Empanadas de Calabaza – Pumpkin Empanadas


Empanadas de Calabasa


2 lb of cooked sugar pumpkin

1 1/2 – 2 piloncillo , about 16 oz. each,  depending on how sweet you like the filling

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves


Ok, so perhaps the hardest part of this recipe is cooking the pumpkins. To crack the pumpkins open, drop them on the floor. Seriously, it’s the easiest way! You can mop later. You can also slice open and chop into pieces like most people.

Place pumpkin pieces in a large pan, skin facing down (see picture above). I used two pots.  Add about 1/2 a cup of water, cover, and let it simmer until the inside is tender. Test it with a fork. If it falls easily off the skin, it’s ready. Drain any remaining water and set aside, uncovered.

You can also leave the pumpkin intact, cover with foil, and bake at 400 degrees to approx. 40 minutes.

Scoop out the meat of the cooked pumpkin and transfer into a large pot. Turn heat to medium. Mash pumpkin and add cinnamon, clove, and piloncillo. (you can break piloncillo into smaller pieces for faster cooking)

Once, piloncillo has melted and is well incorporated, turn heat off. Taste it. If you prefer a sweeter filling, add more piloncillo.


Below you will find 2 pastry recipes. Choose the one that seems the easiest to prepare or according to the ingredients you have on hand.

Pastry recipe # 1 (My personal favorite) 

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until slightly golden

Makes approx. 30 small empanadas


4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup cooking oil

1 cup water

1 tbsp  salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 egg plus 1 tbsp. water for wash (optional)

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Mix well.

Add cooking oil and mix with your hands

Add half the water and continue to work the dough. Add the rest of the water if the dough is too dry. The dough will feel slightly sticky. This is ok. Cover and allow dough to rest for at least 40 minutes.

Separate dough into golf ball sized portions and roll dough out.

Add 2-3 tbsp. of pumpkin filling to one side of the pastry and fold the other side over. With a fork, press down edges. This will keep the filling from escaping while baking.

Place pastries on baking sheet and brush with egg and water wash.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. After 20 minutes, carefully flip pastries and continue to bake until golden brown on both sides.

Pastry recipe # 2:

Makes 10-12 

Bake at 370 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg yolk

1/3 cup water

5 oz. butter

– Mix dry ingredients. Once dry ingredients are well incorporated, add egg yolk, water, and butter. Mix well until dough forms. You can use this dough immediately unlike the previous dough recipe. Form into 10-12 small balls and roll out the dough. Follow the same procedure of rolling out each ball and filling with 2-3 tbsp. of pumpkin puree. Bake at 170 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden and enjoy!


34 Comments on “Empanadas de Calabaza – Pumpkin Empanadas

  1. How can everyone make good comments on this recipe. I tried it and the dough was swimming in oil. One cup oil to 4 cups flour is way too much. Is this a typo?

  2. Best crust ever! I made some pumpkin empanadas with recipe #1. Loved it so much I used it to make empanadas de camote.

    • Yes you can use lard instead of cooking oil. Many recipes call for it but I am not sure how much lard you would need to replace the oil in this recipe. It shouldn’t be too big of a difference. Let me know how they turn out!

  3. Made these tonight *for morning but i had to have some. i love the filling!! im not used to a thick dough (i made #1) but i still really liked them. I didnt have piloncillo so i used brown sugar and pumkin pie spice (i didnt have plain cloves). I will try it again but with the other dough. Thank you for the great recipe.

    • Rachael, I’m glad you liked the pumpkin filling! Brown sugar and pumpkin spice are good replacements as well. Let me know how the other dough turns out!

    • I Have been trying to reply to you but I’ve been having problems posting comments so I apologize for not responding sooner! I’m also sorry about the mistake on the recipe, I corrected it. I haven’t had any other comments before about this so I’m guessing people just cook them until they brown golden. Either that, or they use the first recipe. Again, I’m so sorry!

    • I would say that is 170 degrees Celsius; That would be about 350 degrees F.

  4. Im so happy this recipe is here. Ive been looking for an authentic recipe and this one was easy and came out amazing. Thank you so much! Making them now!

    • Cinthia, the first recipe will make a dense dough. It’s slightly thicker and chewier than the second. It’s still very soft though. The dough that you will get from this first recipe will make traditional homemade empanadas that remind some of us of the ones our grandmothers made. The second recipe is also good but it is one often used at pastry shops. The dough is lighter in texture and will fall apart more easily once baked. My favorite is the first. I hope this helps!

      • Thanks for replying!! About to get in the kitchen to prepare! God bless!!

    • Hi Adriana! I’m sorry but I do not have a recipe with yeast, on hand, but i will see if i find one in my books. What do you think about adding yeast to this recipe here? If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

      • Quick question on the water should it be cold or warm? Will the dough feel like tortilla dough or pastry like? Just wondering .. Thanks!

      • At room temperature, and yes the dough will resemble tortilla dough only a bit stickier. Roll it out to about 1/4 thick. It will puff up in the oven. After it’s baked, this dough is soft but more dense than most pastries. Hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything else!

    • This is optional: after the empanadas are through baking, you can take them out of the oven for a few minutes and using a pastry brush, brush the top of each empanada with a light coat of egg yolk and water. Then place them back into the oven for five more minutes. This will create that glossy texture on the empanadas. But this is optional! The “wash” can be made by mixing egg yolk with a couple Tbsp. Of water. Hope this helped! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • In place of the egg wash, I use evaporated milk. Brush on top of them before you put them in oven. This does the same, they come out shining on top.

  5. awesome recipe! really soft and moist the bread, not too dry like usual empanadas you find at panaderias. The only suggestion to consider is altitude, I’m in Denver, Colorado and you need to compensate for the dough rising when preparing the pastry, i use an extra handful of flour to have it form to a soft not sticky texture after allowing the dough to rest for at least 40 minutes. Everything else is perfect!

    • Thank you for your comment! I’m glad you liked them. Thanks for the recommendation; altitude is not a problem here so It always slips my mind when it comes to baking. Hope you make them again soon!


  6. This sounds like how my grandma used to make them! I can’t wait to try it out tomorrow. mn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: