These Argentinian Beef Empanadas are savory hand pies filled with seasoned ground beef and veggies.
In honor os Hispanic Heritage Month, I'm sharing this recipe and highlighting some of the amazing food that Argentina offers.
What are empanadas?
Empanadas are filled hand pies. They can be sweet or savory and its origins are from the Galicia region in Spain.
The word empanada comes from the Spanish verb "empanar" which roughly translates to "coat in bread".
Argentinian empanadas use wheat flour for the dough and they can be fried or baked.
In other countries, like Colombia, empanadas use corn flour although the filling is very similar.
Why you will love this recipe
When I visited Argentina in 2010, I fell in love with their cuisine.
The Italian influence that is present in Argentina's cuisine is strong and we all know how amazing Italian food is.
This recipe is a great way to use ground beef and sneak in plenty of veggies in this savory dish.
The meat is perfectly seasoned by spices and aromatic veggies, the dough is tender to the bite with just enough crunch to add a nice texture.
These empanadas can be customized in many ways. You can use as many veggies as you want or completely leave them out.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Ground beef: I like to use a fairly lean beef but you can use any beef you like. You can substitute for ground chicken or turkey if you desire, but if going classic use ground beef.
- Onion: It's the base of our aromatic veggies and gives the beef an incredible flavor.
- Bell pepper: Another aroma and flavor-packed veggies that will compliment the onion and the beef really well. I like to use red or orange bell peppers.
- Paprika: Adds a nice color and flavor to the beef.
- Ground cumin: A flavor powerhouse, a little goes a long way and it adds so much depth of flavor in this recipe.
- Salt: I like using kosher salt to round up all the flavors in the recipe.
- Empanada disks: We are using store-bought empanada dough. It comes already precut in the size needed to make the empanadas.
- Beef or chicken broth: We are going to use broth to keep the beef moist.
- Cornstarch: To thicken the broth and make the beef juicy but with a nice consistency.
- Egg: One beaten egg before baking the empanadas helps give them a golden brown finish.
- Green olives: These are optional, use them if you like them, I love the Castelvestrano variety.
Instructions and step by step
Start making the beef filling by browning the beef with the onion, peppers and spices.
Cook the beef for about 10 minutes until it is uniform in color. Add the cornstarch dissolved in the broth and cook for 1 more minute until the sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat and let the meat cool down for about 10 minutes.
Place the empanada rounds on the a clean counter, I like to make 3 at a time.
Add a heaping tablespoon of meat filling in the center of each dough round. Fold the dough over to create a half-moon shape.
Press the edges well to seal the filling. Start folding the edges in one of the corners turning it up and over and pressing down with one finger before making the next crimp.
Brush the empanadas with the egg wash and bake until golden brown.
What to serve with Argentinian empanadas
Empanadas are pretty much a complete meal on their own. They are very filling and you can just serve them by themselves.
These beef empanadas go really well with condiments like this Argentinian Chimichurri.
You could also use your favorite hot sauce, pico de Gallo or even guacamole although these dipping sauces are less traditional.
Storage, reheating and freezing instructions
Empanadas hold up really well and can be refrigerated or frozen.
Store leftover empanadas in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
The best way to reheat refrigerated or frozen empanadas is the air fryer. Reheat them for 5-6 minutes at 250F or until heated through.
You can also reheat them in the oven at 350F for about 5-6 minutes. In the microwave add 30 second intervals until heated through.
Using the microwave to reheat them might make the dough soggy. So do not over heat them.
If they are frozen, thaw them in the fridge over night before using the recommended reheating methods above.
Empanadas can be frozen in a ziplock back for up to 2 months. When reheating is best to thaw them in the fridge overnight.
Beef filling is too runny: Cook a little longer until most of the moisture has evaporated. The beef will also thicken as it cools down.
Dough is sticky: Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before making the empanadas.
My empanadas burst in the oven: Make sure to press firmly when folding the edges.
When buying the empanada rounds, try to get the ones made in Argentina or Uruguay, they are the most authentic.
The empanada rounds can be found at the frozen section of a well stocked supermarket or at a Latin specialty store.
The closest dough to the empanada dough is an American pie dough.
For the beef filling
- 1 Lb. Ground beef
- ½ cup Onion diced
- ¼ cup Red pepper diced
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ cup Green olives chopped (optional)
- ¼ cup Chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
- 12 Empanada rounds 1 package. I used GOYA brand
- 1 Egg Lightly beaten
Make the beef filling
- In a skillet, over medium-high heat add the beef and start breaking it into chunks.
- Add the chopped onions, peppers, salt, cumin and paprika.
- Cook until the beef is nicely browned and the vegetables are soft.
- Add cornstarch dissolved in the chicken broth (cornstarch slurry) and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
- Once the broth is thickened, remove from the heat and allow it to cool down.
Make the empanadas
- Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit
- Place the empanadas rounds on a clean counter.
- Add a heaping spoon of the beef filling in the center of each empanada round.
- Fold the dough over and press firmly on the edges.
- Start on one end and fold the corner up and over onto the sealed edge and repeat until you reach the corner on the other end.
- Use a brush to brush the egg on top of the empanadas.
- Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes until the empanadas are golden brown.
- Allow them to cool down for about 5 minutes and enjoy.