all your efforts. Have you tried freezing them for later? Wondering if this would work. THank you,looking forward to making them today.

  • February 19, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I made this recipe in the weekend it it came out very well.

  • Jen Kollmeyer Miller on Facebook
    February 19, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! These were fantastic! My husband is deployed and I am trying as many new things as possible to expose him to as few “ricey” tasting items as I can. I am looking forward to many options with these and that means the world to me. :)

  • February 18, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Thanks for noticing, Miranda. :)

  • February 18, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    I find it hard to believe youre leaveing anything for the new book. Youre the best!

  • Sarah
    August 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    I did. :)

  • Anneke
    July 23, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Okay, love this dough! It came together beautifully, rolled out great, and worked in my Tupperware empanada maker without sticking. I can see this being my new go-to for a quick meal — stuffed with whatever I have available. This is fabulous, Nicole! (My daughter, the one with celiac, is standing right here as I type this. She said, “you should write ‘you are awesome,’ because, really, it’s true!”) So, You Are Awesome, Nicole!

    • Nicole
      July 24, 2011 at 10:33 PM

      Hi, Anneke,
      Yay! I’m so glad you love this dough as much as I do. And I l-o-v-e love the fact that your daughter is so excited about it! I feel like I can picture her standing next to you, as excited as you and I both are, thinking this whole thing is simply awesome. That is the sense of possibility that our lives are not rich enough without. You’re pretty awesome yourself. And your daughter sounds like an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • July 22, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    […] a couple days ago when we made Empanada Dough 2.0? Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember. Maybe you’re just getting old. It happens […]

  • Bonnie Sue
    July 21, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Sheesh Nicole! Everytime I come here I end up hungry! I was wondering if you’ve ever tried Better Batters pancake/biscuit mix, cake mixes or the brownie mix? They are having a 30% off sale if you include a cake mix and free shipping if you spend $50. I’m wanting to place an order but wanted to know if you’ve tried their mixes and if you liked them. I love their flour. Thanks! BS

    • Nicole
      July 21, 2011 at 10:29 PM

      Hi, Bonnie Sue,
      It’s my job to make you hungry!
      You should definitely try Better Batter’s mixes. They’re awesome! I have used the brownie mix (even tripled it for a huge number of people, and baked it all in one enormous pan and it turned out great!) and the yellow cake mix. You can’t go wrong with really anything from Better Batter!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kadren
    July 21, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    So, have you ever thought of Ice cream sandwiches? I have. I want my kids to experience all that ooey gooey goodness. I might have to tackle that sometime. :)

    • Nicole
      July 21, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      Hi, Kadren,
      Of course! I make my kids ice cream sandwiches all the time. It’s a rite of Summer! The only tricks are to use sturdy cookies (like the thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies from my book – you want thick and chewy, not thin/crunchy) and to let the ice cream soften a bit, but keep the cookies super cold until right before assembling. So the ice cream is lick-able, but the cold cookies help it keep its shape. Enjoy!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Linda S
    July 20, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    ROFLMAO! LOL! LOL! This post made me laugh so hard! You are hysterical, Nicole! And I think I know why — what happened to the rest of that bottle of wine after you used some for the recipe? :) Just kidding! See how I get my jollies? LOL No seriously, you are FUNNY! So are you telling me that each one of us who visits your blog you can see what else we’ve Googled today or is it just the people who find you through Google? Cuz I do a lot of Googling for my job for things I’d never choose to Google – don’t worry, nothing too strange as of yet. :) Thanks for making me laugh at the end of the day today – it sure was a busy one! This dough looks fantastic! You sure did punch gluten’s lights out, I’d say! Can’t wait to find out how you fill them and if you boil these babies w/the filling in them (just like pierogies?). I’ve never had an empanada before and am looking forward to trying one! Luv you too! Linda :)

    • Nicole
      July 21, 2011 at 8:23 AM

      Hi, Linda,
      I wish I could blame it on the alcohol, but these are the things that go through my mind all the time, no help from alcohol necessary. :)
      No, I definitely can’t see what everyone has googled. My “site stats” just tell me things like terms that people googled that led them to my site. The searches are not attributed to any particular computer (at least not from what I can see on my end). They are meant to just give me an idea of what sort of search terms are successful matches to my site. For example, the most common term I see that people have searched that led them to my site is “gluten free on a shoestring,” which tells me that people are probably buying the book, and then going to the site, or hearing about the site itself through some other means, and then googling it to find the blog. That sort of thing. Don’t worry! It’s not very big brother-like at all!
      Tune in tomorrow, and we’ll make some fabulous empanadas. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Pamela G
    July 20, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Cannot wait to make these….is the dough like pierogies or potstickers? can i make them savory?
    we were talking pierogies on Saturday….

