Authentic Empanada Recipe

There are few culinary delights better than authentic Argentinian food — especially when it's a perfect blend of meat, vegetables, and fruit as found in these authentic empanadas. What really makes these great, though, is how easy they are to prepare right in your own kitchen. These delicious bites that have their own built-in shell make a perfect meal that can be eaten with a fork or with your hands.

"One of the most important ingredients in authentic Argentinian empanadas is the raisins," says recipe developer Cecilia Ryu. Ryu explains, "The empanadas need to have that touch of sweetness. Do not skip adding them!" This recipe calls for homemade dough and homemade filling, but Ryu notes, "If you would like to skip making your own empanada dough, you can find packages of puff pastry dough for empanadas in the frozen section of a supermarket." Now, let's get into how you can make these empanadas at home.

Gather the ingredients to prepare authentic empanadas

There are two different parts to preparing this authentic empanada recipe: the dough and the filling. If you want to start with the fresh ingredients, you'll mostly be focusing on the filling. Get a pound of ground beef from the meat section. Then, you will need one red bell pepper, one medium white onion, a container of green olives (at least ½ cup's worth), and a garlic clove. "It's best to use Spanish green olives that are a bit salty for this recipe," says Ryu. Plus, you'll also need at least a half dozen eggs.

Next, you will need 4 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons of shortening. In addition, grab a stick of butter for the dough, which is equal to ½ cup. Finally, you'll need a can of tomato paste, a container of raisins, olive oil, oregano, and salt and pepper. You only need small amounts of these items: 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 ½ teaspoons of oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper. So, if you have any of these herbs at home, you probably have enough to fill it out.

Mix the empanada dough

Put the flour, salt, and pepper into a large bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine. Once it's well-mixed, make a dent or well in the center of the flour mix. This will act as a sort of mixing bowl. "Put the beaten egg, butter, shortening, and ¾ cup of water into the well," instructs Ryu. Mix well to bring the dough together — if it doesn't come together, then that might be because your dough is too dry. In that case, add some more water. 

Knead this dough inside the bowl to really smooth it out before shaping it into a ball. Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.

Brown the filling

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop in the chopped onion and red pepper, and sauté until the onion is translucent. Once that's ready, add in the garlic, and continue sautéing until the mix in the skillet is fragrant, which should take about two minutes. Finally, you can add the ground beef, tomato paste, and oregano, and mix it all together. Season this with salt and pepper, and brown it, breaking it into small pieces with the wooden spoon.

Finally, transfer the contents of the skillet to a large bowl where you can add the raisins, the chopped hard-boiled eggs, and the chopped Spanish green olives. Stir this well to combine, then cover this mixture with plastic wrap, and set it aside to cool.

Shape the dough

Preheat the oven to 375 F before you start constructing your empanadas. Drop the dough onto a lightly-floured surface to break the ball up into usable pieces. "I use a knife to cut the dough in half and then into [20] smaller pieces," says Ryu. "I also used a scale to measure out equal pieces, but that isn't necessary." 

You'll need to roll each of these smaller pieces into a round about 5 inches long end to end and ⅛-inch thick. Once rolled, you can stack these in between pieces of parchment to keep them separate. You can also cover them with a paper towel to keep the dough from drying out — especially the non-rolled pieces of dough.

Fill the dough rounds

Drop about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into each flat chunk of empanada dough. Fold the dough over the filling to make a semi-circular little empanada, pressing the edges together to close and completely lock in your empanada. To make those nice little divots in the edges of the empanada, use a fork. You can easily crimp the dough and more fully seal your empanadas. It is important that the filling doesn't leak out during cooking.

Cook the empanadas

Beat an egg in a small bowl to prep your empanadas with an egg wash. Line up all your filled empanadas on a baking sheet so they do not overlap, "leaving about an inch of space in between," as Ryu says. Brush the empanadas with the egg wash, and put the empanadas into the pre-heated oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the empanadas are golden brown. 

Serve immediately while hot, either individually plating them or offering a pile on a tray in the middle of the table. As Ryu adds, "Most of the time, I like to serve these empanadas with chimichurri sauce or any hot sauce on the side. They are equally delicious eaten plain, though!" These authentic empanadas are a seriously perfect dinner. Your family or guests will be thrilled!

Authentic Empanada Recipe
5 from 53 ratings
There are few culinary delights better than Argentinian food — especially when it's a blend of meat, veggies, and fruit as found in these authentic empanadas.
Prep Time
Cook Time
plate of empanadas
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt + more, to taste
  • 2 eggs, divided
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons shortening, melted
  • ¾ to 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons oregano
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • ½ cup green olives, chopped
  1. In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, add the flour and salt, and stir to combine.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add 1 beaten egg, the butter, shortening, and ¾ cup of water. Mix well until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry, add more water.
  3. Knead the dough a few times inside the bowl, and shape it into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper, and sauté until translucent.
  5. Add the garlic, and sauté until fragrant, approximately 2 minutes.
  6. Add the ground beef, tomato paste, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned, breaking into small pieces.
  7. Remove the mixture from the heat, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the raisins, hard boiled eggs, and olives, and stir well. Cover, and set the mixture aside to cool.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  9. Remove the empanada dough from the bowl, and place on a lightly floured surface. Cut into approximately 20 equal pieces, and shape into a small ball.
  10. Roll each ball of dough into a 5-inch round, ⅛-inch thick.
  11. Stack the rolled dough in between pieces of parchment paper to avoid sticking together. (Alternately, place the rolled dough onto a large tray without overlapping. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap so they do not dry out.)
  12. Place 2 tablespoons of filling onto each empanada disk. Fold the dough over the filling to make a semi-circle, and press the edges together to close. Using a fork, crimp the edges to seal.
  13. Prepare an egg wash by beating 1 egg in a small bowl.
  14. Place the empanadas onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and then brush lightly with the egg wash.
  15. Bake the empanadas for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately while hot.
Calories per Serving 246
Total Fat 13.8 g
Saturated Fat 5.6 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 74.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Total Sugars 1.8 g
Sodium 208.8 mg
Protein 8.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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