Guam Empanada Recipe

Discover the vibrant flavors of Guam with our irresistible Guam Empanada recipe – a culinary journey you won't want to miss!

Guam Empanada

    Guam Empanada

  • Cuisine: Guamanian
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Yields: 12 Empanada
  • Calories: 200 calories

About this recipe

Guam empanadas are a delicious and beloved dish in Guamanian cuisine. These savory pastries are a delightful blend of culinary influences, reflecting the island's unique history.

Empanadas on Guam are typically filled with a mixture of ground meat, often a combination of beef and pork, seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, and a variety of aromatic spices. The filling can also include diced onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes, which add a burst of flavor and color.

This flavorful mixture is then enclosed in a thin, flaky pastry shell, creating a half-moon-shaped pocket of goodness.

What sets Guam empanadas apart is their distinctive dough, which is a bit sweeter than traditional empanada dough. It's made with a hint of sugar and sometimes a bit of annatto seed for a touch of color.

The result is a slightly sweet and slightly savory pastry that's crispy on the outside and bursting with rich, well-seasoned flavors on the inside.

These empanadas are not just a tasty treat; they're a symbol of Guamanian culture and are often enjoyed during celebrations and family gatherings. Whether you're savoring them at a local fiesta or making them at home, Guam empanadas are a flavorful taste of this beautiful island's heritage and a delightful addition to any meal.

Origin of Guam Empanada recipe

The origin of Guam empanadas can be traced back to the rich history of the island of Guam itself. Guam is a U.S. territory located in the western Pacific Ocean, and its culinary traditions are influenced by a mix of cultures, including Chamorro, Spanish, and Filipino.

The term "empanada" itself is of Spanish origin, which reflects the Spanish colonial influence on Guam. Spanish empanadas are typically pastry turnovers filled with various ingredients.

When the Spanish colonized Guam, they introduced their culinary traditions, including empanadas. However, Guamanian empanadas have evolved to incorporate local flavors and ingredients, making them unique to the island.

Over time, the Chamorro people of Guam, who are the indigenous inhabitants of the island, added their own flavors and ingredients to the empanada recipe. This fusion of Spanish, Chamorro, and other Asian influences has given rise to the distinctive Guamanian empanada.

Empanadas have become a beloved and iconic dish in Guam, often enjoyed during celebrations, festivals, and family gatherings. The combination of sweet and savory flavors in the dough and the rich, seasoned meat filling makes Guamanian empanadas a true culinary delight that reflects the island's diverse cultural history.

Why make this recipe?

You should definitely try the Guam empanada recipe for several compelling reasons:

  • Unique Flavor Fusion: Guam empanadas offer a delectable fusion of flavors. The slightly sweet, flaky pastry shell combined with the savory and well-seasoned meat filling creates a taste that's truly distinct and memorable.
  • Cultural Experience: Making and enjoying Guam empanadas is like taking a culinary journey to the island of Guam. It's a chance to experience the unique blend of Chamorro, Spanish, and other cultural influences that have shaped this delightful dish.
  • Versatile Dish: Guam empanadas can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or a main course. They are perfect for family gatherings, picnics, or as a special treat for any occasion.
  • Homemade Goodness: Making empanadas from scratch allows you to control the ingredients and tailor them to your taste. There's something incredibly satisfying about creating these savory pockets of goodness in your own kitchen.
  • Cultural Appreciation: Trying dishes from different cultures is a way to appreciate and celebrate the diversity of our world. Guam empanadas offer a glimpse into the vibrant and flavorful food traditions of Guam.

So, if you're looking for a new and exciting culinary adventure, Guam empanadas are definitely worth a try. They're not just a dish; they're a cultural experience that's sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

What does Guam Empanada taste like?

The taste of Guam empanada is a delightful combination of sweet, savory, and rich flavors. Here's a breakdown of the key taste elements:

  • Sweetness: The empanada dough has a slightly sweet quality due to the addition of sugar or sometimes even annatto seed. This sweetness adds a unique and pleasant contrast to the savory filling.
  • Savory and Umami: The meat filling, typically a mixture of ground beef and pork, is seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, and various spices. This imparts a savory and umami-rich taste to the empanada. The combination of meat and seasonings creates a well-balanced, savory profile.
  • Aromatic: The filling often includes diced onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes. These vegetables add aromatic and flavorful notes to the empanada, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Crispy Exterior: The empanada's pastry shell is crispy and flaky, providing a satisfying texture contrast to the tender and flavorful filling.
When you take a bite of a Guam empanada, you'll experience a harmonious blend of sweet and savory, with layers of flavor and a satisfying crunch. It's a taste that's unique to this Guamanian specialty and is loved by those who savor its complex yet balanced flavors.

