Pasties vs Empanadas: What’s the Difference?

You may have heard the terms pasties and empanadas thrown around before, but what are they? Pasties and empanadas are both delicious treats that can be found in most countries. However, their similarity ends there. Pasties and empanadas not only differ in what they contain but also in where you can find them.

Typically, pasties are found in areas with a British colonial history such as the United States and Canada. Empanadas, on the other hand, can be found in Latin American countries such as Argentina and Colombia.

In this article, we will explore how these two uniquely delicious foods compare to one another so you can decide which is best for you.

What are pasties?

Pasties are small pies made from a pastry crust that is filled with meat, vegetables, and potatoes. They are often cut into shapes such as triangles. These pasties can be found in areas with a British colonial history such as the United States and Canada.

Pasties have origins in the 1800s where they were popular among coal miners who needed time-efficient foods to bring down into the mines. In fact, some people believe that pasties actually originated from Cornish miners who would sell these pies on cold mornings to help them keep warm while they waited for work to begin.

What are empanadas?

Empanadas are a fried dough with a savory filling. They are easy to prepare and can be eaten at any meal time. Empanadas are made with flour, eggs, lard, salt, water, and sometimes sugar or other flavorings. The dough is then flattened into a circle where the center is filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, or anything else you want to add. They are usually topped with an egg wash for added flavor and baked in the oven until golden brown.

The similarities between the two dishes

Both pasties and empanadas come with a dough. The dough is either rolled out or shaped by hand so that it can be filled with ingredients such as meat, cheese, vegetables, and more. Pasties typically have a crust on the outside while empanadas have a thinner crust on the outside. The crust of an empanada is usually made from wheat flour while the crust of a pasty is generally made from shortening.

It’s also worth noting that some pasties are made from unleavened bread dough while some empanadas are made from yeast-raised dough. In general, both taste delicious and provide a filling snack for hungry people.

The major differences between the two dishes

One of the main differences between a pasty and an empanada is that a pasty typically has a flaky crust while an empanada is usually made with a pie crust. Another difference is that a pasty will contain beef, turnips, onions, and potatoes while an empanada will have beef, potatoes, onion, tomato sauce, and other ingredients. In other words, pasties are typically made from vegetables while empanadas have more beef.

In addition to these main differences between the two dishes, there are other minor ones as well. For example, pasties are traditionally eaten in one hand while an empanada is always eaten using both hands. Pasties are often served with gravy or brown sauce on top of them whereas an empanada may only be served with salt on top if it’s not eaten with rice or beans. With so many differences between these two tasty foods, deciding which one is best for you just got easier!


Pasties and empanadas are two dishes that are often confused for one another. They are both baked dough-based dishes that use a filling as the main ingredient. The similarities between the dishes make it hard to tell them apart, but the major differences between the two dishes make the two dishes easy to differentiate from one another. Pasties are a dish that is popular in North America, and they are a pie-like pie that is usually filled with meat and vegetables. Empanadas are a dish that is popular in South America, and they are an oblong-shaped dish that is usually filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables.