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Costa Rican guava Empanada Recipe

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These sweet guava empanadas combine the rich pastry dough baked with guava inside- all using ingredients you can find at your local Hispanic grocer.

Three baked empanadas arranged around a small blue bowl of guava paste.

About This Guava Empanadas Recipe

Costa Rican empanadas are a culinary staple in Costa Rica. You can find them everywhere from Walmart to local bakeries. Even street vendors can be found hawking sweet empanadas of all types. Since that’s not always the case outside of Costa Rica, I wanted to share with you my favorite empanadas recipe for guava empanadas.

The outside of the empanadas has a dough that can be compared to the flavor of a pie crust. It’s made with butter and flour, but no sugar so the sweetness in this recipe comes from the guava.

Guava is a popular fruit in Costa Rica. It’s a small round yellow fruit with a hard shell on the outside. When you cut it open, it has a pink inside with a few seeds. To make the filling for these empanadas, the fruit is either made into guava jelly or guava paste. I’m definitely a huge fan of guava-flavored desserts.

This isn’t a post on how to make guava jelly, but you can find it at almost any supermarket. There is also a guava paste from Goya you can find at almost any Hispanic grocer, and that works really well in this recipe. It’s called pasta de guayaba. If you find the premade empanada disc you can also make these, but the flavor will be pretty different than that found in Costa Rica as those tend to be much thinner than the dough in Costa Rica.

Empanadas in Costa Rica are relatively small compared to the sweet dessert empanada found in other parts of Latin America. Those will use almost a 6-inch circle, whereas the empanadas wrappers in Costa Rica are more like a 4-inch circle.

Here’s the recipe for one of my favorite delicious desserts!

You’ll also love this post: 30+ Foods To Try In Costa Rica

Bowl of guava paste squares beside a single baked empanada.

Empanadas de Guava Recipe

(Printable Recipe Below)

Ingredients for the homemade empanada dough recipe: 

  • 1 box heavy whipping cream (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 sticks margarine, room temperature
  • 3 cups of unbleached white flour + 1-2 additional tablespoons
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 box guava paste or jar of guava jam

Kitchen Tools:

  • Medium-sized mixing bowl
  • Empanada or tortilla press
  • Two pieces of plastic cut into the same size circle as the empanada press
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Small brush for egg wash (optional)
  • Small spoon
  • Fork

Instructions:

Combine flour and room temperature margarine in a medium to large bowl, mixing thoroughly with a stand mixer or with your hands. Add the cream bit by bit, mixing the empanada dough until sticky but not watery. 

flour and butter in a bowl

If your margarine isn’t room temperature you can heat it on a plate in the microwave in 20-second increments at 30% power until it is soft. You do not want to use melted butter for this recipe.

On a floured surface, take chunks of the dough and roll them into balls that are about 1 and ½ inches wide. 

empanada dough balls in a bowl

Place one sheet of plastic wrap on the bottom of your tortilla or empanada press. This way, the dough won’t stick to the metal surface.

Place a dough ball in the middle of the press. On top of the ball, place your other piece of plastic wrap. Press until a circle is formed. Move the flattened disc aside, and repeat the process until all of the dough has been made into circles.

You can also roll the dough out onto a floured surface and cut the circles out with a cookie cutter.

At this point, you can go ahead and preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Lay out your dough circles, and place about one tablespoon of guava paste or jelly on half of the circle. If you are using guava paste, place one slice of guava paste about You want to be careful not to add too much guava jelly or it will melt and run out of the empanadas as they bake.

dough with filling on plastic
This example is using chiverre instead of guava, but the proportions are the same.

On a lightly floured surface, close the empanadas. You will fold dough over the guava preserves and seal edges lightly with your finger. Then place empanadas on a lightly floured baking sheet. Press edges down with the tines of fork to make small lines around the entire empanada- this step is completely for aesthetic purposes.

empanadas de chiverre on a baking sheet

Beat your egg (you can also use 2-3 egg yolks ) in a small bowl. This is your egg wash.

Brush the empanadas with the egg wash and place them on a lightly floured baking sheet (or one covered with parchment paper). Bake for 20- 30 minutes or until just golden brown. 

Small bowl containing chunks of guava paste next to three golden brown empanadas.

