Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Pineapple Empanadas

Cuisine: Latin
Prep Time: 70 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 24 small empanadas
Small and just perfect, these pineapple empanadas are a family recipe that my tía Minerva shared with me, and now I pass on to you!

The family recipe for these perfect pineapple empanadas was shared by my tía Minerva. In 2011, during my last trip to Mexico, I was fortunate enough to spend a whole month with her. We cooked together and she told me stories of my grandparents and their life together that I had never known. These family recipes hold a very special place in my heart.



  1. Combine the anise seeds, cinnamon stick, and ½ cup of water. Steep (cook) in the microwave for 1½ minutes, strain and set aside. Melt the shortening in a microwave-safe bowl, add the anise tea that you strained and stir gently stir. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, until the dough forms and is no longer sticky. You may need to add a little more flour. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest.
  2. While the dough is resting, prepare the pineapple filling. In a large nonstick skillet, add the fresh pineapple and cook over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice; stir well to combine. Lower the heat and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. In a small bowl, make a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch with ¼ cup of cold water. Mix together, making sure there are no lumps. Add the slurry to the pineapple; stir well and stir often so it does not burn. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Allow the filling to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  4. When filling is cool and the dough has rested, form 20 to 24 (1½-inch) dough balls and set aside. Take one dough ball at a time and press in a tortilla press lined with wax paper, fill with 1½ to 2 tablespoons of filling. Fold over and, using a fork or your fingers, press edges together to seal empanada.
  5. Transfer empanadas to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar with 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon. While still slightly warm, roll each empanada in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Chef Notes

I like to place the empanadas under the broiler just long enough to brown the tops of each empanada before removing from oven.

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