How to Make Classic Beef Empanadas

Our neighborhood’s Gourmet Group had another one of our dinner parties last weekend. The theme:  Gourmet Argentine Asado, which is an outdoor beef barbecue. All of the food at the party was excellent (be sure to see my next post for all of the details), but today I’ll share with you what I contributed: Beef Empanadas. An empanada is a Spanish and Portuguese stuffed bread or pastry. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing. In Argentina, empanadas are often served at parties as a starter or main course.

Here’s a pictoral How-To:

First make the filling…

When I arrived at the party with my basket of empanadas, our Peruvian hostess exclaimed, “We must have them with lime! It is traditional!” (Picture that with a very heavy accent… my Peruvian friend is adorable). So we sliced up some lime and everyone got busy nibbling and squeezing lime onto each bite (in between doing shots of some very good tequila).  They were so delicious.

To be noted… don’t be afraid of adding green olives and golden raisins.. Traditional Argentine empanadas have both in the filling. The flavors they impart are important to the whole. There’s a sweet element (from the raisins & the honey), a little bit of spice (from the hot sauce and cumin) and the briny olives bring the flavors all together.

My next post (Monday) will include all of the details of our Argentine Dinner Party Menu.

This recipe can be found here: Beef Empanadas.

Leave a Comment

35 Responses to “How to Make Classic Beef Empanadas”

  1. 1

    Heather (Heather's Dish) — April 15, 2010 @ 10:35 AM

    these really couldn’t be more adorable! i love them…and will be making them for our Cinco de Mayo part-AY! :)

  2. 2

    Sofia — April 15, 2010 @ 10:43 AM

    Very very nice. I have made some similar a while ago and I know it is a lot of work. They look absolutely delicious!

  3. 3

    kirbie — April 15, 2010 @ 10:45 AM

    These look amazing! I love all the step by step photos

  4. 4

    Juan — April 15, 2010 @ 10:46 AM

    This look incredible! Thanks for posting.


  5. 5

    Jessica @ How Sweet — April 15, 2010 @ 11:09 AM

    Lori! Those look so professional! And not to mention delicious. Mmm mmm.

  6. 6

    Wendy — April 15, 2010 @ 11:31 AM

    Would authentic empanadas be made with green olives stuffed with pimento, or regular green olives? Just curious.

  7. 7

    Cheryl Cormier — April 15, 2010 @ 12:44 PM

    these look amazing and as others said, great photos with descriptions! how time consuming/hard would you say they are to make on a scale of 1-10?

  8. 8

    Memoria — April 15, 2010 @ 11:53 AM

    Wow. They look outstanding!! These are some of the best process photos I’ve seen. I love how you showed how to crimp the edges.

  9. 9

    Lori Lange — April 15, 2010 @ 1:06 PM

    @Cheryl Cormier, Oh gosh, I don’t know! They weren’t “hard” to make, but they were rather time consuming. I didn’t start them until 2pm & my party was at 6pm, but I wasn’t working the entire time. The dough you can absolutely make the day before… actually the filling too. Then when you need to assemble it’s rather easy to do.

  10. 10

    Lori Lange — April 15, 2010 @ 1:07 PM

    @Wendy, I believe the pimento stuffed green olives are the ones you’re supposed to use. Every recipe I looked at called for those.

  11. 11

    Fran — April 15, 2010 @ 4:03 PM

    Your empanadas turned out GREAT! Having lived in Buenos Aires for a year and a half I can spot a delicious empanada from afar and these look wonderful.

    I’ve made them, written them, photographed them and have savored them for the past 5 years and reading your post makes me want to make a batch pronto.

    I can’t wait to read the rest of the details about the party. For now I’ll just go look at the real estate listings to dream about moving back.

  12. 12

    sharon — April 15, 2010 @ 9:11 PM

    I have always been too lazy to make empanadas since there is a vendor at the farmers market who sells them for $1 piece. But…this post is certainly inspiring. Thanks for the great step by step photos!

  13. 13

    brandy — April 16, 2010 @ 3:52 AM

    Thanks for sharing these. They look so good, i’d eat them but my husband hates olives :( i know i still married him. I guess i could fill those with pretty much anything. :D

  14. 14

    Mari — April 16, 2010 @ 6:17 AM

    You forgot the best part! Adding a few slices of hard-boiled egg makes these perfect.