Substitutions

Costa Ricans always use margarine for this recipe, but I also like to use butter. The butter will give the empanadas a lighter yellow color and a flakier crust. 

You could also use vegetable shortening or lard to achieve the same consistency of dough, but again, the color would be a bit different.

I have often used just 2 cups of white flour and one cup of wheat flour and they taste great.

Finally, you can substitute almond flour or gluten-free flour for a gluten-free empanada recipe. When you do this, I would add an extra half stick of margarine or butter.

You could use egg whites in place of the yolks, just beat them thoroughly.

You can grease your cookie sheet with cooking spray, or place them on top of parchment paper.

Related post: Costa Rican Empanada Recipes

Two baked empanadas beside a bowl of guava paste sections.

Variations

The most common variation of this recipe is to add a slice of cream cheese (the kind in the box) into the empanada alongside the guava paste. The tangy cream cheese alongside the sweet guava makes for a really unique and popular flavor. These are called guava cheese empanadas.

Some people sprinkle the empanadas with granulated sugar before serving, but that’s more common in Mexico.

Related post: Costa Rican Dessert Recipes

Bowl of guava paste wedges beside three freshly baked empanadas.

Serving Suggestions

These empanadas are best served right out of the oven. I just cool them for about 10 minutes because the inside gets so hot it can burn your mouth. 

We eat these in the morning with hot coffee as a breakfast pastry (alongside gallo pinto and eggs), or we eat them in the afternoon as part of the traditional Costa Rican coffee ritual.

Other dessert empanada recipes from Pura Vida Moms:

Printable Recipe

Yield: 30 empanadas

Empanadas de Guava Recipe

Bowl of guava paste wedges beside three freshly baked empanadas.

These sweet guava empanadas combine the rich pastry dough baked with guava inside- all using ingredients you can find at your local Hispanic grocer.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • Ingredients for the homemade empanada dough recipe:
  • 1 box heavy whipping cream (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 sticks margarine, room temperature
  • 3 cups of unbleached white flour + 1-2 additional tablespoons
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 box guava paste or jar of guava jam
  • Kitchen Tools:
  • Medium-sized mixing bowl
  • Empanada or tortilla press
  • Two pieces of plastic cut into the same size circle as the empanada press
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Small brush for egg wash (optional)
  • Small spoon
  • Fork

Instructions

  1. Combine flour and room temperature margarine in a medium to large bowl, mixing thoroughly with a stand mixer or with your hands. Add the cream bit by bit, mixing the empanada dough until sticky but not watery. 
  2. If your margarine isn't room temperature you can heat it on a plate in the microwave in 20-second increments at 30% power until it is soft. You do not want to use melted butter for this recipe.
  3. On a floured surface, take chunks of the dough and roll them into balls that are about 1 and ½ inches wide. 
  4. Place one sheet of plastic wrap on the bottom of your tortilla or empanada press. This way, the dough won’t stick to the metal surface.
  5. Place a dough ball in the middle of the press. On top of the ball, place your other piece of plastic wrap. Press until a circle is formed. Move the flattened disc aside, and repeat the process until all of the dough has been made into circles.
  6. You can also roll the dough out onto a floured surface and cut the circles out with a cookie cutter.
  7. At this point, you can go ahead and preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  8. Lay out your dough circles, and place about one tablespoon of guava paste or jelly on half of the circle. If you are using guava paste, place one slice of guava paste about You want to be careful not to add too much guava jelly or it will melt and run out of the empanadas as they bake.

  9. This example is using chiverre instead of guava, but the proportions are the same.
  10. On a lightly floured surface, close the empanadas. You will fold dough over the guava preserves and seal edges lightly with your finger. Then place empanadas on a lightly floured baking sheet. Press edges down with the tines of fork to make small lines around the entire empanada- this step is completely for aesthetic purposes.
  11. Beat your egg (you can also use 2-3 egg yolks ) in a small bowl. This is your egg wash.
  12. Brush the empanadas with the egg wash and place them on a lightly floured baking sheet (or one covered with parchment paper). Bake for 20- 30 minutes or until just golden brown. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

30

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 161Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 63mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

About the Author

Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

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Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, travel and language. I’m a mom of two Latinas, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here

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