What would you need for this recipe?

These are the ingredients needed to make Guam Empanada:

  • All-Purpose Flour: Used to make the dough for the empanada. It provides the structure and a slightly sweet flavor to the pastry.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor of the dough and balances the sweetness.
  • Cold Water: Needed to mix with the flour and create the dough. It helps bind the ingredients together.
  • Vegetable Shortening or Lard: Used to make the dough for the pastry. It adds richness and a flaky texture to the empanada.
  • Ground Beef or Pork: The primary protein for the filling. A combination of both can be used for a flavorful mixture.
  • Diced Onions: These add aromatic and savory notes to the filling.
  • Diced Bell Peppers: Provide both flavor and color to the filling.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Contribute to the overall flavor and juiciness of the filling.
  • Garlic: Adds a robust, savory taste to the filling.
  • Soy Sauce: Provides saltiness and umami flavor to season the meat filling.
  • Black Pepper: Adds a bit of spiciness and depth to the seasoning.
  • Oil for Frying: Used to fry the empanadas until they're crispy and golden brown.


  • Mixing Bowl: For preparing the dough and mixing ingredients. Substitute: You can use any large bowl or even a clean countertop for kneading the dough.
  • Rolling Pin: To roll out the dough into thin circles. Substitute: A clean wine bottle or a cylindrical glass can be used if you don't have a rolling pin.
  • Frying Pan: For frying the empanadas. Substitute: A deep skillet or a deep pot can be used for frying.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: For dicing vegetables and shaping the empanadas. Substitute: You can use a plate and a sharp kitchen knife if you don't have a cutting board.
  • Pastry Brush (Optional): To brush the empanadas with egg wash for a shiny finish. Substitute: You can use a clean paper towel or your fingers to apply the egg wash.
  • Lid or Splatter Guard (Optional): To prevent oil splatter while frying. Substitute: A mesh screen or even a large, heatproof plate can be used as a splatter guard.

How to make Guam Empanada

Indulge in the unique blend of sweet and savory with our Guam empanada recipe. Create this delightful Guamanian dish at home today!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening or lard
  • 1 lb ground beef or pork
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Oil for frying


  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Gradually add the cold water, and knead the dough until it's smooth and not sticky. Divide the dough into small balls, about the size of a golf ball.
  2. Roll out each ball into a thin circle, like a small tortilla. Set them aside.
  3. In a separate pan, heat the vegetable shortening or lard over medium heat. Add the ground meat and cook until browned. Add onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, soy sauce, and black pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Place a spoonful of the meat mixture in the center of each dough circle. Fold the dough in half to create a half-moon shape, then press the edges together to seal the empanada.
  5. Heat oil in a deep frying pan to about 350°F (175°C). Carefully place the empanadas in the hot oil and fry until they are golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  6. Remove the empanadas and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  7. Serve your Guam empanadas while they're still hot, and enjoy!

How do you serve Guam Empanada recipe?

To serve Guam empanadas, follow these simple steps:

  • Cool Slightly: Allow the freshly fried empanadas to cool for a few minutes on a plate or tray lined with paper towels. This will help them firm up and make them easier to handle.
  • Arrange on a Platter: Transfer the empanadas to a serving platter or plate, arranging them neatly.
  • Optional Garnish: You can garnish the empanadas with a few fresh herb leaves, such as cilantro or parsley, for a touch of color and freshness.
  • Sauce or Dip: Consider serving your Guam empanadas with a dipping sauce. A common choice is a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar with diced onions and chili peppers. Alternatively, you can use your favorite dipping sauce, such as sweet chili sauce or even ketchup.
  • Serve Warm: Guam empanadas are best enjoyed while they're still warm and crispy. They make a fantastic appetizer or main course, and they're perfect for sharing with family and friends.

