Absolutely Delicious Pumpkin Empanadas Recipe

Picture this: it’s a beautiful autumn day, the leaves are changing colors and falling gently from the trees. You’re cozied up on your porch with a warm cup of coffee or tea, and a batch of fresh-baked pumpkin empanadas waiting for you. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect way to spend a fall day?

Pumpkin is the quintessential flavor of the season, and what better way to enjoy it than in empanada form? Empanadas are pastry pockets filled with savory or sweet fillings. They’re typically associated with Latin American cuisine but have gained popularity worldwide.

This recipe features canned pure pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and more ingredients that make it an easy and tasty treat for anyone who loves homemade pumpkin treats. So fire up those ovens, grab some flour and shortening, and get ready to impress your taste buds with these delicious pumpkin empanadas!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Pumpkin Empanadas
Pumpkin Empanadas

Picture this: a seasonal twist on a classic Latin American dish, filled with indulgent pumpkin filling, crispy crust, and warm spices. Enter the pumpkin empanada – my go-to dessert for fall. Trust me; once you try these, you’ll understand why they are impossible to resist.

What makes this recipe special is undoubtedly the pumpkin filling. The creamy, sweet taste of canned pumpkin combined with brown sugar and warm spices such as cinnamon and ginger creates an aromatic blend that will leave your taste buds craving more. It’s everything you love about pumpkin pie baked inside a flaky pie crust, only in a hand-held version.

Not only is the pumpkin empanadas recipe unique and incredibly flavorful, but it is also easy to make. Unlike many authentic recipes that require lard or shortening, this recipe uses butter and cold water for the perfect flakiness, making it convenient for those who prefer or require vegetarian options. And who doesn’t love a dessert that’s easy to make?

More than anything, what sets these pumpkin empanadas apart is the versatility they offer. You don’t need to limit yourself to just serving them as dessert. Pumpkin empanadas also pair well with savory dishes such as chicken or beef. The result is an authentic Mexican pumpkin empanada with a delicious fusion twist.

Whether you’re new to baking or already have skills in making pies, this simple yet delectable recipe is worth trying out. They’re sure to be a hit at Thanksgiving dinner or your next potluck party.

In conclusion, these pumpkin empanadas are truly remarkable, offering delicious flavors that are perfect for autumn while providing endless possibilities for customization. Once you make them yourself at home, you’ll understand why they’re worth adding into your regular dessert rotation – trust me!

Ingredient List

 Delicious pumpkin empanadas, perfect as a dessert or a snack!
Delicious pumpkin empanadas, perfect as a dessert or a snack!

Here’s what you’ll need to make these delicious pumpkin empanadas:

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice water

For the Pumpkin Filling:

  • 1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

The crust and filling ingredients are easy to find and basic, but they come together beautifully to make a crunchy flaky crust that melts in your mouth and a velvety smooth pumpkin filling. The pumpkin is the star of this recipe, and it’s essential that you use pure canned pumpkin puree to get the right consistency for your filling. The crust comes together with just a few simple steps with another important ingredient which is super-flaky vegetable shortening.

The Recipe How-To

 A warm and fragrant pumpkin filling, wrapped in a crispy pastry.
A warm and fragrant pumpkin filling, wrapped in a crispy pastry.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the making of these scrumptious Pumpkin Empanadas!


  • 1 can (15 oz) canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • your favorite pie crust dough recipe and egg wash


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the canned pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until well incorporated.
  3. Add water and beat for about two minutes.
  4. Stir in two tablespoons of unsalted butter
  5. Slowly whisk in the beaten egg until well combined.
  6. Roll out your pie crust dough according to your desired thickness and use a cookie cutter or round lid to cut out circles from the dough.
  7. Add a tablespoon of filling onto each circle; be careful not to overfill as this will make it difficult to form and seal your empanadas.
  8. Fold the circle over into half-circle empanada shape and gently use a fork to press down along the edges to make sure it is securely closed.
  9. Brush with an egg wash for a shiny finish
  10. Place on a lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

There you have it! Delicious Pumpkin Empanadas that are perfect for any occasion!

Substitutions and Variations

 The combination of cinnamon and pumpkin is simply irresistible.
The combination of cinnamon and pumpkin is simply irresistible.

