We developed a multifrequency, full‐envelope template approach to estimate surface explosion yield from seismic stations in the 5–50 km distance range. The new method is empirically based, transportable, and unlike other methods, it is designed to work for short‐duration coda that a simple exponential single‐scattering formulation in a homogeneous space does not model well. Our empirical full‐envelope template‐matching approach produces close fits to complicated short‐duration and high‐frequency waveforms observed at near‐field distances. Moreover, because the envelope templates capture the nuances of the initial P and S waves and their scattered counterparts, the method is robust and provides roughly a factor of three times less scatter in yield measurement than peak P‐wave and integrated first P‐wave estimates. In this article, we demonstrate that our improved empirical template matching achieves accurate explosive yield estimates that are within 50% of the design yields at 95% confidence for a set of chemical explosions ranging in yield from 50 kg to 45 tonnes.