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Enchilada vs. Empanada: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 28, 2024
An enchilada is a Mexican dish of a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered in chili sauce, whereas an empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries of Latin America and Spain.
Enchilada vs. Empanada

Key Differences

Enchiladas, originating from Mexico, consist of a corn tortilla rolled around a filling, typically including meats, cheese, beans, or vegetables, and are covered in a chili sauce. Empanadas, with a more diverse Latin American and Spanish origin, are pastries or breads stuffed with a variety of fillings like meat, cheese, or vegetables, then baked or fried.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
The preparation of enchiladas involves rolling fillings in corn tortillas and then baking them with sauce and cheese. Empanadas are made by folding dough over a stuffing, sealing, and then baking or frying to a golden brown.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
Enchiladas are characterized by their chili-based sauce, which imparts a distinct flavor and can range from mild to very spicy. Empanadas, on the other hand, do not typically include a sauce in the cooking process but might be served with a dipping sauce or condiment on the side.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
While enchiladas are traditionally Mexican, they have numerous variations across regions, including different sauces and fillings. Empanadas, found in various Latin American countries and Spain, display an even broader range of regional variations in fillings, seasonings, and preparation methods.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
Enchiladas date back to Aztec times, originally as tortillas dipped in chili sauce without fillings. Empanadas have a history in Spain and Portugal, evolving in the Latin American colonies with local influences shaping their diverse forms.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Origin

Mexico
Latin America, Spain
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Base Ingredient

Corn tortilla
Dough (bread or pastry)
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Cooking Method

Baked with sauce
Baked or fried
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Key Feature

Chili sauce
Variety of fillings, no inherent sauce
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Serving Style

Typically served hot in sauce
Often eaten as a handheld snack
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
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Enchilada and Empanada Definitions

Enchilada

A Mexican dish of a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered in chili sauce.
She ordered chicken enchiladas for dinner.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Empanada

A versatile dish, with fillings ranging from sweet to savory.
For dessert, they had apple empanadas.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Enchilada

A traditional Mexican cuisine item, often featuring cheese and beans.
He preferred cheese enchiladas with green sauce.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Empanada

A Latin American or Spanish pastry filled with meats, cheese, or vegetables.
She baked chicken empanadas for the event.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Enchilada

A staple of Mexican restaurants, usually spicy.
The spicy enchiladas were the restaurant's specialty.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
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Empanada

A stuffed bread or pastry, often enjoyed as a snack.
He grabbed an empanada on his way to work.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Enchilada

A tortilla-based dish, baked in a savory sauce.
They enjoyed homemade beef enchiladas on Sunday.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Empanada

A popular food item in many Latin American countries.
During her trip, she tried different types of empanadas.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Enchilada

A corn tortilla dish, customizable with various fillings.
For the party, they made vegetarian enchiladas.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Empanada

A baked or fried pastry, served with or without sauce.
They served spicy beef empanadas with salsa.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Enchilada

A tortilla rolled and stuffed usually with a mixture containing meat or cheese and served with a sauce spiced with chili.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Empanada

A Spanish or Latin American turnover with a flaky crust and a savory or sweet filling.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Enchilada

A Mexican dish made by wrapping a filling in a tortilla, then baking in a sauce.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Empanada

Any of a variety of stuffed pastries found in Spanish, Filipino, and Latin American cuisine.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Enchilada

Tortilla with meat filling baked in chili-seasoned tomato sauce
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is cheese a common ingredient in enchiladas?

Yes, cheese is frequently used in enchiladas, either as a filling or topping.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Can empanadas be sweet or savory?

Yes, empanadas can be filled with either sweet or savory ingredients.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Are enchiladas typically spicy?

Enchiladas can range from mild to very spicy depending on the chili sauce used.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

What's the typical filling for empanadas?

Common fillings for empanadas include meats, cheese, and vegetables.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

What makes an enchilada different from a burrito?

An enchilada is covered in chili sauce and baked, while a burrito is not baked and typically does not have sauce on the outside.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

What is the main ingredient of an enchilada?

The main ingredient of an enchilada is a corn tortilla.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Are empanadas served with dipping sauces?

Empanadas can be served with various dipping sauces, though it's not always necessary.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Are empanadas a main dish or a snack?

Empanadas can be either, often served as a main dish or a handheld snack.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Is dough for empanadas homemade or store-bought?

Dough for empanadas can be either homemade or store-bought.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Can enchiladas be vegetarian?

Yes, enchiladas can be made vegetarian with fillings like beans, cheese, and vegetables.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Can empanadas be baked and fried?

Yes, empanadas can be either baked or fried.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

What type of sauce is used on enchiladas?

Enchiladas are typically covered in a chili-based sauce.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

What's the best way to seal empanadas?

Empanadas are typically sealed by crimping the edges of the dough with a fork or by hand.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Are enchiladas served hot or cold?

Enchiladas are typically served hot.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Can enchiladas be made with flour tortillas?

Traditionally, enchiladas are made with corn tortillas, but some variations use flour tortillas.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Can empanadas be frozen for later use?

Yes, empanadas can be frozen either before or after cooking for later use.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Are empanadas a traditional dish in Spain?

Yes, empanadas have origins in Spain and are part of traditional Spanish cuisine.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

What is the origin of empanadas?

Empanadas originated in Spain and Portugal and became popular in Latin American countries.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Do enchiladas come in different varieties?

Yes, there are many varieties of enchiladas with different fillings and sauces.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

What is a common side dish with enchiladas?

Common side dishes with enchiladas include rice, beans, and salad.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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