A gourmet version of a traditional
is a stuffed bread
. The name comes
from the Spanish
meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a
dough or bread patty around the stuffing. In Spain, empanadas
are usually large and circular in shape and are cut into smaller
portions for consumption, whereas in Portugal and South
America empanadas are normally small and semi-circular (this type
of empanada is also common in the province of Cadiz, Spain).
Empanadas are also known by a wide variety of regional names (see
the entries for the individual countries below).
The empanada may have its origin in the '"muaajanat
", , the savory pastries introduced into
Spain and Portugal during the Arabic occupation of the Iberian
, especially the half-moon-shaped sanbusak, which is
also the ancestor of the Indian samosa. Popular in some Arab
countries are "muaajanat
bi sabaniq maa lahm
" (literally, pastries with spinach and
meat). In Spain the dish is known as Galician empanada
, whereas in Portugal it is only known as
"empanada".It is likely that empanadas in the Americas
have their origins in Galicia, Spain and Portugal, where an
empanada is prepared similar to a large pie which is cut in pieces,
making it a portable and hearty meal for working people.
filling of Galician and Portugal empanada usually includes either
tuna, sardines or chorizo
, but can instead
contain cod fish
or pork loin. The meat or fish
is commonly in a tomato, garlic and onion sauce inside the bread or
pastry casing. Due to the large number of Galician immigrants in
Latin America, the empanada gallega
has also become
popular in that region.The dish was carried to South America by
colonists, where they remain very popular to this day. Empanadas in
South America have various fillings, detailed below.
Varieties by country
Argentine empanadas are often served at parties as a starter
or main course, or in festivals.
Shops specialize in freshly
made empanadas, with many flavors and fillings.
is usually of wheat flour
with fillings differing from province to province:
in some it is mainly chicken
in others beef
(cubed or ground depending on the region), perhaps spiced with
while others include onion
, boiled egg
, or raisins
. Empanadas can be baked (more common in
and cities) or fried (more
common in rural
areas and at festivals
). They may also contain ham
) or spinach
; a fruit
used to create a dessert
of the interior regions can be spiced with pepper
In restaurants where several types are served, a repulgue
, or pattern
is added to the pastry
fold. These patterns
indicate the filling.
Province of Tucumán
This province hosts The National Empanada Festival, in the city of
- The only varieties are: beef, mondongo, chicken, with the latter two being the
- Preferably cooked in a clay oven in a tray of fat, or in a gas
- The empanada Tucumana is hearty - the meat filling being minced
into 3 mm pieces, then partially cooked and allowed to cool
while it absorbs juices. Cooking is finished along with the final
- In addition to meat, spring onions, pimento and vinegar are
added. Potatoes, peas, and olives are rarely used in the Tucuman
- The dough is simply prepared from flour, water, lard.
A traditional celebratory meal in Tucumán might include: empanadas,
and meat tamales
, and to drink wine from Amaicha
, or Colalao
bitter orange syrup
as a dessert.
Province of Salta
Empanadas from Salta or "Empanadas salteñas
characterized by the use of potatoes, the beef or goat meat and
diverse varieties of red pepper.
- Province of Jujuy - empanadas Jujeñas are very similar to
those from Salta though peas, red peppers and goat meat is more
- Province of Santiago del
Estero tend to commonly use peas, white onion, and hard boiled
- Province of Cordoba- The empanadas
from Cordoba are characterized by the use of raisins, potatoes, and
- Provinces of Catamarca and
La Rioja - Empanadas Catamarqueñas and Las
Riojan tend to have garlic, potatoes, goat meat , onion and olives
as the fillings.
- Provinces of Cuyo (Mendoza, La
Rioja, San Luis, San Juan) - The empanadas of these provinces are
very similar to those of Chile having more onion, often spring
- Province of Entre Rios - The
empanadas here are often stuffed with milk-soaked rice.
- Provinces of Corrientes, Misiones and Formosa - Empanada pastry is occasionally
made with manioc - mandioca flour, and although beef as a filling
predominates fish is not unusual.
- Province of Buenos Aires and the city of Buenos Aires - The preferred
empanada one is very similar to that of Tucuman but with a greater
variety of fillings.