  15. 15

    Lori Lange — April 16, 2010 @ 6:21 AM

    @Mari, Oh! I didn’t see eggs in any of the recipes I looked at. Next time I’ll try adding those!

  16. 16

    Joan Nova — April 16, 2010 @ 3:39 PM

    What a great pictorial!! I was surprised by 2 ingredients – the honey in the mixture and the cream cheese in the dough. Must have been delicious.

  17. 17

    leslie — April 16, 2010 @ 6:22 PM

    I love these that the are baked and not fried!

  18. 18

    Barbara — April 17, 2010 @ 9:11 AM

    I want, I want!
    Love your step by step photos and these look delish! I’ve used cream cheese in dough before when i made rugelach- it makes a lovely rich dough AND it’s easier to roll out, I think.

  19. 19

    Janis — April 20, 2010 @ 1:27 PM

    Just FYI, you put “enchiladas” on one of the pics. :) I make these and add hardboiled eggs to them. That is how my Argentine brother-in-law makes them. I omit the raisons as my family doesn’t care for the. I also use ground turkey. Great job and pics!

  20. 20

    Lori Lange — April 20, 2010 @ 3:44 PM

    @Janis, Thanks Janis! My sister told me about that “enchilada” slip but I ignored her. I suppose I should go ahead and get in there and correct it :)

  21. 21

    Janis — April 22, 2010 @ 10:29 AM

    @Lori Lange,
    You did a fantastic job with your step by step….nobody else noticed! :) I’m just a nerd!

  22. 22

    car — April 24, 2010 @ 2:52 PM

    This is very far from traditional argentinean.. just sayin.

  23. 23

    Lori Lange — April 24, 2010 @ 3:29 PM

    @car, Well, I’m definitely no expert… but my friend who grew up in Argentina gave this recipe the green light as authentic, so that’s what I went with :)

  24. 24

    Amy Ross — July 6, 2010 @ 12:23 PM

    Do you think you could make everything, then assemble them and freeze before baking? Then perhaps thaw them before baking? I’m trying to figure out how best to make them prior to a party I’m hosting! Thanks.

  25. 25

    Lori Lange — July 8, 2010 @ 6:13 AM

    @Amy Ross, Absolutely! That’s why this is such a great app- make it ahead & freeze. Then bake them up when ready to serve. I’d bake them frozen rather than defrost them.

  26. 26

    Jenny — August 3, 2011 @ 10:52 AM

    I made empanadas for the first time using your recipe and was AMAZED by how they turned out! They were soo good and, just so I know I wasn’t imagining how great they turned out, my family loved them too. They are so worth the time to make. You did an amazing job with the recipe and created a beautiful blog for the step by step process in making them :)

  27. 27

    Lori Lange — August 3, 2011 @ 2:13 PM

    So happy they turned out so great for you! I love this recipe.

  28. 28

    Misha — December 26, 2011 @ 8:15 PM

    These look great! Can’t wait to try the recipe!

  29. 29

    carly h — March 18, 2012 @ 3:04 PM

    i was wondering, how long do these bake for?

  30. 30

    Lori Lange — March 18, 2012 @ 9:10 PM

    20 minutes- here is the printable recipe:

  31. 31

    Mariarriz — March 20, 2012 @ 9:57 AM

    Your recipe is perfect and delicious!! But tequila is from México. In Argentina we prefer to drink red wine. Our “malbec” is the best . And instead of butter and cream cheese, for the pastry, you can use cow’s fat.

  32. 32

    April — April 10, 2012 @ 12:49 PM

    Recipe looks amazing… Just wondering if we omit the olives all together will the result be as good? Neither my friends nor I are big olive fans.

  33. 33

    Lori Lange — April 11, 2012 @ 7:08 AM

    I thought the olives added the unique flavor to this recipe, but I suppose you can leave them out if you need to.

  34. 34

    Victoria Misty — October 9, 2013 @ 3:10 PM

    Try making the dough with Maseca, PAN or Masarepa. They will definitely taste like traditional Colombian empanadas. I enjoy making these with only potato.

  35. 35

    ollie — October 6, 2014 @ 11:01 AM

    I have loved these things since I first taste them years ago. A coworker mother would make them for us, but after our careers changed we lost contact. It’s been way too long. Can’t wait t try this recipe!!!!!!