Something Swanky

Taco Bell Caramel Empanada Recipe

Today, I’m grateful for parchment paper.

I know. You were probably expecting something a little more meaningful from my life than parchment paper. And sometime in the next 22 days, I’ll deliver something a little more meaningful than my favorite baking supplies.

But tonight, it’s parchment paper. And here’s why…

You know that feeling towards the end of the day? How you feel after making dinner, serving dinner, and cleaning up after dinner. How you feel after making 3 desserts, strategically storing them so they won’t be eaten before you can photograph tomorrow, and trying to wrap up your post for the day?

How you feel after an hour and a half of waiting outside in the cold to vote, followed by hours of political analysis, and a nail biting election?

And  you just don’t want to do any more dishes ever again??

And then you remember that you used parchment paper and there are no dishes waiting for you.


I’m a tiny bit tired and lazy most of the time. Which is why I decided to make these empanadas baked, and not fried (like Taco Bell makes theirs). Don’t worry, I’m not making them any healthier (it’s pie crust!), but I’m making it a lot less messy and a lot less effort.

Tacobell Caramel Empanada Recipe


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 cups peeled & sliced tart apples
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 premade pie crusts
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar for sprinkling


  1. Stir together sugar, cinnamon, and flour; set aside.
  2. Bring apples and water to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes or until apples are tender.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar flour mixture, caramel topping and butter.
  4. Unroll the pie crusts and roll out to be just a smidge thinner than it already is. Use a cereal bowl to trace and cut out a circle of the dough. You should be able to get 2 circles out of each pie crust.
  5. Spoon 1/4 of the apple mixture onto one half of each of the circles, leaving about 1/2 inch of the edges uncovered.
  6. Wet the edges of the pie crusts with a little water, and fold over the circle in half. Use a fork to press and seal the edges.
  7. Brush the egg whites over the top of each hand pie. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  8. Place each empanada on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400º for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm!

Follw me!


Ashton is the owner and author ofSomething Swanky. Although first and foremost a wife and mother, she considers herself an online entrepreneur, freelance writer and photographer, and brand ambassador.Her focus is in food styling, food photography and recipe development.
Follw me!

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19 Responses to “Taco Bell Caramel Empanada Recipe”

  1. Aimee @ ShugarySweets posted on November 7, 2012 at 7:27 am (#)

    mmmm they turned out gorgeous Ashton. I love parchment paper…I buy the giant box of it from Costco, two boxes at a time!

  2. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie posted on November 7, 2012 at 10:39 am (#)

    I freaking love those things! And I love you for making a copy cat

  3. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel posted on November 7, 2012 at 10:57 am (#)

    Holy yum. Get this in my face STAT.

  4. Erin @ Wholly Delicious Dishes posted on November 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm (#)

    Oh man, these look amazing. And no dishes? Winner all around!

  5. Ala posted on November 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm (#)

    One: um, yum. Two: our voting system is abhorrent. “By the way, we need to fix that” is right.

  6. Shiloh Barkley posted on November 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm (#)

    Be still my heart. I love a copycat of a nasty fast food item. :D

  7. sally @ sallys baking addiction posted on November 7, 2012 at 6:32 pm (#)

    parchment paper saves my baking life!! I stood outside in the cold for an hour yesterday – it was terrible. Of course, it was like the coldest day of the season so far. Such luck. :(

    I want one of these right now! They are simply gorgeous Ashton. apples and caramel are one of my favorite flavor combos in the world. :) Oh and today I am thankful for coffee lol. It has been a stressful week at work and I could not get through it all without COFFEE!!!!

  8. Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl posted on November 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm (#)

    Okay, these turned out gorgeous! I think they look ever better than the real thing. These would definitely be a great pick-me-up after a stressful day/week—which I seem to be having a lot of lately at my 8-5 job. So these need to get in my face NOW. ;-)

  9. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust posted on November 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm (#)

    Yummy! I have never even seen these at Taco Bell. Where have I been???

    • Ashton posted on November 8, 2012 at 11:32 pm (#)

      Uh. What? DOROTHY! Go buy one right away!!!

  10. Mackenzie posted on November 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm (#)

    Looks delish!

  11. Rhonda posted on November 11, 2012 at 8:46 pm (#)

    I can’t wait to make these!!!

  12. Susan Schroeder posted on December 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm (#)

    Sound dekicious…can’t wait to try these!

  13. Dazy posted on January 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm (#)

    Parchment paper, how did I ever bake without it?

  14. Dulcie Andrews posted on January 9, 2013 at 11:00 am (#)

    Hi there, MMMM MMMM this recipe looks delish. I love those little treats from taco bell.
    Do you think they would have held up to being fried. Everytime I bake empanadas the filling spills out on the baking sheet. EW and so time consuming to clean up. Parchment paper to the rescue. :)
    I really do like the crispy-ness of the fried dough on little pies and was wondering if you knew a recipe for crust that would stand up to frying without losing it’s insides. Thanks

    • Ashton posted on January 9, 2013 at 11:51 am (#)

      I’m totally with you on the fried thing! What would REALLY work the VERY best would be some of those raw tortillas you can buy at the grocery store. When I lived in Utah, you could find them pretty much everywhere (Costco, Walmart, etc). But since I’ve moved to VA, no luck :( Anyway, that would be my first recommendation. But, if you can’t find that, I do think that pie crust would hold up to deep frying :) Let me know how it goes!

  15. Tanya posted on September 29, 2014 at 10:22 pm (#)

    I made these tonight, they are in the oven…problems it had was the pie crust breaking and turning to mush (probly too thin) and the sauce that the apples made was too gloppy (probly too much flour…I still can’t wait till they are done…

    • Ashton posted on October 1, 2014 at 9:07 pm (#)

      Mmmmm, these are so tasty for Fall time! Even with a too-thin pie crust :)