- Province of Pampas - Here
empanadas reflect the crossing of various regional influences from
Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza, and Patagonia. So that being
so the most frequent empanada fillings can include red peppers,
carrots, hard boiled egg, and currants.
- In the
Patagónian provinces (Neuquén, Negro
River, Chubut, Santa
Cruz and Tierra del Fuego,and Islands of the South Atlantic) the most
frequent filling is lamb although in
the coastal zones fish and, specially, seafood, is common.
In Neuquén the usually condiment is
"empanadas de Cuaresma
on fish (usually dogfish or tuna) are popular.
Bolivian Empanadas are made with beef or chicken, and usually
contain potatoes, peas and carrots, as well as a hard boiled egg,
an olive, or raisins. They are called salteñas
and are moon-shaped pouches of dough
customarily seamed along the top of the pastry. Salteñas are very
juicy and generally sweeter than the Chilean variety, though there
are different levels of spiciness (non sweetness). In the
afternoons, fried cheese empanadas are served, sometimes brushed
with sugar icing.
Brazil, empadas, or empadinhas are a
common ready-to-go lunch item available at fast-food counters.
variety of different fillings and combinations are available, with
the most common being chicken, palmito
(heart of palm), cheese, shrimp, and beef.
The filling of empadinhas
often have olives or olive
pieces mixed in. Many people see this as a crucial aspect of the
food, originating the expression "olive in the empadinha
for something important, desirable or beneficial.
The cheese empadinha
is usually open, resembling a
Portuguese Pastel de
Though the similar name suggests related dishes, Brazilian
are very different from empanadas, and probably
have distinct origins - possibly deriving from Portuguese
, which resembles a tarte
Empanadas (Argentinian or Chilean style) are also available at a
few Brazilian restaurants, never sold as empadinhas
are regarded as totally different dishes.
The dough used in empadinhas
is based on flour and butter
(or margarine), and is closer to the French pâte brisée
(used in tartes
) than the dough used to make empanadas.
are baked in small round metal moulds, about
5 cm diameter each. The crust crumbles when pressed, different
from empanadas, which are usually firmer.
As noted above, empadinhas
usually come with chicken
filling, but also with beef, heart of palm, shrimp, cheese
cheese, mixed cheeses, etc.), dried
tomatoes, codfish, etc. They are widely available in Brazil, and
commonly found in bakeries, luncheonettes, and gas stations; there
are even some fast-food chains specialized in empadinhas
(e.g. Empadaria da Vovó
, Rancho da Empada
in most major Brazilian cities.
Usually cheese-filled "empadinhas" are opened, but you can find
them closed in some places.
Chilean empanadas can have a wide range of fillings, but there are
two basic types; one is baked and usually filled with pino
(similar to mincemeat
), and the other is
fried and usually filled with cheese. Empanada fillings may contain
cheese and/or different types of seafood, for example; mussel,
crab, or locos
most popular empanada filling is pino
traditionally of beef, onions, shortening, raisins, black olives,
hard boiled eggs and hot peppers. Pino is a Mapuche
recipe, and in Mapudungun
it is called Pinu, so this filling is
a true mix of indigenous Chilean and Spanish heritage.
Colombian empanadas can be either baked or fried.
ingredients used in the filling can vary according to the region,
but it will usually contain components such as salt, rice, beef or
ground beef, shredded chicken, boiled potatoes, cheese, hard-boiled
eggs, and peas. In the department of Valle del Cauca
, they are generally filled
with ground meat, yellow potato or Criole potato. They are also
served with peas, tomato, cilantro, and many other spices.
city of Medellín, Chorizo filled empanadas
can be easily found, because of the city's love of pork and chorizo
meats. In the Amazonic regions of Colombia, such as
the area of the city of Leticia, many sweet empanadas can be found, because of the
high demand and high supply of tropical fruits of the
Many of these empanadas are filled with some sort of
jam consisting of these types of tropical fruits, such as lulo
and many more which
can all be found in the Amazon regions of Colombia. However,
radical variations can also be found (cheese empanadas,
chicken-only empanadas, and even Trucha
- Trout -
empanadas). The pastry is mostly corn-based, although potato flour
is also used. In Santander
wheat flour pastry is the most popular with a variety of fillings
that may include pineapple and even mushrooms, but the empanadas of
ground or puréed manioc (stuffed with rice and shredded chicken or
minced meat and, usually, chopped hard boiled egg and cilantro) are
a representative traditional food.
