beef empanadas

I am a master of finding reasons not to do things. Why I shouldn’t make a new pound cake, when I already have recipes I like. Why there’s no reason to ever roast a chicken another way. And in this case, why I shouldn’t bother making empanadas when I already have the most delicious, flawless empanada recipe ever made. (And, apparently, the moxy to boast about it.)

browning the meatempanada filling, coolingbeef empanadas, in the makingempanadas, ready to bake

This is why on the topic of empanadas, the discussion has been closed for nearly two years. Even though there are more types of empanadas in the world than chicken and olives. Even though I had only made that one recipe, ever. Even though a friend would occasionally pick up these awesome beef ones in Queens before a party, and I thought they wouldn’t be that hard to make at home.

Obviously, I could not hold off forever and that is why you see here some long overdue Beef Empanadas and you know what? They were a great dinner. They’re also great party food, if you make them a little smaller. And they’re equally good to stash in the freezer, baking them off as the empanada craving hits, or for a light dinner. Like Hot Pockets, but you know, full of awesome, healthy stuff.

beef empanadas

One year ago: Hamantaschen
Two years ago: Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas and Roasted Red Peppers

Beef Empanadas
Adapted from Gourmet, September 2007

My only grievance with this recipe the way it was printed is that the flavor was a little flat. I’ve upped the spices but definitely think that there’s nothing wrong that a couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce can’t fix. Or a pinch of cayenne. Or a heavier helping of salt and pepper. I’ll let you get creative.

Makes a dozen 6-inch empanadas

2 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped into bits
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice, and chopped
1 package frozen empanada pastry disks, thawed (or homemade, recipe follows)

About 4 cups vegetable oil and a deep-fat thermometer (if deep-frying)
1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water (if baking)

Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Add raisins, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes with reserved juice, then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 5 minutes. Stir in hard boiled egg and spread on a plate to cool.

Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a dampened work surface (to help keep plastic in place), then roll out an empanada disk on plastic wrap to measure about 6 inches. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork. [You might see some different crimps in my pictures. The fork method really works best.] Make more empanadas in same manner.

If frying: Preheat oven to 200°F with rack in middle.

If baking: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F.

Deep-frying instructions: Heat 3/4 inch vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.

Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 360°F between batches.

Baking instructions: Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Empanada Dough

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour + 3 cups all-purpose)
3 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.) Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into two flat rectangles and chill them, each wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours total.

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214 comments on beef empanadas

  1. Wow. I really need to stop looking at your site when I’m hungry! These look amazing! And I really like how you give the baking vs. the frying option for those of us trying not to fry food. :)

  2. I almost skipped over this recipe as I thought empanadas were always fried. I am glad to see a baked version (as well as the addition of whole wheat flour in the dough!). The family probably won’t eat them with eggs and raisins in them – will have to experiment with the filling. They look amazing as an entree or an appetizer!

  3. Sancho

    These look fabulous–as usual! Thanks for the great recipe.

    P.S. There is no “ñ” in empanada–empanada roughly translates as breaded.

  4. deb

    Really, no ñ? See, at first I hadn’t thought there was a tilde. But the recipe I got this from has one. So I went back and put ALL of those ASCII codes in because the last time I forgot the tilde, last week, I got a comment [edited!] about my “orthographic faux pas” thus I am particularly tilde-sensitive these days. I cannot win!

  5. Yum – and since the local empananda go-to place near my apartment has taken a serious dive in quality compared to when I first live here 10 years ago, I am going to make these!

  6. Glad you revisited them–this version looks great. On my to-do list are the cauliflower and manchego empanadas from Martha Stewart’s The New Classics. Really, though, how can you go wrong with savory goodness wrapped in homemade pastry?

  7. Yum. So I have a question for you — do you test recipes before you post them? (When?) And do you ever make anything that doesn’t look splendiferously perfect? Because I am in awe of the mouthwatering nature of everything. My cooking tends more towards the “rustic”

  8. hi, possibly a silly question: how much would 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter weigh? i’m in UK and we just get butter in lumps and when it’s something solid, not like flour or a liquid etc, it’s a bit akward to try to measure it in cups.. & with baking i think i need to be fairly precise. xxx tukru

  9. Estrella

    yum, and I vote pro-raisin (or for something different try a bit of guava) but yup, no ñ, enpañadas translates to “fogged up”

  10. I was just about to look for a recipe for these when they poped up in my google reader. I tried the mini ones from the Martha Stewart appetizer book and didn’t love them. Ah the dilema – try these or your previous ones?

  11. bobbincat

    The Chilean way is to put a single egg slice in the center accompanied by two olives (not pre-cooked) on opposite sides of the egg. It makes a delicious explosion when you hit the olive, and is also super neat looking when it bakes.

  12. I love empanadas so much, but I always wuss out and buy packaged dough slices instead of making it myself. This looks manageable though! I should give it a try the next time I try to bake a batch.

  13. I like how your dough turned out. I have used the packaged do that my boyfriend brought back from argentina. They are very flaky and buttery.

    The only problem with empanadas are that I like them so much and they are too heavy to eat by the dozen.

    Just wondering, no cinnamon? I do love cinnamon and beef.

  14. Weird — I was just about to do a search on empanada recipes when this popped up in my Google Reader! I made a pineapple pie with your awesome pie crust recipe a a few days ago (THANK YOU), and thought empanadas would be perfect with the scraps. I’m in Mexico City, so I’m gonna fill ’em with spinach and panela cheese. Mmmm.

  15. deb

    Tildes removed! See what happens when I pretend I understand Spanish? Sigh.

