Fresh Pineapple Empanadas

Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
Flaky pastry is filled-to-bursting with pineapple filling

There are dishes that you have somewhere that are so amazing and so unexpected that you never forget them. Pineapple empanadas are just such a dish for my BF Trilo. He discovered them at the farmer’s market a few years ago, was wow’d by them. That seller never had them again, and he’s looked for them at every farmer’s market we’ve gone to ever since. It was time to try making fresh pineapple empanadas.

The best we can guess was that there must have been a visiting friend or relative who made their famous treats to sell at the market that day. It was a delicious one-time-only treat. Those empanada have lived in infamy in his memory ever since. Trilo encouraged me to try to make them someday. There are lots of dessert recipes I love making (like brownies), and a whole bunch I have been doing for years. Making empanadas is not one of them.

That Day Was Today

On a shopping trip to the market, we noticed a large display of pineapples at a very good price. Trilo declared that this must mean it was prime pineapple season, so we grabbed one. I thought to myself: ‘pineapple empanadas are going to happen!’

Fresh Pineapple
Fresh pineapple is far superior to the canned variety, and worth the effort.

A quick glance around online for some recipe guidance and empanada-making tips, and I was pretty sure that this was something I could do successfully. I weighed the option of creating my own pie crust for the pastry, but decided to focus on the filling, and go with a simpler option to use pre-made crust. I think there are some good crusts available, and if I could simplify the process, I’d be more likely to make these more often. (Which, if I do it right, is probably going to be required! lol)

Ready-Made Pie Crust
Make your own, or choose a pre-made crust

Simple Filling, Simply Delish!

For the filling I wanted to stick to the basics. Since the last large producer in Hawaii shut down years ago, most pineapple available at US grocery stores comes from Costa Rica. I still prefer pineapples from Hawaii, and have often stated that I would move to Hawaii JUST for the pineapple! If you ever want to taste one for yourself without taking a trip, check this site out. When it is in season, it’s so juicy and sweet, pineapple hardly needs anything else. So for my fresh pineapple empanadas filling, I went with just sugar and a touch of cinnamon, cooked down and thickened with a bit of cornstarch.

Fresh Pineapple Empanadas

One pineapple actually made enough filling for two boxes of pie crust (4 sheets of dough). Which is fortunate, since I had two on hand. That also gave me the opportunity to try making some larger empanadas with the second batch. For grab-and-nibble snacks I think I like the smaller sized ones, but the larger were a bit easier to make. Perhaps somewhere between the two is worth trying next time.

Size doesn’t matter when they are this yummy!

Make Ahead Brilliance

Once the filling was made, the pastries came together quickly. Seems to me it’s worth grabbing pineapples when I see them, cook them down to filling and store that in the fridge. Then I can whip up pineapple empanadas on a whim!

That’s the same concept I have with my semifreddo recipes. I make curd in advance and store it for use later. That makes the process of throwing together something tasty so much easier! Clearly I need to do the same with pineapple filling.

Well, lets get baking already!

Fresh Pineapple Empanadas

Flaky Fresh Pineapple Empañadas

Crisp and flaky pastry surrounds fresh pineapple filling in this quick and delicious version of a classic mexican pastry. Premade pie crust makes it easy.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: comfort food, empanada, fresh pasta, healthy, pie, pineapple, treat
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 329
Author: BlakOpal



  • 1 Fresh pineapple peeled, cored, and roughly chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Cold water



Making the Filling

  • Peel and core the pineapple by cutting the top and bottom off. Stand the pineapple on your cutting board and slice off the skin from top to bottom, taking about 1/4" of fruit off. Work your way around all sides. Make sure you cut off all of the small round holes left behind.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • When all the skin is gone, slice down lengthwise using the core as your guide. Slice the halves into lengthwise quarters, following the core.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Slice off the inner core by cutting diagonally across each quarter lengthwise. Make sure to remove all of the light-colored core. This part is woody, and won't break down in cooking.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Roughly chop the pineapple into small pieces. The smaller, the better. There can be some small chunks.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Put the pineapple, sugar, salt, and ground cinnamon into a saucepan.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Using a silicone spatula, cook down the pineapple, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning or sticking. Scrape down the sides of the pan as you stir. When the mixture begins to boil reduce the heat and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
    Mash the cooked pineapple slightly with an immersion blender, keeping it a bit chunky. (You can also use a potato masher).
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • In a small bowl, combine cold water and cornstarch and mix well.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Stir the cornstarch mixture into the pineapple, stirring constantly to combine. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas

Prep for Pastries

  • Preheat Oven to 350°.
  • Remove boxed pie crusts from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. When at room temp, unroll and lay out flat on your cutting board.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas

Making Pastries

  • Using a round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can fit on the sheet of pastry.
    Note: if you don't have a large circle cutter, you can use a small bowl as a guide. Lay the bowl upside down on the pastry and run a small knife around the edge to cut the dough.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Set the circles aside and collect all of the cuttoff pieces. Repeat for second sheet of pastry.
  • Using the cutoff dough, gather it together into a ball and squeeze it slightly to combine. Do not overwork the dough or it will become tough! Continue to cut circles out of the remaining dough.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Lay out the circles on your cutting board and place a spoonful of cooled filling onto each circle, leaving room to fold them over and crimp them. For small circles, you can do this in your hand.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Using a pastry brush, brush some beaten egg on the inside edges of the dough, just wetting the pastry. Fold the dough over and press together with your fingers, making sure that the filling doesn't squeeze out the edges. It is important to have about 1/4"-3/8" of dough sealed around the edge. Use a fork to crimp the edges to seal them.
    If holes appear while you are working with them, you can use leftover dough to patch them.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Place each empanada onto a silicone baking mat in your cookie sheet pan. Because they won't grow in the oven, you can place them close to each other on the baking tray. Brush the tops with beaten egg.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Sprinkle the pastries with sugar.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • With a sharp small knife, poke a couple of small holes in each one. This will let the steam escape whick keeps them from bursting.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Put into the preheated oven, middle rack, for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown.
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. You can test them right out of the oven, but the filling will be extremely hot! Don't worry if some of them have split open, they will still be delicious!
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
  • Big or small, these will become a new favorite treat! Enjoy
    Fresh Pineapple Empanadas
Nutrition Facts
Flaky Fresh Pineapple Empañadas
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 329 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 14mg5%
Sodium 191mg8%
Potassium 120mg3%
Carbohydrates 61g20%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 41g46%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 65IU1%
Vitamin C 36.1mg44%
Calcium 18mg2%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @BlakOpalEats or tag #blakopal!

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3 thoughts

  1. Haven’t made the empanadas yet, but the pineapple filling is delicious, (it’s still cooling). Only thing I did different was to use my food processor to cut the pineapple smaller and then some juice from the pineapple instead of the water for the cornstarch slurry. TH couldn’t stop “sampling it”. Can’t wait to have these. 😋5 stars

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