Caprese Empanadas are delicious, easy to make appetizers made with all your favorite Caprese salad ingredients. Tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese fill a premade empanada shell and simply baked in a muffin pan. Warm and tasty handheld open-faced empanadas great for game time, summer parties, and barbecues.
I like to think of these appetizers as a blend of my favorite Italian and Spanish flavors. Fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, the base of a delicious Caprese salad, fill a traditional empanada shell. And what's not to love about a Caprese salad! These empanadas give me another way to share all those fresh flavors in a neat little package.
I also love traditional empanadas! They are one of my favorite apps to order in a Spanish or Latin American restaurant. However, these empanadas are not made in the typical pocket style but pleated into a cup shape, filled, then baked in a muffin pan. They have that same crispy exterior, similar to a pie pastry, with the added flavors of melted cheese, fresh basil, and tomatoes. They are the perfect open empanadas with Italian-Spanish flavors.
What is an empanada?
The empanada originated in Spain and is derived from the word "empanar" meaning to coat with bread. It is wildly popular in Spain as well as Latin and South America.
The pastry is made of wheat flour, although it can also be composed of cornmeal, mashed plantains, potatoes, or yuca, and usually filled with savory fillings. They can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner as well as a sweet version that is particularly tasty for dessert.
How to Make Caprese Empanadas
These Caprese salad bites are an easy last-minute appetizer to throw together using premade empanada shells. Gather the 4 ingredients - tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and the empanada discs.
- Pleat one disc of empanada dough into a muffin cup sprayed with nonstick spray. Gently pleat the outside edges of the dough so that it fits neatly into the muffin cup. Press the pleated edges into the sides so the cup holds its shape. Repeat with remaining discs of dough.
- Chop the tomatoes, draining off excess liquid. Break apart or chop the basil and dice the cheese.
- Using half of the mozzarella, divide evenly and place cheese cubes in the bottom of each empanada cup.
- Divide chopped tomatoes evenly and fill each cup.
- Sprinkle basil over the top of tomatoes.
- Divide the remainder of mozzarella cheese evenly and place it on top of each empanada appetizer. They're now ready to pop into the oven and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
Voila! Caprese Empanadas! Let cool slightly for 5 minutes then gently lift out of muffin pan and plate for serving.
These empanada Caprese bites make a beautiful presentation and they taste as good as they look! They can be drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil but I prefer them just the way they are.
I'm dreaming of biting into one right now! Look at all the drippy cheese that oozes out with each amazing bite. Enjoy!
More Appetizers to Make It a Party
Toasted Ravioli is crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside. Served with marinara dipping sauce, it's always a hit!
Beef Empanadas with chorizo and tomatoes for loads of flavor in every bite.
Mozzarella Balls and Tomato Skewers for an easy and fun way to serve Caprese salad on a stick.
Chorizo Albondigas & Tapas Platter from The Crumby Kitchen
Check out more of my easy appetizer recipes to make for your next party.
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- 10 small empanada discs
- 3 Roma tomatoes chopped and drained of excess juice
- 6 oz. mozzarella cheese diced
- 10-12 basil leaves chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish: olive oil with balsamic vinegar for drizzle
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan by spraying with nonstick spray.
- Taking one empanada disc at a time, pinch edges into small pleats to make the shape of a small bowl. Press these pleats firmly against the edge to hold the shape.
- Place into muffin pan and cover with a slightly dampened paper towel.
- Continue with remaining empanada discs.
- Divide 3 ounces of mozzarella evenly between the empanada bowls.
- Add the chopped tomato and basil.
- Sprinkle them with salt and pepper to your taste.
- Top with remaining mozzarella.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until empanadas and cheese are browned.
- Let rest 5 minutes then serve.
This post has been updated and was first published on March 20, 2019.