Empanadas de camote on a blue plate, cup of coffee and cinnamon stick. The top empanada is cut in half showing the filling.

These beautiful freshly baked empanadas de camote are filled with sweet potato, slowly simmered in cinnamon and anise. The dough is hand-kneaded and rolled out, then baked with the fragrant sweet potato filling. I like to eat them right out of the oven with a steaming cup of Mexican hot chocolate.

Sugar, anise, and cinnamon syrup in a small stainless steel pot
Flour and sweet potato syrup in a large glass bowl

I used to think empanadas were a Mexican thing but soon discovered that almost every country has their own version. Whether they are sweet or savory, they are incredibly delicious, easy to eat, and the perfect food on the go.

Flour mixture mixed together in glass bowl
Kneaded dough on a wooden surface

Empanadas by Doña Consuelo

This recipe was given to me by Doña Consuelo, a friend of my cousin Esperanza. Doña Consuelo had heard that my little nephew has severe allergies and can’t enjoy most of the pan dulce available in our town, so she graciously shared her recipe for these empanadas de camote, which just so happen to be vegan.

Cubed sweet potatoes cooking in a stainless steel pot

Doña Consuelo is one of those OG cooks that has never written down a recipe, and measures everything by fistfuls. So my beautiful cousin had her over to her house and had her recreate the recipe, and then proceeded to measure every fistful of flour and pinch of anise. She passed the recipe to me and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Mashed sweet potato in a glass bowl

I decided to pay her a visit to thank her for the recipe and just chat. Sitting in her living room, lamenting that she could no longer use her hands to knead the dough or make them for her family (she has arthritis), she reminisced about the traditional candies that are hand made in Múzquiz, her home town. She talked about the treats she ate as a child, and how she wished they were made with the same quality today.

Sweet potato plopped in the middle of dough disk

All of this has me pondering on the importance of passing down family recipes and adapting them for the new generation. Food is such an important part of our culture and we shouldn’t let the traditional recipes disappear with the previous generations. Save your family recipes!! Make them vegan, make them yours!

Empanadas ready to bake on a sheet tray

The Recipe: Empanadas de Camote

  • The original recipe called for vegetable shortening, but I have substituted it for coconut oil, but you could also use melted vegan butter.
Chef Dora and Doña Consuelo posing for a photo
  • I also reduced the amount of sugar (believe it or not!), but you can sub with piloncillo, sugar in the raw or muscovado sugar.
  • I used the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.
Empanadas de camote on a blue plate, cup of coffee and cinnamon stick
A close up of an empanada de camote cut in half.
Empanadas de camote on a blue plate, cup of coffee and cinnamon stick. The top empanada is cut in half showing the filling.

Empanadas de Camote (Sweet Potato Empanadas)

These beautiful freshly baked empanadas de
camote are filled with sweet potato, slowly simmered in cinnamon and anise.
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: mexican sweet potato empanadas, sweet empanadas, sweet potato
Servings: 16 empanadas
Calories: 321kcal
Author: Dora S.

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Syrup:

  • 2 1/2 cups Water
  • 2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks, 2 inches long
  • 1 ½ tsp. Anise seed
  • 1 ½ cups Sugar, granulated
  • 1.6 lb. Sweet potato, peeled, cut into large dice (About two large ones)

Empanada Dough:

  • 17.6 oz. All-Purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsp. Baking powder
  • 2/3 cup Melted coconut oil (the original recipe used shortening)
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cup Sweet Potato Syrup (see above)
  • ¼ cup Aquafaba liquid of a can of chickpeas

Instructions

To make the syrup:

  • Combine the water, cinnamon sticks, anise seed, and sugar in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over low heat and simmer softly for 30 min. Strain. Reserve 1 1/3 cups of the syrup and set aside.
  • Pour the rest of the sweet potato syrup in a small pot and add the sweet potato. Bring to a very low simmer, cover, and let cook for 45 min. (It’s going to seem like it’s not enough liquid to cook the sweet potatoes, but we’re basically going to steam them in the syrup. As they cook they will release liquid as well.) Drain and mash with a fork.
  • While the sweet potatoes are cooking, in a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the melted coconut oil and mix well.
  • Add sweet potato syrup and mix.
  • Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough has come together is elastic and smooth, but not sticky. Let it rest for 45 min.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and roll them into balls ( 2 oz. each). On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick.
  • Place 1 tbsp. of the filling in the middle of the dough round. Fold the dough over to enclose the filling, and crimp the edges with a fork to seal or seal them decoratively as the Argentinians do. Pierce each empanada three times with a fork near the crimped edge.
  • Brush with aquafaba and bake for 35 – 40 min. or until the empanadas are golden brown on the bottom.

Notes

The original recipe called for vegetable shortening, but I have substituted it for coconut oil, but you could also use melted vegan butter.
I also reduced the amount of sugar (believe it or not!), but you can sub with piloncillo, sugar in the raw or muscovado sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1empanadas | Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 275mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 6435IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @dorastable or tag #mexicangonevegan!
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