Delicious Empanadas: A Simple and Tasty Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen! My name is Chef [Name], and I am excited to share with you my recipe for tender and delicious Beef or Turkey Empanadas.

There’s something special about the satisfying texture of flaky empanada dough and the flavorful filling that makes this dish a staple in many Latin American cultures. In this recipe, I’ve incorporated both Brazilian and American influences to create a unique twist on this classic dish that will leave your taste buds wondering why you’ve never tried it before.

As we approach the holiday season, this recipe is perfect for using up any leftover turkey you may have from Thanksgiving. But even if it’s not November, these empanadas are versatile enough that ground beef can be used instead of turkey, so it’s an easy recipe to whip up any time of year.

Stick with me, and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Beef or Turkey Empanadas
Beef or Turkey Empanadas

A delicious and satisfying meal always leaves a lasting impression. That’s why you’ll absolutely love this beef or turkey empanadas recipe! These savory hand pies are stuffed with a juicy mixture of tender and flavorful meat, spices, onions, and raisins that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy.

And the best part? You can use either beef or turkey to make this recipe, providing options for both red and white-meat lovers. The ground meat is cooked in a delightful blend of ground cloves, cinnamon, cumin, and garlic powder that adds a distinct depth to the flavor profile of these empanadas. Trust me when I say that these bite-sized treats are not only yummy but are also incredibly easy to prepare.

Plus, baked empanadas are healthier than their fried counterparts. This recipe uses canola oil or olive oil to brush the crust before baking, offering a healthier alternative to traditional methods that typically involve deep-frying in oil. As such, these flaky meat pies can be enjoyed by anyone who loves comfort food without adding extra grease and calories.

Whether you’re hosting friends for dinner, planning a weekend brunch or looking for a quick and easy snack, these beef or turkey empanadas will certainly fit the bill while driving your taste buds wild! So turn up the music and get your ingredients ready – let’s start cooking!

Ingredient List

 The perfect snack for game day or a lazy afternoon
The perfect snack for game day or a lazy afternoon

Here’s what you’ll need to create 12 delicious Empanadas:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola or olive oil
  • 6-8 tablespoons warm water
  • Flour for dusting


  • 8 ounces ground beef, turkey or chicken (or a mix)
  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt to taste

Note: You can also add other ingredients like cheese or leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make your own variation of the empanada filling.

Optional for Baked Empanadas:

  • 1 egg beaten with a splash of water

You can mix and match the different types of meat to make your own unique variation. Additionally, if you prefer a vegetarian option, try substituting the meat with vegetables or beans. Keep in mind that the dough recipe will remain the same.

The Recipe How-To

 Bite into the golden crust and savor the succulent filling
Bite into the golden crust and savor the succulent filling

Now that you have gathered all the ingredients, let’s start making the empanadas. The recipe yields about 15 empanadas, so if you need more, adjust accordingly.

Step 1: Prepare the Filling

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add one tablespoon of canola oil. Once the oil is hot, add one small chopped yellow onion and one clove minced garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant.

Next, add 8 ounces of ground beef or turkey (whichever you prefer) to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes until browned. Don’t forget to break up any clumps.

Once the meat is browned, add in 1/4 cup of raisins, 1 tbsp tomato sauce, and combine with a spatula.

Now it’s time to season the mixture with some spices. Add 1 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp ground cloves, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp cinnamon, and ¾ tsp salt. Stir everything together until well combined.

Turn off the heat and let the filling cool down for a few minutes before filling up your empanadas.

Step 2: Prepare the Dough

While the filling cools off, start making your dough. You can use store-bought empanada dough or make your own using this easy homemade recipe:

In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups of all-purpose flour and ¼ tsp salt.

Next, add in ¾ cups of warm water and 2 tbsp olive oil to form a soft dough. Knead the dough in the bowl for a few minutes until it becomes smooth.

Divide the dough into around 15 golf ball sized portions and roll out each ball on a floured surface into circles around 2-3 inches wide.

Step 3: Fill the Empanadas

Once the filling has cooled, place about 1 – 1.5 tablespoons of filling on one half of each dough circle, leaving a little space around the edges – this prevents any spills.

To make it easier to close, you can wet the edge with a little bit of water using your fingertip. Then, fold over the other half of the dough to enclose the filling and press down on the edges to seal.

To shape them nicely, use a fork to crimp around the edges.