    BY the way, missy…i love melamine, too! something about how smmmmooooth it is… and colorful!

    • Nicole
      July 20, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      Hi, Pamela,
      Yes! You can definitely make them savory. I made beef empanadas last night. I will be putting up the sauce (and filling) recipe on Friday. They are distinct from pierogies and from potstickers in that the dough is a bit more delicate and flakier (but not fragile – delicate in taste, not in constitution). But this dough would work for pretty much anything. It might actually be my favorite non-yeast roll-out dough to date.
      So true about melamine. SO smooth!
      Oh, and I LOVE YOU TOO! You + me = love.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Kadren
        July 20, 2011 at 11:45 AM

        You seriously did not leave me hanging on that one! How awful! And here I was thinking, hmmmmm, sounds like dinner tonight! What a let done… :( hee hee hee Can’t wait till Friday! And since I have never had an empanada before, I will have nothing to compare to and it will be oh so yummy! :) I have made GF ravioli before though, and that was extremely good. Made it with a chicken filling instead of beef. Hmmmm, might have to make those again soon too. They froze well also… Ok, really, I’m off to get some work done. I am now the President of my kids’ preschool and I have to get it re- licensed before Aug. 5th. See you Friday!!!

        • Nicole
          July 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM

          Hi, Kadren,
          Oh, no you di’int! Yes, I did. A girl can only publish so many recipes in one day. A girl has to save something for later! You could definitely fill these babies with whatever you like, though, for now, and then give mine a whirl on Friday. Two dinners!
          Oh I can’t believe you are PTA president. That is a thankless job if there ever were one! Best luck! See you Fri…
          xoxo Nicole

        • Kadren
          July 20, 2011 at 1:25 PM

          Haa haa haa It is way worse than a PTA President, I’m President of a private preschool, so I have all the responsibility of keeping it going. I just got elected last week. :) I’ve been on the Board since it was started 4 years ago though, so it isn’t too bad. I think I’ll be making a pie this week too. I picked fresh blackberries, so of course a pie needs to be made. Staring at the picture of fresh pasta on your site and really thinking I need to make it. Guess I need to make lunch, huh?

        • Nicole
          July 20, 2011 at 2:29 PM

          Oh, no. That is worse! ;)
          xoxo Nicole

        • July 20, 2011 at 3:02 PM

          I keep bookmarking your recipes, more than any other food blog. I thought you might like to know that you are my most often bookmarked

        • Nicole
          July 20, 2011 at 3:07 PM

          Hi, String,
          Of course I’d like to know that I’m your most-often-bookmarked! Thank you for telling me. I will endeavor to remain bookmark-able. See you back here Friday, I hope.
          xoxo Nicole

        • Andrea
          July 30, 2011 at 6:15 PM

          Do you have a flour recipe I can use in lieu of the Better Batter? I am in Israel and it would be expensive to ship it.

        • Nicole
          July 30, 2011 at 7:54 PM

          Hi, Andrea,
          Hi all the way in Israel. Is there another all-purpose gluten-free flour that is sold in Israel? I did some searches on the Internet, but came up empty. If not, you can blend your own. Living Without Magazine has a list of gluten-free flour blends that sounds useful: http://www.livingwithout.com/resources/substitutions.html {scroll down to the bottom}. Beth Hillson, the food editor of Living Without, is amazing, and if she says those are proper flour blends, then I believe her.
          I hope that’s helpful. I wish you could get Better Batter, but I would pick one of Beth’s blends and use that and I’m sure the recipe will turn out great.
          xoxo Nicole

        • Kadren
          July 21, 2011 at 11:41 AM

          IS IT FRIDAY YET?!?!?!?!?!? ;) (couldn’t resist!)

