Empanadas recipe

(39 ratings)

Empanadas are greatly loved in Brazil and are sold in bars and cafes and are a popular street food. They are also called “pastels”

Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time40 mins
Total Time1 hours
Cost RangeCheap

Empanadas are small savoury pastries, baked or fried and are often served in little baskets. Empanadas are greatly loved in Brazil and are sold in bars and cafes or as a popular street food. They are also called “pastels”. They are ordered by the dozen or half dozen and are a great food for sharing with friends and family. The variety of fillings is endless but often includes beef or chicken. These empanadas feature a delicious pastry containing turmeric and chillis which gives it a lovely golden colour and spicy flavour. They can be served hot or cold and would make a great snack while you are watching the football.


For the pastry:

  • 400g plain flour
  • 175g butter or margarine
  • ½tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • Cold water to mix

For the filling:

  • 1-2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 225g minced beef
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • Pinch paprika
  • 2tsp oregano
  • 6 green olives, chopped
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • Few drops hot pepper sauce
  • 100g Gouda or Cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1 beaten egg for brushing




  1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Cut the butter or margarine into pieces, add to the bowl and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the turmeric and chilli flakes.
  2. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and mix together to form a firm dough, adding more water if necessary.
  3. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge whilst you make the filling.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6.
  5. Have ready 2 large greased baking trays. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
  6. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened.
  7. Add the minced beef and cook until lightly and evenly browned, then drain off any excess fat.
  8. Stir in all the other ingredients except the cheese.
  9. Fry over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, then leave to cool.
  10. To assemble: Roll out the pastry on a floured board to a thickness of about 3mm. Cut out 18 circles measuring about 10cm.
  11. Divide the filling between the rounds, leaving a gap around the edges. Place the cheese on top of the filling on each round.
  12. Brush the edges of the pastry rounds with a little water.
  13. Fold the pastry over to create semi circles and press the edges together firmly. Crimp the edges of the pastry with a fork or your fingers.
  14. Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or cold.
Top Tip for making Empanadas

If you prefer you can make larger sized Empanadas to serve in a main meal with salad. You can vary the filling by adding different olives – pimento or almond stuffed olives are good. You could serve them with dips too – a chilli dipping sauce goes well. Empanadas can be frozen baked or unbaked and can also be deep fried if preferred.


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