5 from 4 votes

Copycat Taco Bell Air Fryer Caramel Apple Empanadas

No need to be sad because Taco Bell discontinued this delectable sweet treat. Copycat Taco Bell Air Fryer Caramel Apple Empanadas are easy to make your own that are just as rich and indulgent. These pocket pastries are air-fried until a crispy golden brown filled with a gooey apple caramel filling.

Caramel empanadas on a platter.


Whether you’re looking for the perfect after-school snack or want a new way to recreate the flavors of caramel apples, these air fryer caramel apple empanadas are excellent! When you sink your teeth into this sweet empanada, it will taste like a bite of Heaven! 

You could almost call them mini apple pies. They come out deliciously crispy, thanks to the melted butter on the outside, and the air fryer cooks them without extra grease. So, if you’ve ever wanted to fry empanadas without the mess, make these easy apple hand pies! 

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Why You’ll Love Copycat Taco Bell Caramel Apple Empanadas

  • Easy to make in the air fryer or the oven 
  • The filling can be used as a topping for ice cream.
  • They have the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors. 
  • They are the perfect size for serving at parties. 

Ingredients

The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

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    I used a few simple ingredients to make this apple empanada recipe. Here is what you’ll need from the grocery store. 

    • Refrigerated Pie Crust: Save time and use refrigerated pie crust as the empanada dough. 
    • Apple Pie Filling: The canned filling is a shortcut with all the necessary spices. 
    • Kraft Caramels: They will make a rich caramel sauce as they melt. 
    • Butter: Use this to brown the crust perfectly. 
    • Sugar: Use granulated sugar, not brown sugar.  
    • Cinnamon: The ground cinnamon adds the perfect amount of spice. 
    Ingredients to make Copycat Taco Bell Air Fryer Caramel Apple Empanadas.

    How to Make Copycat Taco Bell Caramel Apple Empanadas

    • Step One: Add your apple pie filling and caramel over medium heat in a medium saucepan.
    • Step Two: Stir together until the caramels are all melted.  
    • Step Three: Remove from heat and set aside.
    Steps to make caramel apple empanadas.
    • Step Four: Unroll each pie crust and cut out five circles per pie crust using a large coffee mug to end up with 20 dough circles.
    • Step Five: Place a tablespoon of the filling into the middle of each dough round.
    Steps to make caramel apple empanadas.
    • Step Six: Carefully fold over the circle and pinch the edges together to seal.
    • Step Seven: Melt the butter and brush onto each empanada.
    • Step Eight: Mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over each empanada.
    • Step Nine: Working in batches, place your empanadas in the air fryer and air fry at 330 for 10 minutes.  Air fryers differ greatly, so check your empanadas to ensure they are not burning.
    • Step Ten: Repeat with the other batches. Serve! 
    Steps to make caramel apple empanadas.

    Equipment Needed

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    • Air Fryer – This makes clean-up a breeze. 
    • Medium Saucepan – Use a saucepan to melt the caramels. 
    • Coffee Mug – Use this to measure and cut the empanada discs. 
    • Pastry Brush –  This will brush the melted butter on the outside of the empanadas. 
    • Small Mixing Bowl –  Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. 

    What to Serve with Copycat Taco Bell Caramel Apple Empanadas

    These easy caramel apple empanadas are the perfect way to enjoy a mini apple pie. Here are some of my favorite dessert recipes that will taste good with caramel and apples.    

    Variations and Substitutions

    • Dust them with Apple Pie Spice instead of cinnamon sugar. 
    • Use a homemade pie crust. 
    • Bake them in the oven.
    • Drizzle extra caramel sauce on the outside. 

    Storage Instructions 

    Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

    Freeze leftover dessert empanadas individually, wrapping each one in parchment paper. Keep them in a sealed freezer bag. They will stay fresh in the freezer for up to six months. 

    Caramel apple empanadas on a linen.