        • Sarah
          August 11, 2011 at 10:42 PM

          Awesome! I even made some subs and it still worked!! WOW!! You are a Gluten-free Guru!! This was soooo yummy!! We were fighting for the last one (after the kids stuffed themsleves of course)!

        • Nicole
          August 12, 2011 at 6:12 AM

          Hi, Sarah,
          I prefer the term “svengali.” Just ’cause I like to say it. And pretend I am one.
          I’m so glad you enjoyed them. They rock, indeed.
          So … who won?
          xoxo Nicole

  • Sarah D
    July 20, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    These take me back! In college, I did a presentation on Argentina and made empanadas for the class as my visual. They were so yummy and I had forgotten how much I liked them until you posted this.

    Incidentally, I recently found out my Grandma is gf as well as my sister’s fiance. What a small gluten free world! I was thinking of getting them your book and a box of Better Batter as a wedding present since they’re noew to the whole gluten free thing. Is that weird? :)

    • Nicole
      July 20, 2011 at 10:42 AM

      Hi, Sarah,
      What a lucky class that was, that you made them empanadas!
      I think that’s an awesome wedding gift! Maybe you could even bake them something from the book, and give them that, too? I might want to drop that off before the wedding, though. Don’t want to mess up the wedding dress or wedding suit by stuffing gluten-free baked goods in the pockets. :) You’re a good friend. Any thoughtful gift is a great gift. You’re taking good care of them!
      xoxo Nicole

      • Sarah D
        July 20, 2011 at 11:03 AM

        I WISH I could make something for them, but alas, they are almost 4000 miles away from me. :) My sis is a really good cook and she was a bit taken aback when she and her fiance discovered he can’t have gluten. She was really excited when I told her about your book and blog.

        I’m always so hopeless for wedding presents. I never know if I should get crystal they won’t use, camping stuff that isn’t fancy enough or what. Especially, since we’re on a super-tight budget here. :) I hope they like it. I was searching on Amazon.com for the flour and they have it linked with your book as “frequently bought together”. I love it!

        My grandma was really interested in the book, too. Perhaps I should get her a copy as well? :) Did I mention I love your book and blog? :)

        • Nicole
          July 20, 2011 at 11:06 AM

          Hi, Sarah,
          Maybe an I.O.U. for something delectable when you see them again? Shame you’re not closer.
          I can’t believe that you and your Grandmother were both gluten-free, but neither of you knew that about the other until recently. And your sister’s fiancee. It’s spreading, isn’t it?
          I’m so honored that you love the blog and book. Truly. :)
          xoxo Nicole

  • Anneke
    July 20, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Me, too, on the wine, Nicole! Are you surprised? :) Totally excited, as I got empanda maker thingies recently. I was planning on using them to make your ravioli, and still might, but I will do this first! Yay!! Anneke

    • Nicole
      July 20, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      Hi, Anneke,
      Empanada-making thingies? You mean those little presses? Don’t be afraid to do these by hand (you can see in the picture, I hold them in my old lady hand and crimp them, and it’s super easy). They cinch best when they’re still moist, and I’m a little afraid the dough might get stuck to your empanada-making thingie, since you do not want to dust this dough with flour while working with it.
      So glad you’re happy! Yay, indeed!
      xoxo Nicole

  • amy
    July 20, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Have you tried baking versus frying?

    • Nicole
      July 20, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      Hi, Amy,
      Yes! They bake great. In fact, I didn’t deep fry these anyhow. I stir fried them in a wok. Very little oil necessary, and it’s quicker and easier than turning on the oven, actually.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sylvia
    July 20, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    You know somebody has to ask… we can’t use the wine (for various reasons). What would you sub for it?

    • Nicole
      July 20, 2011 at 10:32 AM

      Hi, Sylvia,
      It’s okay. Ask away! I was trying to answer the is-wine-important-to-this-recipe question, not the what-can-we-sub-for-wine question. If you can’t have wine, and assuming you can’t use any alcohol at all, I would substitute half white grape juice (as long as it’s 100% juice) and half white wine vinegar. If you can have wine, but the alcohol itself is the problem, there is also nonalcoholic white wine. I hope that helps! Sorry for the trouble with the wine, but this recipe is entirely worth it. I promise!
      xoxo Nicole

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