Samosas. Calzones. Bao buns. Hot Pockets. Across the globe, we all seem to agree that encasing food in bread is a capital idea. In Spain and Latin America, this dish is of course known by the name “empanada.” The word “empanada” comes from the Spanish verb “empanar,” meaning quite literally “to wrap in bread.” As crisp autumn breezes have us wrapping ourselves up in warm layers, what better time of year to make some of these steamy bread-wrapped treats?

Personal touches and embellishments aside, all empanada recipes consist of five basic steps:

1. Prepare your dough. It’s quick and easy to whip up a simple flour-based dough from scratch. Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-made pie crust or a package of pastry dough designed for turnover-style treats. Whichever route you take, you’ll eventually need to end up with small circles of flattened dough, about 4-6 inches in diameter.

2. Prepare your filling. We’ll come back to this!

3. Spoon the filling onto the circles. Right in the middle should do it! Take care not to add so much filling that you’ll have trouble when you attempt to…

4. Fold the dough in half to create a pocket around the filling. Pro tip: Moisten the edges of your dough discs with water or egg whites to help them seal shut. If you’re game for some practice, you can learn a fancy braiding technique to connect the two sides. Alternatively, use a fork to crimp the edges and lock all the tasty goodness inside. If you’re not ready to eat your creations just yet, you can actually store unbaked empanadas in your freezer for up to three months. But even if you’re planning to chow down on your empanadas the very same day, you may want to let them chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to settle into their shapes before you…

5. Bake or fry. Then enjoy at home or on-the-go, thanks to their handy portable shape!

Let’s revisit step 2. Depending on the filling, empanadas can be served at any time of day, from breakfast to dinner and even dessert. Fillings may include meats, veggies, fruits—there’s no wrong answer. Here are a few ideas to capture the flavors of fall inside your next batch of empanadas!

Fig and Cheese Empanadas

May I Have That Recipe

This recipe combines two dozen fresh figs with an orange ginger cheese to create a sweet and savory appetizer. Get the recipe.

Pumpkin Empanadas

Curious Cuisiniere

Did you know that the pumpkin plant originated in Mexico? This seasonal squash will feel right at home inside a Latin American treat. Get the recipe.

Sweet Potato Empanadas

Melissa Guerra

Sweet potatoes and cinnamon sticks—what could be more autumnal? Get the recipe.

Cranberry Apple Empanadas

OMG Chocolate Desserts

The vibrant red hue of the filling signals bold flavors of tart sweetness ahead! Get the recipe.

Caramel Apple Empanadas

Cooking with Carlee

Who needs a caramel apple on a stick? This recipe delivers the same classic flavor combo in a format that’s actually easy to eat gracefully. Get the recipe.

Cincinnati Chili Empanadas

Cincinnati chili empanadas

Foodie with Family

Fall is prime chili season, so wrap some up in an empanada for a handheld way to eat it. Cincinnati chili is especially great thanks to the chocolate and cinnamon in the mix. Get the recipe.

Thanksgiving Leftover Empanadas

Delicious Table

Eating leftovers can be a chore. But wrap them in bread and it’s like giving yourself an early holiday gift to unwrap! Get the recipe.

Related Video: How to Make Sausage and Vegetable Calzones

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