Savory Latin American Empanadas: A Culinary Delight

Are you looking for a delicious Latin American dish? Look no further than Colombian Empanadas with Aji Sauce! These empanadas are unlike anything else out there, with a flavorful beef and potato filling that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. And let’s not forget about the dipping sauce – Aji Sauce – which is a spicy, Colombian-style sauce that perfectly complements the empanadas.

Whether you’re familiar with Latin American cuisine or trying it for the first time, Colombian Empanadas are a must-try dish. This recipe is quick and easy to follow and will leave you with a mouth-watering plate of empanadas that are sure to impress.

Join me in making this mouth-watering recipe today and experience the delectable flavors of Latin America in your own kitchen.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Latin American Empanadas With Aji Sauce
Latin American Empanadas With Aji Sauce

Have you ever tasted something that made your taste buds sing with joy? That’s what these Latin American Empanadas with Aji Sauce will do for you. This recipe is unlike anything else, and once you try it, you’ll never want any other empanada again.

The beef and potato filling combined with the fresh flavors of scallions and cilantro make for a mouth-watering sensation that will leave you craving more. Top it all off with the spicy and flavorful aji sauce, and you have a dish that will surely impress anyone who tries it.

If you’ve never experienced Colombian food before, you’re in for a treat. This recipe is a authentic Colombian empanada brought straight to your doorstep. The crispy exterior of the empanada complements the soft and flavorful filling. Each bite will transport you to the vibrant streets of Colombia.

What sets this recipe apart from all others is the homemade aji sauce. This spicy sauce made from green serrano chilies, distilled white vinegar, and lime juice adds an extra layer of heat and flavor to the already delicious empanadas.

Whether you’re looking for something new to bring to your next potluck or searching for a new favorite recipe, these Latin American Empanadas with Aji Sauce are just what you need. They’re easy to make, but impressive enough to serve at any occasion.

Trust me, once you try these empanadas, they will become a staple in your household. You won’t be able to go back to any other empanada recipe again.

Ingredient List

 Golden and flaky empanadas are ready to be devoured!
Golden and flaky empanadas are ready to be devoured!

Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make Latin American empanadas with Aji sauce:

For the Empanada Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (for the dough)
  • 1 egg

For the Beef and Potato Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for the filling)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground pork (or mix of both)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 cups frozen hash browns or grated potatoes
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

For the Aji Sauce:

  • 1 green serrano chili, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • Hot sauce, such as Colombian Aji picante, to taste

These ingredients can be found at most supermarkets. If you can’t find a particular ingredient, feel free to substitute it with something similar.

The Recipe How-To

 These empanadas are the perfect blend of savory goodness and crispy, buttery crust.
These empanadas are the perfect blend of savory goodness and crispy, buttery crust.

Now that we have all the ingredients, let’s get cooking! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make the {bold}perfect{bold} Latin American Empanadas with Aji Sauce:

Empanada Dough

– 1 cup of cornmeal
– 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon of baking powder
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt
– 1/4 cup of oil
– 3/4 cup of warm water


  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add oil and gradually add warm water while mixing the dough with your hands or a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth ball.
  3. Divide the dough into ten equal portions.
  4. Roll each portion into circles about 6 inches in diameter.


– 3 small potatoes, diced into small pieces or 2 cups of frozen hash browns
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 1 garlic clove, minced
– 1/4 red bell pepper diced
– 3 scallions, finely chopped
– Salt and pepper for taste.
– 1/2-pound ground beef or pork.


  1. Fry onion and garlic in a pan over medium heat until they are soft but not browned.
  2. Add the diced potatoes and stir them regularly for five minutes until they are soft.
  3. Add the ground beef or pork along with salt and pepper and cook for another ten minutes until meat is browned.
  4. Mix in the diced red bell peppers and continue cooking for another three minutes.
  5. Finally, stir in finely chopped scallions.

Assembling The Empanadas

– Aji sauce (recipe follows)
– 1 egg, beaten


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each dough circle.
  3. Moisten the edges with a small amount of water or egg wash and fold the dough into half moons. Pinch the edges with a fork.
  4. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet greased with oil or lined with parchment paper.
  5. Brush each empanada with beaten egg.
  6. Bake until golden brown, approximately 25 minutes.

Making The Aji Sauce

– 1⁄4 cup distilled white vinegar
– Juice of one lime
– 1 green serrano chilies, seeds removed and finely chopped
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
– 1 hard-boiled egg yolk
– Salt for taste.


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except salt.
  2. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Add salt for taste.

Great job! Your batch of Latin

Substitutions and Variations

 Pair these delicious pastries with a tangy and spicy aji sauce for an explosion of flavor in every bite.
Pair these delicious pastries with a tangy and spicy aji sauce for an explosion of flavor in every bite.

Are you looking to put a twist on traditional Colombian empanadas with a new filling or sauce? Rest assured, there are plenty of options when it comes to substitutions and variations.

For the filling, you can substitute the ground beef with ground pork, or even use shredded chicken for a lighter option. Vegetarians can swap out the meat altogether and use a mix of sautéed vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, or bell peppers.

If you’re short on time or don’t have fresh potatoes on hand, you can use frozen hash browns for the filling instead. This will cut down on prep time significantly.

As for the sauce, try using different types of vinegar such as red wine or sherry wine vinegar instead of distilled white vinegar. You can also add hot sauce or chopped green serrano chilies to give your aji sauce more of a kick. For a milder sauce, skip the hot peppers altogether and add more lime juice and cilantro instead.

If you prefer a creamier sauce, consider making an avocado-based verde salsa to accompany your empanadas. Or take inspiration from neighboring Peru and make an aji amarillo sauce using the unique Peruvian yellow pepper. The possibilities are endless!

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to make Colombian empanadas – feel free to play around with different ingredients and flavors until you find the perfect combination that suits your taste buds.

Serving and Pairing

 Aji sauce adds a fiery kick to the dish, bringing out all the amazing Latin American flavors.
Aji sauce adds a fiery kick to the dish, bringing out all the amazing Latin American flavors.

Now that you have prepared these sensational Colombian empanadas with ají sauce, it’s time to enjoy a truly unique culinary experience. But the question arises: what is the most appropriate way to serve and pair these mouth-watering treats?

Colombian empanadas are a complete meal in themselves. They make for an appetizing snack, side dish, or even a main course when combined with a salad or soup. Their crispy exterior and savory filling can be enjoyed on their own, but they are tastier when paired with other complementary flavors.

I recommend serving empanadas hot straight from the frying pan, because nothing beats that fresh crunch! The cooling aji sauce helps balance out the zesty spiciness of the empanadas. The two sides combine to create a perfect harmony between flavors.

If you’re thinking about sides, try pairing your empanadas with tangy salsa or guacamole to help balance out the richness of the beef and potato filling. Beans and rice can also make for delicious accompaniments that serve as both flavor enhancers and fillers.

When it comes to drinks, there are several options that perfectly match the Colombian flavors of empanadas. Colombian-style coffee, served hot or iced, is an excellent choice for those who want something energizing or refreshing. Alternatively, you can enjoy your empanadas with a cold beer or glass of white wine.

So next time you prepare this delicious recipe at home, make sure to serve and pair it properly for maximum enjoyment. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 You'll love the aroma of these empanadas, which will make your mouth water before you even take a bite.
You’ll love the aroma of these empanadas, which will make your mouth water before you even take a bite.

If you want to make the empanadas ahead of time, simply store them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days before baking. You can also freeze them before baking for up to one month.

If you have leftover empanadas, store them in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat, simply pop them in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 10 minutes or until warm and crispy. You can also reheat them using a toaster oven or microwave, but this may result in a slightly softer texture.

For the Aji sauce, you can store it covered in the fridge for up to five days. The flavors will intensify as it sits, making it even more delicious over time. If the sauce is too thick when you take it out of the fridge, simply add a little bit of water or lime juice to thin it out.

By making the empanadas and Aji sauce ahead of time or storing leftovers properly, you can enjoy a tasty Latin American meal any day of the week without much effort. These make great leftovers for lunch or a quick snack on-the-go.

Tips for Perfect Results

 These empanadas are crispy on the outside and filled with juicy beef, chicken, or
These empanadas are crispy on the outside and filled with juicy beef, chicken, or

To ensure that your empanadas turn out perfectly every time, here are a few tips from my years of experience making them.

First, make sure to let your dough rest before rolling it out. This will allow the gluten to relax and make the dough easier to work with. I recommend chilling the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour before rolling it out.

When preparing the filling, it’s important to chop all the ingredients into small pieces so that they cook evenly and can be more easily sealed inside the empanadas. Be sure to also let the filling cool completely before spooning it onto the dough rounds.

It’s essential to seal the edges of the empanadas properly if you want them to come out golden brown and perfectly cooked. To do this, brush a little bit of egg wash around the edges of each dough round before folding it shut and using a fork to press down on the edges.

Another tip for perfect empanadas is to fry them in hot oil until they are crispy and golden brown. Make sure not to overcrowd your frying pan as this can lower the temperature of the oil and make your empanadas greasy instead of crispy.

