What to eat with empanadas! These are the best side dishes, toppings, sauces, drinks and desserts to make your empanada dinner extra amazing.
In Latin America, Spanish, and Mexican cuisine, empanadas are golden brown turnovers, packed with sweet or savory fillings and impressive flavor.
Savory empanadas are typically made with black beans or your favorite type of meat. Chicken, ground beef, or pork are most common.
Sweet empanadas are usually filled with fruit (such as apples), cream cheese, dulce de leche, pie filling, jam, or even nutella.
Empanada dough is made from basic ingredients like flour, egg, and butter, and a food processor makes mixing it up SO much quicker.
(Or for a super easy recipe, use premade pie crust!)
Pop them in the air fryer or oven on a baking sheet for a lower calorie option, or make the wildly addicting fried version.
Pro-tip: If you’re baking them, brush an egg wash on top of the empanadas for the color of deep fried goodness without the saturated fat from the oil of frying.
Now that we’ve figured out how to create the perfect empanada recipe, we can dive into the best way to serve them!
I put together a list of the best empanada dinner sides, toppings, and sauces so you have LOTS of meal ideas.
What to eat with empanadas
1. Mexican rice
Authentic Mexican rice might just be the perfect side dish for empanadas.
It’s fluffy, colorful, and oh-so flavorful.
This original recipe uses long grain white rice, tomato sauce, and peas, just like you’d find at your favorite Mexican restaurant.
I like to add in bell peppers for extra color and texture, so feel free to customize this great recipe to your taste.
2. Charro beans
Frijoles charros, also known as ranchero or charro beans, are an authentic Tex-Mex recipe
They’re made with pinto beans, bacon, tomatoes, and serrano peppers, then simmered in spices and a flavorful broth.
You can make them on the stove top, or in the slow cooker or Instant Pot for a set-it-and-forget-it side.
3. Mexican potato salad
Corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and buffalo sauce ensure that this Mexican potato salad is absolutely bursting with flavor.
This potato salad is easy to make ahead, and is one of those positively unforgettable sides for beef empanadas.
You’re really going to love this out of the box twist on potato salad.
It just might become your new go-to summer side dish.
4. Tortilla chips and salsa
Nothing beats homemade salsa and chips.
It’s bright and flavorful, and doubles as a dipping sauce for chicken or beef empanadas.
And if you don’t have the time or inclination to make salsa from scratch, the refrigerator section of your grocery store will have lots of tasty options too.
5. Spanish fava beans
Olive oil, onions, white wine, and smoked paprika turn young broad beans into a fabulously flavorful Spanish fava beans side dish.
(You can use either frozen or fresh fava beans.)
If you’re putting together a traditional tapas meal, you’ll want this recipe included!
6. Mexican street corn salad
Esquites, also known as Mexican street corn salad, is positively packed with fresh flavor.
Cotija cheese, sweet corn, red onion, jalapeno, chili powder, lime juice, and fresh cilantro create the perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavor.
It’s the perfect side dish to serve with meat empanadas for a nice balance of comfort food and bright flavor.
7. Chips and queso
There’s just something SO delicious about tortilla chips and queso dip.
Maybe because it feels like you’re eating at your favorite Mexican restaurant.
The combination of evaporated milk, cheese, and cornstarch creates the perfect creamy consistency that stays silky even when cooled.
And great news, queso doubles as a mouth-watering empanada dip. You’ve seriously got to try this recipe!
8. Cilantro lime rice
If you love the rice at Chipotle, you’ll love this copycat cilantro lime rice recipe.
The bright taste and light texture are unbeatable, and the broth substituted for water adds a depth of flavor that might be missing from restaurant rice dishes.
Even if you think you don’t like cilantro, this rice is a must try.
9. Refried beans
When it comes to what to serve with empanadas for dinner, mashed pinto beans are an absolute must.
Creamy and rich refried beans are such a quintessential Mexican side dish, so it’s important to learn how to make them right.
They can be made from dried beans or canned beans, and become far more flavorful with the addition of some simple seasonings, like chili powder and cumin.
Beans are such an excellent source of healthy plant-based protein, are vegan and gluten free, and can offer tremendous flavor to your empanada meals.
10. Green salad
If you’ve wondered what kind of salad goes with empanadas, Mexican arugula salad is the answer.
Lime, corn, tomatoes, cumin, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes bring so much zesty flavor!
11. Mexican sweet potato salad
Sweet potatoes, black beans, jalapeno, and fresh tomatoes get tossed in a delicious dressing in this easy Mexican sweet potato salad.
It’s truly the perfect balance of sweet, tart, and savory.
The whole family will love this fun twist on potato salad.
12. Fried plantains
Despite looking like a banana, plantains are far less sweet, and much for vegetable-like.
You can whip up a batch of easy fried plantains in about 15 minutes, with almost no extra ingredients.
They’ll be such a fun addition to your empanadas!
13. Black beans and rice
With sofrito, canned black beans, rice, and a few other ingredients, you can whip up this super flavorful recipe for black beans and rice.
The excellent seasoning mixture makes this easy side dish far more delicious and colorful than you’d ever guess beans and rice could be.
14. Mexican coleslaw
If you’ve never tried Mexican coleslaw, you’re in for such a treat.
Imagine a marriage of taco salad and coleslaw, and just how delicious that will be.
A bag of coleslaw mix, red bell pepper, black beans, corn make it so colorful, and taco seasoning, mayo, and sour cream create a truly tasty dressing.
Be ready for this to become your new go-to coleslaw recipe!
Grilled Mexican street corn, aka elotes, is charred corn on the cob slathered with a creamy chili, garlic, and cotija cheese sauce.
By roasting the corn, it develops a rich, nutty flavor, and gets that slight char coloring that looks beautiful on your table.
This is truly the tastiest way to eat corn on the cob!
Read next: 75 Fun Ways to Serve Corn on the Cob
Guacamole is truly a must-have for any Tex-Mex meal.
Fresh cilantro, minced garlic, lime juice, and diced onion and tomatoes turn flavorless avocados into a brilliant dip.
You can use it as a sort of empanada sauce, or serve it as a side dish or appetizer with salty tortilla chips.
17. Mexican sweet corn cakes
If you ever went to a restaurant called Chi-Chi’s back in the day, you may remember their wildly addicting sweet corn cake.
This copycat recipe is a dead ringer for that old restaurant favorite that I miss so much.
You’ll only need a few pantry staple ingredients to whip it up, including Jiffy corn muffin mix and canned corn.
Just mix it all together, toss it in a casserole dish, and bake til a golden light brown.
Everyone is going to gobble this up, so you just might want to double the recipe!
Read next: 39 Delicious Ways to Make & Eat Cornbread
18. Avocado tomato salad
This quick and easy avocado tomato salad is light and bright, thanks to the fresh tomato, avocado, red onion, and cilantro.
Toss it in olive oil and lime juice, and you have the perfect healthy side dish.
You can seriously throw it all together in about 5 minutes, and it’s so beautiful that you’ll feel like you’re eating at a resort restaurant.
19. Cuban black beans
A monumental step up from basic canned beans, this cuban black beans recipe is BIG on flavor.
The seasoning mix and splash of red wine vinegar adds a brightness that’s often missing from beans.
It’s quick to throw together, and you may even have all the ingredients on hand already.
20. Corn and mango salad
Crunchy raw corn, fresh mango, crisp peppers, and zesty lime are the stars of corn and mango salad.
If you can dice vegetables and squeeze a lime, you can whip up this beautiful salad in about 10 minutes.
You can even make it a day or two in advance, and really let the flavors develop.
What dessert to serve with empanadas
21. Sopapilla cheesecake pie
If you take nothing else away from this list, do yourself a favor and print out or bookmark this absolutely amazing sopapilla cheesecake pie.
Not only is it SUPER easy, but it’s so unbelievably delicious that everyone will want seconds.
Sweet cream cheese and crescent roll dough get layered and topped with a mouth-watering cinnamon sugar topping.
Trust me on this one!
22. Tres leches cake
Ultra light cake, soaked in a sweet milk mixture, and topped with fresh whipped cream, authentic tres leches cake is the perfect dessert for delicious empanadas.
This traditional Mexican dessert is light and not too sweet, making it universally loved.
Sprinkle on some cinnamon and fresh strawberries to really take it over the top.
23. Mexican rice pudding
Arroz con leche, also known as Mexican rice pudding, is comfort food at its finest.
With just 6 ingredients, it’s extremely budget friendly and easy to make.
If you grew up eating rice pudding, you’ll adore this nostalgic recipe.
What condiments go with empanadas
To add some extra flavor and texture, serve some fun topping with your empanadas.
The best empanada toppings are:
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce
- Red onions
- Raw tomato
- Cheddar cheese
What sauce to serve with empanadas
Since empanadas are not traditionally filled with sauce, it’s helpful to serve something fun for dipping.
What to dip empanadas in:
- Tomato sauce
- Salsa verde (green salsa)
- Argentinian chimichurri sauce
- Pico de gallo salsa
- Strawberry salsa
- Avocado aioli
What to drink with empanadas
To complete your empanada dinner menu, it’s nice to serve a festive beverage to go along with it.
The best drinks to serve with empanadas are:
- Mexican Coca-Cola (in glass bottles at your grocery store)
- Classic margarita
- Michelada (goes especially well with breakfast empanadas!)
- Mexican beer
How are empanadas traditionally served? Is empanada a main course?
Empanadas can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be a full and satisfying meal, especially when you add some of these side dish ideas, or as an appetizer or snack on their own.
Traditionally made with savory fillings and served with a dipping sauce like chimichurri or queso, empanadas can also be filled with sweet ingredients and served as a dessert with coffee or tea.
Some especially delicious and unique empanada ideas are:
- Argentinian empanadas mendocinas
- Empanadas de viento
- Chilean empanadas de pino
- Baked chicken empanadas
Ready to try some of these empanada meal ideas?
I hope this list has given you lots of inspiration for what to make empanadas with.
It’s totally up to you when it comes to how to eat empanadas – there are just so many delicious combinations and flavors!
What is your favorite empanada filling?
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