Colombian empanadas are usually served with Aji
(also called Picante
by some people), a sauce made of cilantro, green
onions, red or black pepper, vinegar, salt, and lemon juice and,
often, bits of avocado pear. Bottled hot sauces are also used to
add flavor to the empanadas. The sauce is normally prepared with a
spicy kick, balancing very well with the nutty, neutral taste of
the meat, potato and spices that make up the typical Colombian
empanada. Colombian empanadas are also known to contain carrots and
chicken. Another variety include Stuffed Potatoes (Papas
) which is a variant that has potato in the pastry
instead of maize dough and have round shapes.
In the Cauca
department, the pipian empanadas
are made with peanuts and a special type of potato called "Papa
amarilla" due to its yellow color. In Colombia, empanadas can be
easily found on street corners, as it is one of the most famous and
popular foods in the general public, followed by Arepa
, and Pandebono
. Many of
the empanadas that are found in Colombia were/are homemade, and
have been brought down through generations, eventually turning into
a national obsession. One of the most famous bakeries in the
Republic, more specifically based in Cali, Colombia, called 'El Molino' introduced the Spinach
Empanada, which is an empanada filled with both green spinach and
cottage or Riccotta cheese. In the poorer areas of Colombia, the
producers of these popular empanadas are made with the same
spinach, but use Queso Campesino, Queso Paisa of Medellín, or parmasan cheese instead of cottage or Ricotta
cheese. Emapandas in Colombia are a favorite in most
of the bigger cities, such as Cali, Bogotá, or Medellín.
Nowadays, Colombian empanadas are one of
the most ordered, and one of the most favorable side orders in many
of the restaurants in Colombia.
Costa Rican empanadas are either filled with seasoned meats
(pork, beef or chicken) or cheese, beans, cubed potato stew folded
and then fried.
These empanadas are normally made with corn
dough. There is another version made with wheat dough and is
typically sweet and baked, filled with guava, pineapple, chiverre
or any other jelly or dulce de leche. Another popular version are
empanadas that have been made with sweet plantain dough, filled
with seasoned beans and cheese, and then fried.
empanadas are typically filled
with seasoned meats (usually ground beef or chicken), folded into
dough, and deep fried. Cubans also sometimes refer to empanadas as
empanadillas. Empanadas can also be made with cheese, guayaba, or a
mixture of both.
These are not to be confused with Cuban pastelitos,
which are very similar but use a
lighter pastry dough and may or may not be fried. Cubans eat
empanadas at any meal, but they usually consume them during lunch
or as a snack.
Similar in their preparation (though often fried) and method of
consumption to Cuban empanadas. More modern versions, promoted by
some specialty food chains, include stuffing like pepperoni
and cheese, Danish cheese and chicken,
etc. A variety also exists in which the dough is made from cassava
flour, called catibías
seasoning, diced boiled eggs and raisins can be
added as way to provide additional variety and enhance the flavor
of the meat filling.
Very similar to those of their neighboring country, Colombia,
Ecuadorian empanadas are made of corn seasoning or flour. Their
components may include peas, potatoes, steamed meat known as
, or many other varieties of vegetables. The
many types of Ecuadorian empanadas include empanadas de
(rice empanadas), which are deep fried for added
crispiness, and flour empanadas or empanadas de verde
which are empanadas made from plantain. Empanadas are also followed
(a type of dipping sauce for added flavor), which
varies by region. The major components of "aji", or "picante", as
it is also known, are cilantro, juices from red peppers (for a
spicy kick), lemon, Spanish, red, or green onion, and sometimes
chopped tomato. In la costa
, or the shore region of
Ecuador, aji may contain only onions, chopped tomatoes, and lemon
juice. and fruit empanadas; with such fillings as banana, apples,
and pumpkin. There is also "empanadas de morocho", morocho is a
special grain produced in the country. They are also known for deep
fried Empanadas made with shredded chicken, onions, olives, hard
boiled eggs, and raisins then topped with sugar before
Salvadorians often use the term "empanadas" to mean an appetizer or
dessert made of plantains stuffed with sweet cream. The plantains
are then lightly fried and served warm with a sprinkle of sugar.
