Method to my Meals – Method to my Meals

An Appetizer You Can’t Pass Up

Savory ground beef inside of flaky pastry dough – how can you go wrong? I fell in love with empanadas while in Buenos Aires on our honeymoon. I’ve made these my own by adding the corn and black beans, which give it more texture and color. These are awesome for when you need a hearty appetizer that is easy to eat. I strongly recommend making your own dough which you can do up to 2 days in advance.

Beef Empanadas Recipe

Beef Empanadas   Save Print Serves: 30 empanadas Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 28oz can chopped plum tomatoes, including juice
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup finely chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • ½ cup canned corn
  • ½ cup canned black beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 recipe empanada dough (see below)
  • Empanada Dough:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 full sticks + ¼ stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ or smaller cubes
  • 8 tablespoons ice water (get a bowl of ice and add cold water)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar


  1. Heat oven to 425°F and position rack in the center. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the beef and cook mixture, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the meat is no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes with juice, raisins, olives, corn and black beans, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20-25 minutes. Let the mixture cool, taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Set aside.
  5. Using a large food processor with the dough blade, blend flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and process for about 30-60 seconds. Add 8 tablespoons ice water and apple cider vinegar, and add another tablespoon of water if dough is dry.
  6. Prepare a clean work surface. Gather dough together and divide into half. Form each half into a ball, ensuring there are no butter chunks present. Flatten each half into a disk, and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour (Can be made ahead. Keep dough refrigerated up to 2 days or put into Ziploc bag and freeze for one month. If frozen, thaw in fridge overnight.) Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
  7. Assembly: Dust a work surface with flour and roll empanada dough into a 15-inch circle. Using a 3-inch circle cookie cutter, cut out rounds of the dough, re-rolling the dough as needed. If you have a cookie cutter, look for a lid to something similar in your pantry. For ex: a bread crumb plastic lid similar in size, and then use a rolling pin to stretch it out to desired size.
  8. Arrange round dough piece on a clean, flat surface. Using a pastry brush or fingertips, brush the outside with water. Place one tablespoon of beef mixture onto the center, being careful to only obtain the mixture and NO liquid! Liquid will prevent you from getting a tightly sealed empanada.
  9. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with first your fingers, and then going back over with a fork to seal.
  10. Place all assembled empanadas onto baking sheet prepped with parchment paper. Gently brush each empanada with egg water mixture to give it a golden brown crust.
  11. Then place empanadas in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Not in the mood to make your own dough?
  13. You can skip the step of making your own dough and use piecrust. I will say, they will not come out as pretty and sturdy (see my photo below). Make sure your piecrust is at room temperature before rolling out.
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