An empanada (called pastel in Brazilian Portuguese) is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in South Europe, Latin America, and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanadas are made by folding dough or bread around stuffing, which usually consists of a variety of meat, cheese, huitlacoche, vegetables or fruits, among others.

Empanadas de Camote – Sweet Potato Turnovers

Latin America has plenty of recipes for empanadas, both sweet and savoury. Empanadas are often sweet, filled with pumpkin puree, pineapple jam and occasionally dulce de leche. These empanadas have a delicious sweet potato filling. The crust in this recipe is an old-fashioned vinegar and egg crust.

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Empanadas de Pino – Chilean Empanadas

In Chile, the most traditional empanada filling is called “pino”. Pino is a seasoned mixture of beef mince, onions, raisins, black olives, and hard boiled eggs. The empananda dough is quick and easy to make, and can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The pino tastes best if made the day before and allowed to rest overnight before filling the empanandas.

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Empanadas Fritas de Queso – Fried Cheese Empanadas

These fried empanadas are filled only with melted cheese, and are quick and easy to make. Experiment with the filling – some people like to add a little bit of chopped onion or use a variety of cheeses. You can also bake these empanadas with good results.

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How to Fill and Shape Empanadas

Empanadas are a favourite snack, and they taste delicious no matter what they look like. But we’ve seen those rows and rows of perfect empanadas in bakeries and can’t help but aspire to attractive empanadas that don’t leak, break, or collapse in the oven. We’ve made lots of empanadas, and at least one in every batch still explodes in the oven.

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Humitas – Argentinian Creamy Corn Empanadas

Corn filled empanadas or empanadas humitas, as they would say in Spanish are really delicious. These have a sweet but slightly spicy taste. You can adjust the amount of spiciness with how much paprika you add.

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Potato and Spring Onion Bolani

Another fantastic bolani filling is this combination of potato and spring onion. They are a perfect appetiser, snack, side dish, or main meal. Also very easy to make.

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Salteña – Bolivian Baked Empanada

Bolivia is known for its special kind of empanada called a salteña. Oddly, the salteña takes it’s name from a city in Argentina (Salta), but it’s definitely a Bolivian specialty. You can recognise salteñas by the repulgue (the braid-like fold that seals the filling inside) which runs across the top of the pastry instead of along the side.

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Sweet Apple Cinnamon Empanadas

We use a different empanada dough to make these sweet empanadas – a cream cheese pastry dough that is only slightly sweet. It’s very flaky and tastes more like a pie crust.

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Types of Empanadas and a Basic Empanada Dough Recipe

Information on ethnic empanada variations and how to make a basic empanada dough.

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