    Copycat Taco Bell Caramel Apple Empanadas Tips and Tricks

    • Premake your cinnamon sugar mixture and save extra for toast later.    
    • After they are fully cooked, let them cool on paper towels. 
    • Eat them hot or let them cool to room temperature – they taste delicious either way. 

    What Is An Empanada?

    Also called a turnover, an empanada is a pastry usually filled with something savory. Traditional empanadas are deep-fried and filled with ground beef or shredded beef and vegetables. This is a classic dish from Spanish and Latin American countries. 

    Can I Use Homemade Dough? 

    Yes, you can use homemade dough instead of refrigerated pie dough. If you have a recipe for flaky pie crust, it will taste delicious in this easy dessert recipe. Just make sure you use a rolling pin to make the pie crust thin and all the same thickness so that the apple pie empanadas bake at the same rate. 

    The refrigerated dough just makes this a straightforward recipe with a flaky crust and almost no effort. 

    Can I Use Caramel Sauce? 

    Do not use pre-made caramel sauce. If you do, it could make the filling too thin and leak out of the empanadas. The melted caramels are the perfect texture. 

    A hand holding a caramel apple empanada cut in half.

    What Size Of Cutter Do I Use?

    You should use a cutter the size of a coffee cup, about three or four inches wide. These will be very small, which is part of their appeal and beauty. 

    What To Do With Leftover Filling? 

    Save the leftover filling. It will taste amazing on ice cream, pancakes, or homemade waffles. 

    Baking Instructions 

    You can bake them in the oven, too. To bake them in the oven, heat them at 350F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. 

    How To Reheat 

    I prefer to reheat them in the air fryer at 300F for about 5 minutes. If you reheat them in the microwave, the crust might soften. 

    Why Did They Explode? 

    If your empanadas exploded, you probably didn’t leave space for the steam to escape. You should cut a small slit on top of them so the steam can escape. 

    Caramel Apple Empanadas on a platter.

    FAQ

    Can I make this with fresh apples?

    Yes, you can make your apple pie filling with fresh apples. I suggest making thin apple slices – preferably from Granny Smith apples. 

    How do you keep them crispy?

    Let them cool completely before you store them in the refrigerator. This will maintain their crispy exterior. 

    How many servings does this make? 

    This recipe makes 20 empanadas.

    Caramel Apple Recipes    

    Want more tasty caramel apple recipes that you can make at home? Here are some of my favorites:

    For more copycat recipes, try Big Mac Sauce, Copycat Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich, Copycat McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffins, Copycat Texas Roadhouse Rolls and Copycat Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich. You’ll also enjoy Apple Pie Egg Rolls, Apple Compote and Air Fryer Apples.

    Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.

    5 from 4 votes

    Copycat Air Fryer Caramel Apple Empanadas

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 20 empanadas
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 30 minutes
    No need to be sad because Taco Bell discontinued this delectable sweet treat. It's easy to make your own that is just as rich and indulgent. These pocket pastries are air fried till a crispy golden brown and filled with a gooey apple caramel filling.

    Ingredients
     
     

    • 2 boxes refrigerated pie crusts 15 oz boxes, 4 pie crusts total
    • 1 can apple pie filling 21oz can
    • 1 bag Kraft caramels 11oz bag
    • 4 tbsp butter
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 2 tsp cinnamon

    Instructions

    • Add apple pie filling and caramels to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the caramels are melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
    • Unroll each pie crust and using a large coffee mug, cut out 5 circles per pie crust so you end up with 20 circles of dough.
    • Place a tablespoon of apple caramel filling into the middle of each dough round.
    • Carefully fold over the circle and pinch the edges together to seal.
    • Melt the butter and brush onto each empanada.
    • Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the empanadas.
    • Working in batches, place the empanadas in the air fryer and air fry for 10 minutes at 330℉. Repeat with other batches.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 46mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 18IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 0.1mg

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Dessert
    Cuisine Mexican
    Keyword copycat recipes, empanadas

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    5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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    2 Comments

    1. Can you make these in the oven? And if so what temp?

      1. You can bake them in the oven, too. To bake them in the oven, heat them at 350F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

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