They also sometimes include caramel and apples
Haiti, a meat-filled pastry similar to the empanada but
with a thicker crust called a pate is regularly eaten on
It is essentially a meat-filled turnover
. The dough is often filled with
ground beef, fish, or chicken and topped with spices. The dough is
then sealed and baked.
A Jamaican patty
or pattie is a
pastry that contains various fillings and spices baked inside a
flaky shell, often tinted golden yellow with an egg yolk mixture or
turmeric. It is made like a turnover but is more savory. As its
name suggests, it is commonly found in Jamaica, and is also eaten
in other areas of the Caribbean, like Costa Rica's Caribbean coast
but most notably that of Haiti, in which the pastry is thick and
crispy essentially a turnover. It is traditionally filled with
seasoned ground beef, however, fillings now include chicken,
vegetables, shrimp, lobster, fish, soy, ackee, mixed vegetables or
cheese. In Jamaica the patty is often eaten as a full meal especially
when paired with bread.
It can also be made as bite-sized
portions and is then referred to as a cocktail patty.
empanadas can be a dessert
or breakfast item and tend to contain a variety of sweetened
fillings; these include pumpkin, yams, sweet potato, and cream, as
well as a wide variety of fruit fillings. Meat, cheese, and
vegetable fillings are less common in some states, but still
well-known and eaten fairly regularly. Depending on local
preferences and particular recipes the dough can be based on wheat
or corn, sometimes with Yuca flour. The state of Hidalgo is famous for its empanadas, or pastes, as they are locally known.
their origins from the Cornish
imported by British miners. In Chiapas, empanadas filled with chicken or cheese are
popular dishes for breakfast, supper or even as
Empanadas are usually filled with ground beef but sometimes may
also be filled with shredded chicken, white cheese or yellow
cheese. They are made of flour or cornmeal and usually deep fried,
but can also be baked. In the city of Colon, due to a heavy
Caribbean influence, they also fill it with a plantain puree, bake
it, and call it "plantain tart"(tarta de planton). They are smaller
than their counterparts elsewhere in Latin America and are
considered snack, appetizer, or luncheon food.
Peruvian empanadas are similar to Argentine empanadas, but
They are usually baked. The most common
variety contains ground beef seasoned with cumin, hard-boiled egg,
onion, olives and raisin; the dough is usually sprinkled with icing
sugar. They are commonly sprinkled with lime juice before eating.
Also very popular are cheese-filled (or cheese-and-ham-filled) ones
besides chicken filled one.
Recently, "modern" empanadas, with a variety of filling have
appeared, e.g.: chicken-and-mushrooms, shrimp or "aji de
In southern Peru, similar to Bolivia, you will also find "Salteñas"
(Argentinian empanadas) or "Bolivianas" (very similar to
empanadas usually contain
ground beef or chicken meat, potato, chopped onion, and raisins
(somewhat similar to the Cuban "picadillo") in a sweetish wheat
flour dough. Some Filipinos are not partial to the sweetish flavour
notes and prefer empanadas that are closer to the Hispanic
versions. There are doughy baked versions, as well as flaky fried
versions. Often, to lower costs, potatoes are added as a filler,
-- relatively expensive in the
However, empanadas in the northern Ilocos region are very
different. These empanadas are made of a savory filling of green
, mung beans
and, upon request, chopped Ilocano sausage
) and/or an egg yolk.
Rather than the soft, sweet dough favored in the Tagalog region,
the dough used to enclose the filling is thin and crisp, mostly
because Ilocano empanada uses rice flour, coloured orange with
), and is deep-fried
rather than baked......
Portugal, empadas are a common option for a small
meal, found universally in patisseries
and often being eaten while drinking coffee.
