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Beef Empanadas

If you know me, you know I love experimenting and making my own homemade dough. One of my favorite street food dishes to make would be empanadas (beef turnovers) only because they are so fun to re-create in your own kitchen and are full of flavor! Many cultures have put their own twist on making these and well I guess I sure did too.

Now, the key part to making these empandas is the dough. You want to make sure your empanadas are tender and flaky and not dense and tough. 

Below you can find my flaky, melt-in-your-mouth beef empanadas recipe from scratch.


  • 3 cups all purpose flour (dough)

  • 2 eggs (dough)

  • 1 teaspoon salt (dough)

  • 1/2 cup of cold water (dough)

  • 1 stick of cold unsalted butter (dough)

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef

  • 1 onion (diced)

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 2 garlic cloves - minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vegeta (or any all purpose seasoning)

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon oreano

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce

  • Oil for frying


Making the dough:

1. Mix 1.5 teaspoons of salt into 3 cups of flour.  

2. Dice up 1 stick off butter into small 1/2″ chunks and plop them into the flour.  (You can most definitely use an electric mixer here but I use my hands). 

3. Use your fingers, mix it in just enough to make the flour mixture crumbly enough with a few chunks of butter leaving it a bit shaggy. (Don't worry about disintegrating all of the butter into the flour).

4. In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs and combine them with a 1/2 cup of cold water. Mix together.

5. Add this mixture to the flour and using a spatula combine everything together.

6. Dump the dough on a floured surface and form a dough ball.

7. Cover with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

TIPS for the dough:

  • USE ALL cold ingredients, i.e. cold butter and cold water.  

  • Chill the dough before rolling it out.

8. After the dough is chilled, take it out of the fridge.

9. Sprinkling flour on a surface big enough to stretch the dough and gently flatten the dough down to 1/4″ or less using a rolling pin.

10. Using a circle cutter, (I used a circle big cup) cut about a 4 inch diameter to make medium-sized empanadas. You can make small or big ones just make sure you make room for the filling.

Making the Beef Mixture:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2. Add diced onions and cook until soft Then add minced garlic, garlic powder, nutmeg, and cumin to the onions and mix together.

2. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon.

3. Stir in tomato sauce, paprika, vegeta, salt, pepper and oregano.

4. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.

Assembling & Frying/Baking:

1. In the middle of the circled-cut dough, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of beef mixture and cheese (cheese is optional).

2. Pull up both sides of the dough, folding in half to form a half-moon and pinch the empanada shut using your fingers.

3. Moisten edges with water and use the tip of a fork to seal the edges. Make sure the edges are sealed so you don't get any leaks while frying or baking.


4. Fill a deep saucepan with oil to a depth of 2½”.

5. Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

6. Fry Empanadas in batches until crisp and golden brown, flipping once, 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

7. Transfer to paper towels to drain.


8. Pre-heat oven to 400F and transfer empanadas on a tray with parchment paper.

9. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.


All my love,

Amina Brdarevic

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