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The History of the Empanada

How the History of the Empanada Influenced
The Original Empanada Factory

Empanadas are a traditional South American dish that have been around for centuries. They can be filled with a variety of different ingredients, including meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. Empanadas are a popular choice for both casual and formal occasions, and can be found at restaurants all over the world. On this page, we’ll take a closer look at the history of empanadas and explore some of the different variations that can be found in restaurants today.


  • (100BC) Earliest Finding of Empanadas 100BC in Persia
  • (early 700’s) Moors arriving in Gibraltar (now introduced to Spain and Portugal)
  • (1500’s) Spaniards spread empanadas West
    • The empanada recipe is added to Spain’s first cookbook in 1520.
    • Spanish dough made with bread dough
    • Mexican dough made with corn masa dough


  • “Empanada” comes from the word “empanar” 
    • Empanar means “to bread” 
  • Variations can be found in cornish pasties and Italian calzones  
  • The empanada has a variety of different names, including empanadilla, empanadita, pastel, pastelito and chamuco
  • 19th century in Argentina saw the rise of the professional empanada maker
  • Today, the Empanada is most commonly found in South America
  • The more common fillings include beef or chicken and savory fillings such as spinach and mushrooms. There are also a number of sweet variations.

Empanadas Based on Country

The Original Empanada Factory’s menu offers a variety of empanadas. Our empanadas stem from each culture but with a hint of our own recipes. Our empanadas are handmade and catered to fit the styles of each country that inspires our recipes. When making our delicious pastries, we want to bring the familiarity of culture to our treats. We want our treats to make you feel like you’re at home; whether it’s the islands of Puerto Rico or the streets of Colombia and Venezuela. Our empanadas are meant to bring that warm feeling of Grandma’s homemade cooking but with a little twist. Thankfully you can find these recipes nearby and at your convenience whenever you’re craving homemade meals! 


Empanadas Mendocinas
Empanadas Mendocinas is a popular Argentinian food that is gaining in popularity all over the world. Originating from the Mendoza region of Argentina, empanadas mendocinas are made with a beef and pork filling, and are typically served with chimichurri sauce on the side. If you’re interested in trying this delicious food for yourself, here is everything you need to know about Empanadas Mendocinas!  

Quick Facts

  • Comes from the Mendoza region 
  • Dough has milk that  makes these empanadas creamier than most
  • Stuffed with ground beef,slice of a hard-boiled egg and green olive
  • Mustard is used on top of the empanada after it’s baked 
  • These empanadas are more on the tart side and not too sweet


Pastel de Queijo
Pastel de queijo, also known as Brazilian cheese bread, is a delicious and popular appetizer or snack in Brazil. The dough is made from tapioca flour and the cheese filling can be made with various types of cheese. This delicious pastry can be served warm or cold and it’s a popular dish in Brazil. If you’re looking for something new to try, give pastel de queijo a try!

Quick Facts

  • Called “pasteis”- square or half moon shapes- closest to an empanada
    • Cheese filled, minced beef, hearts of palm and prawns 
  • Served in pastelzinho (small) & mega pasteis (big)
  • Fried (typically on the stovetop in a hot oil) or baked and served warm with a salad or dipping sauce 

El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica

Empanadas de Platanos
Empanadas de platanos, or plantain empanadas, are a delicious and different take on the traditional empanada. They’re made with ripe plantains instead of dough, and are filled with your choice of savory fillings. They’re perfect for a quick and easy snack or appetizer!

Quick Facts

  • Ripe empanadas used for dough and stuffed with meat, rice, beans and cheese 
  • Typically filled with beef, chicken or pork 
  • Plantain or sweet potato filling covered in masa and baked 
  • Served as an appetizer to dip in a sauce (pico de gallo)

Colombia, Venezuela

Corn Flour Empanadas

Every country has its own set of specialties when it comes to food. For Colombia, one of the most popular dishes is corn flour empanadas. They can be filled with either meat or vegetables, and they are always delicious.


Quick Facts

  • The dough is packed with ground beef, potatoes and onions


Empanadas are a popular dish found all over Latin America. In Venezuela, they are typically made with cheese and served as an appetizer or snack. They can be eaten at any time of the day, but are most commonly enjoyed for breakfast or lunch. The dough is usually made from flour, water, and salt, and the cheese filling can be customized to include your favorite ingredients.

Quick Facts

  • Filled with cheese
  • Empanada inspired by their dish; pabellon
    • Filled with platano maduro, beef and black beans


Pastes Pachuquenos
What is paste pachuqueno? This question has been asked by many restaurant patrons. Pachuqueno paste is a type of chili pepper sauce that is popular in the cuisine of Puebla, Mexico. It is made with roasted and then ground pasilla chilies, along with garlic, oil, and salt. The resulting sauce is thick, smoky, and earthy in flavor. You can find it at many Mexican restaurants.  

Quick Facts

  • Thin dough made out of wheat flour
  • From Hildago
  • Made with pulque (alcoholic drink) salt, egg, lard 
  • Sweet & savory


Empanadas de Viento
Empanadas de viento are a type of empanada that is popular in Ecuador. They are made with a dough that is filled with cheese and then deep-fried. They are typically served with a dipping sauce, such as chimichurri sauce. Empanadas de viento are a delicious and crispy addition to any meal.

Quick Facts

  • Sweet/Savory 
  • Fried cheese inside topped with sugar 


  Saltenas are a type of Bolivian empanada that are popular both in Bolivia and abroad. They are made with a wheat flour dough, which is stuffed with meat, vegetables, or cheese. Though their popularity is growing, saltenas can be difficult to find outside of Bolivia. If you get the chance to try one, be sure to savor the flavors of this unique South American dish!

Quick Facts

  • Outside is sweet, inside filled with different flavors such as ,
    • Carne de res, chicken potatoes and onions

Dominican Republic

Cativias or Catibias
Dominican Republic cativias, also called catibias, are a popular dish served in restaurants throughout the country. The dish is made with cassava, a root vegetable that is mashed and then fried. It is often served with chicken or beef, and sometimes includes other ingredients such as onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Cativias are considered a national dish of the Dominican Republic, and they are enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you are visiting the Dominican Republic or just want to try something new, be sure to order some cativias!  

Quick Facts

  • Gluten free
  • Made from shredded yuca
  • Filled with onion, tomatoes and carne de res molida


In Chile, empanadas are popular street food. They are considered the country’s national dish. They are savory pastries, usually filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. They can also have a sweeter filling. While empanadas are typically eaten in the street and sold by vendors, they can be found in many restaurants and cafes throughout Chile.

Quick Facts

  • Considered the country’s national dish
  • Different fillings; minced meat, onion, olives, raisins & hard cooked egg
  • Dough is made from lard and can be fried or baked & rolled out thin 

Puerto Rico

Flaky, crispy, and savory pastelillos are a popular Puerto Rican snack that are often enjoyed at restaurants. What is a pastelillo you ask? It is a stuffed pastry that is made with either meat or cheese and can be served hot or cold. Pronounced pas-tel-yo, this traditional Puerto Rican dish is a savory pastry turnovers filled with chicken, beef, or vegetables. Pastelillo is the perfect appetizer for any occasion and can be enjoyed at any time of day.

Quick Facts

  • Stuffed with different types of meat

From savory, to sweet, to spicy, and anything in between. you'll be sure to enjoy the variety of flavors that are offered.

Working Hours

Monday – Saturday
10:00 am – 8:00 pm
10:00 am – 5:00 pm

The Original Empanada Factory

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