- Dish type
- Pies and tarts
This easy, simple and airy pastry is the ideal pastry for making the best Argentinian empanadas with your favourite filling. This is the ultimate pastry recipe and no kneading is necessary as it is made with the food processor.
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IngredientsMakes: 12 empanada pastry discs
- 250g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried active yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 100ml warm water
MethodPrep:15min ›Ready in:15min
- Combine the flour, salt, yeast and caster sugar in a food processor. Pulse twice then pour in the melted butter and water and pulse several times until a soft pastry ball is formed.
- Wrap pastry tightly with cling film and chill for 15 minutes. Roll over a lightly floured surface to 2mm thickness. Cut in 10cm circles and use to make your special empanadas with your favourite filling. If you wish to freeze, then do so by placing the discs on a flat surface and if needed, placing cling film between the layers.
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This recipe is an accompaniment for Potato, Pepper, and Chorizo Empanadas . But once you've mastered a basic empanada dough, there's no reason you can't use it to make any kind of empanada your heart desires, like the sweet and salty combo of this Chicken Empanada with Chorizo, Raisins, and Olives or a Spiced Turkey Empanada—or even the surf-and-turf filling in these Tuna Empanadas with Serrano ham. You could also simply stuff the excellent dough with whatever meat and vegetable combinations you love, or have around in the fridge. Using the homemade dough rather than store-bought pizza dough or puff pastry will take any of these filling ideas to the next level.
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Argentinian Beef Empanadas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions (green part only)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cubed (small cubes)
- 1 lbs ground beef
- 10 green olives, pitted and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- Vegetable oil for frying
Argentinian Chicken Empanadas
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- 100 g water
- 175 g unsalted butter, diced
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 350 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 medium egg
Chicken Filling and Assembly
- 60 g onions, halved
- 1 garlic clove
- 240 g chicken breast fillets, skinless, cubed (3 cm)
- 1 red pepper (approx. 150 g), cut in pieces
- 8 green olives, pitted
- 30 g olive oil
- 1 Tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ - ½ tsp ground black pepper, to taste
- plain flour, for dusting
- milk, to glaze
Next stop for today is in Argentina…and for sure, Messi did not disappoint yesterday! I though was so funny, one of the commentators was so agitated about the match and he could not stop talking about Messi…and empanadas. For sure he was Argentinian!
Argentinian food culture is known around the world for its rich flavors, particularly famous for its beef. Beef empanadas are served as appetizers or as a simple, everyday lunch or dinner. You don’t need a reason to have these divine beef filled pastry pockets.
There are two main types of Argentinian empanadas: the Tucuman or the Salta style. The cooking technique used differentiate them: Tucuman empanadas are fried, where the Salta empanadas are simply baked without the addition of fat or oil. I always prefer baked option, so I’ve made the Salta ones.
I found Argentinian empanada recipe to be fairly simple. To make the filling, all you need is onion, garlic, butter, paprika, chili flakes, beef mince, boiled eggs, green olives, spring onions and oregano leaves. The dough is pretty simple to do too. So, no reason not to give them a try! You will be surprised how delicious they are!
What are Empanadas?
They derive from the Spanish word “empanar” which means to envelope or wrap something. Makes sense because empanadas are wrapped over some sort of filling mixture. Empanadas are either baked or fried. The one you see is obviously the baked version that is more popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico and other parts of the Caribbean and South America. Colombians famously deep fry them.
The Best Empanadas in Argentina: Regional Recipes
You’re never more than a few metres from an empanada wherever you travel in Argentina, and you’re all the better for it. Empanada literally means “wrapped in bread” but this description does not do justice to the wonder of this Argentine staple. These savoury pockets are served warm as a prelude to the asado, or on their own at parties. And if you need an empanada fix you can get them delivered like pizza. But don’t make the mistake of believing all empanadas are created equal. Due to different geography, climate and tradition, empanadas vary depending on where you are in Argentina.
Photo by Louise Carr de Olmedo.
Do you prefer yours spicy and packed full of potatoes? Or with a sprinkling of sugar and some raisins? Looking to start a love affair with a Patagonian lamb empanada? How about sampling a delicacy filled with catfish? If you want to know who makes the best empanadas in Argentina and don’t want to travel thousands of kilometres by bus to find out, take our culinary tour of the Argentine provinces, empanada by juicy empanada.
