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crispy chorizo empanadas with salsa and chimichurri sauce on large white platter

Crispy Chorizo Empanadas

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  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 7 1x
  • Category: Appetizers & Snacks
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Latin


These homemade Crispy Chorizo Empanadas are loaded with extra flavorful goodness! Perfectly seasoned chorizo (pork sausage), sautéed onions, corn, manzanilla olives, and cheese. That delicious filling is then wrapped in scratch-made, tender pastry dough and fried to crispy perfection. The best empanadas, ever! Cooking instructions for both air fryer and oven-baked empanadas included!



For the pastry dough:

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups beef tallow or duck fat/vegetable shortening- see notes
  • 1 1/4 cups ice cold water

For the chorizo empanada filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb ground Mexican chorizo (pork sausage)
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste or 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Manzanilla (Spanish) olives
  • 1/2 cup whole kernel corn
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella or Oaxaca cheese
  • vegetable or canola oil, for frying


For the pastry dough:

  1. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, and salt together. Whisk the dry ingredients well to combine. Then add in the beef tallow/alternate fat (or butter, if using- see notes). Use your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to pinch the fat into the dry mixture until little pea-sized bits form throughout and all the fat is coated with the flour mixture.
  2. Then make a small well in the center of the mixture and pour in the ice-cold water. Use your hands, again, to bring everything together as much as you can. Empty out the bowl and all residual bits onto a clean surface. Use your hands to knead the dough together, squeezing the dough onto itself until the dough forms into one cohesive mass with no dry bits.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Transfer the dough into the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours- fyi: allow the dough to sit on the counter to soften some before assembling empanadas).

For the chorizo empanada filling:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat the bottom of the skillet with the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add in the ground chorizo. Use a wooden utensil to cook the chorizo, stirring often, until completely browned. Then add in the chopped onion, and continue cooking, about 3-4 minutes or until the onions are tender.
  2. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add in the scallions, stir together and continue cooking the mixture for another 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Season the chorizo mixture with salt/pepper- to taste, and then remove from the skillet from heat. Toss in the olives and corn and fold within the mixture to combine. Allow the filling to cool down before assembling the empanadas.

Chorizo empanada assembly & cooking:

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. For optimal precision, use a deep fry thermometer to heat the oil up to 360°F. Then set a large baking sheet aside that’s fitted with a wire rack (or lined with paper towels).
  2. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and divide the dough into equal pieces for empanadas. I like to use a kitchen scale to get a uniform size in each piece of dough (I make mine about 5.5 ounces each, which will result in a total of 7 chorizo empanadas). You can weigh yours out to be smaller for more empanadas, too.
  3. After gathering the pieces of dough, roll them into the palms of your hands into a smooth ball. Then use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a round circle that is about 6-7 inches.
  4. Fill one side of the pastry with about 4 tablespoons of the chorizo filling mixture. For smaller empanadas, use 2 tablespoons. Then top the mixture with a few tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Fold the empty side of the pastry over the filling, forming a crescent shape (half-moon), tucking the filling in, if needed. Then, I like to use my hands to gently apply a little pressure over the filled empanada (ensuring that there is no trapped air/open space).
  5. Then use a fork to crimp the edges or fold small pleats (as pictured) to seal. Place the empanada onto a clean platter and repeat the process until all empanadas have been assembled and set aside.
  6. Once the oil temperature is reached, add the empanadas into the oil, working in batches (about 2 at a time). Fry the empanadas until they get crispy with a golden-brown color, about 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted utensil or kitchen spider to remove the empanadas and set onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining empanadas.
  7. Allow the chorizo empanadas to cool down for 5 minutes. Then serve immediately alongside your favorite salsas, chimichurri, or other sauces for dipping the empanadas, if desired. Enjoy!


  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  2. For the pastry dough fat: I recommend using beef tallow, duck fat, or vegetable shortening. Otherwise, you can use 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes or grated.