They are usually about the size of a
golf ball, though size and shape changes from place to place or
establishment to establishment. The most common fillings are
chicken, beef, tuna, codfish and, more recently, mushrooms and
vegetables, though this also varies from place to place. They
aren't usually served hot.
Puerto Rican cuisine
several dishes related to the empanada. The closest to those of
neighboring countries is called empanadilla
'little empanada'; it also known as pastelillo
around the metropolitan area). The empanadilla is made of flour or
flour dough, lard and annatto
powder. The empanadilla is filled with meat
, turkey, etc), spinach
, pigeon peas
, cheese, or a combination, or cheese
with fruit. Cassava empanadas are usually filled with seafood.
They're very popular beach food and in Cuchifrito
Mexican empanadas are commonly eaten in the
States, especially in the Southwest.
chain serves the Caramel Apple
Empanada, a dessert item that is basically an "Americanized"
version of the empanada, more closely resembling an "original"
(1970s-80s era) McDonald's
Apple Pie than
anything else. It consists of sweet dough, deep-fried and filled
with a gooey apple filling.
In the southeastern United States, there is a similarly prepared
dessert often referred to as "fried pies." They typically consist
of a pasty filling made from re-constituted dried fruit such as
apples, apricots, or peaches. The filling is placed in a dough
circle, folded over in half, and then fried.
Uruguayan empanadas are generally made out of wheat flour and
can be fried or baked.
There were introduced by the Spanish
and Italian settlers in the middle of the 20th century. The most
common empanadas are those with beef, but there are also other
kinds, such as ham and cheese, olives, fish and spicy stuffing.The
most famous sweet empanadas in Uruguay are those that combine
dulce de leche
by sugar or apple jam. In some regions even those with sweet
Spain empanadas are often made from a rather thin,
pliant, but resilient wheat pastry, although thicker pastry is not
The filling varies, but tuna, sardines or chorizo
are used most commonly in a tomato puree,
garlic and onion sauce. Spanish empanadas are fried in olive
Galicia, Spain, the
empanada can also be prepared similar to a pie, with cod fish or pork loin, the empanada galega
(Spanish: empanada gallega).
Empanada can be eaten at any
time of the day.
Venezuelan empanadas use corn flour based dough and are fried
in a oily paste.
The stuffing varies according to region;
most common are the cheese and ground
cheese artifacts empanadas. Other types use fish
white cheese, guiso
chicken stew made with capers
, red bell
peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives, panela
, red wine, and Worcestershire sauce
). Oyster, clams and other types of seafood popular are used as
fillings in the coastal areas, especially in Margarita
When the empanada is cut open after deep
frying, and doctored with added fillings, it is called empanada
, a term which refers to a surgical intervention
in Spanish). An empanada filled with meat,
black beans (Venezuelan-style), and sweet fried plantains
) is called empanada pabellón
Venezuela's national dish, the pabellón criollo
Many other world cuisines have dishes very similar to the empanada.
- Kajjikaya from Andhra Pradesh, India. Similar to fried
empanadas filled with sweetened dried coconut.
- Simbusak, a fried, chickpea filled
"empanada" from Iraq
- Kibbeh, from Lebanon/Levant, with lamb meat
encased in bulgur dough
- Burek, from Turkey and areas of
the former Ottoman Empire
- Pierogi, bierock and runza from Slavic countries and the midwest United States
- Pirozhki, from
Russia and nearby
- Strudel, from
Germany and areas of the former Habsburg empire
- Pasty from Cornwall
- Samosa from India and Pakistan
- Calzone, panzerotti and stromboli from Italy
- Jamaican patty
- Knish, a dish associated with Ashkenazi Jews
- Jiaozi from China, also called mandu in Korea and gyōza in Japan
- Bánh xèo
and other types of bánh from Vietnam
- Curry puff from
Malaysia and countries with Malay populations
- Deep-fried momo from Tibet, Nepal
and North East India
- Hot Pockets,
prepared, mass-marketed food from the United States
- Natchitoches Meat Pie,
fried or baked pastry turnover filled with ground beef, pork,
onion, garlic and spices
- Karanji from Maharashtra, India. Same idea, but filled with
fried & sugared coconut.
- Gujia from India filled with sugared coconut, nuts & sweet
but no meat.