This delicious cherry filling will convince you that empanadillas aren't just for savory fillings. These empanadillas are fried until golden brown, then glitzed up with a pretty pink glaze. If you don't have a cherry pitter, a chopstick does a surprisingly good job of removing the pits.


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary test

1 hr 30 mins
2 hrs 30 mins
About 12 empanadillas


For the Dough
For the Filling
For the Frying
For the Glaze


First, make the dough
  • In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and turmeric to combine. Add the butter or shortening and pulse until the fat is in pea-sized bits.

  • Add the beaten egg and pulse to incorporate. With the motor running, gradually pour in 1/4 cup of the water, adding more as needed until the dough feels firm and smooth but not sticky, and is elastic.

  • Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling
  • Roughly chop half of the cherries; leave the remaining cherries whole. In a medium saucepan, stir the cherries with the salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the lemon juice to make a smooth, pourable mixture; scrape it into the saucepan and stir to combine. Stir in the sugar and nutmeg.

  • Cook the cherry mixture over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the juices are very thick and turn a deep dark red, and the whole cherries have softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let the filling cool slightly, stirring often, then refrigerate until cold, about 40 minutes.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; spray with cooking spray. On a lightly floured work surface using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the chilled dough until 1/8-inch thick. Using a 3 1/2 to 4-inch paper circle as a guide (or using a small bowl), cut out rounds with a sharp paring knife, gathering the scraps and rolling out again as needed for 12 rounds.

  • Place 1 tablespoon of chilled filling in the center of a dough round and brush the edge of the dough very lightly with egg wash. Cover and close the empanadilla, forming a half-moon. Using the tines of a fork, press the edges to seal, ensuring that no gaps remain in the dough; transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat to form remaining empanadillas. Transfer baking sheet with empanadillas to the refrigerator; chill until firm, about 1 hour.

  • Heat oil in a medium saucepan to 350°F over medium. Working in batches of 2, fry the empanadillas until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total, returning the oil to 350°F between batches. Use a spider spatula or a slotted spoon to transfer the pastries to a paper towel lined sheet pan to cool slightly before serving. If any of the empanadillas release some of the filling into the oil, use a skimmer to remove the juices from the oil to prevent it from burning.

While the empanadillas are cooling, make the glaze
  • In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar and food coloring, then gradually whisk enough milk to make a pourable glaze. Top the empanadillas with the glaze, and serve warm. Enjoy!