Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Empanadas Review

Trader Joe's PUmpkin Empanadas
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Empanadas

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Empanadas Review – Just like the swallows returning to Capistrano or the sun rising in the east and set in the west, Trader Joe’s will be putting pumpkin in many products in September every year. Just like clockwork, the stores change over from summer to fall and everything in the store seems to have pumpkin in it, even the soap and candles!

How better to celebrate fall than stuffing pumpkins into empanadas? Pumpkins originally came from Mexico and empanadas are Mexican, so this is a match made in heaven? Not so fast… Let’s cover some of the basics before I jump into what I think about them.

For me, most empanadas have been the savory type. Chicken or pork or beef stuffed into a flaky dough and baked in an oven. Also called a hand pie, they are common in many places in central and south America also including Portugal and Spain. Every country puts its unique twist on them. I was eager to try these because I thought they would have some Mexican twist on them or something really cool like the Pumpkin Samosas I just reviewed. But I was sadly mistaken…

Trader Joe's PUmpkin Empanadas
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Empanadas cooked

You get four of these empanadas in the box. They are frozen. Each one is 130 calories, so you could make a meal out of their box of them. They aren’t vegan because they have eggs and milk (sometimes Trader Joe’s could go that little bit extra and have a hit on their hands, but not in this case). They could qualify as quasi-vegetarian if they eat eggs and milk.

Do not MICROWAVE them, you will end up with a soggy mess. Don’t ask me how I know this. You will have to bite the bullet and use a real oven and it takes a good 15 minutes to bake them. Then be careful, because the filling is molten lava after, but the crust on them should be nicely browned and crispy.

They looked and smelled great when they came out of the oven, with a nice pumpkin spice mix to the aroma. But after the first (cooled down the bite, after I burned the roof of my mouth!) it was nothing more than a sweet pumpkin hand pie. You might as well serve these after Thanksgiving dinner with some whipped cream on top.

They are sweet and taste exactly like a regular American pumpkin pie. I was a bit disappointed. If you like pumpkin pie, then these are for you. If you wanted something a bit more savory, forget it, and seeing that each is 130 calories, you have to be careful how many you eat.

As a cool little pumpkin pie, I would give them 8 bells, but I am going to knock them down a notch to 6 bells because I was expecting something more interesting.


Pumpkin Puree, Unbleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour), Water, Coconut Milk, Egg, Sunflower Oil, Brown Sugar, Canola Oil, Cane Sugar, Cinnamon, Cloves, Allspice, Ginger, Salt


  1. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Empanadas were a DUD. They stated FLAKEY crust, NOT. They were not sweet and hardly seasoned, which they should be since pumpkin puree is SOOO bland. The reviewer above probably isn’t from the north east because we make the best pumpkin pies, and they are NOT BLAND. There was so little pumpkin filling inside it hardly mattered. Rating 1- 10 about a 3.

  2. I thought the crust was really good, but agree that the puree leaves much to be desired. I’ll fault myself here. If I’d looked at the ingredients list I probably would have deduced that the filling would be sweet instead of savory. I don’t think the filling was bland, but it also wasn’t good. I agree that a savory empanada would have been a lot more interesting. But I really did enjoy the crust and it came out nice and flaky from my oven. I don’t think 15 minutes of baking is too much to ask. You’ll never get the same results with a microwave. Will not buy again. Having trouble building up to eating the other two in the package.

  3. How much we expect from a box of frozen hand pies lol. I actually really enjoyed these pumpkin empenadas. They’re sweet and just flavorful enough, not too sweet, and the crust is really tasty. I highly recommend!

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