Empanadas are the perfect snack for a night in – crunchy, flaky pastry pockets bursting with a delicious array of tasty fillings. But when it comes to empanadas, what’s even better than eating them?
Finding the right sauce to accompany them!
Whether you like spicy or creamy sauces, there is an amazing selection of options. Here we have gathered our top picks of sauces that go perfectly and will take your snacking experience to the next level.
So, get started – get ready to find your new favorite sauce!
Here are what to serve with empanadas:
- Dipping Sauces: Guacamole, Tomato Sauce, Hot Sauce, Chimichurri Sauce, Salsa Verde, etc.
- Side Dishes: Rice Pilaf, Green Salad, Potato Salad, Avocado Salad, Coleslaw, Fried Okra, and many more.
What other dishes? And how to prepare them? This blog post will discuss what sauce goes with them and the different side dishes that can be served.
What is Empanada?
It is a type of Spanish food. It’s the name given to a small baked or fried turnover made out of dough and savory fillings.
Empanada is a Spanish and Latin American pastry. It’s also popular in other Southern European, Latin American, Philippine, and Brazilian cultures.
They are usually served as appetizers or snacks and have some sauce to go along with them.
What Does Empanada Mean in Mexican?
They are baked or fried bread or pastry famous in many countries throughout Southern Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
It’s based on the Galician, Portuguese, and Spanish verb empanar, which means “to wrap or coat in bread.”
What is Usually in An Empanada?
Little pockets of the dough are composed of basic, homemade dough on the outside.
Some protein (pork, chicken, or beef, but sometimes fish or cheese) is placed inside for filling.
They are usually stuffed with one or two simple vegetables, such as corn, diced potatoes, or carrots.
Are Empanadas Healthy to Eat?
Yes. They are delicious but aren’t the healthiest meal you can eat since they’re fried.
The great news is you can still get your fix with all the flavor but fewer calories, fat, and more nutrition with healthier versions.
Or, instead of deep fry, you can have baked or air-fried.
You can find this delicious dish in almost every country where they exist. They often come in three varieties: beef, chicken, and pork.
- Beef. These are probably the most popular variety because they’re delicious and easy to prepare. They are also very versatile; you can add whatever ingredients you want.
- Chicken. The only difference is that they don’t include red meat.
- Pork. They are just what they sound like: made of pork. They are usually less sweet than beef and chicken and are spicier.
- Vegetarian. They can be made without meat by substituting vegetable fillings for chicken. Try spinach, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, artichoke hearts, peas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, or any favorite vegetarian ingredient.
What Sauce to Serve with Empanadas?
Many different sauces go well with empanadas. What to dip in? You can use these dipping sauces.
It’s an easy dip that’s perfect! Guacamole is made by mixing avocados, lime juice, salt, and chopped tomato.
Dipping Sauce Tomato
A classic Italian sauce that goes well with empanadas. It’s made by blending crushed canned tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.
Balsamic Chimichurri Sauce
This Argentinian sauce combines balsamic vinegar, parsley, garlic, olive oil, capers, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Pesto is a famous Italian sauce that’s delicious on pasta, pizza, and sandwiches. You can make it at home using basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, or walnuts.
Green salsa is a Mexican condiment that’s great on tacos, burritos, and other dishes. This one uses tomatillos instead of tomatoes.
An easy way to dress up your empanada is to top it with a creamy avocado sauce! Just mash the flesh of two ripe avocados in a bowl, add salt and freshly ground black pepper, and drizzle with lemon juice.
This Mediterranean spread is made by crushing olives, anchovies, capers, herbs, and spices into a paste. Tapenade is an excellent topping for bread, crackers, and vegetables.
Chimichurri is an Argentinian herb and spice mixture used as a marinade and a sauce. Its main ingredients include oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, garlic, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Chimichurri is usually served over steak. But you can use it for empanada dipping sauce because it’s so flavorful.
Cilantro pesto is another excellent choice. Combine cilantro, garlic, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper to make this simple sauce. Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.
Greek yogurt mixed with cucumber, dill, garlic, mint, and olive oil makes a refreshing dip.
Chunky salsa is a good accompaniment for spicy. Combine diced tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne pepper, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
Pico de Gallo
Pico de gallo is a fresh salsa made from finely diced tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cilantro, and jalapenos.
Pickled onions are a tasty addition to any menu. They’re also known as pearl onions and are small and sweet. Simply soak them overnight in water with 1/2 cup of cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Drain and pat dry before adding to recipes.
This lemony mayonnaise adds flavor. Mix two egg yolks, two teaspoons of Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup of lemon juice, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Gruyere Cheese Sauce
Topped with Gruyère cheese, these are perfect for parties. Make a quick sauce by combining 4 ounces of grated Gruyère cheese, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Cook over medium heat while stirring until thickened. Add more milk if necessary.
Mayonnaise is a classic combination. It’s made by mixing eggs, milk, oil, and seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic, and onion.
