Savory and delicious empanadas have made an interesting journey from a working man’s lunch to the food of choice for catering events and outdoor festivities. With just one taste, it’s not hard to see why these scrumptious stuffed pastries are beloved across many different countries and cultures. To provide insight into their humble beginnings, here is a brief history of empanadas.

What Are Empanadas?

cateringThe word “empanada” means “bread-wrapped,” and that’s exactly what these savory treats are. These pocket-sized pastries resemble Italian calzones.

They are typically fried or baked and can be stuffed with anything from meats, to vegetables, to fruits. Empanadas are typically crispy or a bit crunchy on the outside and then soft and delicious on the inside.

Where Did Empanadas Originate From?

Although the exact origin of empanadas isn’t known, they are believed to have first appeared in Argentinian kitchens, brought in from immigrants of Galicia, Northern Spain in the 1500s. They also have origins in Spain’s neighboring country of Portugal.

These stuffed miniature pies were a staple of Argentinian culture and daily life. They began as a popular working man’s lunch because of the all-in-one convenience they provided. All the protein and sustenance needed for a day’s work could be found wrapped up right inside.

What Can You Expect With Modern Versions?

Today, empanadas have expanded in popularity well beyond a working man’s lunch. In addition to becoming a popular dinner side, they have since become a highly popular street food, due to their convenient, on-the-go quality. 

They’re also a favorite catering item, as the varied filling options can suit a wide array of palettes and they are easy to serve to large quantities of people. Modern-day empanadas are sometimes available with gluten-free dough as well, for those with food allergies.



Whether you’re craving empanadas for dinner or a catering event, Mamajuana Cafe Queens in Woodside, NY, has you covered. This popular Spanish restaurant offers everything from Saturday and Sunday brunch to fixed meal packages. To ask about their delicious menu, call (718) 565-6454 or visit their website to view it online.