Pumpkin-Cinnamon Empanadas

This sweet empanada filling calls for piloncillo, a pure unrefined sugar in a cone shape. Look for it at Mexican groceries.

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Empanadas
Photo: Andy Lyons
Prep Time:
40 mins
Rise Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
16 mins
Total Time:
40 mins



  • 1 recipe Empanada Dough

  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin

  • cup chopped piloncillo** or packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon water

Empanada Dough

  • 1 cup milk

  • ¾ cup rendered lard*

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 package active dry yeast

  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Prepare Empanada Dough and let rise. Meanwhile, put the pumpkin, piloncillo, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the sugar is completely melted. Uncover and simmer until the filling is very thick, about 15 minutes. Scrape the filling into a bowl and cool to room temperature.

  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Divide the dough into 24 pieces by rolling into a long thin log and cutting into equal portions. Shape into balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll one ball into a 4-inch circle. Prick with a fork. Brush the edge very lightly with egg wash*, then spoon 2 to 3 teaspoons of filling onto the center. Gently fold in half. Press the edges closed with a fork. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

  3. Prick each empanada once or twice with a fork. Bake until they begin to color, about 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Remove from the oven, brush lightly with the egg wash. Return to the oven and bake until the empanadas are golden brown, about 1 to 3 minutes more.

Empanada Dough

  1. Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the lard and butter. Let stand until melted and mixture is around 105°F to 115°F (about 10 minutes). Add the yeast; stir to dissolve. Let stand for 10 minutes or until foamy.

  2. Mix 2 1/2 cups of the flour and salt together in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Pour the wet ingredients into the well. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, start pulling the flour into the wet ingredients until you've combined the wet and dry and made a ball of dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, kneading in remaining flour as needed. Place the dough into a buttered bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Punch dough down.

*Egg Wash:

For egg wash, whisk together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl.


To chop piloncillo, use a sharp serrated knife. If the piloncillo is too hard, microwave for 10 to 20 seconds or until slightly softened.

Our empanada dough calls for rendered lard, which is a melted-down pig fat available at butchers and Mexican markets. Alternately, you can use drippings from cooking 2 slices of bacon, then add enough butter to make 3/4 cup.


If you can't find rendered lard, render the fat from 2 slices bacon and add enough butter to make 3/4 cup.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

144 Calories
7g Fat
18g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 144
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 90mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0.8mg 4%
Calcium 25.4mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 88.6mg 2%
Folate, total 33.5mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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