Satisfy Your Appetite with Savory Meat Empanadas

Empanadas are one of my favourite comfort foods, and they always remind me of home. These little meat pies are popular throughout Latin America and are enjoyed in many different forms. Meat empanadas are the perfect snack or meal any time of day, and they’re sure to satisfy your cravings for something savory and filling.

In this recipe, I will be showing you how to make delicious beef empanadas using a traditional recipe that has been perfected over time. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make these tasty treats with just a few simple ingredients.

With my beef empanada recipe, you can recreate the flavors of Latin American cuisine in your very own kitchen. Whether you want to impress your friends at a dinner party or simply enjoy a special homemade meal, this recipe is sure to delight your taste buds.

So, let’s get started on making these easy and authentic beef empanadas!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Meat Empanadas
Meat Empanadas

As a chef specializing in Brazilian and American cuisine, let me tell you that this Beef Empanada recipe can perfectly merge the best of both worlds. This scrumptious savory pastry is one of my favorites, and I am sure it will soon become yours too. With its flaky crust, the juicy beef filling, and the perfect balance of spices and herbs, these empanadas are absolute crowd-pleasers.

Moreover, this recipe is incredibly versatile, making it suitable for any time of day or any occasion. For instance, you can serve them at breakfast or brunch with eggs and avocado on the side, as a quick snack during the day, or even as an appetizer or main course for dinner. The possibilities are endless!

If you’re looking for an easy-to-make and delicious empanada recipe that’s quick to prepare and satisfying to eat, then look no further! These empanadas are filled with tender beef cooked in tomato sauce with minced garlic and onions for added flavor that will tantalize your taste buds.

So whether you’re having a party or just want to indulge in some authentic Latin American cuisine at home, try this Beef Empanada recipe! You’ll love how easy it is to make them from scratch using simple ingredients like ground beef and all-purpose flour with various spices and herbs to enhance the flavor profile. Trust me; once you take a bite, you’ll be hooked!

Ingredient List

 The flaky crust of these meat empanadas will leave you wanting more!
The flaky crust of these meat empanadas will leave you wanting more!

Here are the ingredients needed to cook a delicious batch of beef empanadas:

Empanada Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp cold beef fat or unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup cold water


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: Add some shredded cheese or diced potatoes to your filling for an extra twist.

Egg Wash (Optional)

  • 1 large egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water.

Make sure to have all the ingredients on hand before starting the recipe. Don’t hesitate to substitute ingredients as it suits you and your preference!

The Recipe How-To

 Experience a burst of flavor with every bite of these savory meat empanadas.
Experience a burst of flavor with every bite of these savory meat empanadas.

Step 1: Prepare the Empanada Dough

To prepare the dough, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Cut cold butter or beef fat into small cubes and work it into the dough until it makes coarse crumbs. Add an egg and water, a little at a time, kneading until the dough comes together.

Step 2: Prep the Empanada Filling

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes until softened. Addminced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add ground beef, oregano, black pepper, chili powder, cumin and red bell pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes until beef is cooked through. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

Step 3: Assemble Your Empanadas

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/8-inch (~3-4mm) on a flour-dusted surface. Cut circles out of your dough using a round biscuit cutter or using a small bowl as a guide to cut around with a knife. Brush half of each circle with whisked egg.

Add filling (about 1 1/2 tablespoons or more) onto one side of the circle before folding it over to encircle the filling.

Crimp the edges of the circle by pressing together with your fingers or tines of fork to seal tightly shut.

Brush each empanada with whisked egg on top, then place on prepared baking sheet.

Step 4: Bake the Beef Empanadas

Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden all around and firm to the touch.

Now your delicious Beef Empanadas are ready to serve!

Substitutions and Variations

 These empanadas are perfect for sharing with friends and family at your next party!
These empanadas are perfect for sharing with friends and family at your next party!

Looking to put a twist on your classic beef empanadas recipe? Here are some substitutions and variations that you can consider.

– Shredded Beef: Instead of using ground beef, try using slow-cooked shredded beef as the filling for your empanadas. It will give your dish a more succulent and tender taste.

– Cheesy Empanadas: Want to add a little extra flavor and texture to your beef empanadas? Try adding some cheese to your filling mixture. Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese are both good options.

– Vegetarian Empanadas: For all the vegetarians out there, you can substitute the ground beef with vegetarian meat alternatives like Beyond Meat or Quorn. For those who love lentils, this is an excellent alternative for an earthy, protein-rich filling.