Pumpkin empanadas are a versatile treat that can be adapted to your preferences without compromising the taste or texture. Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try to make them even more unique and delicious:

– Pie Crust: If you prefer a store-bought crust, you can use refrigerated pie crusts from brands such as Pillsbury or Trader Joe’s. However, if you want to make a homemade dough, try using lard instead of shortening for a more authentic taste.

– Filling: While pumpkin filling is a classic choice, you can substitute it with sweet potato or butternut squash puree for a different flavor. You can also add chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts to the mixture to give it a crunchy texture.

– Spices: If you’re looking for a twist in your pumpkin spice mix, try adding a pinch of cloves or nutmeg to the filling, along with the traditional cinnamon and ginger.

– Sweetness: Brown sugar gives the pumpkin empanadas a caramelized flavor, but you can use granulated white sugar or honey for a sweeter taste. Alternatively, reduce the amount of sugar to balance out the sweetness of the pumpkin puree.

– Vegan: For a vegan version of this recipe, use vegetable shortening instead of butter and egg wash. You can also substitute eggs with aquafaba (the liquid from cooked chickpeas) as an egg replacement.

– Gluten-Free: Swap out regular flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour or almond flour for a gluten-free version of these empanadas. To ensure a flaky texture, add xanthan gum to the dough.

With these substitutions and variations, you can create empanadas that cater to dietary restrictions or simply satisfy your cravings. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different flavors and ingredients until you find your favorite combination!

Serving and Pairing

 These empanadas are a great way to celebrate fall flavors.
These empanadas are a great way to celebrate fall flavors.

When it comes to serving these scrumptious pumpkin empanadas, there are a variety of ways you can present them. You could serve them as an appetizer at a dinner party or bring them to your next potluck. They also make a great snack or breakfast on-the-go. I personally love serving them for dessert after a dinner of Mexican or South American cuisine.

These pumpkin empanadas have a perfect balance of sweetness and spice, making them a versatile dish for pairing with drinks. Pairing suggestions include:

– Hot chocolate: For those chilly winter nights, nothing beats the combination of a warm mug of hot chocolate and a flaky pumpkin empanada.

– Coffee: Whether you prefer it hot or iced, coffee is always a great option for pairing with baked treats. The spicy notes in the empanadas complement the bitterness of coffee quite well.

– Apple cider: The sweet and tangy flavor of apple cider pairs wonderfully with the warm spices in these pumpkin empanadas.

– Wine: Looking to make things extra special? Pair these empanadas with a perfect glass of red wine, such as Malbec or Pinot Noir.

No matter how you choose to serve your pumpkin empanadas, they’re sure to be a hit among your family and friends. So whip up a batch today and get ready to be blown away by the delicious taste of fall!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Freshly baked empanadas straight out of the oven!
Freshly baked empanadas straight out of the oven!

One of the best aspects of these pumpkin empanadas is that they can be made ahead of time and stored for later consumption. If making these for a party or event, you can certainly make them a day or two in advance to save yourself some kitchen time on the day of the event.

To store the empanadas, simply let them cool to room temperature and then place them in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for up to three days. You can also freeze them for later use by wrapping them individually in plastic wrap and then placing them in a freezer-safe container or bag. They will keep well in the freezer for up to three months.

When it’s time to reheat the empanadas, there are a few different methods you can use depending on your personal preference. To reheat in the oven, preheat your oven to 350°F and place the empanadas on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

If you prefer your empanadas with a crispier texture, you can reheat them in the oven at 375°F until they’re crispy on the outside.

Alternatively, you can reheat them in the microwave by placing them on a microwave-safe plate and heating them on high for 30-45 seconds per empanada, or until they’re heated through.

No matter which method you choose, just be sure to let them cool slightly before eating as they will be quite hot inside straight out of the oven or microwave.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Every bite of these empanadas delivers a burst of warm pumpkin goodness.
Every bite of these empanadas delivers a burst of warm pumpkin goodness.

Making the perfect pumpkin empanadas can seem daunting at first, but fear not! With a few simple tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create the most delicious and flaky empanadas that will impress all your guests. Here are some helpful tips for achieving perfect results.

Firstly, make sure to chill all your ingredients, including the shortening or lard, pumpkin puree, and even the mixing bowl and utensils. Cold ingredients help create a flakier dough, which is key to making delicious empanadas.

Secondly, be careful not to overwork the dough when mixing it. Mix it until it just comes together and forms a ball. Overworking the dough can make it tough and chewy.