    Beth — 1/8 to 1/4-inch. I just eyeball it.

    R — Chopped! Well, the mistake is in there (will edit in a moment) because the original recipe was incredibly fussy. It had you slice each egg into 10 or 11 very precise slices and place each one on top of the meat filling before you enclosed the empanada. (Though seeing Bobbincat’s comment, I see this is not so abnormal.) That seemed totally excessive for what is mostly street food. So I chopped them.

    Frozen pastry disc qs — I saw that in the recipe and was like “yeah, right” because I have never, ever seen them in a regular grocery store before. And now I realize I have also never looked! So, it’s great to hear that you can get them at Key Food and other stores. Otherwise, however, that dough is fantastic — so easy to work with and a delight to roll out.

    2 sticks of butter is eight ounces or half a pound or 16 tablespoons.

  16. Ariel

    These look lovely. Ever since spending a few months um, getting my pants to fit a little snugger while living in Ecuador, I’ve had my eyes open for something replicating the AMAZING chicken empanadas I had there (said empanadas were the reason that I, er, grew into those pants). They were full of this slightly spicy, salty, yellow filling of shredded chicken, onions, and spices. A little old woman sold them on the streets of Cuenca. SO GOOD. Saffron? Tumeric? I have NO idea what the spice in them was.

    That said, these look good enough to help tide me over until that magical recipe surfaces.

  17. I hadn’t had an empanada in ages and ages, and then one night I had one of my daughter’s–I buy baby empanadas, among other hors d’oeuvres, for her lunches at Trader Joe’s. They were fantastic, and I actually wondered if I could make anything as good…or just stick to TJ’s. I LOVE the hard boiled egg in yours, so great with beef (sometimes I put them in the middle of a meatloaf). I’m going to give ’em a try.

  18. the empanada dough that i’ve made is a combination of flour, cream cheese, butter and salt. you can also make it into a sweet dough by adding a few tablespoons of sugar and make it into rugelach or a similar pastry.

    this looks so good! i love the versatility of the dough.

  19. I should try these! I have an empanada recipe that I go to EVERY time – even though I know there are so many others!! It was in Savuer like…. 6 years ago – sosososo good. I like it’s dough recipe which calls for you to melt the shortening/lard in boiling water.

    On another note, my grandma always says empañada and it makes me giggle every time :)

  20. Yum! Empanadas are certainly trending up! Here in Toronto we have a great farmer’s market at the Brickworks where Surkl Empanadas have a booth. Their owner Marina is Argentinian and an excellent cook. If you’re ever in town you should hang out with her in the kitchen for an hour or so. She has a lot of tips!

  21. amy

    Wow, these look delish! When you freeze them, do you follow the same baking instructions? I think I might have to make a batch of these soon and save a bunch in the freezer for days when I’m feeling less motivated.

  22. I grew up in South America and so I LOVE LOVE LOVE empanadas. I make mine with a masa harina crust though, kind of like a corn tortilla, only thicker. It gets crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. This reminds me I need to make some.

    PS, I bake mine as well.

  23. Emily

    Yep- these are definitely Argentine style! Definitely good in their own right, but I appreciate a little more spice in my food than Argentines usually prefer (they tell me that ketchup is too spicy/hot). I was SO glad to see you make them! All these people who talk about picking them up in local restaurants make me jealous. I live in Columbus and I think there’s no place to go within a 5 hour radius. Or more. It makes me sad!

  24. Nadia

    Those empanadas look delicious, but I’m especially inspired by the beautiful presentation. I recently made huge batches of yummy savoury pastries stuffed with spinach, and before that sweet ones stuffed with dates and spices, and I just couldn’t seem to get the pastries to look anything more than lumpy bumpy. Those photos are really going to encourage me to practice the art of elegant pastry sealing.

  25. Marie M.

    Here’s another way to measure butter (or Crisco, shhhh). Take a 2-cup glass measuring cup, fill with 1 cup water. Then just put bits of butter ’til you’re up to 2 cups. You’ve just measured 1-cup (8 oz.) of butter. Pour out water and blot if necessary. Need 1/4 cup of butter? Fill the measuring cup with 3/4 cup of water then put in butter until you’re up to the 1 cup level. You get it. I learned this in the Girl Scouts, back in the 1950’s. Eureka! Think Archimedes. (Hope I got the right Greek guy? Spelling?)

  26. Wow! These beef empanadas are totally gorgeous. I’m getting hungry for a midnight snack just looking at them. So glad you decided to try a new empanada recipe!

  27. Jess

    Thanks, Marie M. for that tip! Butter has been the most frustrating ingredient to measure here in Europe whenever I’m using my American recipes–especially if the recipe uses volume instead of weight. I usually turn to conversion charts and then weigh the butter, but I might just try this next time! What else did I miss by not being a girl scout?

  28. Gigi

    Wow Marie M. What a smart idea!!!

    For a whole year now I’ve been trying to figure out how to divide a 375 gram tub of butter into whatever measurements I need . Thank you so much for sharing!

    I made these tonight for dinner. They are fabulous!!!

    3 Deviations:

    I made the empanada dough with half spelt flour half white flour.
    I added a chopped bird’s eye chile to the meat.
    I accidentally bought crushed tomato instead of whole tomato but it worked anyway.

    Thanks for another great recipe Deb. Now I just need to figure out a great veggie empanda recipe for my friends (-:

  29. Jess

    Oh, and Deb, regarding orthography and snooty comments, I read recently that the recession is making language/grammar snobs more aggressive (yikes). I really appreciate your efforts to get it right, but please feel free to leave the tildes out (this coming from a former Spanish teacher as well as a proofreader and editor). Anyone who speaks Spanish mentally adds them in wherever they need to go, and anyone who doesn’t, doesn’t know the difference anyway. My Spanish-speaking friends (and I as well) often leave them out online precisely because they’re a pain in the neck to put in, and the nature of online writing is generally informal. I think extra tildes and such are often added erroneously just to make a word look more Spanish. Better to leave a right one out than put a wrong one in I say.

  30. I make your chicken empanadas for parties allll the time and they are always a huge hit… now I’ll have to give the beef ones a try. And you’re right, that dough is a dream.

  31. Elisheva

    Ooh, this may be the perfect excuse for a second foray into Latin American cooking. Imagine having those in the freezer! Perfect. Thank you :)

    PS – That comment WAS snooty and you are well within your rights to say so!

  32. Kelly S.

    I know that you should freeze them before you bake them, but then…do you defrost before baking? or bake from frozen? how long to defrost or how long to bak from frozen??

  33. Oooh. I’ll have to make this. I also found the recipe for the car bomb cupcakes (I don’t know what you retitled them) that I was planning to make too. I wonder if they would make a good meal? Probably not, but I can dream :)

  34. BG

    Just curious as to what purpose the vinegar serves in the dough. Is it a type of rising agent? Can you tell I don’t bake much? :)

  35. deb

    Kate — I always test recipes before I post them and I have many disasters, as you can see over here. I also have an good handful of recipes that were delicious but whose pictures are so gummy, gray and nauseating-looking (macro of an oozy reheated slice of bechamel lasagne, anyone?) I’ve spared you all them until I can make it again!

    Kelly S. — You can bake them right from the freezer. You just need to add a bit of baking time (5 to 10 minutes)

    BG — Vinegar tenderizes the dough. It’s a lovely addition in any pie- or pastry dough — you’ll like it.

  36. These look lovely Deb! You know, another twist on empanadas is making them the Venezuelan way: with a cornmeal dough! They are quite delicious as well, but less healthy, I guess, as they must be deep-fried. You can fill them with anything that tickles your fancy. Just in case you manage to convince yourself to try a new recipe ;)

  37. I love empanadas. A friend from Argentina gave me a recipe for empanadas a while ago. I have yet to get around to trying it but you’ve inspired me!! Yours look great, but I do prefer a little bit of spice in my food too! I love that you can just heat right form the freezer too.

  38. Amelia

    If you’re interested in ways to punch up the flavor, I’d heartily recommend a little sprinkling of cinnamon. I find it complements the spices amazingly, and adds a bit of sweetness and richness to the mix.

  39. Yum! These look delicious!!! I’ve recommended your other empanada recipe to friends, so now I’ll send them this one too! Great for a party, since you can freeze.

    By the way, our site address has changed, would love if you could update your feed!

  40. I have an arkload of family coming in town in a few weeks and have been looking for recipes that will freeze well and also impress them. Oh, and that are kid-friendly. It seems those three don’t so much happen within the same recipe. I can’t wait to make these!

  41. Yummers!! I am adding this to my long long list of recipes to make. Last time I tried to make empanadas I had a little dough trouble, so maybe this time i’ll skip that part!!! Thanks for a great recipe!

  42. Mm. My husband grew up with empanadas that look just like this in Argentina. Does the dough recipe you used end up being even with the amount of meat filling or does one need to be made larger or smaller to work with the other?

  43. Hey Deb… these look yummy… the taste doesn’t look flat in the pictures… actually we were in Argentina last year and I fell in love with empanadas… my favorite one was the “blue cheese” and the “dulce de leche” one though… I got the secret of the recipe though… it’s a 4 letter word.. LARD… I bet that will get rid of the flatness :) we don’t eat pork, so I have to come up with some other type of animal fat… I was planning to try them this month… you inspired me to get in the kitchen this weekend…

  44. Erin

    ohmygosh–i’m so excited. i was addicted to these when I spent a summer in Argentina. If you’re not crazy about olives, what else could you put in them? Any siggestions?
    Also, I’m not so great about figuring out side dishes–any recommendations?

  45. Ryan

    Ok, so this is something that I’ve been wondering for a while.

    When you are going to be working with dough on a countertop, how do you clean the countertop beforehand? I mean, I would rather not use some harsh chemical cleaner, since I’m about to be rubbing my food all over it. But just rinsing it with water wouldn’t seem to get it clean enough for food prep.

    Any suggestions?

  46. As tasty as these appear, and as much as I trust your judgment, the idea of something which contains hard boiled eggs AND raisins AND pimento-stuffed olives makes me want to run away like a little kid. On the other hand, I am now thinking of making some kind of empanadas which could include a bit of the chipotles in adobo sauce I just purchased yesterday.

  47. deb

    Kelley — You might end up with some dough scraps but it otherwise evens out well.

    Ryan — I have never thought of it that way. I’ve always used Windex on our counters. I might prefer not to give it too much thought.

    Morgan — “Arkload”! Love it.

  48. Yum I love empanadas! I am lazy and would want to get the pastry disks though… any other thoughts on where to find them besides Key Foods (don’t have those in my area).

  49. Juliana

    mmmm. going top make half the batch savory and half sweet. Im thinking some apple and raisins would be yummy in these too with a caramel sauce to dip.

  50. Juliana

    use clorox anywhere spray it is:
    * Gentle enough to use around kids and food*
    * Kills 99.9% of bacteria: E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus (Staph.) and Streptococcus (Strep.)*
    * Leaves no harmful chemical residue

    I use it around my babies and never worry about them getting sick or my food prep.

