HomeSpanish TapasEmpanadas


Origin: Galicia

Empanadas are a classic example of Spanish food, hailing from the region of Galicia in the North-West of Spain. These bread pies are filled with various fillings including meat, fish, cheese and vegetables, and even fruit to create a dessert version of the dish. The popularity of this simple Spanish recipe has meant that the dish has spread throughout the world and many different varieties can be found.

Empanada gallega

However, there can be no doubt that the humble empanada pasty is a true icon of Galician gastronomy. Furthermore, within Galicia there are many variations and every family, bar and restaurant claims to have the best recipe for empanadas. So if you visit Spain, make sure you go to Galicia and try them all! This particular recipe includes pork loin but you could always replace it with chicken or beef depending on your tastes.

The history of these Spanish bread pies dates back to medieval times during the time of the Moors in Spain. It is believed that the Spanish version of the dish actually derives from the Arabic pies called samosas. They were first mentioned in literature in a Catalan cookbook called 'Libre del Coch' published in 1520 by Ruperto de Nola who wrote about empanadas with seafood fillings. The word empanada comes from the Spanish verb 'empanar' which those of you who learn spanish in Spain will know means to wrap or coat in bread, referring to the way the Spanish pie is made.

In Galicia and parts of Portugal, the empanada pasty is prepared like a large pie which is then eaten by cutting it into pieces. Fillings in the region tend to consist of fish such as tuna or sardines, or meat such as pork loin or chorizo, and are normally accompanied by a tomato, onion and garlic sauce.

Empanadas have also become very popular in Latin America which is thanks to the large number of Galician immigrants who settled on the continent. The empanada gallega is therefore quite easy to find in many countries across South America, and many countries have their own versions of the dish.

Empanadas | Spanish Bread Pies


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ lb pork loin, sliced thinly
  • ½ tsp of smoked pimentón
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tbsps garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ cup of sliced piquillo pimentos (peppers)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsps parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • 1 lb of bread dough or yeast pastry
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Serves 6
Empanada gallega


  • In a dish, place the sliced pork with the pimentón, half of the garlic, the oregano, and the salt and pepper and leave to one side for about 30 minutes.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and then fry the pork quickly, removing the slices as soon as they are done. Using the same oil, fry the peppers, onions and the rest of the garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper and then cook the mixture until the point when the tomatoes are reduced and the sauce is thick in consistency.
  • Divided the bread dough in half and then roll out one half of the dough on a floured surface so that the dough is about 1-2 centimetres thick. Use the dough to line a cake tin.
  • Spread half of the tomato sauce onto the dough and then arrange the strips of pork on top. On top of this, make a layer of piquillo pimento peppers. Slice the hard boiled eggs and then make another layer of them on top of the peppers. Cover with the rest of the tomato sauce.
  • Roll out the other half of the dough and the cover the pie with it. Crimp the edges of the two pieces of dough together and trim off the excess. Make a hole in the centre of the pie so that the steam can exit.
  • Place the empanada into a medium-hot oven for half an hour. Then, brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. The empanada will be done when the crust is golden and crispy.
  • Remove from the oven. Serve hot or allow to cool before serving.