Empanada Gallega (Easy Tuna Empanada Recipe)

a large empanada gallega is cut into some large slices

Who doesn’t love empanadas!?

The classic of all empanadas, Empanada Gallega (or Galician Pie) has been made since the 7th century! Empanada gallega is traditionally made with tuna, tomato and peppers, plus a dash of paprika and some good quality olive oil. 

This empanada recipe uses homemade dough thats best left to rest overnight. Once the dough has rested, the filling and baking takes around an hour and makes a huge delicious pie-style empanada that serves 8-10 people.

Serving:

8-10 slices

Ready in:

1.5 hours

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Good as it is

About This Recipe

Our Empanada Gallega recipe is a delicious savory pie that’s perfect as a mid-day snack or when you’re looking for a tasty party treat. This traditional empanada recipe is quick and easy to make, plus you can easily prepare and freeze a batch of the filling for use later! 

Over the years the authentic Spanish recipe has been adapted and changed slightly (adding onions is one example) but most Empanada Gallega recipes still remain pretty much true to the original authentic recipe that hails from the Galicia region of Spain.

Want to explore more Galician cuisine and recipe ideas?

Check out our Galicia regional foodie guide.

Empanada fillings

One of our favorite empanadas is tuna-filled empanada which follows this authentic Spanish recipe. The pastry is thicker than your typical empanadas and these are often sold in big rectangles rather than individual crescent-shaped servings.

For those looking to try something different, there’s an endless list of empanada filling options with culinary influences from all over the world. 

Empanada dough

When it comes to empanada dough, there are a few schools of thought on what makes the perfect golden, paprika-tinged color. 

Some recipes insist that it’s best to infuse the empanada dough with oil and paprika, giving it a reddish color when baked. Other recipes simply use an oil and sweet paprika glaze that is brushed onto the empanadas before baking. Both work just fine, but we’ve found the oil and paprika glaze is an easier option. 

So, for this empanada recipe, we’re going to use the oil and sweet paprika glaze.

a large tuna empanada sits sliced into pieces on a granite benchtop

Can empanada dough be vegan?

While authentic Spanish empanada recipes require the pastry to be made with egg (and some are also glazed with a beaten egg), it’s not difficult to make a completely vegan empanada dough

Unsurprisingly, there’s very little required to transform the traditional empanada recipe into a vegan-friendly option. Simply omit the egg. Yep, it’s that simple! If you want to make the fillings for this specific empanada vegan, omit the eggs and stew down some eggplant instead of using tuna. 

Here’s our vegan empanada dough recipe.

Fried or baked empanadas?

Traditionally, authentic Spanish empanadas such as this recipe are baked, but there are plenty of empanada recipes out there (mainly of Latin-American origin) that deep fry the empanada. Of course, this becomes impossible with the Empanada Gallega, or empanada pie, as it’s simply too big. 

As a rule of thumb, if you’re making small empanadas, they can be baked or deep-fried. The large pie-style empanadas like many found in authentic Spanish cuisine will be baked.

An empanada gallega sits on a chopping board waiting to be cut and served

How to Make Tuna Empanada

 

Equipment

  • 1 large 12-inch (30cm) frying pan (to make the filling)
  • 1 rolling pin 
  • Stand mixer or KitchenAid

Ingredients

Method (step-by-step)

Serves 8-10 slices.

Makes 1 large pie, around 12 x 16 inches (30cm x 40cm). 

For the empanada dough

  • 17 oz/500 g plain flour
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water

For the oil & paprika glaze

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 50 ml Olive oil 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

For the empanada filling

  • 12oz./500 g tinned tuna 
  • 3 large onions, diced fine
  • 2 large red pepper, diced fine
  • 3 tomatoes, grated and skin removed
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar
  • 3 eggs (hard-boiled and chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

(Optional ingredients)

  • 60ml sweet Spanish Sherry
  • 1 tin (7oz./200 grams) of black olives with seed removed, sliced.

Method (step-by-step)

Step 1 – Make the empanada dough

  • In the bowl of the stand mixer or KitchenAid, add the flour together with the milk, egg and salt. (No KitchenAid? You can do this by hand, it will take around 15 minutes)
  • Mix till you get a crumbly texture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add some water in a continuous thread while kneading.
  • Knead until the dough for around 15 minutes if doing it by hand or 5 minutes with a mixer. Once ready it will be completely smooth.
  • Shape it into a ball, put it in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rest for at least 2-3 hours (ideally, leave it refrigerated overnight).

Step 2 – Prepare the filling

  • In a large frying pan on medium-high heat, add some olive oil and the onion and fry until lightly golden in color. 
  • Next, add the diced pepper and fry for another 3-4 minutes. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the grated tomatoes and stir well. Simmer for around 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the sweet paprika, sugar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  • (Optionally, you can add a little zing to this recipe with 60ml of sweet Spanish sherry).
  • Cover and allow to simmer for around 10 minutes. 
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool before adding the tuna and diced hard-bolied egg.
  • (Optionally, add some black or green pitted olives too). 
  • Allow the filling to cool for use later.

Step 3 – Shape the empanada dough.

  • Remove from the fridge and let the dough stand for around 5-10 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into two equal pieces, one for the top, and one for the bottom.
  • Shape two balls and cover them with a cloth. Leave for around 20-30 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 380ºF /195ºC.
  • Lay out some parchment paper on a flat surface and use a rolling pin to roll out each dough ball into large flat disks (15 inches- 38cm in diameter), around 2-3 mm thick. 
  • Set aside for use later.

Step 4 – Add the filling and bake

  • Use only cold filling. Add the filling to the base empanada pastry around ¾-ch inch thick. Allow a boundary an inch or two around the edges with no filling. 
  • With a small brush or spoon, add a little water to the edges of the dough to moisten. 
  • Carefully add the top piece of dough to the empanada and fold the edges with the thumb and finger to make a repulgue (fold). (Alternatively, you can use a fork to crimp the edges). 
  • Make your oil and paprika glaze now. 
  • Use a brush to glaze the empanada lid with the glaze. 
  • Pierce the empanada lid several times with a fork to allow for it to breathe while cooking (otherwise the lid will rise and create an air cavity between the dough and the filling). 
  • Bake in preheated oven at 380ºF /195ºC for around 30 minutes or until golden. 

Recipe notes:

  • Use good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Always wait until the filling is cool before placing it on the dough.
  • Once baked, the empanada will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
  • Enjoy hot or cold!

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Recipe Rating




a large empanada gallega is cut into some large slices

Empanada gallega - Easy empanada recipe

Byron
Empanada gallega or Galician Pie is an easy empanada recipe that uses homemade dough, tuna, tomato, and peppers.
This recipe can be made in an hour and serves 8. This empanada recipe uses homemade dough thats best left to rest overnight. Once the dough has rested, the filling and baking takes around an hour and makes a huge delicious pie-style empanada that serves 8-10 people.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting. time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Course appertizer, lunch, party food, Snack, tapas
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain, spanish, Tapas
Servings 8 slices
Calories 680 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large 12-inch (30cm) frying pan to make the filling
  • 1 Rolling Pin
  • 1 Stand mixer or KitchenAid

Ingredients

For the empanada dough

  • 17 oz/500 g plain flour
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water

For the oil & paprika glaze

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 50 ml Olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

For the empanada filling

  • 12 oz./500 g tinned tuna
  • 3 large onions diced fine
  • 2 large red pepper diced fine
  • 3 to matoes grated and skin removed
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar
  • 3 eggs hard-boiled and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

(Optional ingredients)

  • 60 ml sweet Spanish Sherry
  • 1 tin 7oz./200 grams of black olives with seed removed, sliced.

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Make the empanada dough

  • In the bowl of the stand mixer or KitchenAid, add the flour together with the milk, egg and salt. (No KitchenAid? You can do this by hand, it will take around 15 minutes)
  • Mix till you get a crumbly texture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add some water in a continuous thread while kneading.
  • Knead until the dough for around 15 minutes if doing it by hand or 5 minutes with a mixer. Once ready it will be completely smooth.
  • Shape it into a ball, put it in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rest for at least 2-3 hours (ideally, leave it refrigerated overnight).

Step 2 - Prepare the filling

  • In a large frying pan on medium-high heat, add some olive oil and the onion and fry until lightly golden in color.
  • Next, add the diced pepper and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the grated tomatoes and stir well. Simmer for around 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the sweet paprika, sugar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • (Optionally, you can add a little zing to this recipe with 60ml of sweet Spanish sherry).
  • Cover and allow to simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool before adding the tuna and diced hard-bolied egg.
  • (Optionally, add some black or green pitted olives too).
  • Allow the filling to cool for use later.

Step 3 - Shape the empanada dough.

  • Remove from the fridge and let the dough stand for around 5-10 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into two equal pieces, one for the top, and one for the bottom.
  • Shape two balls and cover them with a cloth. Leave for around 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 380ºF /195ºC.
  • Lay out some parchment paper on a flat surface and use a rolling pin to roll out each dough ball into large flat disks (15 inches- 38cm in diameter), around 2-3 mm thick.
  • Set aside for use later.

Step 4 - Add the filling and bake

  • Use only cold filling. Add the filling to the base empanada pastry around ¾-ch inch thick. Allow a boundary an inch or two around the edges with no filling.
  • With a small brush or spoon, add a little water to the edges of the dough to moisten.
  • Carefully add the top piece of dough to the empanada and fold the edges with the thumb and finger to make a repulgue (fold). (Alternatively, you can use a fork to crimp the edges).
  • Make your oil and paprika glaze now.
  • Use a brush to glaze the empanada lid with the glaze.
  • Pierce the empanada lid several times with a fork to allow for it to breathe while cooking (otherwise the lid will rise and create an air cavity between the dough and the filling).
  • Bake in preheated oven at 380ºF /195ºC for around 30 minutes or until golden.

Recipe notes:

  • Use good quality olive oil.
  • Always wait until the filling is cool before placing it on the dough
  • Once baked, the empanada will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
  • Enjoy hot or cold!

Notes

Serves 8-10 slices. Makes 1 large pie, around 12 x 16 inches (30cm x 40cm).

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 680kcalCarbohydrates: 76.7gProtein: 37.4gFat: 25.1gSaturated Fat: 4.6gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 492mgPotassium: 689mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 7.3gCalcium: 84mgIron: 6mg
Keyword Baked, Dough, Empanadas, handmade, Spanish cuisine, Spanish seafood, Spanish tapas, tapas, Tuna