Vegan Pepperoni Pizza Empanadas (Empanadillas de Pizza Vegan)

Vegan Empanadas
Vegan Pepperoni Pizza Empanadas are crispy, flavorful finger food, snack, appetizer, or light meal. They have a crispy puff pastry shell and a delicious vegan pepperoni pizza filling. Plus they can be made gluten-free, baked, oil fry, or in the air fryer.

I used my puff pastry recipe for these vegan empanadas. Find it under my Vegan Quesitos recipe. Storebought empanada disks are a good option but they contain milk. If you follow a vegan diet it’s best if you make your own.

What are Empanadas?

In Puerto Rico, what you call empanada, we call empanadilla. An empanada is a type of baked or fried turnover consisting of pastry and filling, common in Southern European, Latin American, and the Philippines cultures. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, and translates as “enbreaded”, that is, wrapped or coated in bread. My grandma referred to empanadas as breaded beef.

I remember eating them for lunch or after school at the cafeteria or “kioskito” across the street from my school. If you are Puerto Rican, you know what that is. Empanadas are very versatile because you can fill them with any filling that you would like. My favorite flavors are cheese and pepperoni pizza. Although I love other flavors.

Vegan Empanadas

The Ingredients

While traditionally empanadas are filled mainly with beef, chicken, or cheese fillings, there are several vegan and vegetarian recipes. Of course, the type of filling depends on the country and region. In Puerto Rico, they are mainly made using beef, seafood, and chicken. These Vegan Empanadas are filled with vegan pepperoni, marinara sauce, and vegan shredded cheese.

Cooking Empanadas

My favorite method used to be oil frying even though it’s not so healthy. I used my air fryer for these empanadas. They turned out crispy and so delicious. The air fryer is the best option. I didn’t believe it until we tried it. For this method, simply brush your empanadas with melted vegan butter. Place about 4-5 into the air fryer basket at 350 degrees. Cook 8 minutes per side. Do not overfill your empanadas otherwise, they will break while cooking.

For baking empanadas in a conventional oven. Set up your oven to 350 degrees. Place the empanadas in a baking tray and cook for 18 to 20 minutes. Always choose to cook your empanadas using the healthier option.

Here are a tutorial and recipe for my Black Beans Empanadas

Additional Tips for Empanadas:

These empanadas can be served as an appetizer, snack, light meal, tapas, party food, or breakfast. For instance, they go well with coffee. They taste delicious alone, but I love to serve them alongside dips or sauces such as; salsa, queso, or my favorite guacamole recipe.

You can make these empanadas filling ahead of time, 1-2 days before using. Especially if you are making them for a party or a potluck. Also, you can prepare the dough ahead of time as well. Prepare your dough 1-2 days before using. Make sure to wrap the dough in cling film or plastic and keep it in the refrigerator. Just allow resting for about 15-20 minutes before making the empanadas.

You can also freeze the fully prepared empanadas. Use wax or parchment paper to wrap each empanada to prevent them to stick and break. These empanadas are simple to make and very easy to cook.

Empanadas taste better when you serve them warm. You can refrigerate left-over empanadas but it will affect the flavor.

Other Related Recipes:

Vegan Puerto Rican Tacos

Vegan Quesitos 

Black Bean Empanada 

Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos 

Puerto Rican Tostones 

If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to take a picture and share it on my Facebook page or tag it #thehungrydragonfly on Instagram! I love seeing your creations!

Vegan Breakfast Empanadas

Vegan Breakfast Empanadas

Vegan Breakfast Empanadas are crispy, flavorful finger food, snack, appetizer, or light meal. They have a crispy pastry shell and a delicious vegan cheesy tofu filling. Plus they can be made gluten-free, baked, oil fry, or in the air fryer.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Vegan
Cuisine Latin American, Puerto Rican
Servings 10 empanadas
Calories 110 kcal


Empanada Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour unbleached
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter chilled and cubbed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water (more if needed up to 3/4 cup)

Vegan Pepperoni Filling

  • 1 block Tofu extra firm and drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sazon replace for turmetic is another option
  • 1/2 cup Salsa
  • 1 cup vegan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste


For the dough:

  • Add flour and salt to a large bowl and mix well, add chilled and cubed vegan butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter or a fork until the texture is crumbly.
  • Add water, starting with 1/2 cup and adding one tablespoon at a time to form it into a ball of dough.
  • Let it rest in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  • Lay your dough down on a floured flat surface. Cut the dough in half and using a rolling pin roll out until it's thin but still sturdy.
  • Cut roughly 4-inch circles and place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.

For the filling:

  • Crumble the tofu using your hands or a fork.
  • In a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add veggies and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add tofu and seasonings, cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Fold tofu into salsa.
  • To fill your empanadas, put a spoonful of tofu and vegan cheese in the center of your empanada circle. Do not overfill.
  • Carefully fold and using a fork, press firmly around the edges to seal. **See video for reference.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough.

Air Fryer Method:

  • For air frying, set up your fryer to 350 degrees. Place 4 to 5 empanadas inside the air fryer basket. Cook for 16 minutes flipping them in between. Make sure to read your air fryer instructions.
  • Rest in a paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve warm.

Oil Frying Method:

  • In a medium pot or large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Fry the empanadas on both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side.
  • Rest in a paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve warm.


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line up a tray with parchment paper.
  • Place empanadas on the try. Bake them for about 18 to 20 minutes. Turning them in between.
  • Rest in a paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve warm.
Keywords empanadas, empanadillas, Puerto Rican Food, Puerto Rican Vegan Food, vegan empanadas


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