Growing up in a Latin American country, I ate all types of empanadas, which are a staple in Latin American cuisine (predominantly South America). The word empanada comes from the Spanish cooking term empanar which means to wrap or coat in bread or pastry. Traditional empanadas are a flaky pastry dough that envelops some kind of stuffing. Although empanadas originated in Spain, each Latin American culture has adopted its own twist on making empanadas. Argentinian classic empanadas are stuffed with beef or chicken, Belize stuffs their empanadas with fish or beans, and Venezuelan empanadas are made with corn flour instead of wheat flour, but why stop there?

The options with empanada stuffings are endless. Sweet (empanadas stuffed with guava or pineapple jam) or savory (chard empanadas and chicken empanadas are my fave), baked or fried, you name it! This is where these sweet, dessert-like pumpkin empanadas come into play. With a prominent taste of cloves, cinnamon, and pumpkin, these fall-inspired pumpkin empanadas will give you all the tastes of autumn all in one bite. 

Pumpkin Empanadas

  • Prep Time:2 hrs
  • Cook Time:15 mins
  • Total Time:2 hrs 15 mins
  • Servings:16
  • Medium


  • For the dough:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks butter cut into pieces
  • 2 eggs plus more for egg wash
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • For the filling:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1-2 tbsp orange zest
  • 3 oz cream cheese or goat cheese *optional
  • For the cinnamon sugar topping:
  • 4 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon cinnamon
Lissane Kafie
  • Step 1

    In a food processor, first mix together the dry ingredients for the pastry dough and pulse until they are completely combined. Then, add the eggs and butter and continue pulsing until it resembles a dough. Add water as you go. Set aside and store in the fridge for about 1 hour.
    #spoontip: The water helps the dough stick together, but be careful not to add too much or your dough will be too sticky.

    Lissane Kafie
  • Step 2

    On medium heat, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar and the pumpkin puree and keep stirring until everything is completely incorporated. Add the aromatics (cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest) and keep stirring. Once the filling has reached your desired consistency, set aside to cool.

    Lissane Kafie
  • Step 3

    Divide the dough evenly and roll it into balls. Use a rolling pin (or if you don't have a rolling pin, a wine bottle works perfectly), roll out the balls into disks that are about 1/2 in thick.

    Lissane Kafie
  • Step 4

    Add a dollop of pumpkin filling on one half of the dough disk.

    Lissane Kafie
  • Step 5

    If you're feeling fancy, add cream cheese or goat cheese as well as pumpkin filling on one half of the dough disk.

    Lissane Kafie
  • Step 6

    Fold the dough disk in half to close it up, enveloping the filling in the middle of the empanada. Use a fork to "glue" the edges of the empanada together.

    Lissane Kafie
  • Step 7

    In a separate bowl, beat 1 egg with a 1/2 tbsp of water. Use a brush to add the egg wash to the empanada before baking. This will create a good golden color.

    Lissane Kafie
  • Step 8

    Bake the empanadas for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the empanadas are golden brown. In a small bowl, mix together the light brown sugar and cinnamon. Once the empanadas are ready, immediately add the brown sugar-cinnamon sprinkle on top.

    Lissane Kafie

A true Latin American jewel, empanadas have so much to offer. This pumpkin empanada recipe will make your taste buds tingle and your fall senses spike. Get creative with your empanadas and make your own, unique version of traditional Latin American empanadas.