What is Empada?

June 21, 2024

What is Empada?

Empada is a popular Brazilian snack that consists of a small pastry filled with a variety of savory ingredients. These ingredients can range from chicken, shrimp, beef, cheese, and even vegetables. Empadas are typically baked until golden brown and served hot or at room temperature. They are a staple in Brazilian cuisine and are often enjoyed as a quick and delicious snack.

History of Empada

The history of empada dates back to the colonial period in Brazil when Portuguese settlers brought their culinary traditions to the country. The word “empada” is derived from the Portuguese word “empada,” which means “enclosed” or “wrapped.” This refers to the pastry dough that encloses the filling, creating a delicious and portable snack.

Ingredients in Empada

Empadas can be filled with a wide variety of ingredients, making them a versatile and customizable snack. Some popular fillings include shredded chicken, creamy cheese, spicy sausage, and tender beef. Vegetarian options are also available, with fillings such as spinach, mushrooms, and tofu. The pastry dough is typically made with flour, butter, and water, creating a flaky and buttery crust.

How to Make Empada

Making empadas at home is a fun and rewarding process. To start, prepare the pastry dough by combining flour, butter, and water until a smooth dough forms. Roll out the dough and cut it into circles, then fill each circle with your desired filling. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, then crimp the edges to seal the empada. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown and enjoy hot or at room temperature.

Types of Empada

There are several variations of empada found throughout Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries. One popular variation is empada de frango, which is filled with shredded chicken and a creamy sauce. Empada de camarão features shrimp as the main filling, adding a seafood twist to the traditional snack. Other variations include empada de carne, empada de queijo, and empada de palmito, each offering a unique flavor profile.

Empada vs. Empanada

It is important to note the difference between empada and empanada, as the two snacks are often confused due to their similar names. While empada is a small, enclosed pastry filled with savory ingredients, empanada is a larger, open-faced pastry that is typically fried. Empanadas are popular in Spanish-speaking countries and feature a variety of fillings, including meat, cheese, and vegetables.

Where to Find Empada

Empadas can be found in a variety of locations throughout Brazil, including bakeries, cafes, and street vendors. They are often sold as a quick and convenient snack, perfect for enjoying on the go or as a light meal. Some restaurants also offer empadas as appetizers or side dishes, allowing diners to sample a variety of flavors in one sitting.

Health Benefits of Empada

While empadas are a delicious and satisfying snack, they are not typically considered a healthy option due to their high fat and calorie content. The pastry dough is made with butter, which adds richness and flavor but also contributes to the overall calorie count. However, empadas can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, especially when paired with a side salad or fresh fruit.

Empada in Brazilian Culture

Empadas hold a special place in Brazilian culture, as they are a beloved snack enjoyed by people of all ages. They are often served at parties, celebrations, and family gatherings, bringing people together over a shared love of good food. Empadas are also a popular street food, with vendors selling them in markets, fairs, and festivals throughout Brazil.


In conclusion, empada is a delicious and versatile snack that has become a staple in Brazilian cuisine. With a wide variety of fillings and flavors to choose from, empadas offer something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you prefer chicken, beef, cheese, or vegetables, there is an empada out there to satisfy your cravings. So next time you’re in Brazil, be sure to try this tasty and portable snack for a true taste of Brazilian culture.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.