Dazzled by the dizzying array of sauce options for empanadas?
From classic chimichurri to something a bit more adventurous, finding the right sauces can seem like an enigma.
As a start, let’s take a look at some traditional Caribbean accompaniments as well as explore other, modern options.
Guasacaca and garlic aioli, both deeply rooted in island cuisine, make great dipping sauces while spicy sofrito gives an extra zesty kick.
If you’re feeling up to it, homemade blends combining flavors like cilantro and lime or rosemary and olive oil can also invigorate any special empanadas.
As creative as you want it to be -the dive into different kinds of sauces for your empanada is worth it.
Why Sauces are Important for Empanadas?
Sauces are an integral part of the empanada experience.
When paired with the perfect sauce, the flavor of your filling can be enhanced and enhanced.
The right balance between sweet and savory also ensures that each bite is complete, making for a much more satisfying experience.
The type of sauce chosen for your particular recipe may depend on either personal preference or simply what ingredients you already have on hand.
To dive deeper into why sauces are important for empanadas, it’s important to understand that empanadas hulls, or pastry shells, are usually made from wheat flour, vegetable oil, and water.
This combination creates a soft doughy texture upon cooking that’s great to pair with a variety of sauces and condiments.
This also means that you can use both sweet and savory sauces alike as they provide complimentary flavor experiences throughout the entire dish.
To make sure your empanada experience is ideal, here are a few popular condiment options that commonly pair well with empanadas: Chimichurri; barbecue sauces; sour cream; spicy salsas; honey & ice cream; cranberry & cream cheese; guacamole & mango salsa; creamy avocado; chutney & coconut milk-based sauce; mint sauce.
All these delicious options will turn your humble homemade empanada into a succulent explosion.
What Sauce Goes with Empanadas? 10 BEST Options
Empanadas are a popular Latin American street food consisting of a portion of dough, wrapped in a crescent shape and stuffed with any number of delicious fillings.
But the best way to enjoy these beloved pastries is to pair them with the perfect sauce.
Whether you like them spicy, creamy, or even sweet, there is sure to be a sauce that pairs perfectly with your empanadas.
Here are 10 of the best sauces for empanadas.
1. Chimichurri Sauce
One of the best sauces to go with empanadas is Chimichurri sauce.
This classic Argentinian sauce is similar to pesto, made with parsley, olive oil, garlic, and vinegar.
It adds an extra zing of flavor to the empanada and helps to bring out its sweetness.
Additionally, it is incredibly easy to make — just throw all the ingredients into a blender and you’re done.
As an added bonus, it also goes great on fish tacos or grilled meats.
2. Cilantro Lime Sauce
A flavorful cilantro lime sauce can be used to top empanadas for a little extra zing, adding wonderful aromas and tastes of fresh-squeezed limes and fragrant cilantro.
The lime not only adds flavor, but also helps cut through the richness of the empanada dough.
This easy-to-make sauce comes together quickly in a food processor or blender with just a few ingredients including cilantro, garlic, limes and jalapeno peppers for a hint of heat.
To complement your empanada filling, choose either a traditional or spicy version depending on your preference.
Traditional cilantro lime sauce is slightly tart and herbaceous while the spicy version adds an extra layer of warmth from pureed jalapeno peppers.
Serve this zesty topping on practically any kind of savory hand pie or as a zippy dip for vegetable crudités or nachos.
3. Avocado Salsa
Avocado Salsa is a perfect accompaniment for empanadas due to its creamy texture and flavors of complexity.
It’s easy to make, and it’s vegan-friendly, gluten-free and dairy free.
To make this delicious salsa you need the following ingredients – 2 ripe avocados, 1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro leaves, 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and deveined), 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 4 tablespoons of olive oil, juice from two limes plus zest from one lime, salt and pepper.
Start by adding the avocados in a bowl and mashing them with a fork.
Add in the remaining ingredients to taste; mix everything together until blended well.
Serve this sauce as a dip or topping over your favorite empanadas or other savory dishes.
4. Pico de Gallo
Originating from Mexico, Pico de Gallo, or “rooster’s beak,” is a type of condiment made with chopped fresh tomatoes, onions, and chilies.
It can also include other ingredients such as garlic and lime juice.
