These mini apple pie empanadas are portioned just right for a sweet treat without going into a sugar overload. They are an easy dessert recipe or snack that can be ready in under 30 minutes.
What exactly is an empanada? An empanada is a crescent shaped pastry that is made from dough and filled with either sweet or savory fillings. In this case, we filled ours with a sweet, but not too sweet, apple pie filling. The result is like a mini apple pie, but they don’t take nearly as long to make as an apple pie.
I have the air fryer and oven instructions for you below, so if you don’t have an air fryer, don’t worry! It’s still super easy to make these apple pie empanadas without an air fryer, it just takes a few extra minutes to bake.
This recipe calls for just 6 simple ingredients – apples, maple syrup (or honey), cornstarch, cinnamon, empanadas shells and egg whites.
Combine sliced apples, maple syrup, cornstarch and cinnamon in a skillet and cook low and slow until apples are tender and caramelized. I mean, look at this goodness!
I like to double up the apples and save the leftovers to top off pancakes, waffles, French toast or oatmeal. It’s the perfect taste of my favorite fall flavors and keeps the need to syrup to a minimum for my kids.
Nutrition Tip: Research suggests that powerful antioxidants in apples play an essential role in reducing the risks of certain diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Your kids can help out by filing the empanada shells and sealing with a fork, or brushing the tops with egg white to help these empanadas come out nice and browned on top.
What you need (+ substitutions):
- Apples: Any type of apple will work here – go with your favorite variety. To save time, buy pre-peeled and sliced apples in the grocery store!
- Maple Syrup: You can also use honey or brown sugar if you don’t have maple syrup. Feel free to add less if you don’t want these as sweet.
- Cornstarch: This will help thicken up our sauce.
- Cinnamon: Feel free to sub for pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg.
- Frozen Empanada Shells: Find these in the freezer section of your grocery store. Make sure to thaw out in the fridge overnight so they are ready to go for the recipe. If you can’t find empanada shells, pie crust dough also works well.
- Egg Whites: While not 100% necessary, an egg wash does make these empanadas golden brown so I highly recommend!
These empanadas cook perfectly in the air fryer for a crispy outside and warm, cinnamon goodness inside. The perfect fall treat!
No air fryer? No problem! Just bake in the oven. Directions for both oven and air fryer are below.
Mini Apple Pie Empanadas
- 4 cups peeled sliced Michigan Apples
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 12 frozen empanada shells thawed
- 1 large egg white beaten
- Heat skillet on low heat. Add apples, syrup, cornstarch and cinnamon. Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until apples are tender.
- Line center of each empanada shell with apples, fold and use fork to press edges together and seal. Brush with egg wash.
- Baking Method: Place sealed empanadas on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated 375°F oven 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Air Fryer Method: Spray air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray. Add sealed empanadas and cook on 375°F for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.