National Empanada Day

Empanadas are a Latin American or Spanish pastry filled with pork, beef, chicken, or other savory ingredients. The name comes from the Spanish word “empanar,” which means to wrap in bread. What’s great about this food is that it’s not only widely available all over the world, but each country has a unique way of making them. That gives lovers of these little pastries a world of variety to choose from. And now, thanks to the creation of National Empanada Day, people also have their own holiday to enjoy them—a holiday that falls on April 8th every year.

The History of Empanadas

Empanadas are believed to have originated in Spain and Portugal before the 16th century. A cookbook published in 1520 mentions a fried pastry dish with a savory filling. It’s believed that Spanish immigrants brought the dish to South America, where it became extremely popular. Since then, the empanada has traveled all over the world, and each region puts its own unique flair on the recipe.

The first empanadas were stuffed with either beef or chicken, and sometimes even with sardines or cod. This made them a hearty meal for the working classes, enabling them to get carbohydrates from the crust and protein from the filling. And because they had a pocket shape, they were also easy to pack into a lunch box or pail.

Empanadas quickly spread throughout not only Europe and South America but also the Caribbean. The modern variation on these fried pockets is to serve them with seasoned ground beef. These empanadas are known as Jamaican Patties and are quite popular with both locals and tourists alike. In Argentina, not only are savory empanadas available, but there’s also a dessert type of empanada served with a lightly sweet crust and a fruit filling. In the U.S., empanadas are served at a variety of Mexican restaurants across the country, as well as fast-food locations such as Taco Bell.

Facts About Empanadas

  • Empanadas can be made with virtually any combination of meats, cheeses, and vegetables.
  • In Cuba, empanadas are usually a lunch or dinner item—although they are occasionally served as a breakfast item.
  • In Indonesia, this food is known as panada.
  • Empanadas are the perfect portable food for lunch at work.

Celebrating National Empanada Day

This holiday can easily be celebrated by making one of these pastries and finding out what all the fuss is about yourself. For anyone who hasn’t tried these delicious savory pockets of joy, this holiday is the perfect day to begin enjoying them. Anyone spending the day making and/or eating empanadas will probably want to use the hashtag #NationalEmpanadaDay on their social media accounts.

When is it?
This year (2024)
April 8 Monday
Next year (2025)
April 8 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
April 8 Saturday
Food & Drinks