Beef empanadas

Beef empanadas are favourites throughout Spain and Latin America. Their delicious flavours and flaky pastry shells have led them to become beloved worldwide. These make delicious appetisers or light mains.

Recipe by Luisa Farelo

Beef empanadas

Serves: 10 – 15

Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 mins


  • Empanada dough

  • 280g cake flour
  • pinch salt
  • 120g cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 60ml (¼ cup) cold water
  • 5ml (1 tsp) vinegar

  • Filling

  • olive oil, to fry
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 300g beef mince
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped + extra, to serve
  • 60ml (¼ cup) mozzarella, grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • chimichurri sauce, to serve



For the dough, place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg, water and vinegar and pulse for a couple of seconds until the dough just comes together. Do not overprocess. Tip the dough onto a clean surface and pack tightly into a round ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate, at least 30 minutes.


For the filling, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and gently sauté the onion, garlic, cumin, chilli and pepper until lightly golden in colour, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat, add the mince and fry until well browned and all the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and add the coriander. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before making the empanadas. Preheat the oven to 190°C.


To assemble, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 0,3cm thickness. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out 10cm-diameter discs. Place 10ml (2 tsp) filling on one side of the disc and top with a tiny bit of grated mozzarella. Fold over to create a halfmoon shape and, using a fork, crimp the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining discs and filling.


Place on a greased baking tray, brush with egg wash and bake in the oven until golden and crisp, 20 – 30 minutes. Serve warm as is or with a side of chimichurri sauce and fresh coriander.

ALSO SEE: Beef fillet with biltong crust, nasturtium pesto, onion and pumpkin seed salad, and butter-fried maize (pap) squares

Beef fillet with biltong crust, nasturtium pesto, onion and pumpkin seed salad, and butter-fried maize (pap) squares

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