Recipe: Beef Empanadas

Recipe: Beef Empanadas

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April, like every other month, has a number of “national holidays,” including National Empanada Day on April 8. This offers the perfect opportunity to learn a new appetizer recipe for when you have guests over, or even if you’re just looking to make something different for a weeknight dinner.  

Empanadas are a traditional fried or baked turnover dish for Southern European and Latin American countries, as well as the Philippines. Often of a savory variety, they’re made of pastry dough and stuffed with ground meat, vegetables or cheese. They’re surprisingly easy to make at home, here’s how! 

Beef empanadas from
Beef empanadas from

Beef Empanadas

Ingredients for the dough: 

  • 3 cups flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into cubes 
  • 3/4 cup water 
  • 1 egg 
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut butter into flour using your hands or a pastry cutter until pea-sized. Add water and egg, mix until a dough forms. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. 
  1. Wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. 

Ingredients for filling: 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 lb. ground beef 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste 
  • 1 teaspoon each of oregano and cumin 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pickled jalapeños 
  • 1 ¼ cup each of shredded cheddar and shredded Monterey Jack 
  • Egg wash, for brushing  
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper.  
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic until fragrant. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain and return meat to pan. 
  1. Stir tomato paste into beef. Add oregano, cumin and paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and jalapeños and cook until warm. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. 
  1. Roll out prepared dough until ¼ inch thick. Cut out circles with 4.5” cookie cutter, or rim of Mason jar or glass.  
  1. Place two tablespoons of meat filling in middle and top with shredded cheeses. Lightly moisten outer edge with water and pinch closed. Place in on tray and brush with egg wash. 
  1. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream or any other toppings and serve warm.  


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