Salta and Jujuy
Ask anyone in Buenos Aires who makes the best empanadas and nine times out of ten they’ll tell you to head north. No, not to Belgrano or Nuñez, but to Salta and Jujuy. Empanadas are a proud obsession in these Northern provinces. In Salta, where empanada-making contests are a regular occurrence, empanadas salteñas contain knife-cut meat, hunks of al dente potato, boiled egg, and spring onion (scallion). In Jujuy, peas and peppers are added to empanadas jujeñas and the package is a little spicier.
A pair of local specialities: Cerveza and empanadas from Salta photo by Juan Buhler.
Argentine gourmet and famed defender of the integrity of Salta empanadas, Roberto Argentino Díaz (“Topeto”) lobbied for el Día de la Empanada Salteña (Day of the Salteñan Empanada) on April 4 but every day is good for making some of these beefy beauties. Here’s a Topeto-inspired recipe for empanadas salteñas.
Recipe: Empanadas Salteñas
Makes around three-dozen empanadas
Photo by Louise Carr de Olmedo.
500g pastry dough (in Argentina you can buy pre-made discs – tapas para empanadas – if you don’t want to make the dough by hand.)
Egg yolk for brushing the tops of the empanadas
300g boiled potatoes
3 hardboiled eggs
250g spring onion
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon red chilli powder (less if you don’t like it spicy)
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt to taste
Finely chop all of the ingredients, including the beef. The potatoes should be al dente. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the meat until golden brown. Add the onion, potatoes, cumin, chilli and paprika, and enough water from the potatoes to cover the mixture. Cover and cook until the meat is tender. Add salt to taste. Leave to cool, then add the chopped egg and spring onion.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Shape the dough into circles approximately 13cm in diameter (or use the pre-made discs). Add a heap of filling into the centre of each disc. Wet the edges with water. Fold the disc in half, then seal the edges with a fork or, if you’re feeling adventurous, finish the empanadas with the repulgue fold:
Perfecting the Empanada fold – Video by GOYA Foods:
Brush the empanadas with egg, place on a baking tray, and bake for 12-20 minutes until golden brown. Pour yourself a glass of Malbec and enjoy.
Delivery empanadas: Patterns are added to the fold to differentiate the flavours photo by Louise Carr de Olmedo.
Not content with one single day for celebrating the empanada, the people of Tucumán in the north of Argentina love empanadas so much there’s a National Empanada Festival every September. You can also travel the Ruta de la Empanada to find the best empanadas in the province. The traditional choice of filling is more limited – matambre (rolled flank steak), chicken or mondongo (tripe), with none of the pea, potato or olive embellishment. If you don’t fancy a tripe empanada, cheese empanadas with a touch of tomato are also popular. Traditional empanadas tucumanas are cooked in a clay oven.
Making empanadas in a traditional oven photo by URLgoeshere.
Empanadas sanjuaninas come with a whole green olive cooked into the filling (mind the pit) and their tastiness is largely due to being made from lard or butter. Sanjuaninas are cooked in traditional wood ovens and contain various spices – paprika, cumin, oregano, for example.
Recipe: Empanadas sanjuaninas
Follow the recipe for Empanadas Salteñas (above) but add oregano and 100g diced black olives into the filling, or one whole green olive when you are forming the empanadas.
Traveling to the neighbouring province of Mendoza, check out this modern take on the empanada by Matías Podestá, one of the leading young chefs in Mendoza.
Catamarca and La Rioja
Empanadas catamarqueñas or riojanas from the provinces of Catamarca and La Rioja in the north bordering Chile pack a more garlicky punch. These appetizing parcels are filled with beef, onions, garlic, and often shreds of green olives and/ or raisins. Potatoes and hard boiled eggs also make an appearance, aka empanadas salteñas (the province of Salta is right next to Catamarca).
Did you ever think an empanada would be all the better with the addition of a little sugar? Córdoba is your place. Traditional empanadas cordobesas satisfy those with a sweet tooth with their sprinkling of sugar on top and juicy raisins inside. Empanadas cordobesas also tend to be juicier and include tomatoes in the mix – here’s a recipe for juicy Córdoba empanadas (in Spanish).
Corrientes and Misiones
Subtropical Misiones and Corrientes make their masa (dough) with mandioca (cassava root) flour and fill their empanadas with meat or catch-of-the-day: catfish species surubí or manduvé, pacú, or golden dorado.
Raw cassava root photo by Dennis S Hurd.
