Family Tradition: Grandma's Empanadas for Hispanic Heritage Month

Bake, don't fry, these empanadas

By Sandra Kuczynski September 23, 2023

I learned how to make empanadas at a very young age with my grandmother. She has been gone for several years, but her recipe lives in my heart. 

My grandma traditionally deep-fried her empanadas, but I have modified her recipe to bake my empanadas for a more healthy version.

Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 each year, is a month-long celebration of the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Empanadas can be traced back to Spain and Portugal in the 1500s. Now, empanadas are staples in many Hispanic countries, each with their own variation.

Empanadas are great to make with kids because they are an easy, hands-on dish that is fun to make. Plus they're delicious! I hope your family loves these baked empanadas as much as mine does!

Kent Ng | Canva

At Macaroni KID, we skip the fluff and get straight to the good stuff. No need to scroll through pages of unnecessary content — our recipes are easy to find. Now let's get cooking!

Grandma's (Baked, Not Fried) Empanadas

Ingredients and materials:

  • A dash of olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of milk (or water)
  • Sofrito (optional - a tomato cooking base made with green peppers, onions, cilantro, and garlic in olive oil. Found in the international aisle of your grocery store.)
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef or turkey
  • Adobo (a paste or marinade typically made from chili peppers, vinegar, herbs, and spices, used in Mexican cooking. It can be found in the international aisle of your grocery store.)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of red beans
  • 20 empanada discs (these can typically be found in the international section of the frozen food aisle)
  • 1 cup of Monterey Jack or Mexican Blend cheese 
  • Round perforated pizza pan (the perforation helps cook the empanadas evenly so they won’t need to be turned)


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease your pizza pan with olive oil.

2. Mix eggs and milk in a bowl, set aside. 

3. Heat sofrito in a hot skillet then add ground meat for browning, season with adobo and/or salt/pepper, and add half of the can of tomato sauce. 

4. Once the meat is cooked through, drain the excess fat and add the beans. 

5. Let the meat and bean mixture cool. 

6. On a cutting board, place an empanada disc, then add a spoonful of mixture to the center with some cheese, being careful not to overfill. Fold over (like a half moon), then crimp the edges of the empanada with a fork. Brush with a little of the egg mixture.

 Los Muertos Crew | Canva

If you don't have a perforated pizza pan, flip your empanadas about halfway through cooking.

7. Place your empanadas on your greased pan.

8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown.