Delicious Empanada Recipe: A Mouthwatering Delight

Ahoy there, fellow food enthusiasts! Are you ready for a culinary adventure? I bet you are! And, boy, do I have a recipe that will take your taste buds on a journey to South America. Today we’ll embark on the journey of making Empanadas, also known as Beef Turnovers.

Originating in Spain and then spreading throughout Latin America, this dish has become a staple in countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. It’s no secret why so many people adore these little pockets of joy – crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and filled with delectable flavors that will surely satisfy your cravings.

I know you might be wary about trying a new recipe or even stepping out of your comfort zone. But trust me, once you take that first bite of these empanadas beef turnovers, you’ll forget all your doubts and savor every mouthful.

So let’s roll up our sleeves and head to the kitchen to create a delicious meal that transports us across oceans and cultures.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Empanadas (Beef Turnovers)
Empanadas (Beef Turnovers)

Friends, let me tell you about a recipe that will transport your taste buds to the exotic lands of South America: Empanadas Beef Turnovers. These irresistible little pastries originated in Spain but are loved all over the Latin American region. I assure you one bite of these savory delights, and you’ll be lost in a world of flavors.

What’s amazing about this recipe is how versatile it is. Whether you’re having dinner with the family, hosting a party, or just want to indulge in some delicious goodness, empanadas are the perfect snack for any occasion. You can call them beef turnovers, pastelillos de carne, empanadillas, mini beef pies, or even pastelitos, but they will always remain crowd-pleasers.

Picture sinking your teeth into flaky pastry packed with juicy, spiced-up ground beef, with soft chunks of potato, tangy olives, and sweet raisins that burst with flavor in every bite. Every ingredient blends perfectly together to create an explosion of flavors that will give you the ultimate foodgasm. Trust me; it’s impossible to have just one.

Not only are empanadas scrumptious on their own, but they also pair amazingly well with other foods too. Serve them as an appetizer or a meal accompanied by a side salad or creamy avocado sauce. To take it up a notch on the heat level-serve them up with salsa verde. The pairing options are endless – try different things to see what suits your palette!

One more reason why empanadas beef turnovers are just so good is because they’re incredibly easy to make. The step-by-step recipe we’ll discuss makes them goof-proof; any home cook can nail it! So don’t wait any longer – Gather up your ingredients and start prepping.

In conclusion, there’s no doubt that empanadas beef turnovers are simply irresistible: juicy meaty goodness wrapped in flaky pastry, bursting with flavor. They’re the ultimate in comfort food, and best of all, they bring people together. So why not invite some friends over and enjoy a fiesta with empanadas at the center of it all?

Ingredient List

 Delicious beef empanadas hot and fresh from the oven
Delicious beef empanadas hot and fresh from the oven

Here’s what you will need for this savory recipe:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 russet potato (peeled and finely diced)
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 tbsp pitted and diced Spanish olives
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (crumbled)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Goya extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz Goya tomato sauce
  • 12 pre-made pie crust discs (pastry-packed meat turnover)

The Recipe How-To

 These empanadas are perfect for a party or as a snack
These empanadas are perfect for a party or as a snack

Now, let’s get down to the real reason you came here: it’s time to make beef empanadas! I know it may seem daunting at first, but trust me, once you try this recipe, it’ll be a piece of cake (or in this case, a turnover). Just follow these step-by-step instructions and you’ll have perfectly baked beef empanadas in no time!

Gathering Ingredients

First things first, make sure you have all the [bold ingredient list] on hand.

Making the Meat Filling

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add [bold olive oil ½] and sauté [bold finely chopped 1 yellow onion] until soft and translucent. Then add in [bold ½ pound ground beef], breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once the ground beef is browned and cooked through, add in [bold ¼ cup raisins], [bold ¼ cup Spanish olives] (chopped), [bold 1 hard-boiled egg] (chopped), and [bold 2 scallions] (finely sliced). Continue to cook for another minute or two until everything is heated through.

Rolling Out Empanada Dough

Now that the meat filling is ready, it’s time to roll out the empanada dough. If you’re using premade pie dough or puff pastry, follow the package instructions. If making homemade dough, divide into golf-ball sized portions and roll each ball out into thin circles.

Assembling Beef Turnovers

Next comes the fun part – assembling the beef turnovers! Place a heaping tablespoon of meat filling onto each empanada disc. Fold the disc over so that it makes a half-moon shape. Use your fingers or a fork to crimp the edges of the empanada shut.

Baking Beef Turnovers

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Once the beef turnovers are assembled, place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each empanada with [bold 1 tsp olive oil] or egg wash for a golden-brown crust, then bake them for 20-25 minutes or until they’re crispy and golden.

Serve and Enjoy

Take your freshly baked beef empanadas out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before serving. [bold Serve] them warm alongside a side of [bold Goya tomato sauce], your favorite hot sauce, or some fresh lime wedges for extra flavor! Bon appétit!

