Empanada Vs Sopapilla: Can You Spot Their Differences?

When it comes to empanadas and sopapillas, there are many people who are not sure of the differences between the two.

They may even think that they are the same thing.

However, there are some distinct differences between these two popular pastries.

In this empanada vs sopapilla blog post, we will take a closer look at both of these dishes to help you spot their differences.

So, let’s get started.

Read more: What To Do With Leftover Blueberry Pie Filling?

What is an empanada?

An empanada is simply a turnover pastry that is typically filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables.

Empanadas originate from Spain and Portugal but can now be found in many Latin American countries.

Empanadas can be baked or fried and are usually made with wheat flour dough.

What is a sopapilla?

A sopapilla is a type of frybread that is popular in the southwestern United States.

Sopapillas are made with a simple yeast dough and can be filled with honey, fruit, or even savory items like chili.

Sopapillas are typically deep-fried and served with a sweet dipping sauce.

Empanada vs sopapilla – The main differences

Origins

Empanadas originated from Spain and Portugal while sopapillas are a traditional dish from the southwestern United States.

Many historians believe that sopapillas were brought over to the United States by Spanish settlers as well.

Ingredients & fillings

Empanadas can be filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables while sopapillas are typically filled with honey, fruit, or savory items like chili.

This makes the sopapillas taste more like a dessert while the empanadas can be either savory or sweet.

People often eat empanadas as the main dish while sopapillas are usually eaten as a dessert or snack.

Shape

Empanadas are typically shaped like a turnover or crescent while sopapillas are typically shaped like pillows or donuts.

The crescent shape of the empanadas is more common in Spain while the pillow shape of the sopapillas is more common in the United States.

The shape makes the sopapillas easier to deep-fry.

Cooking method

Empanadas can be baked or fried while sopapillas are typically deep-fried.

This makes the sopapillas more of a dessert while the empanadas can be either savory or sweet.

To bake or fry empanadas, you should use cooking oil or butter.

With sopapillas, you will need to use shortening or lard for deep-frying.

Texture

Empanadas are typically more crispy than sopapillas while the sopapillas are more fluffy.

This is because the empanadas are usually baked or fried while the sopapillas are deep-fried.

I prefer the crispy texture of the empanadas while my husband prefers the fluffy texture of the sopapillas.

Cost

Empanadas are typically more expensive than sopapillas.

This is because the empanadas are made with wheat flour dough while the sopapillas are made with a simple yeast dough.

The ingredients for both pastries are not expensive, but the empanadas tend to be more popular and, therefore, more expensive.

Nutritional values

In terms of nutritional values, empanadas are higher in calories, fat, and carbs while sopapillas are lower in calories, fat, and carbs.

However, both pastries are relatively high in sugar.

That means if you’re watching your calorie intake, you should probably avoid both of these dishes.

Calories per serving

Each serving of an empanada has around 360 calories while each serving of a sopapilla has around 210 calories.

This is because the empanadas are usually baked or fried while the sopapillas are deep-fried.

Fat per serving

Each serving of an empanada has around 20 grams of fat while each serving of a sopapilla has around 9 grams of fat.

This is because the empanadas are usually baked or fried while the sopapillas are deep-fried.

Popularity

The popularity of empanadas and sopapillas varies by region.

Empanadas are more popular in Spain and Portugal while sopapillas are more popular in the southwestern United States.

I personally see more empanadas in the grocery store, but my husband sees more sopapillas, lol.

Which one tastes better?

This is a matter of opinion, but I think empanadas taste better than sopapillas.

I like the crispy texture of the empanadas and the savory fillings.

My husband prefers the fluffy texture of the sopapillas and the sweet fillings.

But don’t let our opinions sway you, try them both and decide for yourself.

Tips for making sopapillas

empanada vs sopapilla

For making the best sopapillas follow these 5 tips of mine:

  • Use a good quality flour like King Arthur Flour
  • Use a relatively low amount of oil or fat in the dough, about 2 tablespoons per cup of flour
  • Knead the dough well to develop the gluten, for a chewy texture
  • Fry them at a moderate temperature, around 350 degrees F.
  • Serve them hot and fresh with your favorite toppings.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy sopapillas is with a honey and cinnamon topping.

Simply mix together honey and cinnamon to taste, then drizzle over your sopapillas.

Delicious.

Now, you could also try other toppings like sugar and lemon juice, or chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

The possibilities are endless.

Experiment and find your own favorite combination.

How to make empanadas for a big family meet up

If you’re thinking about making empanadas for a big family meet-up, you will need to make a lot of them.

The recipe below will make around 24 empanadas.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • Filling options:
  • Beef and onion filling
  • Chicken and cheese filling
  • Pork and green chili filling

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir in the water until the dough is wet but not too sticky.
  2. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it’s smooth. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. To make the beef and onion filling, cook the beef and onions in a skillet over medium heat until the beef is browned and the onions are softened.
  5. To make the chicken and cheese filling, cook the chicken in a skillet over medium heat until it’s cooked through and the cheese is melted.
  6. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut the dough into circles using a biscuit cutter or a glass.
  7. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each circle. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges together to seal.
  8. Fry the empanadas in a skillet over medium-high heat until they’re golden brown. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they’re cooked through.
  9. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy.

Empanada vs sopapilla – Conclusion

So, there you have it – a closer look at the differences between empanadas and sopapillas.

As you can see, there are some distinct differences between these two popular pastries.

So, the next time you’re in the mood for an empanada or a sopapilla, be sure to choose the one that best suits your taste buds.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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