Snack time, empanada time!

Traditional Argentine Empanadas

It’s empanada time! There are almost as many variations of empanadas as there are cooks in Argentina. But, most would agree the meat filled version baked to golden flaky perfection is the most traditional. The handheld, crescent-shaped treat is full of flavorful spices and ingredients that take you on a taste journey to its Moorish and Iberian roots.

The first empanadas are traced back to the Iberian peninsula, specifically Portugal and Galicia, Spain, during the Medieval period and at the time of the Moorish invasion. Recipes for empanadas have been found from as early as the start of the 16th century. The name, empanada, comes from the Spanish “empanar”, which means “to bread” or, in the case of the empanada,to wrap something in bread. Empanadas are a staple on the menu at most restaurants and cafes in Argentina, but they are quickly making their way to the U.S. gastronomic cities. Keep an eye out, or make them on your own.


1hr 55mins
15-20 empanadas


Dough (pre-made dough or pre-cut pastry discs can also be used)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (for gluten-free, substitute with Bob's gluten free all purpose flour or 1-to-1 gluten free flour) 
  • 1 -2 teaspoon salt
  • 34 cup butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • 23 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Meat Filling

  • 1 lb ground beef (use turkey, chicken, seafood or veggies for a lower-fat variation)
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 cup stuffed or plain green olives
  • handful raisins (optional. This is a common ingredient in the traditional Argentine meat empanadas)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 -3 tablespoons ground cumin powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Sift the flour, mix the sifted flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the solid butter with your fingers, (best to cross cut with two knives). The flour should have an even, coarse texture, with the butter lumps no larger than a pea.
  3. Beat together the water, eggs, and vinegar in a bowl. Slowly mix into the flour mixture, until you have the desired consistency (it should not be too sticky, but still malleable).
  4. Place the mixture on a floured surface. Knead with the heel of your hand to bring the dough together.
  5. Cover the dough and allow to sit in a cool place for at least an hour.
  6. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 of an inch (0.3 cm) thick. Cut into circles about 4-6 inches (10 - 15 cm) in diameter and lightly flour them.
  7. Heat some oil in a large saucepan. Mince the onions and garlic, and add to the pan. Cook until the onions become translucent.
  8. Add the ground meat (or other filling substitute). Break it up with with a spoon and cook, stirring until lightly browned. Drain off fat.
  9. Mix in the cumin and sugar. Adjust to taste.
  10. Chop the hard boiled eggs and halve the stuffed olives. Carefully mix into the meat mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Preheat the oven to 375ºF/200ºC.
  12. Stuff the empanada dough wrappers. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Dampen the outer perimeter of the dough with a pastry brush.
  13. Fold over, forming a semicircle. Pinch a corner of the dough, and then fold that section onto itself. Pinch and pull out another 1/2-inch (1.2 cm) section and fold over, so that it slightly overlaps the first piece. Repeat along the length of the folded side, until you create a braided or twisted seal. (Alternate method: fold over evenly, forming semicircle and press down joined perimeter with fork to create a 1/2-inch seal).
  14. Brush the tops of the empanadas with beaten egg yolk for a nice golden color.
  15. Place the folded empanadas on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  16. Enjoy!

Please share your favorite version of empanadas with us below.

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