Substitutions and Variations

 Get a taste of Brazil with these authentic beef turnovers
Get a taste of Brazil with these authentic beef turnovers

Now, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous and want to mix things up in the kitchen, I’ve got some substitutions and variations that you can try. You can use these substitutions to switch up the flavor of the empanadas, or even adjust it to suit your dietary restrictions.

If you’re not a fan of beef, why not try this recipe with ground pork or chicken? You can add in some diced carrots and celery for a tasty variation. For a vegetarian option, swap the meat for diced mushrooms and zucchini or even soy crumbles.

Instead of paprika, you can use smoked paprika for a more intense smoky flavor. Try using different types of olives too like black pitted olives or an olive medley.

To make it spicier, add some chopped jalapeno peppers or even chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Or, if you prefer a milder empanada, skip the red pepper flakes altogether.

For those who are looking for gluten-free options, you can use cornmeal pastry instead of wheat flour pastry. And if you’re avoiding shortening, switch it out with unsalted butter or coconut oil.

Lastly, feel free to experiment with different fillings such as hard-boiled egg slices, scallions, Spanish olives stuffed with pimentos and raisins. You can also try making mini empanadas by using puff pastry or pre-made pie crusts. In Puerto Rico they are called pastelillos de carne or empanadillas where they use an empanada dough called picadillo sold by Goya foods.

The beauty of empanadas is that they lend themselves well to various substitutions and variations while still retaining their deliciousness. So go ahead and get creative with your fillings and see what delicious combinations you come up with!

Serving and Pairing

 This traditional recipe will make your taste buds dance
This traditional recipe will make your taste buds dance

What’s the use of a good empanada recipe if you don’t know what to pair it with? These delightful beef turnovers are delicious as appetizers, snacks, or entrees. But, their flavor gets more delectable when paired with the right ingredient.

If you plan on serving empanadas for breakfast, try pairing them with hard-boiled eggs and coffee for a classic Brazilian breakfast. For a more filling meal, serve the beef turnovers alongside a fresh green salad, roasted vegetables, or mashed potatoes. The rich flavors of the empanadas will perfectly complement the light and refreshing taste of a green salad.

If you want to throw a Latin-themed dinner party that everyone will remember, consider serving up these yummy beef turnovers as the main course. Your guests will love to wash down the savory dish with some red wine or sangria. For those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, tea or lemonade would also make fine accompaniments.

Finally, to truly replicate the authentic flavors of Puerto Rico-style empanadas, pair them with traditional sauces like salsa criolla and ají dulce sauce. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, add some powdered sugar on top of your servings to bring out the sweetness in raisins.

Whatever way you decide to serve and pair these tasty little beef turnovers from Brazil and Puerto Rico is sure to satisfy your guests’ taste buds.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Satisfy your hunger with these savory empanadas
Satisfy your hunger with these savory empanadas

Now, let’s talk about what to do with these beef turnovers after you make them. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to prepare a batch in advance so that you can have them on hand anytime you get a craving for something delicious. Thankfully, empanadas are ideal for making ahead and storing.

To prepare ahead of time, lay your empanadas out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving some space between each one so they don’t stick together. Simply cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer. Once your empanadas have frozen solid after about an hour or so, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag for safe storage.

When you’re ready to bake them, I recommend defrosting them overnight in the refrigerator. This will ensure that they bake evenly and retain their shape. However, if you forget to defrost them in advance, you can still bake them straight from frozen. Just add an additional 5-10 minutes to your overall baking time.

As for reheating already baked empanadas, it’s best to avoid using the microwave as it can make the pastry too soft and soggy. Instead, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and heat the empanadas for 10-12 minutes until heated through and crispy.

Take note that when storing cooked empanadas, whether in the fridge or freezer, they tend to lose their crispiness over time. But don’t worry – this doesn’t mean they still won’t be delicious! Plus, if you’re really craving that crispy texture again, try popping them back into the oven for a few minutes before serving.

In summary – make sure your cooked empanadas are completely cool before storing in an airtight container or freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Remember that reheated empanadas may not be as crispy, but they’ll still taste great!

Tips for Perfect Results

 A warm and flaky pastry filled with flavorful beef
A warm and flaky pastry filled with flavorful beef

Friends, I have a confession to make: I am obsessed with perfectly crispy and flaky crusts. And when it comes to empanadas, the crust is just as important as the filling. So, I’ve gathered some tips and tricks for you to make the perfect batch of beef turnovers.

First things first, let’s talk about the dough: using pre-made pie crust or pastry discs is absolutely fine. But if you have extra time, making your own dough from scratch will elevate your beef empanadas recipe to another level.

When making the dough from scratch, I recommend adding a tablespoon of Goya extra virgin olive oil to the mix. This will give the empanada dough a delightful aroma and enhance its texture when baked.

