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It's National Empanada Day❗

Today we recognize a delicious pastry that comes in several different forms and many different cultures. It's National Empanada Day!

In my culture, Puerto Rican, they are called " Pastelitos" and we like them with meat usually ground beef, seasoned with fresh "sofrito" (seasoning used in flavoring many of the native dishes)cheese, and the green olive on the side.🤤😋 [Reference: Valledejuli, Aboy Carmen, English version: Puerto Rican Cookery, Spanish version; Cocina Criolla]

According to, "the name empanada comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb em pandar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.

Empanadas are made by folding the dough or bread around a seasoned stuffing. The stuffed dough is then baked or fried. Very much like hand pies, these delicious pastries offer a variety of choices. You can make your empanadas with meat, cheese, vegetables or fruit fillings. However, they may be made with other ingredients, too.

A cookbook published in 1520 in Catalan, the Libre del Coch by Ruperto de Nola, mentions empanadas filled with seafood.

If you've never had an empanada, you might be surprised just how versatile they are. Different parts of the United States make them with their own style and flavors. Starting in the Southern and Southwestern United States where an empanada is called a "Creole empanada", the dish becomes a savory meal. There, they fill the half-circle flaky crust with seasoned pork, beef or chicken, and cheese.

Head to the Southeastern part of the country and empanadas transform. A little more on the sweeter side, they fill these pastries with fresh or reconstituted dry fruit. Some choices include apples, apricots, peaches or sweet potatoes. Once fried, the pies have a crispy outer shell with piping hot fruit inside.

Further west in New Mexico, making empanadas for Christmas is a winter tradition. They make sweetmeats, similar to mincemeat, using ground pork, sugar, pinon nuts, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Everything is then sealed in a tortilla-like dough and deep-fried in lard."

In honor of today, here's a few ways you can pay homage:

📍Share your favorite version of empanadas

📍Make your favorite version of empanadas.

📍Try this recipe: CHICKEN EMPANADAS


  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

  • ½ lb. (250 g) lean ground chicken

  • ½ small red bell pepper, finely chopped

  • ½   jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

  • ¼ cup (60 mL) mild green salsa (salsa verde), plus more for serving

  • 1½ tbsp (22 mL) Garlic & Herb Rub, divided

  • 1 pkg (13.8 oz./391 g) refrigerated pizza crust

  • 4 oz. (125 g) Chihuahua cheese, cubed

  • 1   green onion, thinly sliced

  • 1   egg, whisked


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 2–3 minutes. Add the chicken, bell pepper, and jalapeño to the skillet. Cook, breaking the chicken into crumbles, until the chicken is no longer pink, 6–8 minutes.

  2. Stir the salsa and 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the rub into the chicken mixture. Simmer until the salsa has reduced and the mixture is thick and somewhat dry, around 6–8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

  3. Unroll the pizza crust onto a flour-dusted countertop, stretching gently lengthwise to form an 8" x 16" (20-cm x 40.5-cm) rectangle and keeping the dough an even thickness. Cut into 8 4" x 4" (10-cm x 10-cm) squares.

  4. Stir the cheese and onion into the chicken mixture.

  5. To form the empanadas, gently stretch each pizza dough square until it’s 5" x 5" (13-cm x 13-cm). Use a 5" (13-cm) cookie cutter to cut each into a round disk.

  6. Spoon about ¼ cup (60 mL) of the filling onto the bottom half of each disk. Fold the top of each disk gently over the filling and press the edges to seal. Carefully transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  7. Using a fork or the tip of a knife, poke 3 or 4 vent holes on the top of the empanadas.

  8. Brush the top of each with the egg wash and evenly sprinkle with the remaining rub. Bake 16–18 minutes, or until deep golden brown. If you’d like, serve with additional salsa.

Yield: 4  servings

Nutrients per serving:

U.S. nutrients per serving: Calories 450, Total Fat 16 g, Saturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 60 mg, Sodium 990 mg, Carbohydrate 51 g, Fiber 2 g, Sugars 9 g (includes 6 g added sugar), Protein 27 g

Your Pampered Chef’s Cook's Tips:

Sweet Spin: Use any leftover dough to make cinnamon and sugar twists or monkey bread!

Protein Preference: You can substitute the ground chicken with ground turkey or lean ground beef.

Pepper Perfection: If jalapeño is too spicy for you, just use 1 whole bell pepper.

Cheesy Choices: We love Chihuahua cheese in this recipe because of its mild buttery taste and cheddar-like sharpness. You can also use Monterey Jack or Muenster cheese.

Garlic and Herb Rub #9492

Don't have this items on hand, don't panic. Pick it up here⬇️

ACTION STEP: Bake up or fry up this perfect, party-pleasing treat, and invite a few friends and family over. Then let me know in the comments how it turned out or Kick your kitchen up a notch by booking your cooking show here:

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