  51. Kerrie

    I don’t know if this helps, but I had the same question as you, and I answered it by going out and buying a work mat that you can roll pies and doughs out on. It is anti-bacterial, and it cleans easily with dish soap, and I can roll it up in its tube, and I’m sure it doesn’t get as many germs as my counter. I also spray it down with my fruit and veggie wash made with grapefruit seed extract and let it dry before I use it.

  52. we sell marble tile and countertops for a living… we suggest dishwashing liquid for food surfaces… cleans up almost everything, and what can be used to wash your dishes can actually be used on any surface where you prepare food…

    If you are a baker and don’t have a marble surface, you can go to a marble store and buy a 24×24 or 18×18 tile… i suggest buying the honed surface rather than polished. Marble countertops are expensive, but tile specialty stores will sell the tiles to you at most $20 or so… make sure it’s marble and not travertine or granite though.. ask for Italian Carrara or Spanish Crema Marfil if the sales person is clueless. Marble is naturally antibacterial and is a cool stone… it is great for rolling dough, candy, chocolate making…

  53. Kate

    oh my goodness! great minds apparently…while you were making beef empanadas, i was busily trying out your fabulous chicken empanada recipe yesterday! i LOVED it. i just got back from 6 months in south america where i learned how to make very traditional chilean empanadas (of the fried, not baked variety), but your recipe provided me with the best empanadas i’ve ever had (and trust me, in six months in south america on a budget, you sure eat a LOT of empanadas!!). can’t wait to try your next great empanada find…THANKS!

  54. Lacrema

    I must say, I have to have a leeetle bit of cinnamon in my meat empenadas. I’m going to try your recipe but I have to make that slight adjustment. It gives it that special something, I think.

  55. Glenda

    Girl, I am going to see my Doctor this week and he is going to ask me where the extra weight has come from. And I am putting all the blame on you! All kidding aside, thanks for your faithfulness, as I told you once long ago you have renewed my love i cooking, baking ad all things food related.
    Be blessed today, you have been a blessing to me.

  56. cecilia

    Living in Uruguay I hardly ever make dough for my empanadas because any store has prepackaged dough of various sizes and recipies. I have lived in the US and found ways around the lack of premade dough. This is no smal detail because when we make empanadas I have to count 6 or 7 empanadas per person so it it a lot of work, even for me. The rolling and rerollling of the dough makes it harder and harder. So the trick that works for me is to make little balls and roll each one as a single emapanada. Trust me is much quicker thar you think. And a lot easier than rolling the whole thing over and over again.

  57. Sol from Argentina

    The empanadas looks really great! the filling looks really moist and juic!
    Just exactly like our empanadas!
    In the northern part of our country, the empanada is filled also w/ boiled potatoes.


    p.s. your “repulgue” looks fabulous also!

  58. figbash

    someone up there asked about a vegetarian version. i have made this filling (which chileans refer to as ‘pino’) with chopped up mushrooms–mostly portobello/crimini but any variety of hearty ones will do. the method is pretty much exactly the same as what smitten has described here. they are amazing.

  59. Sol from Argentina

    talking about Veggie empanadas….we fill them with:
    –Onion and cheese
    –Spinach or Chard and white sauce
    –Corn and white sauce
    Hope it helps
    Have a nice day

  60. Karen


    In the recipe you describe rolling out the dough to a 6-inch circle, but the picture shows that you roll it out much larger and cut the empanada disks from the mass of dough. Your circle looked much more even than I know I could do freehand. Did you cut around a plate or something as a guide?


  61. I have a wonderful empanada recipe I make all the time…and then I went to Argentina this December. Oh my goodness! They knocked me off my feet they were so good! I ate them everyday peering into each one trying to guess the ingredients so I could make them at home and everytime to my shock I found EGGS! I loved that your recipe has eggs! makes me think it’s authentic. I’ll be trying it for sure!

  62. Rose

    Looks great! I was inspired to make pork empanadas (with what I had on hand) for dinner tonight, I’m using this dough recipe! They are in the oven now :)

  63. Lisa

    Made these last night with my kids, using ground turkey instead of beef. Delicious! My girls had so much fun making the dough and then sealing and crimping the edges of the empanadas.

  64. Yay, these look delicious, and I’m making them tonight!
    There’s an amazing Cuban restaurant here in Portland, that makes fantastic food including several different empanadas: potato cheese, creamy leek, etc.
    Yum, thanks!

  65. h

    I made the meat filling yesterday (delicious just by itself!) and I will be making the dough and assembling the empanadas for this evening. I can’t wait. Thanks for a great recipe!

  66. I love these things! Thanks for sharing now I must try with some ground lamb that is sobbing in the freezer because it has not found a good use yet.

  67. grace

    i made these last night and they were great! i left out the eggs (needed them for a cake) but did include raisins. can fresh tomatoes be substituted for canned? i almost always have fresh tomatoes on hand but only buy canned when recipes call for it.

    i was impatient and ate one after minimal cooling (how could i not?!) but they really are best warm or at room temp like you said. i can’t wait to try out more fillings and make tons of them to freeze

  68. eli

    If you use a little can of Goya spanish style tomato sauce (instead of the big can of tomato), a chopped red pepper, a tiny pinch of cinnamon, and a little more olive oil you will be happier next time, te lo juro.

  69. yuri

    my husband makes empanadas from a very similar recipe! with the olives and raisins. he uses chorizo instead of beef though. and serves it with Lizano sauce from Costa Rica. the green stuff. and a little crema. yum.

  70. Ann

    thank you, thank you, thank you – haven’t had a good empananda since I was in Chile – muchos anos pasado! Can’t wait to try your recipe since all that I’ve tried so far have been miserable failures. The ones we had there didn’t have chopped egg but a 1/4 of an egg in them. Oh, have my mission for the weekend!

