Vegan Puerto Rican Empanadas


This updated Puerto Rican empanada recipe makes a perfect cure for any childhood craving of vegans or vegetarians.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
12 empanadas


Vegan Meat Filling:

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP) granules

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (1.41 ounce) package sazon seasoning (such as Goya®)

  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from canned chipotles, or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 2 dashes liquid smoke, or to taste (Optional)

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup warm water

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded vegan white cheese, or to taste (Optional)

  • 1 cup vegetable oil


  1. Combine water, TVP, and soy sauce in a large pan over high heat. Cook and stir until water is mostly evaporated. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, sazon, adobo sauce, oregano, and cumin. Continue cooking until TVP starts to firm up, about 5 minutes, increasing heat if necessary. Add cayenne and liquid smoke and cook until the mixture starts sticking to the pan, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and mix vegan meat well.

  2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add water and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Mix with your hands and knead until all flour is incorporated. Cut dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Place dough balls in the bowl and cover; let sit for 3 to 4 minutes. Roll a dough ball out into a 6-inch circle and fill with vegan meat and shredded cheese. Dip a finger in water and moisten the edges of the dough before folding over and crimping empanada edges using a fork. Repeat with remaining dough balls and fillings.

  3. Heat 1 cup vegetable oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 or 3 empanadas as a time to the hot oil and fry until both sides are a light golden color, about 5 minutes total. Transfer fried empanadas to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Cook's Notes:

You can use regular cheese if you are not vegan.

If you prefer a harder outside, fry empanadas until a deeper gold/brown.

Editor's Note:

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

437 Calories
28g Fat
32g Carbs
14g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 437
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Sodium 1216mg 53%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 76mg 6%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 224mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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