Step 4: Cook the Empanadas

There are two options to cook your empanadas:
Baked empanadas: Preheat your oven to 375℉. Place your empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush them with egg white for extra crispiness. Bake them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until they are golden.
Fried empanadas: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat some canola oil until hot. Fry each em

Substitutions and Variations

 These empanadas are stuffed with flavorful and juicy beef (or turkey)
These empanadas are stuffed with flavorful and juicy beef (or turkey)

One of the best parts about this Beef or Turkey Empanadas Recipe is that it can be adapted to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try out in your own kitchen:

1. Ground Meat: Instead of using ground beef or ground turkey, you can use a combination of chicken, turkey, and beef for a richer taste experience.

2. Vegetarian Empanadas: For a meatless version, you can substitute the meat with mushrooms, sweet potatoes, or beans.

3. Gluten-free Empanadas: To make these empanadas gluten-free, substitute the regular all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend.

4. Spicier Empanadas: If you prefer your food to have a bit more heat, add some jalapeño peppers or cayenne pepper to the filling mixture.

5. Sweet Empanadas: To create a sweet twist on this savory recipe, you can add raisins or dried apricots to the filling mixture along with ground cinnamon and sugar.

6. Cheese Empanadas: For another variation, incorporate cheese into the filling mixture to create cheesy empanadas.

7. Baked vs Fried Empanadas: This recipe calls for baked empanadas, but if you like your empanadas extra crispy on the outside, you can fry them instead.

8. Leftover Turkey Empanadas: If you have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, use it in place of ground meat to create delicious Thanksgiving-themed empanadas.

Whatever variation you choose to make, this recipe offers endless possibilities for creativity and deliciousness in your kitchen!

Serving and Pairing

 A perfect blend of Brazilian and American flavors
A perfect blend of Brazilian and American flavors

Now that you have your freshly baked turkey or beef empanadas, it’s time to serve and enjoy them! These two-bite meat pies are perfect for sharing on game night, family gatherings or even as a snack. To emphasize the rich flavor of these empanadas, I highly recommend pairing them with a delicious tomato sauce. You can easily whip one up by sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent then mixing in a can of tomato sauce. Add salt and your desired spices like cumin, cinnamon or cloves to give it an extra punch of flavor.

If you’re looking for something more refreshing, consider serving your empanadas with a simple green salad dressed in lemon vinaigrette. The tanginess of the dressing will play off the richness of the empanadas nicely.

If you are feeling especially indulgent, try topping your beef or turkey empanadas with some shredded cheese while they are still hot from the oven. The melted cheese adds another level of richness and brings out the beefy and savory flavor.

Empanadas also make great leftovers, which makes them perfect for meal prepping for lunch boxes or lazy dinners during busy weeknights. You can store leftover empanadas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. For reheating tips, check out section (7) Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating.

Whether you decide to serve them as appetizers, snacks or part of a full meal, these beef or turkey empanadas will surely impress your guests with their flaky crusts and delicious fillings.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Each bite is packed with tender meat, cheese, and veggies
Each bite is packed with tender meat, cheese, and veggies

Now, let’s talk about how you can make these empanadas in advance and enjoy them for days. These empanadas are delicious warm out of the oven but can also be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

If you want to make these empanadas ahead of time, I recommend assembling them completely and then freezing them. To freeze, place the assembled empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure they are not touching each other. Once frozen solid, you can transfer them to a large freezer bag or an airtight container until you’re ready to use them.

When it’s time to cook them, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and bake the frozen empanadas for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and crispy.

These empanadas are also great for meal prep! You can assemble them over the weekend and store them in the refrigerator for up to three days before baking them.

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat the empanadas in the oven at 350°F (177°C) for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

One tip for reheating: place a damp paper towel over the empanada while reheating it. This trick will keep the pastry from drying out while it heats up.

So there you have it – now you know how to make-ahead, store and reheat these savory beef or turkey empanadas. These portable pockets of deliciousness make great appetizers, snacks or even lunch on-the-go!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Imagine yourself in Brazil, enjoying these empanadas by the beach
Imagine yourself in Brazil, enjoying these empanadas by the beach

Now that we have gone through all the necessary steps to make our delicious beef or turkey empanadas, let’s talk about some helpful tips to ensure perfect results every time.

First of all, it is essential to keep the dough and the filling at the same temperature. This means that if you’ve been working with cold dough and want to add warm filling, you should let it cool down a bit first. Otherwise, if you put hot filling into cold dough, it may make the dough too soft or even cause it to break.

When sealing your empanadas, be sure to seal them tightly so that none of the filling spills out while they are baking. You can use water or egg wash for sealing the edges. Also, it’s recommended that you pinch and twist the edges together because this creates a more secure seal than simply pressing them together.

Another important tip is to poke a few tiny holes in the top of each empanada. This allows steam to escape during cooking and helps prevent them from bursting open while baking. A toothpick or fork works well for making small holes.