A hot sauce like Tabasco works well as a dipping sauce. Add some chopped chiles and mix well.
Sofrito is a traditional Spanish sauce that combines tomatoes, onions, garlic, and other aromatics.
This recipe calls for canned tomatoes, but you can easily substitute homemade tomato sauce.
An enchilada sauce is a perfect complement. This creamy sauce is made by cooking ground beef, corn, and red or green chile peppers in chicken broth, then blending the mixture with sour cream, melted butter, and cheddar cheese.
Sides for Empanadas
Empanadas go well with side dishes like rice pilaf, couscous salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, fruit salads, roasted potatoes, baked beans, fried okra, and cornbread, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, grilled zucchini, roasted carrots, and more.
Here is the list of what to eat with empanadas:
A delicious side dish to accompany is rice pilaf.
Cook brown rice or white rice according to package directions. Add chopped scallions, parsley, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Stir in chicken broth or stock and let simmer until liquid has been absorbed. Serve warm.
To make Mexican rice, combine cooked long grain rice with tomato sauce, black beans, corn kernels, cheese, and cilantro.
A colorful side dish to complement the dish is a tossed salad. Combine lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, radishes, celery, bell peppers, black olives, feta cheese, and crumbled bacon. Dress the salad with vinaigrette dressing and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Potatoes go great. Boil potatoes until tender. Let cool slightly and then cut into cubes. Add sliced hard-boiled eggs, celery, pickles, and mayonnaise. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
Macaroni salad is an easy way to add protein to your meal. First, prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold running water—transfer pasta to a large bowl. Add shredded cabbage, celery, carrots, raisins, and nuts. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
An avocado salad is a refreshing alternative to traditional potato salad. Mash avocados and combine with sour cream, mayonnaise, and lime juice. Top with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and cilantro.
Okra goes great! Cut off stems and slice okra lengthwise—heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry okra slices until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
Baked beans are another filling side dish to enjoy. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place drained canned beans in a baking dish. Top with ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, chili powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.
Coleslaw is a refreshing accompaniment. Toss together shredded cabbage, carrot, celery, and mayonnaise in a bowl—season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Zucchini goes great with empanada fillings. Slice zucchini lengthwise and grill on hot coals until tender.
Roasting potatoes brings out their natural sweetness: Peel and quarter potatoes. Arrange on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush lightly with oil. Roast at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until soft and cooked.
Steam broccoli florets until bright green and crisp-tender.
Mash potatoes with butter, milk, sour cream, chives, and salt and pepper to suit your tastes.
Combine fresh fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, bananas, pineapple, melon, grapes, oranges, etc. Mix lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Chill before serving.
Serve cornbread—griddle cornbread batter in a nonstick skillet. Flip when bubbles form around the edges of the bread. Cook until golden brown on another side.
Roasted carrots are great. Wash and peel carrots. Cut into sticks. Coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on hot coals until caramelized.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries are a match made in heaven! Peel sweet potatoes and cut them into wedges. Deep fry in deep fat until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.
Make vegetable soup by combining chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, celery, carrots, and spices. Simmer for 15 minutes. Puree using an immersion blender or food processor.
Black Bean Soup
Add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and spices to simmering water. Add more water as needed. When the beans are almost done cooking, add corn kernels.
How to Make Empanadas
Variations of Recipes
Here are some variations of the delicious recipes:
Crispy pork with chorizo sausage
It has a lot of flavors and textures. It’s crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Asparagus with fava beans, peas, and goat cheese
These vegetarians are filled with asparagus, fava beans, fresh peas, goat cheese, and thyme. Serve them with a balsamic chimichurri sauce.
A mouthwatering dish filled with chorizo and cheese can be fried or baked with a creamy avocado sauce.
Chicken or turkey
Recipe for homemade chicken or turkey filled with chicken/turkey, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, and balsamic vinegar.
Empanadas mendocinas or Argentinean beef
Easy recipe: baked with beef, onions, paprika, hot pepper powder, cumin, oregano, hard-boiled egg, and olives.
Empanadas de puerros or leek empanadas
Recipe filled with leeks, bacon or pancetta, Swiss cheese, and raisins.
Mushroom cheese is filled with baby portobello mushrooms, shallots, balsamic vinegar, raisins, and fontina cheese.
Empanadas de viento or fried cheese
These Ecuadorian dishes are traditional street food stuffed with cheese and onion, then fried and sprinkled with sugar.
Cheese and poblano
Easy recipe for this filled with rajas or roasted poblano peppers and a mix of queso fresco, Oaxaca, and goat cheese.
Spanish Beef Filling
Saute lean ground beef, onions, garlic, and roasted red peppers, and stir in halved Manzanilla pimiento-stuffed olives.
Baked Sweet Potato and Tempeh
Tempeh has a long way to go before it becomes as popular as other soy products, but its wonderfully firm texture and versatility make it an excellent protein source. Here, it’s a stand-in for ground meat in a vegan baking.
Yucca Fries with Banana Ketchup Beef-and-Onion
These traditional Argentine dishes are filled with ground beef, smoked paprika, green olives, and cumin, then baked until golden.
Beef with Caramelized Onions and Jalapeños
A delicious combination of caramelized onions, jalapeño peppers, and spices will leave you craving more.
Cheddar Cheese and Bacon
The ultimate comfort food – this recipe combines the flavors of Cheddar cheese and bacon into a flavorful, crispy.
Pork and Chorizo
A tasty combination of pork and sausage that makes for a great snack.
Spicy Chicken and Cornmeal
This recipe is sure to please chicken lovers everywhere! The cornmeal adds a nice crunchy texture, while the spicy sauce gives a kick.
A savory chipotle chicken with a smoky flavor that’s perfect for any occasion.
Empanadas de Verde or Green Plaintain
Traditional Argentinian is filled with spinach, eggs, and cheese.
How to Make Homemade Beef
This homemade recipe is the basic and favorite recipe.
It is easy and healthy, and you can try it at home.
- One package of pre-made pie crust (2 rolls) – Some people use puff pastry sheets for a crispier result.
- One pound of lean ground beef – I use 90% lean. However, 80% or less will work – drain the excess fat before continuing.
- 1/4 cup diced onions
- 1/2 medium diced bell pepper, any color
- One teaspoon cumin
- One teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- One teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup Mexican blended cheese
- One egg
- Preheat oven to 350*F
- Prepare a cookie sheet with baking, nonstick foil, parchment paper, or oil. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onions, and bell pepper until the beef is cooked, onions are translucent, and the peppers are soft.
- Drain any excess fat.
- Add cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili powder to the ground beef mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the hot burner.
- Roll out pie crusts. Trace circles onto each pie crust using a medium bowl similar to a cereal bowl. I can get 3 per crust. A smaller bowl will result in more circles.
- With leftover pie crust, mix and roll out and continue cutting circles until all dough is used. I can get 8 total.
- Lay a pie crust circle down on the prepared cookie sheet. Add 2 – 3 Tablespoons of filling to the middle of the circle. Top with 1 Tablespoon of cheese.
- Fold pie crust circle in a half-moon shape, keeping the filling inside, and press the edges down with a fork.
- Repeat steps 9 and 10 for all empanadas.
- Arrange them on a cookie sheet.
- Beat egg in a small bowl and brush on top of each.
- Baking time is 12 – 15 minutes or until the tops are golden.
- Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite salads, salsas, and guacamole.
How to Serve Empanadas?
These delicious dishes make an excellent appetizer or side dish. They also pair well with drinks like sangria or margaritas.
They can be served as finger foods or as part of a meal.
I love them dipped in salsa or guacamole. You could add some sliced jalapenos if you want extra heat.
If you have leftovers, they freeze very well. Just wrap individually in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag.
Fridge: This dish can be stored in an airtight container and placed in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer: Place them in a freezer bag or an airtight container; this dish will keep for up to 3 months.
What to serve with Argentinian empanadas?
They are traditionally served with tomato sauce, but many other options exist. You can serve these with various sauces, including chimichurri, pico de gallo, and salsa verde.
Some people even dip them in guacamole!
Is it better to bake or fry empanadas?
Baked are generally healthier than fried ones, but both methods are tasty.
Do you eat empanadas hot or cold?
That’s up to you – many people enjoy them hot or cold. Some people like to microwave them for a few seconds before eating.
What country makes the best Empanadas?
All are delicious, but some countries like Argentina and Chile make them the best.
What is the Difference Between Empanadas and Pastelitos?
Pastelillos are small, fried turnovers made with a thin dough similar to pasta dough. Empanadillas are large turnovers with thicker dough and rolled edges that have a texture like pie dough.
What is the Most Popular Empanada?
There are so many delicious versipn out there; it’s hard to choose just one! However, some of the most popular ones include beef, chicken, and cheese.
They are typically made with flour or cornmeal dough and can be baked or fried.
Do You Eat Empanadas with Your Hands?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question; it depends on your preference! Some people find eating empanadas with their hands easier, while others prefer using a fork and knife. It’s up to you!
Are Empanadas Fattening?
It can be fattening, but it all depends on the ingredients used. For example, those made with a lot of fatty meats or sugary fillings can be quite unhealthy.
However, if you make them with healthier ingredients, such as lean meats and vegetables, they can be quite nutritious and not very fattening at all.
Can Empanadas be Made Ahead of Time?
Yes, they can be made ahead of time. They’re often better if you do make them ahead of time.
They can be frozen either before or after cooking. If freezing before cooking, flash freeze on a baking sheet for an hour or until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag. To cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake frozen for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
If freezing after cooking, let cool completely and then freeze in a sealed container. To reheat, microwave for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
How Do You Say Empanada in Spanish?
You say it in Spanish by pronouncing it “ehm-pah-NAH-dah”.