  71. I live in chile right now as an expat.
    If you want these empanadas to be TRULY chilean, do what bobbincat says (leave the hard-boiled egg whole, and put 2 uncooked, UNPITTED olives in there), and LEAVE OUT THE HOT SAUCE. You crazy, woman? hot sauce doesn’t exist down here! They think sweet hungarian paprika is hot!
    Oh, and you eat your empie with a Fan-Schop (orange soda – fanta, with draft beer – Schop)

  72. SLF

    I have a similar recipe for the meat filling for empanadas – I use it to stuff breast of veal. Rather than the bready fillings most veals are stuffed with, this is great and it adds flavor and is always a sensation.

  73. Juliana

    so just an update. made these with grilled chicken, cheese and salsa. Um…wow?! The flakiness of the pastry was out of this world! My husband raved and raved about it (and he used to be a chef) we couldn’t stop thinking of things we could fill it with :) I nuked a couple for breakfast the next morning, 30 secs and they were perfect. really awesome recipe :)

  74. I used to think ice cream was the best invention ever; now I’m rethinking that. It could be the food blog. After drooling over your latest recipe and snapshots, I’ve reached a conclusion; definitely food blogs (and yours in particular). Thank you. TC

  75. Deb, I am a dairy-eating vegetarian; I know you can relate. I love Mexican food more than I can tell you, and would LOVE to make up some empanandas for dinner tonight. Both of your recipes have meat. Do you have any vegetarian ones? Can I request your next empanada recipe be vegetarian -pretty please? :)

  76. Kay

    Deb, I made these on Saturday and they were great! I made more than I needed, though. Can I freeze these next time? Even with the eggs?

  77. These look good, but I have to say my mother makes the best. We’re from Argentina.

    She would suggest spicing it up with red pepper flakes and garlicand tomato paste instead of sauce. Oh, and she adds a sprinkling of sugar over the dough before baking. Delish.

    Oh, and Jane M, empanadas are not so much a Mexican food, but more of a South American dish.

  78. These look incredible. Just found your site via Simple Mom and I am bookmarking it so I can come back and look around more after the kiddos go to bed! :-)

  79. Turner

    So I just made these, and I kind of winged it throughout the recipe. Not really caring to make them just right. Threw them in the fryer, and HOLY CRAP! These things are amazing. I can’t wait to seduce my girlfriend when she gets home. Thanks SK!

  80. I made these last night using your recipe and it turned out quite fabulous. I was a little skeptical about making dough without the usual yeast but it turned out great. I took your advice about the recipe being a bit bland and just added a bit more salt and pepper – I think it worked because it was delicious. :)

    Although, I have to say that the best part was the dough. It was just on the brink of being salty but not and the way it cooked with the butter, heaven!


  81. Becky D

    I made these and kicked them up with more salt and pepper, extra garlic and a tablespoon or so of red wine vinegar. Tasty!! I loved working with the dough, too.

  82. OMG! I am so in HEAVEN. Your site is amazing. I am a MAJOR foodie and I adore your photography. Super Fabulous. I want to make the impanada. My Mom used to make them and I regret that I never took the time learn how. I have to feature your blog on my site. May I please? Cheers to ya from a fan in Atlanta!

  83. Rona

    Just made these last night. They were wonderful and the whole family loved them – my 9 & 12 year-olds too. Skipped the raisins for half (some of the family thinks they’re “icky”) but my son and I thought they really enhanced the recipe. I used Trader Joe’s fire-roasted tomatoes with green chilies in the filling and that boosted the heat just a little and added nice flavor. I just recently discovered your blog and look forward to each new post. I also recently tried your braised leeks and they were eye-opening. I will make that recipe over and over. Heaven! Thank you for the wonderful recipes and gorgeous photos.

  84. These remind me of a beef empanada type thing my mom used to make when I was younger. I will be making these in the near future to help remind me of my childhood. Thanks for the yummy posts!

  85. I made these last night for dinner, and I’m thrilled to now have them in the rotation. The dough was a cinch and stuffing possibilities are endless. Funny enough, but I got hung up on the hard-boiled egg that I didn’t cook enough. I think that was the first time I’ve cooked one myself (I had to find a “recipe” for it)…was scarred by one too many hard-boiled egg sandwiches as a kid and never looked back I guess. A highlight was using the plastic wrap on a dampened counter to roll the dough. Worked great. You mention about freezing these beauties…would you do so before baked and then thaw and bake fresh? Thanks for saving dinner again…and again…tonight is broccoli raab pizza Cheers!

  86. gentry

    Made these last night…almost without the raisins…but added them as I think the sweetness is important. I live in the LA area…and lucky for me…frozen empanada dough is readily available at King Ranch Markets or other Latino markets…when I’ve got more time, I’ll make the dough. They worked out fabulous…I stepped up the flavor a bit by adding a few splashes of Cholula Hot Sauce and I added a little Pickapeppa Sauce, which deepens the flavor…and of course seasoning w/ s/p at every step. Great recipe…my husband loved them…he dipped them in a bit of sour cream!

  87. Deb, do you think it would be difficult for me to double the dough? I’ve made these beef empanadas before from your recipe (which was delish, btw), but I used the frozen pastry. This time, I want to use your dough recipe but I am serving a large crowd. Just wondering if it will be unwieldy or still “a breeze.” Thanks!

  88. deb

    I don’t think the dough will be especially unwieldy — it’s not a gigantic amount. Just roll out smaller parts at a time. And if you use the filling, the plate of cooked filling you see in the third was actually one of our small plates, so you can see it wasn’t an overwhelming amount.

  89. Jane

    I really want to make this recipe for a dinner party, but since I am making a few other dishes, I would love to make the pastry dough the night before. It says the dough can be chilled up to 6 hours total. Will it be ruined if it sits in the fridge all night???

  90. gina

    i made these empanadas with extra lean ground turkey meat and baked them . They were delicious !!!!! I followed the recipe exactly but just subsituted the meat for a “healthier” alternative. so good!

  91. Sara

    Absolutely delicious. I spent two months in South America this summer (one in Ecuador, one in Argentina) and so got to try two wildly different approaches to empanadas. This one is similar to the ones we ate in Argentina, with the hard-boiled egg.

    I made yours tonight (without the raisins – I don’t recall eating raisins in empanadas from either country and couldn’t wrap my brain around it) but mostly following your recipe. I think I didn’t put enough spices in (I hate to pull out those measuring spoons – that stupid loop they’re on is annoying), and I could taste the olives only a tiny bit, but otherwise, they are fabulous. Also, for some strange reason, my empanadas took 40 minutes to bake (to my standards) – though I noticed yours are rather doughy in that top picture.

    Since I’m a college student, I’m going to throw the other 11 empanadas (my silly roommate didn’t want to try one!) into the freezer to enjoy later. I don’t have time or energy to cook on the weekdays, and I’m thinking these would be perfect to eat on the way to boxing.

  92. Carly

    I made these today and used corn but left out the olives and raisins. I got the Goya pre-made dough disks with no problem at my local grocery store. I baked them and plan to freeze most of them. I added more spices and some hot sauce, but I think I was afraid to add “too much” and ended up wishing I had put in a bit more.

  93. farrah

    hello!i would really love to make these..i just have a question though, can i make these ahead of time? i have a party on sunday afternoon and i am planning to make them on a sat. is this possible?if so, how could i store them after baking?can i just pop them in the oven before serving?would it affect the taste if i do them ahead of time?thanks so much!hope you could enlighten me!

  94. YUM. I just made (and ate) these for supper tonight. I followed the recipe for the empanada dough using all white flour and it was unbelievable. The filling was delicious as well. We added more garlic and some cayenne pepper. I baked them, but I can’t imagine that frying them could make them any better – they were perfect as is, and not too greasy.

  95. OH MY GOD!! I tried making these for Christmas but I made them round (what we call “pastelitos” in Dominican Republic). They were absolutely amazing!! My whole family loved them so I had to make them again a few days later. Thank you for such a great recipe.

    Love your blog btw.

  96. Sophie

    Sooo…I just made these but replaced the 1/2 cup with masa harina instead of whole wheat and then stuffed them with chicken smothered in paprika and cayenne that I roasted along with some red peppers and onions, which I then mixed up with some stuffed olives, hard-boiled egg and queso seco. No raisins, but only because they seem to have disappeared from my pantry…

    The empanada is a work of pure genius (Microbrews are a must as accompaniment). And after traveling in Chile & Argentina for four months and craving nothing but empanadas during the three weeks I’ve been back, this dough recipe is heaven sent and the best I’ve seen so far. Thanks Deb!

  97. Quinne

    I was looking for a dough recipe for empanadas and this one was perfect. I did the baked version and just cooked my own recipe filling. They turned out great.

  98. Ashley McKee

    My recent issue of Cooks Illustrated boasted a recipe for these that was a little more involved than I wanted to be- I like to keep things simple and sometimes their ingredients lists and steps are just too long. I had my heart set on finding a recipe to try, though, and LOVE that the “surprise me!” button surprised me with THIS today! It’s on the heels of me making your tangy spiced brisket this week, along with austrian raspberry bars and world peace chocolate cookies. I cannot get enough of smittenkitchen and have spread the word to EVERYONE I know of your greatness! THANK YOU!

  99. so i just made 300 of these for a hungarian wedding…in a kitchen with two square feet [no exaggeration] of counter space.

    thanks for the fearless cooking inspiration.

  100. Jackie

    Hey there! Huge fan of your blog and I am absolutely obsessed with Empanadas! However is there a way to replace the butter in your Empanada dough recipe with margarine or olive oil? I can’t eat dairy :-(

  101. Michael

    I was impressed by how simple and manageable the dough was to work with. Next time, I’m going to add a pinch of coriander and paprika, I think it will make the taste more complex. Also, a dash of cayenne pepper for some added spice. Thanks!

  102. Robyn

    I just made a huge batch of these, and agree with the flavor needing a bit of a punch. I added more garlic, and some hot sauce, and it was still ‘eh.’ I’m a huge fan of the sweet-tart-savory combo, so I added in a handful (I’d guess 3/4 cup) of picked red onions, and I upped the raisins to about 1/4 cup (one of those snack size boxes).

    You have to like the sweet/savory thing, but I really like how it came out. I agree with the other comments that the dough is lovely to work with; I will be using it again.

  103. Jennifer

    I made these Monday night for my family expecting/looking forward to some leftovers for lunch the next day. They left me none! These were delicious. I made them small for little hands. I also cheated (because I have no extra time) and used Pillsbury dough for the pie crust. I must say that it worked like a dream, and tasted pretty good to boot.

  104. Gina

    These look absolutely delicious! We Cubans make beef empanadas using a picadillo recipe. We also make chicken filling and a sweet version using guava paste. Thank goodness the dough disks ae sold now in the grocery store. Thank you for posting your pictures and recipes!

