These shortcut gluten-free empanadas are easily made without having to make gluten-free empanada dough. Instead, I use store-bought gluten-free tortillas to create delicious empanadas without any fuss. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
I could only dream of eating a delicious hand-held empanada in the past. I would stare at those doughy empanadas at food fairs and at a popular restaurant in Denver called Maria Empanada. My kids would gobble them up, but I’d have none to enjoy myself.
Instead of fussing in the kitchen creating a gluten-free empanada dough, I figured out a way to make empanadas without a secret shortcut. I’m going to show you exactly how to do that today using flexible cassava flour tortillas as the empanada “dough.”
These gluten-free empanadas only take a few minutes to assemble, a few minutes to bake, and a few seconds to eat. And they look so pretty too!
How to Make Shortcut Gluten-Free Empanadas
While there are a few steps to making these wonderful empanadas, it is such an easy process that once you get the hang of it, you won’t bat an eye at making them.
The first thing you’ll need is to gather your ingredients for the filling.
I use a simple vegetarian filling recipe, but you could use any empanada-filling recipe you desire.
My shortcut empanada filling includes:
- 1/3 cup canned corn
- 1/2 cup canned black beans
- 1 chopped jalapeño pepper
- 1/2 mashed avocado
- 1/2 tsp chopped cilantro
- juice of half a lime
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Simply mix all these ingredients together and set aside.
Next, you’ll want to heat four gluten-free tortillas over low heat in a non-stick pan. I originally used Mikey’s Grain-Free Tortillas, but they have since been discontinued. I now recommend using Seite almond flour tortillas. They come frozen and are a bit stiff out of the bag (especially since I store mine in the freezer), but a little heat makes them extremely flexible.
Place one of the tortillas onto the dough press. Let’s pause for a moment so I can explain more about how this dough press works and why you should get one.
A dough press is a nifty gadget that helps seal the edges of the empanada together, giving it those pretty ripples along the seal. You can get a dough press for under $10 on Amazon (this is the exact one I have). If you don’t have a dough press, you can simply seal the edges together using a fork and firm pressure.
Lay each warmed tortilla on the dough press, then add the bean and corn filling and shredded cheese.
Before sealing the empanada, brush a little egg along the edges. It will work as glue to help seal the edges of the tortilla together.
Then, gently fold the empanada press and apply a good amount of pressure. Voila! You have a sealed tortilla shaped like an empanada that is ready to be baked.
Repeat this step until all the empanadas are complete, placing each empanada on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the top of each empanada with egg to give them a shiny appearance once baked.
Bake the empanadas in a preheated 425º oven for 4-6 minutes until warmed through and only lightly browned on the edges. Do not overbake! Allow the empanadas to cool for a few minutes before digging in.
Here’s what the empanadas look like in the center. You can see the cheese is melted and the mixture hot. All the flavors and textures go so perfectly together.
Here are answers to some of your most pressing questions:
Can I use other brands of tortillas? Yes, you can use other gluten-free brands of tortillas. I originally used Mikey’s cassava flour tortillas, but the product has since been discontinued. I think that Siete makes a variety of tortillas that would work, but feel free to experiment with what works best. You could also use Egglife egg white wraps for a low-calorie alternative!
I don’t have a dough press. Can I still make these? Yes, absolutely. Follow all the instructions as noted above and then fold the tortilla over onto itself. Use your fork to apply gentle pressure around the edges in order to seal the two sides together. Don’t forget to brush the edges of the tortilla with the egg to aid in sealing those empanadas tightly.
Does this work with other fillings? Yes, you can try this process with any empanada filling you desire.
My tortillas break in the dough press. What should I do? Again, consider the brand of tortillas you’re using. You need a tortilla that is stretchy and flexible and won’t break under pressure. Also, be sure to heat the tortilla in a pan to create more flexibility before folding it in half. Another reason a tortilla might break is if you overstuff it. Add just enough filling that you can still easily fold the empanada in half without issue.
How do I store leftover empanadas? I doubt you’ll have any, but if you do, simply store them in a sealed container in your fridge and reheat them in your microwave for about 45 seconds until the tortilla is warm and bendy again.
Shortcut Gluten-Free Empanadas
- Dough press (see post)
- 1/3 cup canned corn drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and diced
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 avocado mashed
- 1/2 tsp cilantro fresh, chopped
- juice of half lime
- 1 pinch Kosher salt to taste
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 large egg
- 4 gluten-free grain-free tortillas
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese or shredded cheese of choice
- Preheat your oven to 425º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine the corn, beans, jalapeno, cumin and chili powder in a bowl and mix everything together. Add avocado, lime and cilantro and gently mash the avocado into the mixture with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Crack egg into a separate small bowl and blend with a fork. Set aside.
- Heat cassava flour tortillas over low heat in a non-stick pan for about 1 minute per side. A little heat will make them extremely flexible.
- Place one of the warmed tortillas on your dough press. Add a spoonful of the filling mixture + about 1 tablespoon of shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese.
- Brush egg along the outer edges of the tortilla. This will work as the glue to help hold the edges of the tortilla together.
- Gently fold the empanada press in half and apply a good amount of pressure to seal the ends of the tortillas in place. Place the empanada on your baking sheet and repeat this process until all the empanadas are done.
- Brush the top of each empanada with the egg mixture. This will give them a shiny appearance once baked.
- Bake the empanadas for 4-6 minutes until warmed through and only lightly brown. Allow empanadas a few minutes to cool before eating.