Recipe: Empanadas de Mandioca
Makes 20 empanadas – based on a recipe from Visitemos Misiones
1kg cassava root flour
100g green pepper
1 clove garlic
500g minced beef
2 hardboiled eggs
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
Peel the cassava and cook in salted water. While still warm, grind the root in a food processor to turn it into a puree. Knead on the counter with the cornmeal and a little salt to make a firm dough.
Sauté the green pepper, onion and garlic in butter. Add the beef. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. Chop the hardboiled eggs.
Shape the dough into circles approximately 13cm in diameter. Add some meat filling, top with chopped egg, seal and fry in hot oil until golden brown.
Empanadas are also popular in the southern provinces and while the recipes are not so fiercely protected they remain interesting. Empanadas in Neuquén, Santa Cruz, Chubut, Río Negro, and Tierra del Fuego are often filled with Patagonian lamb or seafood – mussels and even king crab, sautéed with white wine for a juicy taste.
What do you think? Where do the best empanadas in Argentina come from? Should empanadas salteñas have added olives? Do you grate or chop the egg? Is an empanada from Córdoba a travesty if you miss out the raisins? Weigh in with your opinion in the comments below. Or simply relax and appreciate the regional differences with your selection of Argentina’s regional wine.
Photo by Pablo Flores.
Pastafrola is an Argentinian layered shortcrust pie filled with jam. It features a crust topping in a pretty lattice pattern.
The jelly filling can be guava, dulce de membrillo (quince paste), dulce de batata (sweet potato paste), or strawberry flavored. Some bakers even make it with dulce de leche inside.
Argentinian Turnover Pastry w/ Beef Filling [Empanadas]
This turnover pastry AKA Empanada is super popular in Argentina and we know why now: it's easy to make, tastes great, and you can freeze and warm it up to eat anytime!
- ground beef (20% fat) [300 g / 10.5 oz]
- olive oil [20 ml / 4 teaspoons]
- long red pepper [1 small size]
- chicken broth [120 ml / 0.5 cup]
- sweet paprika powder [2 tsp]
- all purpose wheat flour [400g / 3 cups]
Fry beef over medium-high heat with olive oil till for 6 minutes and put aside in a bowl
Reduce heat to medium and sauté chopped onion and pepper with olive oil till tender but not browned yet (approx. 6 minutes)
Add all spices and stir until fragrant (1-2 min)
Add chicken broth, let simmer and stir occasionally till water evaporates (15 min)
Mix in the beef and season to taste with salt & pepper
Transfer into bowl, cover and let rest (preferably at least half an hour)
Start creating the dough by mixing flour and salt
Form a little crater in the flour and mix in egg, water and melted butter.
Knead till all ingredients unite into a nice, greasy ball
Split the dough in two and open with a roll till approx. 0.1 inches (2-3mm) in thickness
Use a round cutting shape to create 10-12 round forms with approx. 5-6inches (12-15cm) in diameter
Put 1-2 tbsp of beef filling on one half of the dough (add a slice of olive, hot chili powder and/or grated cheese if you like)
Fold the dough and seal its corners via pinching, folding or simply with the fork crown.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/392°F and spread the sealed pastries on a baking sheet and brush with egg-yolk, if you don't mind the taste and want a nice golden color
Bake on middle level for 20-35minutes: depends on size of empanada, your oven and how golden you like them.
Let cool down for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
Servings: 12 Energy per serving: 265 / 1113kJ
Macronutrients: 15 g fat, 25 g carbs, 9 g protein
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Alternatives & Substitutions
This recipe for Argentine Empanadas is easy to customize no matter your tastes. You really can use just about any ground meat for the filling. Consider ground turkey, pork, or lamb in place of the beef.
Chopped dried fruit and nuts such as raisins, dates, cranberries, apricots, pistachios, walnuts, or cashews make delicious additions to the filling.
If you'd like to make your own dough, check out this simple recipe for empanada dough.
For a smooth, yet bold alternative, try our baked Ancho Chili Chicken with Ranch recipe. Crispy and perfectly spiced with our smoky Argentine Pampas blend, you'll never go back to plain weeknight chicken.
For our vegan friends, you may want to make your own vegan dough. Here's a second vegan dough recipe using coconut oil.
Vegetarians / Vegans can use a wide a range of substitutes for the filling. Pre-cook your choices before filling to ensure they are soft. Some ideas to get your wheels spinning: butternut squash and black beans portobello mushrooms, celery, and onion or sweet potatoes and chickpeas.
Don't forget to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.
Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!