Go Back
+ servings

Beef Empanadas

How to make delicious beef empanadas from scratch. Flavorful savory filling enclosed in a buttery pastry crust. Can be made ahead of time!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 20 minutes
Recipe by Tessa Arias



  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch paprika


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound ground beef (85-90% lean)
  • salt
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled, finely diced, and boiled (I used 2 yukon golds)
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese (or “Mexican blend” cheese)


For the dough:

  1. Heat water and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter has melted. Mix flour, salt, and paprika in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour a little of the warm butter mixture in and stir with fingertips to make a wet paste. Pour in remaining liquid and work the dough with your hand until you get a wet, oily dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

For the filling:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onions, bell peppers, paprika, red pepper flakes, white pepper, and cumin until onions are soft. Add beef, season to taste with salt, and cook until beef is browned. Drain off the fat. Place filling in a large bowl and when cooled, add potatoes and scallions. Mix to combine.
  2. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a large baking pan with non-stick spray or line with parchment. Tear off pieces of dough to roll about 20 golf-sized balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough balls on lightly floured surface into 5″ circles. Place 3 tablespoons of filling in the center of each dough circle. Sprinkle filling lightly with cheese. Fold over and press edges firmly to seal. Crimp with the back of a fork. Place empanadas on baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from from Saveur May/June 1999 via Use Real Butter