We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is an Empanada?

By T. Alaine
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An empanada is the Latin American version of the handheld, pie-like dishes that are found in multiple cuisines all over the world. Different variations abound, but an empanada always consists of either a savory or sweet filling enclosed in a half-moon shaped, crimped pastry crust. The filling of choice is simply enclosed in crust dough and then baked or fried before serving. Empanadas can be small to be eaten as appetizers, snacks or desserts, or they can be larger and heartier for main courses.

Many worldwide cuisines feature dishes similar to the empanada, including Italian calzones, Indian samosas and European dumplings. Just like these other dishes, empanadas have great potential for different fillings stuffed inside a dough crust. In fact, the name "empanada" is derived from the Spanish verb empanar, which means "to wrap in bread." Different countries, cities and families have their own traditional recipes for empanada, so it is almost guaranteed to find a version for every taste.

The dough for most empanadas, regardless of the fillings they contain, usually is very simple and made from flour, lard, eggs and water. This recipe results in a dough that is somewhat neutral in flavor, making it versatile enough to pair with several possible flavors of filling. After the dough is mixed, it is rolled out into thin circles and is ready to be filled.

Empanadas for a main course or appetizer often contain some kind of meat, such as beef, chicken or pork. The meat can be mixed with herbs, spices, vegetables and cheese to create a delicious savory filling. Vegetarian versions also are possible and might feature bulkier vegetables such as potatoes to add some heartiness. Generally, all the ingredients are cooked together to blend the flavors and create a cohesive stuffing for the pastry.

Dessert empanadas use the same crust as the savory versions. It is quite common for these sweet pastries to be filled with fruit mixtures. The resulting dessert is somewhat similar to turnovers or miniature pies.

Constructing an empanada is fairly simple and, if done correctly, creates a neat, easy-to-eat, handheld meal or snack. Filling is spooned onto one half of the thin circles of dough. The other half of the dough is folded over the top of the filling, creating a half-moon shaped package.

To keep the filling safely secured inside, the edges of the dough are crimped together, sealing in all the stuffing. Empanadas usually are baked but also can be fried in oil to produce a crispy, brown crust. When the empanadas are finished cooking, they usually are wrapped in paper and eaten by hand.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.