What to Serve with Empanadas [11 Best Side Dishes]

Easy empanada serving ideas, from arroz con pollo to refried beans, and fried plantain to homemade salsa verde. Discover what to serve with empanadas today.

freshly cooked empanadas

Empanadas can be filled with a range of ingredients and enjoyed for a snack or light meal. When creating a complete plate, however, it is a good idea to include some flavorful side dishes.

Any of these simple empanada sides will create a combination that adds complementary tastes and aromas without overshadowing the main entrée.

Mexican Rice

mexican rice

Let’s start with a staple of Mexican cuisine. Creating the bold and authentic flavors of this rice dish isn’t as difficult as some home cooks might assume and it pairs extremely well with empanadas of all types. 

Choosing the right long grain white rice is the first step in creating this dish. From there, simply mix in some broth, tomatoes, onion, peppers, and spices to the cooked rice and create a stellar dish that will let the empanada shine.

Refried Beans

Refried beans in a white bowl mexican dish

Here’s another option that is always a hit with a Mexican dish. 

Start with cooked pinto beans and mash them up to the perfect consistency. Adding in some lime juice, cilantro, and other preferred flavors will help create the enjoyable, rich flavor that has been enjoyed with empanadas and various other entrees by diners around the world for generations.

Strawberry Salsa

Strawberry Salsa

Even those who have tried a variety of salsas might not be very familiar with this intriguing alternative. Its complex aroma and unique taste combinations make it an excellent choice to serve alongside sweet or savory empanadas.

In addition to fresh strawberries, it only takes a few simple ingredients such as maple syrup, lime, and red onion to complete this refreshing side dish. Combine the citrus juice and even some peppers for a bit of heat and toss it all together for a new spin on a classic dip.

Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo

Rice is a very versatile side dish that can be served up in a variety of delicious preparations. This is another one that is authentically Mexican and can complement the tastes of almost any empanada. 

A mixture of pepper, garlic, onions, and broth creates the foundation for this classic combination of chicken and rice. Coat the chicken with spices and brown it before mixing in the rice, veggies, and liquid base to finish the cooking process. 

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad

A fresh and flavorful twist on ordinary corn can provide just the right accompaniment to a bold empanada stuffed with a tasty filling of almost any variety.

Cooking the corn in a bit of olive oil will allow all the other flavors to shine through beautifully. Veggies and cheese add new dimensions to this dish and topping everything off with the right blend of spices can make this an excellent choice to serve with empanadas in any circumstance.

Mexican Coleslaw

Mexican Coleslaw

Although components of this side dish are similar to those found in traditional coleslaw, the flavors and textures are unique enough to make it a great addition to any meal consisting of empanadas as the main course.

In addition to a standard coleslaw mix, add in some corn, black beans, cilantro, taco seasoning, and citrus. Mix in some mayo, sour cream, and additional spices to create the perfect blend of crunch and flavor to complete the dish.

Mexican Sweet Corn Cakes

Mexican Sweet Corn Cakes

Here’s a twist on ordinary cornbread that might become a favorite side dish after its first appearance on a plate alongside empanadas. 

Some sweet corn, masa or instant corn flour, and heavy cream are the primary ingredients and any home cook can easily prepare it in just a few straightforward steps. Mix everything together and cook it in a ceramic dish at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 50 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through.

Black Beans 

spicy baked beans, flat bread and garlic cloves on rustic wooden base

Although some people might think this is a relatively bland side dish to serve with empanadas, there are great recipes available to impart some serious flavor into this staple of Mexican dishes.

Not only do black beans contain a lot of fiber and constitute a healthy addition to the meal, but they are easy to make at home. Combine seasonings as well as onions and garlic to achieve a complex aroma and taste, then cook them to perfection in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop.

Fried Plantains

Fried Plantains

This might be a relative of the sweet banana, but when fried to perfection it can serve as an enticing side dish to savory empanadas of all types. 

After choosing ripe plantains, all it takes is a dash of salt and some oil for cooking to create a complex range of flavors that will bring out the inherent goodness of any empanada dish. After heating the oil, fry them in small batches and turn every few minutes to ensure an even doneness and perfect brown color.

Salsa Verde

salsa verde

In order to create a light and refreshing meal, it might be best to simply top an empanada off with some fresh salsa verde.

Tomatillos provide the base for this tasty salsa and give the dish its trademark green color. Mix in cilantro, peppers, onion, and lime to the cooked tomatillos and blend it all up to the perfect consistency.



It might be hard to think of a Mexican dish that doesn’t pair extremely well with fresh guacamole. 

With just a few ingredients, such as avocados, salt, and a splash of lemon or lime, will provide all the flavors necessary to make this simple side dish shine. After mixing it all together, this is an excellent choice to serve alongside any type of empanada. 

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