Empanadas Vs Quesadillas: Can You Spot Their Differences?

empanadas vs quesadillas

Some people might say that there is no difference between empanadas and quesadillas.

They’re both made of dough, filled with cheese, and cooked until the cheese is melted.

However, there are some definite differences between these two dishes.

Let’s take a closer look at this empanadas vs quesadillas comparison to see just what sets them apart.

Read more: What To Do With Leftover Angel Hair Pasta?

What are empanadas?

In short, empanadas are little pies.

They consist of a doughy shell that is stuffed with various fillings.

The dough is then crimped around the edges to seal in the filling.

Empanadas can be baked or fried, and they are usually served as a snack or appetizer.

What are quesadillas?

Quesadillas, on the other hand, are essentially tacos without the hard shell.

They consist of a soft tortilla that is filled with cheese and other fillings.

The edges of the tortilla are then folded over to enclose the filling.

Quesadillas are typically grilled or fried.

Empanadas vs quesadillas – The main differences


When talking about the origins of these dishes, empanadas come from Spain while quesadillas come from Mexico.

The Spain origin of empanadas makes them doughier, while quesadillas are more like tacos in terms of texture.


Empanadas usually contain a variety of savory fillings, such as ground beef, chicken, or shrimp.

Conversely, quesadillas are typically filled with cheese and other vegetables, such as peppers or onions.

The ground beef and chicken empanadas are usually baked, while the shrimp empanadas are fried.

Quesadillas, on the other hand, can be either grilled or fried.

They are almost always filled with cheese, but they can also contain meat, vegetables, or beans.


In terms of shape, empanadas are usually semicircular, while quesadillas are more like a flat taco.

Empanadas are also usually larger than quesadillas.

You will find the semicircular shape of empanadas in both baked and fried varieties.


Empanadas are typically large enough to be a meal, while quesadillas are usually served as a snack or appetizer.

You can eat empanadas with your hands, but quesadillas are usually eaten with a fork and knife.

Cooking methods

When it comes to how you should cook these two dishes, empanadas can be baked or fried, while quesadillas are either grilled or fried.

To bake empanadas, you will need to use a dough that is not too sticky.

If the dough is too sticky, it will not hold its shape when baked.

For fried empanadas, you can use either a stovetop or deep fryer.

Quesadillas are usually grilled, but you can also fry them in a pan if you prefer.


Empanadas are usually more expensive than quesadillas because they require more ingredients and have a more complex flavor.

In addition, empanadas are usually larger than quesadillas, so they require more filling.


Empanadas have a more complex flavor than quesadillas because of the variety of fillings that are used.

Quesadillas, on the other hand, usually only contain cheese and vegetables.

The dough for empanadas is also usually tastier than the dough for quesadillas.

Nutritional values

For nutritional values, empanadas are higher in fat and protein than quesadillas.

They also have more calories.

This is because empanadas usually contain meat or seafood as a filling, while quesadillas do not.

So, it means if you are counting your calories, quesadillas are the healthier option.

Calories per serving

empanadas vs quesadillas

Each serving of empanadas contains about 150-200 calories, while each serving of quesadillas only has 100-120 calories.

Fat per serving

Empanadas contain about 5-10 grams of fat per serving, while quesadillas only have 2-4 grams of fat.


Empanadas are more popular than quesadillas in Spain and other parts of Europe.

Quesadillas are more popular in Mexico and the United States.

You will often find empanadas on the menu at Latin American restaurants, while quesadillas are more common at Mexican restaurants.

Which one tastes better?

Which one tastes better is a matter of personal opinion.

Empanadas have a more complex flavor, while quesadillas are more simple.

If you are looking for a healthier option, quesadillas are the way to go.

But if you want something with a more robust flavor, empanadas are the better choice.

My children often order quesadillas when we go out to eat Mexican food, but I prefer the empanadas myself.

Tips for making empanadas

Making a good dish of empanadas is not that hard, and here are some of my personal tips that I use:

  • Use good quality dough. I like to use a pre-made dough that you can find in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. But you can also make your own dough from scratch if you prefer. Just make sure it’s not too sticky.
  • Empanadas can be baked or fried. I prefer to fry them because I think they taste a bit better that way, but baking is also an option.
  • Choose a good filling. My favorite filling is chicken, but you can use any type of meat or seafood that you like. I also like to add some vegetables, cheese, and beans to the mix.
  • Be careful not to overfill the empanadas. If you pack too much filling in, they will be difficult to fold and they will not hold their shape when baked or fried.
  • Use a good quality frying oil. I like to use vegetable oil, but you can also use canola oil or olive oil. Just make sure the oil is hot enough so that the empanadas will be crispy when fried.
  • Serve with a dipping sauce. I like to serve my empanadas with salsa or guacamole. But you can also use a sour cream or cheese dip.

Tips for making quesadillas

Making quesadillas is even easier than making empanadas, and here are my tips:

  • Start with a good-quality tortilla. I like to use flour tortillas, but you can also use corn tortillas if you prefer.
  • Use a good quality cheese. I like to use cheddar cheese, but you can use any type of cheese that you like.
  • Add your favorite fillings. I like to add chicken, vegetables, and beans to my quesadillas, but you can use any type of meat or seafood that you like.
  • Cook the quesadillas over medium heat. If you cook them over too high of a heat, the tortillas will burn before the cheese has a chance to melt.
  • Serve with a dipping sauce. I like to serve my quesadillas with salsa or guacamole, but you can also use a sour cream or cheese dip.

Empanadas vs quesadillas – Conclusion

So, which one is better?

Empanadas or quesadillas?

It really depends on what you are looking for.

If you want something healthy, go with quesadillas.

If you want something with a more robust flavor, go with empanadas.

And if you can’t decide, why not try both? After all, they are both delicious.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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