The great thing about this sauce is that it can be used as an ingredient for Empanadas as it is usually quite mild and not too overpowering.
Additionally, its bright colors make it an eye catching garnish.
Pico de Gallo goes especially well with meat in Empanadas and adds a nice crunchy texture to the filling.
Try adding some Pico de Gallo to your next batch of Empanadas for even more flavor.
5. Salsa Verde
When you’re looking for a tart and tangy sauce to serve with your empanadas, try salsa verde.
This delicious sauce is made with tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice and salt.
The flavor is bright and vibrant — perfect for contrast against the savory filling of the empanadas.
Try making your own and adjust it to your tastes by adding more or less heat as desired.
If you’re short on time (or ingredients) you can also often find pre-made versions in Mexican or Latin American stores or at specialty supermarkets.
For simple serving, just dish out a dollop or two on the plate next to your freshly prepared empanadas.
6. Chipotle Mayo
For an extra layer of smoky, spicy flavor to your empanadas, nothing beats chipotle mayo.
Made with a few simple ingredients—mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce—the combination is tangy yet creamy and complements sweet or savory fillings.
Consider adding a generous spoonful of this condiment to your empanada plate.
If you need more heat, simply add extra chili powder or cayenne pepper to the mix.
7. BBQ Sauce
Barbecue sauce is a classic topping for empanadas.
It brings the sweetness that compliments a savory filled pastry.
It’s also fairly easy to find at most grocery stores and online.
The smoky flavor behind the sweet sauce makes it the perfect topping for many varieties of empanada fillings.
It’s sure to please whatever crowd you’re serving and can be used with all types of meats, vegetables, and cheeses alike.
Many people enjoy BBQ sauce as a dip for their fried empanadas too.
8. Sweet Chili Sauce
This unique condiment is essentially a hybrid of the two different flavor profiles.
Sweet chili sauce is the perfect combination of spicy and sweet, creating an interesting blend that pairs beautifully with empanadas.
A slight hint of smokiness brings out the crust’s toasty flavor wonderfully, and the spiciness cuts through the oily notes for a balanced and textured bite.
Sweet chili sauce goes great with veggie-filled empanadas or versions with pulled pork or beef.
It’s also a delicious dip for chicken empanadas as well as a topping on vegetarian or vegan varieties.
Keep in mind that many store-bought versions carry quite a bit of heat, so adjust accordingly should you choose this particular accompaniment.
9. Honey Mustard Sauce
Honey mustard sauce is a delicious and simple homemade empanada dip that pairs really well with empanadas.
This creamy and slightly tangy dip is made with mayonnaise, honey, Dijon or stone-ground mustard, salt, pepper and a bit of lemon juice.
It’s not only a great pairing for empanadas but it’s also an ideal accompaniment to fried chicken and french fries.
Plus, it can be put together in just five minutes.
All you need to do is whisk together the ingredients until combined.
Serve the dip alongside your favorite fried snacks like French fries you make from scratch.
10. Orange Marmalade
Orange marmalade is a sweet and tangy citrus-based condiment that offers incredible flavor when paired with empanadas.
This sauce works well on both savory and sweeter versions of the pastry because it adds a layer of sweetness that counteracts the savory flavors.
You can make your own orange marmalade or purchase one at the store, depending on your preference.
Orange marmalade is also relatively easy to prepare since all you have to do is warm it up and serve it with your empanada alontside any other complementary garnishes.
It goes well with various meats, cheeses, fruits, and more.
Solidify your party platter with this easy-to-pair sauce option for a flavorful finish.
When it comes to sauces, there is no right or wrong; it all depends on your personal preference and the flavors you prefer.
However, there are some tried-and-true recommendations that many people enjoy.
From cilantro lime tzatziki to roasted garlic romesco and guacamole to spicy chimichurri, incorporating one or more of these sauces into your empanada meal will make for a delicious experience sure to be remembered.
No matter what type of sauce you choose, keep in mind that the quality of ingredients is key for a great-tasting dish.
Fresh herbs, top-notch olive oil, and other carefully sourced ingredients will go a long way towards elevating your empanada experience from good to great.
Take your time during the flavor selection process and find a combination of sauces that best suits your taste buds—the resulting finished dish is sure to please any palette.