– Spicy Empanadas: Add a kick of flavor to your meal by incorporating chili powder or hot sauce to the filling mixture.

– Corn Empanadas:Instead of using traditional flaky pie crust pastry, use corn masa dough instead. This dough is used in authentic South American empanadas and provides a unique and savory flavor profile compared to traditional pastry.

Whether you’re trying to switch things up or cater to special dietary needs, these substitutions will give you endless possibilities for creating delicious empanada recipes. Experimenting with ingredients is key when it comes to making your perfect style of empanada – be it Colombian, Spanish, Filipino, Argentinian or even Dominican-inspired!

Serving and Pairing

 Bring a taste of Brazil to your dinner table with these meat empanadas.
Bring a taste of Brazil to your dinner table with these meat empanadas.

These delicious beef empanadas go well with a variety of sides and beverages. Consider pairing them with a refreshing mixed green salad or a bowl of rice and beans for a complete meal. Try serving them alongside some baked sweet potato fries or crispy plantain chips for added texture.

For those who prefer a spicier taste, pair the empanadas with a hot sauce or salsa. The tomato sauce used in the filling provides a slightly tangy note that can be further enhanced by adding fresh cilantro, lime juice, or jalapeño peppers.

When it comes to drinks, consider a fruity red wine such as Malbec or Zinfandel for an authentic Argentine experience. If you prefer beer, opt for a crisp lager or pilsner to refresh your palate. A classic mojito cocktail can also complement the flavors of the beef empanada perfectly.

No matter how you choose to serve them, these savory and flaky beef empanadas are sure to become a crowd-pleaser at any gathering.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Empanadas are a classic South American dish, and this meat-filled recipe doesn't disappoint.
Empanadas are a classic South American dish, and this meat-filled recipe doesn’t disappoint.

Making empanadas is a labor-intensive process, but the good news is that they can be made ahead of time and stored for later. After shaping and filling them, empanadas can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Uncooked and unbaked empanadas should be placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet and covered with plastic wrap before storing them in the refrigerator or freezer. Cooked empanadas should also be refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container or zip-top bag.

When it comes to reheating empanadas, there are many options. If you have baked them previously, they can be quickly reheated on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes until heated through. In addition to the oven, empanadas can also be reheated in a microwave or toaster oven, but they may not retain their crispy texture as well.

If you’re short on time, reheating frozen uncooked empanadas is just as easy. Simply brush them with egg wash and bake them at 400°F for about 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and cooked through. Alternatively, you can deep-fry the uncooked empanadas for a crispy finish if you wish.

Overall, making ahead, storing, and reheating the empanadas is quite easy, giving you flexibility when it comes to meal prep or quick snack options!

Tips for Perfect Results

 These meat empanadas are a satisfying meal for any time of the day.
These meat empanadas are a satisfying meal for any time of the day.

Achieving perfect results in your beef empanadas can be challenging, especially if you’re a beginner. However, with these simple tips, you can effortlessly make delicious and authentic beef empanadas.

1. Use Flaky Pie Crust

The dough is crucial to the success of your empanada recipe. In this recipe, I recommend using flaky pie crust because it will create a crispy, golden-brown shell that will hold together even after it’s baked or fried.

2. Chill the Empanada Dough

Before rolling out the dough, chill it for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. It will help the dough firm up and prevent it from sticking when you roll it out.

3. Use Cold Water

When making the dough, use cold water instead of hot water because it will help create a flakier texture. Hot water will cause the butter or beef fat to melt and result in a dense and tough dough.

4. Saute Onion and Garlic Separately

Saute the onions until they are golden brown before adding garlic to the pan. Overcooking garlic can cause the flavor to turn bitter, and sauteing it separately ensures that you get evenly cooked onions and garlic.

5. Simmer Beef Filling Slowly

Simmering the beef filling gives it time to cook through properly and develop flavors. Remember to stir occasionally as the filling simmers for about 10-15 minutes. Doing so allows for an evenly cooked mixture that is not too dry or too wet.

6. Seal Empanadas Properly

Make sure to seal your empanadas correctly to prevent them from opening up and spilling their filling while baking or frying. You don’t want all your hard work going to waste due to poorly filled or sealed pastries.

