This Pulled Pork Empanadas Recipe is made with your choice of pulled pork, carnitas or cochinita pibil, empanada dough discs, and olive oil.
Empanadas can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, cheese, and vegetables, but pork is a popular choice due to its rich flavor and versatility. Pork empanadas can be made with a variety of seasonings and spices, such as cumin, oregano, and chili powder, which give them a bold and savory flavor.
These empanadas are flaky and crispy on the outside with a hearty warm pulled pork on the inside. These are the best you have ever tasted! These empanadas are one of my favorite things to make, and can be served as an entrée or an appetizer. They are great for parties and you can save time by buying pre-made dough. The empanadas dough discs can be found in the frozen section of your grocery store. You can also use store bought pizza dough and divide into 6-8 individual empanadas.
Empanadas vary from country to country. In Puerto Rico you have ground beef and in Mexico you have shredded chicken and corn. They are all the same in the sense that they are homemade dough with some kind of meat or cheese, vegetable, and spices inside. My favorite empanadas consist of ground beef, red onion, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, and tomatoes.
What are Pork Empanadas?
Pork empanadas are a type of Latin American pastry that is filled with seasoned ground pork and other ingredients, such as onions, peppers, and spices. Empanadas are typically made by folding dough around the filling to create a pocket, which is then baked or fried until golden brown and crispy.
Pork empanadas are a popular snack or appetizer in many Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia, and are also enjoyed in other parts of the world. They are often served with a dipping sauce or salsa, such as chimichurri or salsa verde.
Pork Empanadas Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Pork Empanadas
Shred the pork with 2 forks. It should be extremely soft at this point. Pour the sauce back into it.
Place an empanada dough disc down and add two tablespoons of the meat mixture on it. Fold over and with a fork, press down to seal to prevent filling from getting out.
Brush each empanada with olive oil on each side. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.
Air fry at 400°F for 15 minutes.
What to serve with Pork Empanadas
- Salsas: Serve pork empanadas with a variety of salsas, such as tomato salsa, avocado salsa, or roasted red pepper salsa. Salsas provide a fresh and flavorful contrast to the rich and savory filling of the empanadas.
- Guacamole: Guacamole is a classic dip that pairs well with pork empanadas. The creamy texture of the guacamole complements the crispy pastry and savory pork filling.
- Salad: A fresh green salad or a simple cucumber and tomato salad can be a refreshing complement to the richness of the pork empanadas.
- Rice and Beans: A side of rice and beans can provide a hearty and filling accompaniment to the empanadas.
- Coleslaw: A tangy coleslaw can be a delicious and refreshing side dish that pairs well with the savory pork filling of the empanadas.
- Plantains: Fried plantains or sweet plantains can provide a sweet and savory contrast to the pork empanadas.
Pork: For the meat, you will need cooked shredded pork shoulder or pork loin. You can use a fork to shred. You can make this yourself or buy shredded pork yourself.
Empanada discs: These will be found in the frozen foods section. You could also use wonton wrappers and cut them into circles to form into empanadas.
Olive oil: I used olive oil but you can use vegetable oil, canola oil or sunflower oil.
Pork Empanadas Recipe Variations
- Spicy Pork Empanadas: Add some heat to your empanadas by adding diced jalapeño or serrano peppers to the pork filling, or by using a spicy chili powder.
- Sweet and Sour Pork Empanadas: Add some sweetness and tanginess to your empanadas by mixing the pork filling with pineapple, vinegar, and brown sugar.
- Pork and Bean Empanadas: Add some fiber and protein to your empanadas by mixing the pork filling with cooked black beans or kidney beans.
- Pork and Cheese Empanadas: Add some creamy and salty flavor to your empanadas by mixing the pork filling with shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Monterey Jack.
- BBQ Pork Empanadas: Add some smoky and sweet flavor to your empanadas by mixing the pork filling with barbecue sauce, diced onions, and garlic.
- Green Chili Pork Empanadas: Add some tanginess and smokiness to your empanadas by mixing the pork filling with diced green chilies, smoked paprika, and cumin.
Check out these Pork Birria Tacos.
- Rolling pin: A rolling pin is needed to roll out the empanada dough if needed.
- Baking sheet: A baking sheet is needed to bake the empanadas.
- Cutting board and knife: A cutting board and knife are needed to chop the vegetables and other ingredients for the pork filling.
- Pastry cutter or fork: A pastry cutter or fork is needed to seal the edges of the empanadas.
- Oven: You will need an oven to bake the empanadas.
- Parchment paper: Parchment paper can be used to line the baking sheet and prevent the empanadas from sticking.
How to store Pork Empanadas
To store pork empanadas in the refrigerator:
- Let the empanadas cool to room temperature.
- Place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
- Label the container or wrap with the date and store in the refrigerator.
Pork empanadas will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
To store pork empanadas in the freezer:
- Let the empanadas cool to room temperature.
- Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours.
- Once frozen, transfer the empanadas to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag.
- Label the container or bag with the date and store in the freezer.
Pork empanadas will keep in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
Pork Empanadas Recipe Top tips
- Make sure the empanada discs are at room temperature before using them. This will make them easier to handle and fold without cracking.
- If the empanada discs are too thin or small, you can roll them out slightly with a rolling pin to make them larger and more sturdy.
- Don't overfill the empanadas, as this can cause them to burst or leak filling. A general rule of thumb is to use about 2 tablespoons of filling for each empanada.
- Use a small bowl of water to wet the edges of the empanada discs before folding and sealing them. This will help the edges stick together and prevent the filling from leaking out.
- Crimp the edges of the empanadas with a fork or use a decorative method to create a tight seal and prevent the filling from escaping.
- Bake the empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet to prevent sticking and make cleanup easier.
- Don't overcrowd the baking sheet with too many empanadas, as this can cause them to steam and become soggy instead of crispy. Leave some space between each empanada for air circulation.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove