Mexican Empanadas Recipe: Baked Pumpkin Empanadas

This will probably offend a few people, but I would describe Mexican empanadas by saying they are like Latin America’s “hot pockets” :)

Roughly translated, “empanada” essentially means something that is “wrapped in bread.” The beauty of empanadas is that how you make them and what you fill them with are completely up to you! Popular filling options include delicious meats like crab, marlin, and beef, as well as completely different things like tasty fruits, delicious nuts, and more desert-oriented flavors–the options are virtually limitless.

Inside Latin America, empanadas are little pastries and, commonly, meat pies that are filled with beef and vegetables, ham and cheeses, and so forth, that are most commonly cooked in the oven but that are also sometimes fried on the stove. Both baked and fried empanadas are a popular snack in Mexico and pretty much all throughout Latin America.

Of course, you’ll find empanadas recipes in Spain, Portugal, and much of the rest of the world under various names, but I’m going to show you one particular authentic Mexican variation on the empanada recipe, here.

Mexican empanadas with pumpkin filling

Emapanadas served in Mexico are most commonly either desserts or items on the breakfast menu, and they tend to come with a lot of sweeter fillings like pumpkin (as in this case), yams, sweet potato, cream, as well as a plethora of fruit fillings.

What the empanadas in Mexico are like really depends where you go in the country because each region of Mexico has its own “take” on the Mexico empanada recipe. For example: meats, cheeses, and vegetables are not very popular empanada fillings in some states, but they are very popular and widely eaten in others. In the sate of Chiapas, empanadas are typically filled with chicken or cheese are commonly eaten for breakfast, dinner, or even as little snacks throughout the day. Also depending on the region and on the particular empanada recipe being used is the dough: it can be based on wheat or on corn, and sometimes even on Yuca flour. It just depends on who’s making this tasty treat!

But enough chat; here’s how you make delicious, easy Mexican pumpkin empanadas:

Cook Time: ~1 hour

Ingredients for this easy empanada recipe:

warm water (one cup)
white sugar (1/3 cup)
baking powder (1/4 teaspoon)
all-purpose flour (3 cups)
vegetable shortening (one cup)
salt (1.5 teaspoons)

canned pure pumpkin (4 cups)
white sugar (one cup)
ground cinnamon (1.5 teaspoons)
ground ginger (one teaspoon)
eggs (two)
beaten egg (one)
ground cloves (a half teaspoon)
salt (one teaspoon)

Cooking Directions for Making These Mexican Empanadas:

Start this baked empanada recipe by preheating your oven to 175°C (350F, for you Americanos :) ). Then line a few baking sheets with some parchment paper.

Whisk your flour in a large bowl, along with the 1/3 cup of sugar, and the 1.5 teaspoons of salt, all together.

Then cut the vegetable shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Then, stir the warm water in, only about two tablespoons at a time, just until you’re able to gather the dough together, and then add the quarter teaspoon of baking powder to dry the dough out a bit.

Knead this dough a few times in your bowl, then scrape it out onto a floured surface.

Cut the dough into quarters, and then cut each quarter into thirds so that you now have 12 equal portions.

Roll each portion into a ball. Cover these dough balls with a cloth, and just let them rest while you make the empanada filling:

Mix together the pumpkin, the two eggs, the one cup of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, your cinnamon, the ginger, and cloves. Keep mixing until the consistency is smooth.

On a floured surface, roll each of your dough balls out into a thin circle that is about 15cm (six inches) in diameter.

Spoon 1/3 cup of your filling into the center of each dough circle, then fold the dough over the filling to make a half-moon shaped pie, and then crimp the edges of the crust together with a fork, leaving the little fork lines in the dough.

Now, gently lay each of the empanadas onto your prepared baking sheets.

Brush the top of each pie with a bit of beaten egg.

Bake the empanadas in your preheated oven until their filling is hot and their crusts are shiny and browned. This should take around 20 minutes.

baked pumpkin empanadas

So there you have it: a simple and easy empanada recipe for baked Mexican empanadas with pumpkin filling. I think you’ll love this tasty authentic Mexican treat, and if you try it out and you do, leave me a comment in the section below and, if I get enough feedback, I might just have to share another of these authentic and easy Mexican recipes for making tasty treats like these. I hope you like these empanadas from Mexico, and I’ll speak to you again soon!

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