These delicious caramel apple empanadas are the perfect fall dessert made with a homemade apple filling and a sweet cream cheese mixture all deep fried to flaky perfection, covered with a cinnamon sugar mixture, and drizzled with caramel.
I love hand pies of all kinds. I make them with every fruit filling imaginable, and I always add a sweet and tangy cream cheese filling to them for a little extra boost of delicious flavor. This time around, I decided to take a classic apple pie empanada and add cinnamon, cinnamon sugar, and caramel drizzle to make a caramel apple version that’s absolutely out of this world. Every time I make these empanadas, they disappear in a flash, and I know you find the same thing to be true when you make them, too.
Caramel Apple Empanadas
I begin this recipe with a homemade apple cinnamon pie filling and a sweet and tangy cream cheese filling. I load up empanada dough with both fillings, and I pan fry them to golden, flaky perfection. To finish them off, I coat them with a cinnamon sugar mixture and drizzle them with caramel sauce to create delicious, hand-held caramel apple pies that no one can get enough of. They love the flavor, and I love how easy they are to make.
Why You’ll Love This Caramel Apple Empanada Recipe
- It’s a delicious combination of flavors that are simply irresistible. The apple filling is sweet and tart, the cream cheese mixture is rich and creamy, and they are covered with cinnamon and sugar, and drizzle with caramel.
- The empanadas are deep fried which gives them a crispy exterior, and the contrast with the soft and creamy centers are a winning combination.
- They are easy to make and are great for dessert, perfect for parties, potlucks, or an afternoon snack.
Caramel Apple Empanadas Ingredients
Even with two different fillings, you won’t need a lot of ingredients to make these empanadas. It only takes a few simple ingredients, and all of them – even the empanada dough – can be found at your local grocery store.
- Granny Smith apples are the perfect tart apple for empanadas because they hold their shape well when cooked and their tartness helps to balance out the sweetness of the caramel.
- Water is used to cook down the apples until they are soft and tender.
- Sugar is added to sweeten the apples.
- Cornstarch helps to thicken up the apple filling.
- Ground cinnamon is a classic flavor combination with apples, and it adds flavor to the empanadas.
- Lemon juice helps prevent the apples from turning brown.
- Cream cheese adds richness and creaminess to the filling.
- Vanilla extract adds a touch of sweetness of depth of flavor to the cream cheese filling.
- Empanada dough (I used Goya) is a flaky, buttery dough that is perfect for holding in the apple and cream cheese fillings.
- Vegetable oil is used to fry the empanadas until they are golden brown and crispy.
- Caramel sauce is drizzled over the empanadas for an extra layer of sweetness.
- Cinnamon and Sugar mixture is used to toss the fried empanadas into while they are still warm prior to drizzling caramel sauce over them.
How to Make Caramel Apple Empanadas
Making these empanadas is incredibly easy. Both of the fillings are super simple, and after making those, the rest of the recipe is even easier. Even beginners can make these with no issues at all.
Step 1: Make the Apple Cinnamon Filling
Bring water, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Then, add the chopped apples, stir, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
Step 2: Make the Cream Cheese Fillings
Beat the cream cheese until fluffy in a medium bowl. Then, add the sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat for another 2 minutes.
Step 3: Fill and Fold
Add 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling to the center of the empanada dough followed by a tablespoon of apple cinnamon mixture. Moisten the edges of the dough, fold it over the filling, and pinch with your fingers. Finish by crimping the edge with the tines of a fork.
Step 4: Fry
Heat the oil to 375 degrees in a cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan. Add a few empanadas at a time to the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Transfer the empanadas to a plate lined with paper towels.
Step 5: Coat and Serve
Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Then, dip each empanada in the mixture to coat both sides. Place the empanadas on a plate, drizzle with caramel sauce, and enjoy!
- Stir often when making your apple cinnamon filling to avoid scorching.
- Fully soften your cream cheese to get the best filling possible.
- A hand mixer is the best way to make the cream cheese mixture.
- Don’t crowd your frying pan when frying the empanadas. Adding more than a few at a time will reduce the heat of the oil and make your empanadas soggy rather than crispy.
- Try fruits like peaches, nectarines, pears, and apricots for the filling.
- Berries are perfect for the fruit filling.
- You can use pie dough in place of empanada dough. Just roll it out a bit thinner.
- For a different flavor and texture, try using crescent roll dough.
What to Serve with Caramel Apple Empanadas
Like a full-sized pie, these empanadas are wonderful with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee or tea. They’re also perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Because of their size, I also love to dip them in whipped cream dessert dip or even plain Cool Whip.
Empanadas are a type of baked or fried turnover, or hand pie, that can be filled with sweet or savory ingredients. They’re common in Spanish, Latin American, and Iberian-influenced cultures around the world.
Homemade empanadas are made with a short dough similar to a pie dough. Semi-homemade empanadas use store-bought empanada dough or pie dough rolled out a bit thinner.
Absolutely. Traditionally, empanadas are prepared by baking or frying them. Both work well.
These empanadas will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
Empanadas freeze very well. These apple and cream cheese empanadas will last for up to a month in the freezer when stored properly.
How to Store and Reheat Caramel Apple Empanadas
Refrigerate these empanadas for up to 4 days in an airtight container. For longer storage, place them in an airtight, freezer-safe container in single layers separated by parchment paper and freeze them for up to a month.
To reheat the empanadas, place them on a baking rack over a baking sheet. Then, bake them for 10 minutes at 300 degrees until heated through. You can also place them in the air fryer and air fry for 8 to 10 minutes at 275 until heated through.
Try This Delicious Apple Empanadas Recipe Today
These caramel apple empanadas are as easy to make as they are delicious. You can’t beat a recipe like that! With apple cinnamon and cream cheese fillings, a flaky crust, and a cinnamon sugar coating topped with caramel sauce, these little hand pies won’t last long! They’re so good and so easy, you’ll find yourself making them all the time. Give them a try and get ready to fall in love.
More Delicious Apple Desserts You’ll Enjoy
This Apple Pecan Cake with Caramel Glaze is a deliciously moist apple cake, baked to perfection, and covered with a homemade caramel glaze. The perfect fall dessert the whole family will enjoy.
Caramel Apple Empanadas
Apple Cinnamon Filling
Cream Cheese Mixture
Apple Cinnamon Filling
- In a medium saucepan, over low heat, bring water, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Continue stirring for 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens up.
- Once the sauce has thickened, add chopped apples, stir and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cream Cheese Mixture
- In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling in the center of the dough followed by a tablespoon of apple cinnamon mixture.
- Moisten the edges of the dough with water, fold in half and crimp the edges closed with a fork.
- Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or frying pan to 375°.
- Work in batches, and place a few empanadas at a time in the pan. Fry until golden brown on both sides.
- Remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- In a small bowl, stir cinnamon and sugar together.
- Add empanadas, one at a time, into the sugar mixture, and coat both sides.
- Place on serving plate.
- Drizzle each empanada with caramel drizzle.
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