Filed Under: Dessert

Honey Walnut Empanadas

Recipe By Tessa Arias
July 11th, 2017

Honey Walnut Empanadas feature a buttery flaky crust filled with cream cheese, honey, and walnuts then topped with cinnamon sugar. Baked, not fried!

Yield: 18 empanadas

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

This post is sponsored by The California Walnut Board. All opinions provided are my own. Thanks for supporting me in working with brands I love to bring you new recipes!

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Slightly sweet and floral from the honey, a little tangy from the cream cheese, and earthy from the walnuts. The cinnamon on top takes it to a new level!
Texture: The pastry is buttery, flaky, and light with crunches of walnuts throughout the filling.
Ease: Everything is simple and doable, it just takes time to make the different recipe components and assemble the empanadas.
Pros: Fun sweet twist on this classic Spanish / Latin food.
Cons: Long prep time due to assembly, but that can be done ahead of time.
Would I make this again? Yes!

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It seems every culture has their own version of dough stuffed with a delicious filling. Calzones, potstickers, samosas, pasties…

Even different Spanish and Latin American countries have their own twist on empanadas!

My partner The California Walnut Board recently challenged me to come up with a recipe surrounding the theme of Walnuts Around the World.

At first I struggled thinking of a sweet idea that had any worldly flair. Then I remembered one of my all time favorite foods can be made sweet or savory: empanadas!

I grew up loving empanadas as a special treat. My dad is Dominican, and you can bet that everywhere we’ve lived in the United States he’s somehow found Latino families who will make his favorite treats to remind him of home.

In fact, our family friends own an empanada themed restaurant right here in the Phoenix area called Republica Empanada. So needless to say, we love empanadas.

Which is why it made perfect sense to create my own sweet dessert version of empanadas for this challenge! I landed on these Honey Walnut Empanadas which are majorly delish!

I filled these with honey and walnuts, and a little cream cheese. The pastry itself is surprisingly easy to make, but is super rich, buttery, and flaky. The cinnamon sugar coating is a must for an extra burst of flavor and crunchy texture.

The unbaked assembled empanadas can be frozen and baked straight from the freezer, just add about 3 minutes to the baking time.

If you make and enjoy these Honey Walnut Empanadas, snap a picture and share it on Instagram, tagging #handletheheat!

How to make
Honey Walnut Empanadas

Yield: 18 empanadas
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Honey Walnut Empanadas feature a buttery flaky crust filled with cream cheese, honey, and walnuts then topped with cinnamon sugar. Baked, not fried!


For the dough:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 2 3/4 cups (350 grams) flour

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (84 grams) honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) chopped California walnuts

For coating:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Make the dough:

  1. Heat the water and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter has melted. Add in the sugar, salt, and flour. Remove from heat and stir with a wooden spoon until a wet and oily dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Make the filling:

  1. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and honey until well combined. Add the egg and beat until combined. Stir in the flour and walnuts. Mixture will be runny.

Assemble and bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out 5-inch circles. Roll each circle slightly to further flatten before sealing the corners to prevent the filling from running out while assembling.
  3. Pour about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling inside each pocket. Press the edges firmly to seal. Crimp with the back of a fork.
  4. Make ahead: At this point the unbaked empanadas can be covered and refrigerated for 1 day. They can also be frozen and baked straight from the freezer, just add about 3 minutes to the baking time.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water. In another small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Brush the empanadas with egg wash then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Jenny from — July 11, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Hi Tessa,
    I didn’t know you were half Dominican! How cool!
    As I grew up in Uruguay and my husband is Colombian, empanadas are a staple in my house. I love your sweet twist!
    You may also have a look at the Slavic kitchen for further inspiration. They have a lot of dumplings, etc. with a simple, elastic dough, which is either fried, baked, boiled or steamed and filled with lots of fillings, many of them sweet.

    • #
      Tessa — July 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Jenny, that’s awesome! I’ll have to check that out, thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  2. #
    Erin — July 12, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Honey and walnuts are a match made in heaven! These sound amazing.

  3. #
    Kathy — July 14, 2017 at 4:25 am

    I am really looking forward to making these when I have haevos rancheros going on at brunch time. The idea of making ahead and enjoying my family at mealtime is a bonus for me. Thank you for thinking outside the box!

    • #
      Tessa — July 18, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Yay! Perfect 🙂

  4. #
    Marguerite — July 14, 2017 at 6:06 am

    I have a South American heritage and love making empanadas. Because this mixture is “runny”, do you hold the empanada in your hand when filling? Looking forward to making this recipe!

    • #
      Tessa — July 18, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      I sealed the edges so nothing would run out, then held it upright while filling, sealing immediately after. Hope that helps!

  5. #
    charmaine — July 14, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Hi Tessa
    these looks soooo yummy!!! I just love your stuff. A big FIVE Dholl.
    I just love your stuff

  6. #
    Donna — July 14, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Can this pastry dough and baking method be used to make savory empanadas?

  7. #
    Leslye — July 14, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I am looking forward to trying the pastry dough with my family’s savory empanada recipe! My MIL grew up in Panama and made a savory empanadas for Thanksgiving and Christmas to be served as an appetizer with champagne. Before she passed away, she taught me how to make them. The pie dough has been the bane of my existence every holiday since. I’m always looking for a better way to make it. I’ve found some pie dough recipes that are a bit easier to work with, but still are very frustrating when making 100 empanadas. I assume leave out the sugar for savory?

  8. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — July 14, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I love walnuts in sweets! These are gorgeous!

    • #
      Tessa — July 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks, Liz!

  9. #
    cyndi — July 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    are you sure this is 2 teaspoons of SALT in the dough? i want to make these but that seems like a lot of salt

    • #
      Tessa — July 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Yes, otherwise the pastry tends to be a little bland in my experience. If you’re sensitive to salt then feel free to reduce the amount 🙂

  10. #
    Gina @Running to the Kitchen — July 15, 2017 at 5:23 am

    Oh boy, I would love these! They look amazing!

  11. #
    Jenny — July 15, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Gorgeous recipe! Thanks Tessa!

  12. #
    jayess — July 18, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    the problem with sites like this is when someone asks a question, such as the one asking about the quantity of salt in this dough, and no one responds. I’m sure this can get out of hand after you get a bit of a following but still, if you’re going to ask ppl to respond to your recipes, then they deserve a response. That’s my gripe for the day. I’ll be nicer tomorrow 🙂 .

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