Next, when cooking the filling of your beef empanadas recipe, remember to cook it completely before filling up your turnovers. You don’t want any raw meat in there ruining the whole thing.

Also, let’s not forget about adding appropriate seasonings for that truly mouthwatering taste. While paprika and salt are commonly used to spice up your filling for beef turnovers recipe ingredients go beyond that! For example, consider adding hard-boiled egg slices, Spanish olives or even raisins for a surprise burst of flavor into your bites.

Lastly, another tip that may seem obvious but shouldn’t be missed: seal those edges tight with a fork or crimp them together with your fingers! This way, none of that savory inside will spill out while baking.

Now that you’ve got these tips down pat for perfect results, invite folks over for pastelillos de carne or mini beef empanadas and show off that incredible beef turnover recipe you learned!


Now that you know the basic recipe for empanadas, it’s time to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. Learn more about how to make perfect empanadas by reading the following FAQ section.

Is it better to fry or bake empanadas?

When it comes to preparing empanadas, there are two cooking methods that can result in equally tasty results. Baking them in the oven is a great option if you’re looking for a healthier snack, while frying them is perfect for those who are crunched for time.

What kind of dough do you use for empanadas?

The majority of individuals tend to rely on their preferred pre-made pie dough for crafting their empanadas. This tendency exists because the ingredients for most dough recipes are comparable. Typically, pie dough ingredients include flour, butter, salt, water, and occasionally egg; a constituent list which mirrors the requirements of this recipe.

What are 3 types of empanadas?

In Tucumán, which is famous for hosting the National Empanada Festival, there are three popular empanada fillings that are encapsulated in savory dough and cooked in beef fat using a traditional clay oven.

Are Spanish empanadas baked or fried?

These delicious treats feature a filling made from either fish, chicken, or beans, enclosed in a corn dough shell called “masa.” After being fried until crispy, they are traditionally served with a flavorful topping made from either cabbage or salsa.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, empanadas are a delicious and satisfying meal that will transport you to the streets of Puerto Rico. With their crispy crust and savory filling, they are the perfect addition to any mealtime spread. This recipe in particular has been passed down from generations for its quality and flavor. So why not take a chance and put your cooking skills to the test by creating these tasty empanadas? Trust me, it will not disappoint. I hope that this recipe article has inspired you to add empanadas to your culinary wishlist and try making them yourself. So roll up your sleeves, grab the ingredients, and let’s get cooking on this adventure through Latin American flavors!

Empanadas (Beef Turnovers)

Empanadas (Beef Turnovers) Recipe

I adore empanadas. Empanadas are a ubiquitous snack in Argentina. Rosa Angelita Castro de Flores learned to make these from her mother, Sara Julia Castro, who came from the northern province of Catamarca. She shared this recipe with Saveur Magazine. Time does not include chill time. You can save time and use pastry sheets if you need to. Also, I do not particularly like raisins so I omit them.
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Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Cuisine Latin American
Servings 12 Empanadas
Calories 342.5 kcal



  • 3/4 cup lard or 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pinch paprika


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1/2 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 lb boneless beef shoulder, finely diced
  • salt
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled, finely diced, and boiled
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
  • 8 green Spanish olives, pitted and chopped
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and chopped


  • For the dough: Heat 1 cup water and lard together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the liquid is warm and the lard has melted. Meanwhile, mix together flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Put paprika in well, then add a little of the warm liquid and stir with your fingertips to make a wet paste. Pour in remaining liquid while using your hand to work the flour into the liquid. Continue to work dry ingredients into wet ingredients with your hands to form a wet, oily dough. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until dough is chilled, about 2 hours.
  • For the filling: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, bell peppers, bouillon cube, paprika, red pepper flakes, white pepper, and cumin, and cook until onions are soft, about 7 minutes. Add beef, season to taste with salt, and cook, stirring, until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer filling to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Once filling has cooled, add potatoes, raisins, olives, scallions, and egg. Adjust seasonings. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400°. Tear off pieces of dough and, with your hands, roll into about 12 golf-size balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough balls on a lightly floured surface into 5'' circles. To assemble empanadas, place about 3 tablespoons of filling in the center of each dough circle. Fold over and press the edges firmly to seal, starting from the middle and working out to the edges. Curve the ends of the empanada to form a crescent. To make the ''rope'' around edge, pinch 1/2'' of one corner edge between your thumb and index finger and fold edge over onto itself. Pinch and pull another 1/2'' of the edge and fold again, making a rough triangle over the first fold. Repeat this folding around edge, pressing each fold tight. Place empanadas on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 976gCalories: 342.5kcalCarbohydrates: 25.7gProtein: 9.2gFat: 22.2gSaturated Fat: 7.8gCholesterol: 49.1mgSodium: 443mgFiber: 1.4gSugar: 0.8g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Easy, Free Of..., Kid-Friendly, Lactose-free, Lunch, Meat, Oven, Potato, South American, Vegetable
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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.