What is an Empanada?

An empanada is simply a pastry with various kinds of filling; it is most prominently shared in Filipino and Latin American cultures, but is enjoyed greatly in the west. They are originally from Portugal and Galicia, in Spain, often thought to have been influenced by samosas, a popular Indian dish. The word itself is derived from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning “to enbread,” which couldn’t be more appropriate for this treat. It can be baked or fried and holds savory flavors in the center. Some of the most popular empanada fillings include ground beef, rellenos, and chicken. Some people fill empanadas with sweeter flavors, like raspberry, chocolate, and caramel, which make a great dessert. The dough itself is often made from wheat flour, but can be made with corn flour as well. For a sweeter dough, you could use almond flour, chocolate, and a slew of spices.

What’s great about this food is its versatility; you can munch on these whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Add your favorite sauces and a side of salad and you got yourself a filling meal.

What is an Empanada Press?

The structure of an empanada is a certain kind of filling enveloped by bread. The function of an empanada press is to tightly seal the pastry over the fillings; when you press this down, it leaves the signature empanada crimp over the curve of the semi-circle. The pattern provides character and texture; it leaves your empanadas looking very homemade! Empanada presses are typically very versatile; they can be used to make many other delicacies, including dumplings, ravioli, pot stickers, and turnovers. Because the general mechanism and design is quite simple, these are great for both professional chefs and home cooks. It cuts down your time and labor. We’ve put together a list of the 10 best, hottest, sleekest empanada presses on the market!

The 10 Best Empanada Presses

This BellaBetty Empanada Press isn’t a popular choice for no reason. Sister to the other popular BellaBetty empanada press, this one is high quality, made with hygienic food grade 304 stainless steel to avoid corrosion and rusting.

The mold is 4.75 inches (they also give you the option to choose a smaller size, 3.54 inches, depending on your needs).

The handle itself is very durable and meant to stay tight with the customized spring lock washer. Though curved handles are easier for storage, the long handles make this presser easier to use.

Thankfully, the bottom of the cutter body is quite sharp, so you can easily cut the circular shapes of your empanadas by pushing the press down on your dough. You'll want to invest in this baby if you really know what you want out of a long-term empanada press!

This number 1 best seller empanada maker is prepared for all of your empanada needs.

Made out of hygienic 304 stainless steel, this BellaBetty empanada press is durable, resisting rust, bending, breaking, and weakening. Its diameter is 3.74 inches, which is normal for most empanada presses. This design has curved handles, which make storage easier and is a little more aesthetically pleasing! When opened, the bottom is sharp enough to cut your dough into uniform circles, so your empanadas won’t come out looking sloppy when you present them. Before you use this, the brand recommends spraying the press with oil before placing your dough. It makes the process much smoother and easier to clean. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe, making it that much easier!

The Proshopping X-Large Empanada Press lands on this list for easy usage, especially for those new to making homemade empanadas.

It is made of 100% food grade, eco-friendly stainless steel. None of the food sticks to the body after you crimp it, making it significantly easier to clean. Pop this baby in the dishwasher when you're done and you’ll be good for the next time you use it.

The diameter of this press is 5 inches, considerably larger than the average 3 or 4 inch press. You’ll be able to make relatively large empanadas. And it’ll only take seconds to make each empanada; press the circle on your dough, place it on the inside of the press, put the filling in the center, and crimp!

KAYCROWN is a brand made by professionals to make products for everyone! Knowing the variation of both professionals and home cooks, they offer three different sizes of empanada press to choose from: 3.25 inches, 4 inches, and 4.5 inches.

With a mirror-polishing, it’s made of 100% food grade 18-8 stainless steel, so you know this thing will last you for years of empanada making.

And the longer handles make it easier to grip, even if you’re a little clumsy! They pride this product on its sharp edges in order to make it easier to cut circles in your dough. So go on and get cookin’!

HOKICHEN is another brand with great empanada presses. They offer two different diameters that are relatively small if you are looking to make more empanadas with less dough. The smallest diameter is 2.95 inches and the large diameter is 3.74 inches.

This dishwasher safe empanada press is sturdy and avoids rusting and corrosion, because it is made of hygienic 304 stainless steel.

You can also use this press to create uniform circles in your dough. The smallest size accommodates perfectly out of all the other brands on this list when you want to make as many empanadas with your dough as possible.

Not happy with this empanada press? No worries! This brand promises a lifetime 100% money back guarantee.

This Conveasy empanada press is another excellent option for sealing your empanadas.

This presser is made of hygienic 304 stainless steel, so you won’t have to worry about your food being contaminated. It also won’t rust, bend, or break under pressure!

Rather than a rod at the end of each semi-circle, there are two hooks for easy usage and storage. The body comes with a design for a crimped seal and has a diameter of 3.74 inches for your traditional empanadas.

