Empanadas: The Global Fried Pie

empanadas de standard by soyculto on flickr

I am declaring it, right here, right now:

The Future is Fried Pies.

Fried pies sold in rolling trucks, fried pies sold in cute little cafes, fried pies served as dessert in chichi restaurants.

It is the next step beyond the cupcake and cake pop craze. How do I know this? I just do. I have that kind of nose.

Some background: A few weeks ago, my family went to a local event called Music and Molasses — old timey fun, crafts, music and food. We bought four fried pies — cripsy, little, warm hand-held beauties. They’re famous in the South, and though I have lived in Nashville 20 years, I had never eaten one.

A real shame.

I bit into the peach fried pie (and you have to say “fried pie” with a big Southern accent) and nearly fell out of my chair. Same experience over the blueberry and cherry pies. Ay, madre, what I have been missing.

I think I loved them so much because they remind me of empanadas — the delicious, doughy, warm snacks I grew up eating in Miami. The empanadas of my childhood were guava and picadillo.

OK, back to predicting the future: So I have since told a lot of people I am predicting a new food truck trend. I even tried convincing a friend who owns a snacks food truck. Not sure anyone believed me.

handheld piesBut then, last week, I logged into Amazon and right there, right in my face, was the pre-order notice to Handheld Pies: Pint-sized Sweets and Savories by Rachel Wharton and Sarah Billingsley.

Aha! La prueba! You see, little pies — a la empanadas and fried pies are — The Future.

And lucky, we of Latin American roots, we already know how to eat fried pies and enjoy them in all sorts of ways — con dulces, con carne, con queso, con papas. The empanada is the Global Fried Pie.

I went in search of empanada and fried pie recipes to share here on the Tiki Tiki and discovered that just about every culture out there has their own version of the fried pie/empanada.

Some names you may recognize: Italian calzone, Jamaican patty, Indian Gujia, Polish pierogis, and the classic American turnover.

Seems everyone loves food wrapped in dough.

In Latin America, the Argentinians, Colombians, Venezuelas, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and such, all have their own versions — many of which are sold as quick street food by mobile vendors. (You see, it’s only a matter of time these get all hip in food trucks.) And we call them things such as empanadas, empanaditas, salteñas and pastelitos.

I asked the Tiki Tiki Facebook community to dish about empanadas, and this is what they said:

Colombian empanadas of course with lots of ají. I know how their made, but I don’t make them. I remember watching my grandmother in Bogota make 400 empanadas for the neighborhood bazar to raise funds for the catholic church.” — Sylvia.

“I make mine with my homemade picadillo, or guava and cream cheese, or ham and cheese. I always use the Goya discs because they don’t break and fry up really well.” — Mary Lynn.

“For me the best empanadas are the ones my Abuela makes – Venezuelan style, with Harina Pan y rellenas de carne mechada. Awesomeness!” — Helen.

“We make empanadas chilenas at home (Alan es de chile), both de queso y de pino (carne molida). However we make them both with bakeable dough and they are ummmmmmm good.” — Adriana.

OK, so, when you see empanadas and fried pies everywhere — as you see salsa and chips everywhere — you’ll remember my prediction.

Below are recipes for empanadas and fried pies and here’s a link to an easy way of making empanada dough — so you don’t have to buy the frozen disks, though you can if you must.

Empanada Recipes

Colombian ground pork and beef empanadas recipe from My Colombian Recipes.

Nika’s Culinaria has a step-by-step photo guide to making Colombian empanadas.

Cuban empanadas recipe over at Gourmet Betty.

Venezuelan Beef Empanadas from the Food Network.

Pumpkin Empanadas from Muy Bueno Cookbook.

Eva Longoria’s Crab Empanadas

Spinach, Apple and Walnut Spanish Empanada from Simple Spanish Food.

Fried Pie Recipes

Apple Fried Pies by Paula Deen.

Tex-Mex Fried Pies and Blueberry Fried Pies, both from the Homesick Texan

Southern Coca-Cola Fried (Apple) Pies at Serious Eats.

Mini Nutella Fried Pies by Sweet T Makes Three.

Peach Guijya Indian Empanadas from Indian Simmer.

Watch Paula Deen make Fried Pies

Y Tu?

Tell me how much you love empanadas and fried pies!

Share, por favor!

By Carrie on November 9, 2011 · Posted in featured, food

13 Comments | Post Comment

Tracy says:

You’ve sold me on the idea. If anyone had offered me “fried pie” before I don’t know that I’d have been interested – but you’re right – the concept is the same as empanadas. I think you’re on to something here!

Now I’m craving empanadas from Julia’s in DC and I won’t be anywhere near there today :(

By the way – I have another similar food to add to the list. Knishes! My father’s side of the family, (Austrian/Polish/Russian Jews), have a recipe that was passed down to my mother. She makes them every year at Thanksgiving and they always outshine the turkey and everything else on the table. Can’t wait!

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Monica says:

Guau! Now this is a post. I LOVE empanadas. And now….I’m starved for one. Yumm. Thank you!

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Mercedes @BeChicMag says:

Is that the translation? Fried Pie?! I never realized. I’m telling you– I learn a lot here!
Mercedes @BeChicMag´s last [fabulousness] ..#BeChicTuesday Recap: Fall Fashion, Nail Polish and Boys!

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Jenn says:

Thanks for the round-up and the mention! Now I want to try the Spinach, apple, and walnut empanadas too.
Jenn´s last [fabulousness] ..Loaded Baked Potato Soup with Bread Bowls

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Justice Jonesie says:

Love empanadas!! Fried pies, turnovers, whatever you want to call them!! YUM! Let’s start a franchise.

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Laura S. says:

In Chicago, there are food trucks that sell empanadas . . . hopefully it becomes a national trend!

Posted on November 9th, 2011


you reminded me off my Mami, we used to make mini empanadas ( for christmas)filled with ate de membrillo or guava then let them cool just a bit and covered them with azucar galss CONFECTIONERS SUGAR what a treat!!! I think I’ll start up the tradition wiht my daughter…family cooking, specially with grandma makes for treasures memories

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Peruvian Food says:

I love all the veggie empanadas I can find here in Lima. Cheese, artichoke, spinach….Mmmmm! Never get tired of them.

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Unknown Mami says:

Oh yeah, empanadas are perfect for a food truck. You can have sweet and savory. Yum!

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Ericka Sanchez says:

I especially love Argentinian empanadas! Hmm…

Posted on November 10th, 2011

Yvette ~ Muy Bueno says:

Empanadas are BIG!!! I hosted a bake sale for charity in the spring and our apple empanadas were the first to sell. I really thought the cupcakes and cake pops would be the top sellers but I was so wrong. Thanks for adding our recipe to this yummy post.

I have been on an empanada kick lately and have some more yummy recipes up my sleeves for the holidays. I can’t wait to play in the kitchen — Thanks for the inspiration. Mmmm! And a food truck with empanadas would ROCK!!!

Posted on November 10th, 2011

Amber says:

Empanada is my husband’s favorite. I cannot perfect on how to lock the empanadas (that curly thing) but I know Ill do better. The making of the dough just makes my muscles tired, I have ti ask my husband to do it for me. LOL.

Amber from healthy meal delivery Miami

Posted on November 10th, 2011

Alexandra says:

This makes me so wistful.

Empanadas were my favorite thing that my Abuelita made.

I loved them and remember thinking there could be nothing more delicious.

How I miss what was made by her hand. While she sang her soft songs, with her hands full of flour.

Posted on November 12th, 2011