Recipe Box: Grandma's Empanadas for Hispanic Heritage Month

🇲🇽 Yummy Dinner for Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic Heritage Month, or Any Day!

By Sandra Kuczynski September 25, 2023

My grandmother taught me how to make empanadas at a very young age. She has been gone for several years, but her recipe lives in my heart. 

Empanadas can be traced back to Spain and Portugal in the 1500s. Now, empanadas are staples in many Hispanic countries, each with its own variation. My grandma traditionally deep-fried her empanadas, but I have modified her recipe to bake my empanadas for a more healthy version.

Empanadas are great to make with kids because they are an easy, hands-on dish that is fun to prepare. Plus, they're delicious! I hope your family loves these baked empanadas as much as mine does!

Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15 each year, is a month-long celebration of the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Kent Ng | Canva

Grandma's (Baked, Not Fried) Empanadas

  • A small amount of olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of milk or water
  • Sofrito (a tomato cooking base made with green peppers, onions, cilantro, and garlic in olive oil, found in the international aisle of your grocery store)
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef or turkey
  • Adobo (a paste or marinade typically made from chili peppers, vinegar, herbs, and spices found in the international aisle of your grocery store)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of red beans
  • 20 empanada discs (typically found in the international section of the frozen food aisle)
  • 1 cup of Monterey Jack or Mexican-blend cheese 

PRO TIP: Use a round perforated pizza pan if you have one, as the perforation helps cook the empanadas evenly so they won't need to be turned. If you don't have a perforated pizza pan, flip your empanadas about halfway through cooking.

1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Lightly grease your pizza pan with olive oil.

2. Mix eggs and milk in a bowl and set aside. 

3. Heat sofrito in a hot skillet, then add ground meat for browning, season with adobo and salt/pepper, and add half of the can of tomato sauce. 

4. Once the meat is cooked through, drain the excess fat and add the beans. 

5. Let the meat and bean mixture cool. 

6. On a cutting board, place an empanada disc, then add a spoonful of mixture to the center with some cheese, being careful not to overfill. Fold over (like a half moon), then crimp the edges of the empanada with a fork. Brush with a little of the egg mixture.

7. Place your empanadas on your greased pan.

8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown.