Empanadas

Empanadas

This authentic Argentine Empanadas recipe is so approachable, anyone can make them! The filling ingredients include ground beef, onion, spices, green olives and hard boiled eggs in an easy homemade empanada dough. 

If you enjoy making recipes from South America, don’t miss my Arroz Chaufa, Pupusas, and Curtido.

My husband fell in love with Argentine empanadas while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and we have worked to perfect this recipe over the years to make them just like the ones he loved there.

Empanadas are popular in countries all around the world and the filling options are just as varied. Enjoy them for breakfast, lunch or dinner, served as an appetizer or main dish. We prefer baked empanadas to fried (less calories and mess), but I’ve given directions for both.

About the dough:

You may notice that empanada dough and pie dough have similar ingredients (flour, salt, butter, water, egg) and both are rolled out and filled. The main difference between the two types of dough is that empanada dough is sturdier and less flaky than pie crust.

Some grocery stores carry Goya pre-made empanada dough, although it’s very easy to make the dough from scratch, and I obviously I think it tastes better. Homemade empanada dough can even be made one day in advance, or frozen for up to 3 months.

What filling is best for empanadas? 

The great thing about empanadas is you can fill them with whatever you like, so take advantage of leftover meats, vegetables and cheese in your fridge that need to be used. Popular fillings include ground beef, ham and cheese, potato, eggs and bacon, chicken, tuna, and vegetable. You could even make dessert empanadas with apple pie filling, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar on the outside.

Store leftover filling in the fridge for up to 3 days (depending on freshness of ingredients), or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

How to Make Empanadas:

For the Filling:

  • Heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, season with a little salt, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and diced red pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often. Add chili powder, cumin, sweet paprika, and oregano. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Increase heat to medium and add the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper and cook, crumbling into small pieces, until browned. Stir in beef boullion. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in green onion, olives, parsley, and hard-boiled eggs. Cover mixture and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days (depending on freshness of ingredients). It’s important that the mixture is chilled before filling the empanadas.

Empanadas

For the empanada dough: (makes about 20 regular size empanadas)

  • Add flour and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add egg and butter and stir well. Add oil and warm water and stir until the mixture starts to come together into a dough ball. Add more water if it’s too dry.
  • Place dough in a clean greased bowl and cover tightly. Allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. (Or refrigerate for up to 1 day, removing from the fridge 20 minutes before using).

Empanadas

  • Divide the dough into two pieces. On a greased counter-top roll each piece into a very large circle, about 1/8in thick (but not so thin that it might break when filling or baking). Use a small bowl or round cookie cutters to cut the dough into circles about 6in in diameter for regular size empanadas or 3 inch for mini empanadas (empanaditas).
  • Remove the excess dough from around the cut circles and keep the circles where they are for filling them (so they hold their perfect shape). Leftover scraps can be re-rolled to make more dough to cut out.
  • Place about 2 tablespoons filling in the center of each circle (leave plenty of space around the border, to seal the empanadas).
  • Moisten the edges of the dough circle with water, then fold the dough over the filling and match the ends together to form a semi-circle. Pinch the edges together and then Seal the ends by crimping them with a fork or pinching and twisting/folding it over.

Empanadas

Bake or Fry:

Baked Empanadas: Place empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with a little bit of egg wash and bake at 375 degrees For 25-30 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked.

Fried Empanadas: (I’ve found it best to refrigerate the empanadas for 20 minutes before frying to help the dough firm up and hold its shape before placing in the hot oil). Add several inches of hot oil to a pot and heat to about 365 degrees. Fry one or two empanadas at a time, flipping once, until golden on both sides (1-2 minutes per side). Place on a paper-towel lined plate.

Empanadas

Other filling ideas:

  • Walnuts
  • Raisins
  • Diced potatoes
  • Chicken or ground turkey
  • Carrots, Peas or other vegetables
  • Tuna
  • Ham and cheese empanadas
  • Egg and bacon breakfast empanadas

What to serve with empanadas?

Empanadas are basically a meal in one, but you could serve them with a green salad and fresh fruit, or a side of rice and beans, for a heartier meal.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: Filling can be made up to 3 days in advance (depending on freshness of ingredients used), stored in the fridge. The dough can be made 1 day in advance and stored in the fridge.

To freeze: Place unbaked empanadas on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour, then transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months, Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.

Empanada filling can be frozen for up to 3 months, stored in a freezer safe container.  Empanada dough can be frozen, wrapped tightly and stored in a freezer container, for up to 3 months.

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Empanadas

Print

Argentine Empanadas

Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Argentine, central american, south american
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Refrigerate 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Author Lauren Allen

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 white onions , chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • ½ of a red bell pepper , diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon beef boullion
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch green onions , just the green part, finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped green olives
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 hard boiled eggs , peeled and finely chopped

For the dough:* (makes about 20 regular size empanadas)

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • ¾ – 1 cup warm water
  • Egg wash ( 1 egg mixed with 1 Tbsp water)

Instructions

For the filling:

  • Heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add garlic and diced red pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often. Add chili powder, cumin, sweet paprika, and oregano. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Increase heat to medium and add the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper and cook, crumbling into small pieces, until browned. Stir in beef boullion.
  • Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Then, stir in green onion, olives, parsley, and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Cover and chill mixture for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days (depending on freshness of ingredients). It’s important that the mixture is chilled before filling the empanadas.

For the empanada dough:

  • Add flour and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add egg and butter and stir well to combine. Add oil and warm water and stir until the mixture starts to come together into a dough ball. Add more water if it’s too dry.
  • Place dough in clean greased bowl and cover tightly. Allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. (Or, refrigerate for up to 1 day, removing from the fridge 20 minutes before using.)

Assembly:

  • Divide the dough into two pieces. On a greased countertop roll each piece into a very large circle, about 1/8in thick (not so thin that it might break when filling or baking).
  • Use a small bowl or round cookie cutters to cut the dough into circles about 6in in diameter for regular size empanadas or 3 inch for mini empanadas (empanaditas).
  • Remove the excess dough from around the cut circles and keep the circles where they are for filling them (so they hold their perfect circle shape). Leftover scraps can be re-rolled to make more dough to cut out.
  • Place about 2 tablespoons of filling (for regular size empanadas) in the center of each circle, leaving plenty of space around the border. Moisten the edges of the circle with water, then fold the dough over and match the ends together to form a semi-circle.
  • Pinch the edges together and then seal the ends by crimping them with a fork or pinching and twisting/folding it over.
  • Baked Empanadas: Place empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with a little bit of egg wash and bake at 375° For 25-30 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked.
  • Fried Empanadas: (I’ve found it best to refrigerate the empanadas for 20 minutes before frying to help the dough firm up and hold its shape before placing in the hot oil). Add several inches of hot oil to a pot and heat to about 365° F. Fry one or two empanadas at a time, flipping once, until golden on both sides (1-2 minutes per side). Place on a paper-towel lined plate.

Notes

Other filling options:

Walnuts
Raisins
Diced potatoes
Chicken or ground turkey
Carrots
Peas
Ham and cheese empanadas

Empanada dough: if you don’t want to make the dough from scratch you can buy puff pastry dough for empanadas from the grocery store.

Make Ahead Instructions: Filling can be made up to 3 days in advance (depending on freshness of ingredients used), stored in the fridge. The dough can be made 1 day in advance and stored in the fridge.

Freezing Instructions: Place unbaked empanadas on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour, then transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months, Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.
Empanada filling can be frozen for up to 3 months, stored in a freezer safe container. Empanada dough can be frozen, wrapped tightly and stored in a freezer container, for up to 3 months.

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