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 483 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Guam Empanada, Guam Empanada Recipe, Recipe, Easy, Homemade, Top rated

What to serve with?

Guam empanadas are delicious on their own, but if you'd like to create a complete meal or offer some accompaniments, here are a few ideas of what you can serve with Guam empanadas:

  1. Rice: A side of steamed white rice or fried rice pairs well with empanadas, offering a neutral base to balance the flavors.
  2. Salad: A fresh salad, such as a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette or a tropical fruit salad, can add a refreshing element to your meal.
  3. Sauces: Consider serving a variety of dipping sauces like soy sauce, vinegar with diced onions and chili peppers, or a sweet chili sauce for those who enjoy a bit of extra flavor.
  4. Pickled Vegetables: Pickled vegetables, like cucumber pickles or pickled papaya, can add a tangy and crunchy contrast to the empanadas.
  5. Coconut Milk Soup: A bowl of a creamy coconut milk-based soup, like chicken tinaktak, is a traditional Guamanian side dish that complements empanadas nicely.
  6. Fresh Fruits: Tropical fruits like sliced mango, pineapple, or guava can be a delightful and sweet side to balance the savory empanadas.
  7. Iced Beverages: Consider serving cold beverages like iced tea, tropical fruit juices, or even a refreshing coconut water to go along with your meal.

I have just shown you few ideas to enhance your Guam empanada experience, but you can mix and match sides according to your preferences and create a meal that suits your taste.

My recommendations and tips

  1. Chill the Dough: After making the dough, it's a good idea to let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This makes the dough easier to work with and results in a flakier pastry.
  2. Keep the Dough Thin: When rolling out the dough, aim for a thin consistency. Thinner dough yields a crispier texture, which is desirable for empanadas.
  3. Properly Seal the Edges: Ensure that you press and seal the edges of the empanadas firmly to prevent the filling from spilling out during frying.
  4. Use High-Quality Meat: Choose good-quality ground beef and pork for the filling. A combination of both meats adds depth of flavor.
  5. Experiment with Fillings: While the classic recipe uses a meat filling, you can get creative and try different variations. Vegetarian options with cheese, or even dessert empanadas with fruit fillings, are worth exploring.
  6. Oil Temperature: Maintain a consistent frying temperature of around 350°F (175°C) to achieve golden, crispy empanadas.
  7. Drain Excess Oil: After frying, place the empanadas on paper towels to remove any excess oil. This ensures they aren't overly greasy.
  8. Dipping Sauces: Prepare a variety of dipping sauces to offer guests a choice of flavors that complement the empanadas.
  9. Enjoy Fresh: Guam empanadas are at their best when served fresh and hot. If you need to reheat them, use an oven or toaster oven to maintain their crispiness.
  10. Adjust Seasonings: Taste the filling before assembling the empanadas and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Cooking is all about personal preference, so feel free to adapt the recipe to your taste.

Potential ingredients substitutes

If you need to substitute certain ingredients for making Guam empanadas, here are some options:

  1. Dough: If you don't have all-purpose flour, you can use pastry flour or a gluten-free flour blend if you have dietary restrictions.
  2. Vegetable Shortening or Lard: Butter or margarine can be used as a substitute for vegetable shortening or lard in the dough. Keep in mind that this may slightly alter the flavor and texture.
  3. Ground Meat: You can use ground chicken, turkey, or even a meat substitute like textured vegetable protein (TVP) for a leaner or vegetarian option.
  4. Diced Onions, Bell Peppers, and Tomatoes: If you're missing one of these vegetables, you can still make the empanadas with the ones you have on hand. The flavor will vary slightly, but it can be equally delicious.
  5. Soy Sauce: Substitute soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos if you have dietary restrictions or allergies.
  6. Black Pepper: Use white pepper as a substitute for black pepper if it's unavailable.

Final Remark

In conclusion, Guam empanadas are not just a dish; they are a reflection of a rich cultural tapestry. Try this recipe and savor the unique flavors that have been passed down through generations.

Whether shared with loved ones or enjoyed on your own, Guam empanadas are a taste of tradition and a delightful culinary experience that's bound to leave a lasting impression.

So, roll up your sleeves, gather the ingredients, and embark on a journey to Guam through the magic of these delectable empanadas. Your taste buds will thank you!

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