Recipe Review

This Quick and Easy Recipe for Apple Pie Empanadas Is the Perfect Dupe for a Discontinued Favorite

published Feb 27, 2022
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Apple Pie Empanadas I Tried It
Credit: Carlos Matias

I’ll never forget my first taste of a Taco Bell apple pie empanada. The sweet, gooey center of diced apples mixed in with a creamy caramel sauce was a huge departure from the savory empanadas I grew up eating at baby showers and family gatherings. I was expecting some kind of meat, chicken, seafood, or even cheese, so the sweet, fruity oozing caramel cream blew me away at first bite. Was it a meal? A snack? A dessert? All of the above? It was literally heaven to me.

Sadly, however, I didn’t know my taste of bliss would be coming to an end sooner than expected. Despite Twitter uprisings and countless petitions, Taco Bell discontinued its apple pie empanadas in 2019, leading me to believe I’d never have one again. But once I came across Chef Law Cannon’s apple pie empanada recipe, I knew my luck was about to change.

Get the recipe: Apple Pie Empanadas

How To Make Apple Pie Empanadas

Making these dessert empanadas was a lot easier than I thought it would be; if I’d known that, I would have been making them a lot sooner!

You’ll start by making the apple glaze. First, you’ll melt salted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Peel, slice, and dice your apples (the recipe specifically calls for Granny Smith apples) and add to the melted butter. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Mix until the diced apples are well-covered.

Credit: Carlos Matias

Next, pour in heavy cream, vanilla extract, and cornstarch and water (for thickening) before mixing until well-combined. Simmer, while occasionally stirring, until the sauce thickens and the apples turn soft. This should take about 10 minutes. 

Place a few spoonfuls of the apple glaze on the middle of the empanada discs, but remember to leave room at the edges. Fold over and seal the empanada by pressing on the edges with a fork.

Cook the empanadas for about 6 minutes in 350°F oil, taking caution not to overcrowd your pan. Turn them over, so both sides are nice and brown. Once done, top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of your favorite glaze.

Credit: Carlos Matias

My Honest Review of Apple Pie Empanadas

When Taco Bell discontinued their apple pie empanadas, I thought I’d never enjoy the deep-fried dessert ever again. This recipe, however, made it all possible. Making the apple pie glaze was much easier than I thought, and the ingredients were the perfect balance between sweet and tart. The caramel filling was gooey, the apples soft and creamy, and the fried shell was perfectly crunchy. I’m not a fan of frying foods because it leaves little room for error, but the work was well worth it with this recipe.

Tips to Make Apple Pie Empanadas

  1. Use the Granny Smith apples as suggested in the recipe. Granny Smith apples have a more sour taste compared to red apples and that sourness provides a nice balance to the sweet caramel.
  2. Poke holes in the empanadas. I learned this the hard way after having the first few explode in the oil. A tiny hole or two with a toothpick or fork will help prevent the empanada from opening up and chunks of apples swimming in the oil.
  3. Wet the edges of the empanada. Take a little water and spread around the rim before pressing down with the fork. Doing this will help it seal tightly before adding it into the oil.

Get the recipe: Apple Pie Empanadas