Healthy Family Project

Pumpkin Empanadas

Pumpkin is a fall staple, so why not turn it into these delicious Pumpkin Empanadas for a yummy snack? This recipe is easy to assemble and perfect for getting kids involved in the kitchen.

Dia de Muertos is a Mexican celebration that dates from centuries ago. In my Mexican culture, we celebrate death the same way we celebrate life because we believe there is still life after death. Our beloved ones that have left us deserve to be remembered and celebrated.

November 2 is the Day of the Dead commemoration. Many families put together altars in their houses including colorful decorations and yellow flowers called cempazuchitl or marigolds. The altar also includes many traditional dishes, such as mole and tamales, as well as sugar skulls, bread and desserts.

During my childhood, my aunt Julieta would prepare pumpkin empanadas made with homemade candied pumpkin puree and a flaky dough. This was one of the special treats for the fall and for Día de Muertos.

Taking my aunt’s original recipe, I have created my own version of pumpkin empanadas for you to enjoy at home and share some Latino cultural facts with your children. This recipe is very simple with just a few ingredients.

You can serve the empanadas with a full glass of milk or frothy Mexican Hot Chocolate. These are perfect for a snack or to serve in an upcoming Halloween or Day of the Dead party.

Pumpkin Empanadas

Pumpkin Empanadas

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 small pumpkin, cut in pieces
  • 2 piloncillo cones, (or 2 1/2 cups raw sugar)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 premade pie crusts
  • 1 teaspoon orange-colored sugar
  • 1 teaspoon purple-colored sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Add pumpkin, piloncillo, cinnamon and water to large pot. Cook over medium heat, covered, 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Remove pumpkin and scoop out flesh. Place in bowl and mash with piloncillo syrup. Set aside.
  4. Whisk egg and milk in small bowl. Set aside.
  5. Place pie crust on wooden surface and cut into 4-inch rounds with small bowl or dough cutter.
  6. Fill dough rounds with 1½ tsp. pumpkin mash. Brush edges with egg wash, fold dough over to form empanada and seal sides by pressing down with a fork. (A dough press can also be used.)
  7. Place empanadas on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Piloncillo cones can usually be found in Hispanic grocery stores, the Hispanic section on many grocery stores, or online.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 9gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 195mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 0gSugar: 14gProtein: 1g

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Adriana Martin

About the Author

Adriana Martin

Adriana Martin is a Latina writer born in Mexico who is specialized in recipe development using fresh and seasonal ingredients. The inspiration behind her recipes is based on the culinary culture of Mexico and influenced by the Mediterranean cuisine and grilling which is one of her passions. She’s the resident chef at and other prestigious publications that publish her work. LATISM has recognized Adriana as the Top 100 most influential Latina blogger due to her contributions to the blogosphere, influence in social media and involvement with the community helping to raise awareness about child hunger in the Orlando area.

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