When rolling out the dough, be sure to use enough flour on the board and rolling pin to prevent sticking. Don’t roll it too thin or too thick – aim for about 1/8 inch thickness for perfect results.

For the pumpkin filling, try using dark brown sugar instead of granulated white sugar. The added depth of flavor complements the pumpkin well. And don’t forget to add just a pinch of salt to enhance all the flavors.

When assembling the empanadas, avoid overstuffing them as this can cause them to burst during cooking. A tablespoon or two of filling is usually sufficient.

Lastly, brush each empanada with egg wash before baking or frying them. This will give them a beautiful golden color and crisp texture.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to make perfect pumpkin empanadas every time!


Now that we have covered all the detailed instructions and tips for making the perfect pumpkin empanadas, let’s address some common questions and concerns that might arise while making this recipe. In this FAQ section, I will try to answer some frequently asked questions about the ingredients, substitutions, and variations to provide you with a hassle-free cooking experience.

What are 3 types of empanadas?

Tucumán, known for the National Empanada Festival, boasts of their authentic empanadas filled with beef, tripe, and chicken, wrapped in dough, and cooked in clay ovens using beef fat.

Should empanadas be baked or fried?

When it comes to empanadas, there are two cooking methods that can yield tasty results. If you’re looking for a healthier option, baking them in the oven is the way to go. However, if you’re pressed for time, frying them is also a viable choice. The end result will still be a delicious snack.

Are Trader Joe’s pumpkin empanadas sweet or savory?

The Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Empanadas are a delightful surprise, as we usually associate empanadas with savory and spicy flavors, never with sweets. These empanadas feature a classic, flaky pastry exterior but are filled with a sweet pumpkin filling, making them a unique and unexpected dessert option.

Is empanada dough the same as pie dough?

Compared to pie crust, empanada dough has a softer texture that’s absorbed by the filling without getting damp. While frozen pie crust dough can be used as a replacement in a time crunch, it’s not as flaky. The beauty of this versatile dough is that it can be baked or fried, making for an easily transportable meal.

What are pumpkin empanadas made of?

This delectable treat requires a blend of flour, eggs, butter, and sugar with added pumpkin pie spice for an extra kick. The secret to achieving its light and airy consistency is incorporating yeast into the mix.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, these pumpkin empanadas are a delicious and unique addition to any menu. They combine the flavors of fall with a beloved Latin American dish to create a mouth-watering treat. Whether you prefer them baked or fried, these empanadas deliver a unique and savory texture made possible by the combination of ingredients such as canned pumpkin, spices, shortening, and flour.

Besides being delicious, they are also versatile; you can make them ahead of time and store them for later consumption, and there is a variety of substitutions and variations you can try to your heart’s desire. With just little effort, they will come out perfect every time.

I encourage you to give this pumpkin empanada recipe a try. You will impress your friends and family with your culinary prowess while enjoying all the flavors that pumpkin pie spice provides in each bite. These empanadas are a great way to spice up your snacks or add something new to your dinner spreads. Give it a go!

Pumpkin Empanadas

Pumpkin Empanadas Recipe

My mother-in-law makes these every Christmas. Empanadas are a staple in the Hispanic community. It's a little time consuming but South Texans love these! Serve with hot coffee or hot cocoa!
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 288.3 kcal


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening or 2/3 cup lard
  • 2 tablespoons shortening or 2 tablespoons lard
  • 4 -5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 (12 ounce) can canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • sugar


  • PASTRY: Mix together flour and salt. Cut in shortening until particles are the size of small peas.
  • Sprinkle water, 1 tbsp at a time, tossing with fork to moistened. (pastry should clean the side of bowl).
  • Gather into a ball, divide into halves. Divide each half into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece between plastic wrap into 3 1/2" circle. (keep pastry covered).
  • FILLING: Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon and ground ginger in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, stitring constantly. Reduce heat, simmer until brown sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 400°.
  • Spoon 2 tsp pumpkin mix onto center of circle. Brush edges with water.
  • Fold over and press edges with fork to seal.
  • Place on ungreased cookie sheet or stone.
  • Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 78gCalories: 288.3kcalCarbohydrates: 32.8gProtein: 3gFat: 16.6gSaturated Fat: 4.2gSodium: 322.5mgFiber: 1.8gSugar: 11.8g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Breads, Dessert, Fruit, Mexican
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.