  105. Elisa Nadeau

    Great recipe. I upped the spices, substituted corn for olives, and dumped some hot sauce in. The dough was great and not too hard to make. I just took a small fistful from the big ball of dough and rolled it out while the remaining dough waited in the fridge, rather than separating the dough into equal sizes beforehand. My husband raved about these!

  106. Maheshie

    I just made them. I don’t cook that much but I made the dough from scratch and they came out wonderfully! Thanks for the tasty/easy recipe!!

  107. Francheska

    I know why it tastes flat, You need Sazon and Adobo, two essential ingredients in every Latin and Caribbean kitchen, seasoning with just salt and pepper is something we don’t do with meat, You people need adobo and instead of a can of tomatoes you need goya tomato sauc, OH and sofrito!


  108. April

    I made these a few nights ago for the first time and we were all impressed. Instead of the can of whole tomatoes I used GOYA brand Sofrito Tomato Cooking Base. I also added GOYA Sazon Con Culantro Y Achiote (those little single packets of seasoning). I did not put the raisins in because that did not sound appetizing. My only problem was my dough. Maybe because I don’t usually make my own but it was SO hard to roll out. Did I not add enough water? Because it looked pretty “dry” when I was initially done mixing it all together. I would love to be able to make the dough that everyone is in love with.

  109. Jennifer

    I have used this dough several times but I am vegetarian so I amde a filling of corn, tomato, onion and cheese and it come wonderfully. The dough is great.

  110. These are such fun! Planning to try to keep a supply in the freezer for the days when no one wants to cook. As I had an obscene quantity of pulled pork on hand, here was my version, making 12 empanadas (half batch of dough):
    1 cup pulled pork (plain, not with bbq)
    sauteed onion, green pepper, tomato, and garlic
    Various taco-y spices, lots of cumin, and a bit of adobo sauce for heat. Also brown sugar to bring down the heat level – I think I overdid it on the adobo! And chicken broth, enough to make it stop sticking to the skillet.

    Wow! Really good! We dipped them in sour cream mixed with lime juice.

  111. Brittni

    Made this recipe but like the poster said it felt like it was missing something in terms of the filling, so i asked my friend how she makes hers (which are AWESOME) she said add lemon, red cooking wine, and beef bouillon cubes and a little bit of hot sauce towards the end of the meat cooking process. Going to try it this sunday!

  112. Cahaya

    Hi. Im a fan of u. From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In Malaysia, we call this “karipap”. My mom is an expert in this. She makes a very thin dough, fried in a very hot oil, just for a while so the crisps stays. “Karipap” is a very common food in Malaysia. We eat them during breakfast and tea times. Here we used potatoes most for the filling. Nowadays we try to make it variables by inserting a whole boiled egg/ quails’ egg in it. It tastes delicious! Try this links and enjoy Malaysia; Translate using Google translator (Malays to english). Enjoice!

  113. Laura

    Just wanted to let you know how popular these are in our house. Ever since I made these for my husband, every other empanada recipe I make is greeted with “I still like the beef ones better.” I make double batches and shape them a bit smaller then you do. They are the perfect quick meal for my husband who isn’t the best at feeding himself :) thanks for the recipe!

  114. I didn’t think I liked these, seeing as they are not chicken chorizo empanadas, and yet I keep reaching into the freezer for more. These are understated but yummy. (And I snuck in a half teaspoon of aleppo pepper because I wanted a smidge of heat.)

  115. Kathryn

    I just made these today – had some trouble with the dough but I’ve never made pastry before, so I’m sure it was user error. As for the meat mixture, I kept tasting it and feeling, as you said, that it needed more spice, so I threw in a LOT of tomato paste (approx 3 tbsp), lots more salt, garlic powder, cayenne (as you suggested) and a little cinnamon and nutmeg. I think it turned out great, but definitely would have been bland without the additions — thank you for the warning!!

  116. Kate

    This weekend I made these for the third time to create a stockpile of post-baby arrival lunches. Because I am hugely pregnant and even the most simple task is daunting I made the dough and the mix one day and assembled the next. I have to say leaving the dough in the fridge overnight made it much more manageable for me. It was much easier to work with. Can’t vouch for how it will taste in comparison, but for ease of work I’m a fan.

  117. Rob

    I brought these to a wine & appetizer party. I made them smaller than 6″, so it made about 30. I couldn’t find the pastry discs so I used regular pie crust for the dough, which made it very easy. I baked them rather than frying. They were the most popular food at the party. People kept asking what was in them, and every one of them went.

  118. Corie

    This is almost exactly my grandfather’s recipe from Chile. He used lard, which my mom changed to butter, and she made them as empanaditas (little) for party appetizer size. (and a better crust-filling ratio, if you are a pastry fan like me!) We make a batch on the weekend, and reheat for a fast dinner during the week. I err a bit on the generous side with cumin, salt and cayenne when preparing the meat mix – the raisins and egg will balance it out.

  119. I made these last night and they were fantastic! I added about a tablespoon of sriracha to make things interesting.

    I couldn’t find empanada dough specifically so I bought puff pastry discs instead. I highly recommend going this route — buy 2 packages (for a total of 12 discs) if you use these.

  120. Jennifer FP

    I just made this for the second time (super bowl food!) and I topped it with chimichurri recipe I found on epicurious (gourmet 2005) and it’s Ah-mazing!

  121. Laryssa

    These are so good! Please tell me you’ve tried it again with the raisins – they’re that ‘something’ that’s missing. I hate raisins, but love them in this.

    Would you be able to provide the dough recipe with weight measures? I’ve made it before with great success, but the last time didn’t work out as well, and I’m wondering if it’s because my flour settled in its container, so my measurement by volume isn’t quite right.