7. Use Egg Wash for Golden-Brown Look

To give your empanadas a shiny and golden-brown look, brush them with an egg wash before baking or frying. In addition, adding a sprinkle of black pepper or oregano on top can add an extra layer of flavor to your empanadas.

In conclusion, following these tips will help you achieve perfect results in your beef empanadas recipe. From the dough to the filling and sealing, your empanadas will turn out delicious and authentic every time!


Now that you have all the instructions and necessary information to prepare your beef empanadas dish, it’s time to address some common questions and uncertainties you may encounter while following this recipe. In this section, we will clarify some of the doubts readers often face when preparing this popular Latin American treat.

What are 3 types of empanadas?

Tucumán has a rich culinary tradition, particularly when it comes to empanadas. This region, famous for hosting the National Empanada Festival, has a signature style of making empanadas that involves using three key fillings – beef, tripe, and chicken. The filling is wrapped in dough and then cooked to perfection in beef fat in a clay oven.

Should empanadas be baked or fried?

When it comes to making tasty empanadas, there are two cooking methods to choose from – baking and frying. Baking them in the oven is the healthier option, while frying them is quicker if you’re pressed for time. Either way, you’re in for a delicious treat!

What kind of dough are empanadas made of?

It has been observed that several individuals prefer to utilize their preferred pre-made pie crust for producing empanadas. The reason behind this choice is that the components incorporated in most dough recipes are quite alike. Typically, flour, butter, salt, water, and occasionally eggs are used in pie dough which are also the primary constituents for this recipe.

What is the difference between Spanish empanadas and Mexican empanadas?

Empanadas have a rich history in Mexico with various regions having their own unique take on the dish. While the Spanish empanadas are made from bread dough, Mexican empanadas are traditionally made from corn masa dough. However, the specific recipe varies from region to region. Some regions use wheat flour instead, and while some are fried, others are baked.

Is empanada dough the same as pie crust?

When it comes to making empanadas, the dough used is unlike that of a pie crust. While frozen pie crust can suffice, the empanada dough possesses a delicate texture that soaks up the filling without rendering it soggy. This versatile dough can be used for both baked and fried empanadas, making it a suitable choice for handheld meals.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, these meat empanadas are the perfect dish for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a party, heading to a potluck, or simply looking for an easy and delicious meal option, this recipe will definitely not disappoint.

With the use of high-quality ingredients like ground beef, oregano, onion, garlic, and tomato sauce, every bite of these empanadas is bursting with flavor. The flaky pie crust adds the perfect amount of texture to the dish, making it an absolute treat to indulge in.

But aside from its delectable taste, this recipe is also incredibly versatile. You can easily adjust the filling based on your preferences and the occasion at hand. You can also choose to bake or fry them depending on your preference.

Moreover, given that these empanadas can be made in advance and frozen for later use, they make for an excellent time-saving option when busy or even as a special surprise for a loved one.

So go ahead and give this recipe a try for your next gathering. These authentic beef empanadas will surely impress your guests and leave them wanting more!

Meat Empanadas

Meat Empanadas Recipe

Pastelillos de Carne A traditional dish all over Central and South America. Flaky little meat pastries, either fried or baked. Can also be made with cheese, vegetables or fruit. This one is baked. Instructions for pella are separate #139997.
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Latin American
Calories 93.3 kcal



  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons finely rendered beef fat, chilled (pella)
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 3/4 cup cold water


  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sazon goya, with coriander and annatto
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano


  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon water


  • For pastry:
  • Mix flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut shortening into the flour mixture. Mix egg and water well. Add liquid mixture to flour and mix well using a fork.
  • For filling:
  • In a skillet, heat oil on medium.
  • Stir in beef and cook until browned.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until mixture thickens.
  • Heat oven to 400. Move oven rack to top third of oven.
  • Roll the dough thinly (1/8"). Using a cookie cutter, makes as many rounds as possible. Add about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each round, fold in half. Secure edges by pressing with a fork.
  • Brush each half-round with the egg and water which have been beaten well.
  • Place on a baking sheet well apart.
  • Bake 25 minutes or until glolden and hollow-sounding when tapped.
  • Cool on wire rack.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 39gCalories: 93.3kcalCarbohydrates: 11.1gProtein: 3.5gFat: 3.7gSaturated Fat: 1.4gCholesterol: 27.9mgSodium: 267.8mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, For Large Groups, Mexican
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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.