When baking your empanadas, use a preheated oven that has been set at 375°F. Bake your empanadas on a parchment-lined sheet or lightly greased baking dish until golden brown and cooked through, which usually takes between 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the empanadas.

If frying your empanadas instead of baking them, use an oil that has a high smoke point like canola oil or olive oil. Fry them until both sides are golden brown and then remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain off any excess oil.

Finally, remember that you can always experiment with different types of fillings and spices as well as various shapes and sizes for your empanadas. So go ahead and unleash your creativity in the kitchen!

With these tips in mind, your beef or turkey empanadas will turn out perfect every time, making them a delicious and impressive addition to any meal or gathering.


Now that you have all the information you need to make these delicious Beef or Turkey Empanadas, let’s address some frequently asked questions that may arise during the cooking process. These questions cover everything from how to store and reheat your empanadas to substitutions you can make in the recipe. Keep reading to ensure your empanada experience is nothing short of fantastic.

What is the best type of empanada?

If you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons and indulge in a tasty treat, then look no further than empanadas! With so many delicious variations to choose from, you’ll want to try them all ASAP. From classic beef and chicken to unique flavors such as Empanadas de Morocho, Salteñas, Empanadas de Viento, Empanadas de Pino, and Empanadas de Manzana, there’s a type of empanada for every palate. In this article, I will provide you with my personal recipe and instructions for making delicious and authentic beef empanadas. So let’s get started!

What type of empanadas are most common?

Empanadas are a popular dish, with the baked variety being more prevalent. However, the preferred cooking method may vary depending on the region. For instance, in Tucumán where the National Empanada Festival is held, the traditional fillings of beef, tripe, and chicken are enveloped in dough and cooked in beef fat inside a clay oven.

What are beef empanadas made of?

Let’s create a flavorful empanada filling using ground beef, boiled potatoes, and an array of veggies like onion, celery, peas, and carrots. We’ll add garlic and a medley of warm spices to ensure a savory taste. Furthermore, we’ll incorporate a touch of beef stock to prevent the filling from appearing dry.

Is it better to fry or bake empanadas?

Empanadas can be prepared using two different methods, namely baking and frying. While baking them in the oven is a healthier option for a snack, frying them is a quicker alternative for those who have limited time. Both cooking techniques result in delectable empanadas.

Bottom Line


As a chef specializing in Brazilian and American cuisine, I wholeheartedly recommend trying the delicious Beef or Turkey Empanada recipe. With a crispy outside and savory filling, these empanadas are the perfect comfort food for any occasion.

The combination of spices such as ground cumin, cinnamon, and cloves give this dish a unique flare that will leave your taste buds craving more. Whether made with beef or turkey, both options offer a tantalizing experience that satisfies the palate.

Furthermore, this recipe is incredibly versatile and can be easily adapted to fit different dietary restrictions or preferences. Replace the ground beef with turkey meat for a lighter alternative or add cheese for an extra burst of flavor. You can even turn your Thanksgiving leftovers into an unforgettable meal by using baked turkey instead of ground meat!

Not only is this recipe delicious but it’s also easy to make in just a few simple steps. Plus, you can make them ahead of time and store them in the freezer for those busy weeknights.

In conclusion, I firmly believe that everyone should try this Beef or Turkey Empanada recipe at least once. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s sure to impress your family and friends next time you’re in charge of cooking!

Beef or Turkey Empanadas

Beef or Turkey Empanadas Recipe

In 'SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue' by Aviva Goldfarb
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cuisine Latin American
Calories 359.9 kcal


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 1 lb ground turkey or 1 lb vegetarian ground meat
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or 1/4 cup pine nuts)
  • 2 ready-made refrigerated pie crusts (Pillsbury)


  • Preheat the oven to 375°; spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over med-high heat and broth the meat and onions.
  • Once the meat is browned (about 5 minutes) add the salt, garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, vinegar, and raisins or pine nuts and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • Unroll and cut each of the pie crusts into 4 even quarters.
  • Put each section of the crust on the baking sheet, fold it gently in half to find the middle seam, and put a small scoop of the meat mixture along the seam.
  • Fold it over and seal the edges with the tines of a fork to make a pocket.
  • Bake the empanadas for 20 minutes, or until golden brown; allow the empanadas to cool a few minutes before serving.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 123gCalories: 359.9kcalCarbohydrates: 31.1gProtein: 13.5gFat: 20.2gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 38.6mgSodium: 438mgFiber: 2gSugar: 8.2g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Meat, Oven
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.