Finally, don’t forget about the dipping sauce! The Colombian ají sauce is the perfect accompaniment to these empanadas as it’s spicy and flavorful without overpowering the delicious filling. Be generous with your dipping sauce, as it’s what elevates these empanadas from a tasty snack to a mouth-watering treat.

With these tips, you’ll be able to create delicious and authentic Latin American empanadas that are sure to impress your family and friends.


As you prepare to make these delicious Latin American empanadas with aji sauce, you may have some questions or concerns that need clarifying. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions for your convenience. So, whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out in the kitchen, read on to learn valuable tips and tricks for making the perfect empanadas every time.

What dipping sauce is used for empanadas?

Looking for a complementary dip for your empanadas? A basic marinara sauce could be the perfect choice. The robust and flavorful tomato sauce is a classic that pairs well with all kinds of empanada fillings.

What is Colombian aji made of?

Aji colombiano is a delightful blend of onions, garlic, cilantro, mild peppers, and a splash of lime juice. The spicy yet tangy sauce transforms into Aji rojo with the addition of red peppers and Aji verde when made green.

How are Colombian empanadas different?

Colombian empanadas are truly unique compared to other kinds of empanadas you may have tried. The crunchy cornmeal dough is filled with a fragrant and flavorful mixture of beef and potato, seasoned with Latin spices. Keep in mind that this article may contain affiliate links.

What is the difference between Colombian and Cuban empanadas?

Empanadas from Colombia stand out from the rest due to the use of crispy yellow cornmeal in their dough, resulting in a more flavorful and crunchier texture.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this recipe for Latin American empanadas with aji sauce is perfect for anyone looking to explore the world of South American cuisine. Whether you’re hosting a party or just want to try something new for dinner, these empanadas are unlike anything else you’ve ever tasted.

With a combination of savory beef and potato filling, crispy cornmeal dough, and a spicy dipping sauce made with green serrano chilies, scallions, and lime juice, every bite of these empanadas will leave you craving more.

And if you’re worried about not having all the ingredients on hand, don’t worry! There are plenty of substitutions and variations listed in this article to help you make the recipe your own.

So why not bring some Colombian flavor into your kitchen today? With this recipe for empanadas and aji sauce in your repertoire, you’ll have everyone begging for seconds (and thirds!).

Latin American Empanadas With Aji Sauce

Latin American Empanadas With Aji Sauce Recipe

This recipe came from Cooking Light or Eating Well. It's really phenomenal, but time consuming. The dough alone is easily eaten while you're preparing it...Next time, I'll make the dough the night before so this isn't an all-day process. These are quite good and would be great for a special occasion.
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Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Appetizer or snack
Cuisine Latin American
Calories 635.7 kcal



  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 1/4 cups water


  • 1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 lb ground beef or 1/2 lb pork
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar or 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups diced cooked potatoes or 2 cups frozen hash browns
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 scallions, chopped (white part only)
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
  • 1 egg, mixed with 1/4 cup water for glaze

Aji Sauce

  • 10 scallions
  • 2 green serrano chilies or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Add oil and work with your fingertips until the mixture becomes crumbly.
  • Add water and knead until dough just comes together (do not overwork).
  • Press the dough into 2 disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring until lightly browned and fragrant (2 to 3 minutes).
  • Transfer to a blender or spice mill and grind to a fine powder.
  • Cook beef or pork over medium-low heat, crumbling with a wooden spoon until no longer pink.
  • Drain on paper towels and add onion.
  • Cook until softened and add bell pepper and garlic.
  • When fragrant stir in tomato, cumin, broth, vinegar, potatoes, salt, ground pumpkin seeds, and beef.
  • Cook for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce liquid.
  • Fold in scallions and hard-boiled egg. Let cool completely and refrigerate.
  • Combine all ingredients for Aji sauce and cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • Preheat oven to 350 and coat baking sheets with cooking spray.
  • On a well-floured surface, roll out one disk at a time to 1/8" thickness.
  • Cut circles of dough using a 4 1/2 inch round cookie cutter. It will make 24 circles.
  • Brush egg glaze around edges of the dough circles and place 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each circle.
  • Fold filled circles in half and press edges together and crimp with a fork.
  • Place on the prepared baking sheets and brush egg glaze over empanada.
  • Bake the empanadas until golden and crisp, switching the position of the pans midway, 55 to 65 minutes.
  • Serve warm with Aji Sauce poured inside.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 248gCalories: 635.7kcalCarbohydrates: 72gProtein: 17.6gFat: 31.5gSaturated Fat: 5.7gCholesterol: 72.2mgSodium: 707.2mgFiber: 5.3gSugar: 7.6g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Meat, One-Dish Meal, Pork, 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.