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Hibiscus Empanadas

Bite into these pastries and find a burst of color from hibiscus.

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What’s not to love about an empanada? Perfectly-sized single-serve pastries that are flaky and light, yet oh-so-satisfying thanks to their tasty fillings. While empanadas are often made with meat-based fillings, they can be completely plant-based (and, we’d argue, just as delicious). And we’ve got a new twist on the classic that’s perfect for summer: Hibiscus Empanadas.

These baked pastries are stuffed with a mix of ingredients that both sweet and savory, but the star is undeniably the hibiscus. You’ll get a bit of tartness and tropical-inspired flavor from the vibrant hibiscus petals included in the filling, followed by a hint of smokiness infused by the adobo sauce from a jar of chipotle chiles. Never worked with hibiscus before? While you’ve likely tried a glass of cool, refreshing hibiscus tea, incorporating the petals – dried, in this case – of the plant into savory dishes is a great way to add some tartness to treats like these empanadas. And while it’s long been a popular ingredient in the cuisines of Jamaica, Nigeria, and Senegal, it’s now becoming increasingly easier to find worldwide.

Once you’ve tried these perfectly flaky hibiscus-stuffed empanadas, you’re going to want to try incorporating the petals into other recipes, too.

Hibiscus Empanadas

Prep Time
45 min
150 min



  • 2 ¼ cups white whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp adobo sauce from a jar of chipotle chiles
  • 1 ½ cups hibiscus petals, soaked and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper, each
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large egg


  1. Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl. Blend in coconut oil with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  2. Beat egg, water and vinegar in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated.
  3. Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together. Knead gently with the heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring the dough together. Form into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.
  4. Heat oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and adobo; continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add hibiscus, honey, lime juice, salt, pepper and 3 cups water. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 20 minutes, until liquid is reduced and hibiscus is tender. Stir in cilantro.
  5. Divide chilled dough into 8 pieces and roll one out into a 5-inch circle. Place ¼ cup of filling on one half. Fold over the disc to seal the edges. Start at one corner of the empanada, and fold a triangle of dough from the seal edge down over itself. Press down to seal it, and fold and twist a second triangle right next to the first. Press it down to seal and repeat, continuing all the way around the edge. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk the egg with a splash of water and brush over empanadas. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until golden brown.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size ⅛ of recipe
  • Calories 345
  • Carbohydrate Content 44 g
  • Cholesterol Content 23 mg
  • Fat Content 16 g
  • Fiber Content 3 g
  • Protein Content 5 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 12 g
  • Sodium Content 525 mg
  • Sugar Content 4 g