  122. Karen hambrecht

    You need more garlic and shallots and onions and a whole broader approach to your spice repertoire to make your cooking excellent. Your good, but just need more spicing.

    1. deb

      Hi Karen — Did you make this recipe? Because if you did, I always find specific feedback helpful. Or was that a commentary on all 800 recipes on this site?

  123. Sarah

    Hi, I’m so excited to try making these for a little “pie party” I’m having with some friends. One of our guests is allergic to tomatoes though. What do you suggest I substitute for the tomatoes?

  124. I was looking forward to the chicken empanadas, but in a pinch for time, decided on these. They definitely got the job done and were such a welcome treat after being in the Mexican-food-desert called Germany for five months (my husband has been lamenting this fact since roughly Day 2).

    I think we have different filling methods though. I made the empanada dough and ended up with half the beef filling left (I made 31 empanadas from roughly 4 inch squares). I had the same issue (half the filling leftover) earlier this week with the rhubarb hand pies, so I think it’s me.

    As always, thanks for what you do!

  125. Lorna

    I made these tonight and they are fabulous!
    I used diced tomatoes drained instead of whole, and plain green olives. I added more olives than the recipe said. I also put a mix of fine herbs instead of only oregano and added a bit of sirracha to the meat. It added that little extra kick!

  126. bulla

    Great recipe. I made vegie version (pepper, french beans, mushrooms), used the same seasoning and added a bit of cheese at the end.

  127. evl

    Better late than never! I made these for dinner tonight and they were a big hit. Being a lazy cook, I made the dough in the food processor (being careful not to over-process) and it worked fine.
    I subbed a can of diced tomatoes with jalapenos, took your advice and added a few healthy shakes of hot sauce to the filling. The husband was skeptical about the raisins and olives — until he tasted the first empanada.
    Here’s another SK recipe that will go into my regular rotation. Thanks!

  128. Prathyusha

    Do you have a recipe for sweet empanada dough? I was thinking of using your all butter flakey crust recipe, which doesnt call for an egg – i’m not sure if that’s needed to hold up in empanadas. thanks!

    1. deb

      Prathyusha — I do not, but there’s no reason you couldn’t add a little sugar to this. As for the butter/flaky pie dough, I use it for hand pies often, but it’s definitely more brittle. This empanada dough, perhaps it’s the eggs, has more stretch to it and was much easier to stuff full. I definitely prefer it for this kind of pastry.

  129. Fabienne

    Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Today is 18 September, Fiestas Patrias or National Holiday in Chile and I’ve been scouring everywhere for a good empanada de pino recipe!!!

  130. Morgan

    Made these with a ground sirloin/ ground turkey combo and doubled the filling for dinners this week. I definitely baked them because I don’t have a fryer and 100% do not want to clean up that stove mess. I was solo tempted to add cheese, but I’m glad I didn’t because there’s a such thing as ruining a simple good thing. Thanks!

  131. ACM

    Great recipe! It’s very similar to Chilean empanadas (the olive would be black and with the pit, you would put half a boiled egg in each empanada, and if it’s meat then it would go to the oven, not fried). The trick to Chilean empanadas is to cook the “pino” (the minced meat or ground meat with onions and spices) the day before, and the day after you can prepare the empanadas. That way it’s more juicy! Saludos desde Chile!

  132. Shayna

    Thanks for the recipe! I made the dough a little thick which led to the empanadas being a little dry but they were still delicious so I can’t wait to make them again with the right way! A quick question: Can you make these ahead and freeze them? Is there any part that you can do ahead?

  133. Lauren

    I initially thought this ingredient combination sounded strange, but I wanted to try something different than the usual. I made these exactly as written and they are wonderful! I feel like I am indulging in the hot pockets from my college days, without as much guilt or junk. I am making my 2nd batch for a road trip my husband and I are about to embark on. Last time I ate these warm straight from the oven, so I am hoping they will be good cold on the road too! I make the handmade Empanada dough (partially with whole wheat flour), and the moderate amount of time it takes me is so worth it. Crispy and flaky on the outside, but compact enough to hold the ingredients well on the inside…yum!!!

  134. Jessica

    The recipe for the empanada dough here looks to be the same one that was used with the chicken empanadas. If that’s the case, does this dough make 24 empanadas, and we will end up with an extra round of dough? Or are these bigger?

  135. Ms. T

    These look amazing! I’m gonna make extra so I can bring some to a friend who just had a baby. If I freeze them before they are baked, what do you recommend for baking instructions? Straight from freezer to oven without defrosting? And would you adjust the oven temp or baking time at all compared to original recipe? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Baking from freezer is fine. I might bake at lower temperature so it doesn’t get too brown before warming in the center, maybe 350 degrees. It will probably need longer.

  136. skc

    Made this today during week 4 of quarantine and so happy I did! Didn’t have canned tomatoes sinuses the Raos tomato sauce on-hand. Also found that a smaller round was better for my family. I ended up cutting out a slightly smaller round and then rolling that circle out a bit more before filling. Then adding just 2 tablespoons of the filling. Fork technique worked well so long as you flour the fork, other wise the dough pulls. Thank you Deb for another wonderful meal for the whole family.

  137. Danielle

    I would recommend adding a note to this recipe as was noted in the Chicken Chorizo that the dough volume actually makes 24 empanadas rather than the 12 the filling serves for.

    Personally, I would have just doubled the filling and frozen the empanadas as they freeze so well! I do love this recipe though!

  138. Maureen O’Brien

    Can you make these morning of and keep them in the fridge until they’re ready to bake? Or is freezing a necessary step?