You can stick it the dishwasher when you’re all done for your convenience! And yes, you can also use this for dumplings, pierogi, and ravioli too!

If you’re looking to make big and well-filled empanadas, the Pamiso large empanada press may be the one for you!

Its body has a diameter of 5.5 inches, perfect for bigger portions for those family get-togethers.

It is made of hygienic 18/8 stainless steel, meaning it won’t rust and remains durable enough for all of your kitchen needs.

The bottom is deep enough to cut your dough into the perfect circular pieces, allowing for uniform empanadas. It just cuts down all of your prepping time to a few seconds.

Interested in making more than just empanadas? Pamiso has got you covered! It’s also great for ravioli, pot stickers, piroshkis, pierogies, and turnovers!

This Jumbo Empanada Press by IMUSA is another sensible empanada press option.

It is made from durable plastic, as opposed to stainless steel, but can still efficiently get the job done. Since it's plastic, it also won't be too heavy in your hand.

This press is quite large! It is about 5.7 inches in diameter, so this is perfect for you if you want to stuff plenty of filling into your dough. We suggest finding that sweet spot for your empanadas where the amount of filling complements the amount of dough!

However, because this device has a sharp line under the body’s center, it will cut your circular dough in half, preventing you from being able to cut your dough into proper empanada dough. Nonetheless, you will get a lot of use out of this empanada press!

Now this is a unique one! This empanada press made by GUEER has a classy rectangular cut with a wooden material; and yes, it still has that signature crimp design!

Though not made of stainless steel, this press is still durable and food grade safe. And even makes for good kitchen eye candy when you're not using it!

 The diameter of the circle is roughly 3 inches, which is normal for an empanada press; you may not be able to cut your dough efficiently with this utensil, but it provides a good foundation for your dough size! 

It is also versatile enough for other dumpling-like food, so you’ll probably be using this plenty. Though it's quite different, this brand is still a sensible option for those looking for an easy-to-store and easy-to-use empanada press.

Kuchenprofi’s empanada press is also just as efficient as many of the other empanada presses on this list!

It is manufactured with hygienic 18/8 stainless steel. The diameter of the body is 4.75 inches, making it fall between the average 3 inches and the bigger 5.5 inches. This is something to pay attention to if you’re looking to make your empanadas at a certain size.

The bottom of this press is also capable of cutting your dough into the perfect size circles. Your empanadas -- or dumplings, ravioli, and potstickers -- will be completely uniform!

Plus, this empanada press has the long handles at the end of each semi-circle, making it easier to navigate when you actually need to seal your empanadas! Once you’re done just throw it in your dishwasher!

This is great for someone who pays attention to the size of their empanadas, and it’s simple enough to work for everyone!

These empanada presses making the process of making handmade empanadas so much easier! Regardless of which one you choose to purchase, it’ll have your empanadas looking neat and uniform, and will create less mess in the kitchen without taking up all the space!

Traditional Empanada Recipe

Since there are so many variations of empanadas, it can be difficult to find the one that works perfectly for everyone. We decided to indulge in the Argentine beef empanadas; you are welcome to add or change anything you see fit! After all, that’s part of the fun!

It will take about 1-2 hours to prep depending on your desired yield and 25-35 minutes to cook. This recipe will make about 20 medium empanadas.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • About 3 cups of flour
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup of lard or butter
  • About 1 cup of milk

Ingredients for the beef:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 pound of beef
  • 2 white onions
  • ½ cup lard or butter
  • 1 egg white and yolk
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of paprika
  • ½ tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 serving of green onions
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper

For the empanada filling, heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add in the onions and garlic to fry until onions are soft. Mix your ground beef, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper together in a separate bowl. Add this mixture to the large pan of onions, garlic, and olive oil. Cook until the meat is done and ready. Throw in chopped oregano and green onions. Let it cool in the fridge until the liquids solidify for juicy empanadas.

For the empanada dough, mix the salt into the flour using a food processor, then add in the lard or butter; work it into the flour. Slowly add in the milk (it gives these Argentine beef empanadas their creaminess) and the egg yolk. Keep track of the consistency until it is dough-y. Take them out of the processor and form the dough into one flat disc; allow it to chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Take out the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Next, you’ll want to take your empanada press and press even circles onto the dough. There will be leftover dough so combine all those pieces and create another disk. Keep pressing the empanada press into dough until there is very little to none remaining.

Then, take the same empanada press and place the circular dough at the top. Brush some of the egg white over the edges to ensure a good seal. Depending on the size of your press, eyeball a good amount of your filling and place it in the center of the circular dough. Press the empanada press together tightly for a few seconds and release. Wow! So easy! Now repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Brush the dough of each empanada with some egg yolk.

Once you’re done preparing your empanadas, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the empanadas for about 25 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the outer dough is golden. And there you go! Serve with your favorite sauce and/or a side salad.

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