Mexican Empanadas Recipe with Ground Beef and Spices


Mexican Empanadas Recipe with Ground Beef and Spices
Region / culture: Mexico | Preparation time: 1 hour | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 10



Empanadas are a popular dish in many Latin American countries, consisting of a savory filling enclosed in a folded dough and then fried or baked until golden brown. These delicious hand pies are perfect for a quick meal or snack, and can be filled with a variety of ingredients such as meat, cheese, vegetables, or even sweet fillings like fruit or chocolate.


The origins of empanadas can be traced back to Spain, where they were introduced during the Moorish occupation. The word "empanada" comes from the Spanish verb "empanar," which means to wrap or coat in bread. The dish quickly spread to Latin America and the Philippines, where it became a staple in the local cuisine.



How to prepare

  1. In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles crumbly meal.
  3. Gradually sprinkle in milk while stirring until the dough clings together.
  4. Knead the dough 10 times.
  5. Let the dough rest for 0.5 hour.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix ground beef with all the ingredients except tomato paste.
  7. Slowly fry the beef mixture in 1 tbsp oil until cooked.
  8. Mash the beef mixture slightly to make it crumbly.
  9. Add 1 to 2 tbsp tomato paste to the beef mixture, stirring well until it thickens.
  10. Turn off the heat and let the filling cool.
  11. Add hot sauce to the filling according to your preference.
  12. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a pie crust (you can divide it into 2 parts if desired).
  13. Using a container with a 5" opening, cut out circles from the dough and place the filling in the center of each circle.
  14. Brush the beaten egg on the lower edge of each circle.
  15. Fold over the circles and press the edges with a fork dipped in flour.
  16. Fry the empanadas in lard for about 2 minutes on each side until they turn brown.
  17. Make sure there is enough lard to cover the empanadas, about 3-4" deep.
  18. The unfried empanadas can be frozen.
  19. To prevent sticking, stack the empanadas between wax paper, sprinkling plenty of flour in between.


  • You can customize the filling of the empanadas by adding ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, or different types of meat.
  • For a vegetarian option, you can fill the empanadas with a mixture of beans, corn, and peppers.
  • Sweet empanadas can be made by filling them with fruit, chocolate, or caramel.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to let the dough rest before rolling it out, as this will make it easier to work with and prevent it from shrinking when frying.

- Be sure to seal the edges of the empanadas well to prevent the filling from leaking out during cooking.

- Fry the empanadas in hot oil to ensure a crispy and golden brown crust.

- You can also bake the empanadas in the oven for a healthier alternative.

Serving Suggestions

Empanadas can be served with a side of salsa, guacamole, or sour cream for dipping. They can also be enjoyed with a side salad or rice and beans for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

To ensure that the empanadas are cooked evenly, fry them in hot oil and flip them halfway through cooking.

- If baking the empanadas, brush them with egg wash before baking to achieve a golden brown crust.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don't have crisco, you can use butter or lard as a substitute.

- Ground turkey or chicken can be used instead of ground beef for a lighter filling.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the empanadas ahead of time and freeze them before frying. Simply thaw them in the refrigerator before cooking.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the empanadas on a platter with a garnish of fresh herbs or a sprinkle of cheese on top. - Arrange the empanadas in a decorative pattern on a serving dish for a visually appealing presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Empanadas pair well with a variety of beverages such as beer, wine, or a refreshing fruit juice.

- For a complete meal, serve the empanadas with a side of rice, beans, or a mixed green salad.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover empanadas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

- To reheat, place the empanadas in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of empanadas contains approximately 350 calories.


Each serving of empanadas contains approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of empanadas contains approximately 15 grams of fats.


Each serving of empanadas contains approximately 20 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Empanadas are a good source of iron, vitamin B12, and zinc.


Empanadas may contain allergens such as wheat, soy, and dairy.


Empanadas are a delicious and satisfying dish that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious meal option.


Empanadas are a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed as a snack or a meal. With a crispy crust and a flavorful filling, they are sure to be a hit with family and friends. Try making your own empanadas at home with this easy and tasty recipe!

How did I get this recipe?

I can still remember the exact moment I stumbled upon this recipe for Empanadas. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in her cozy little kitchen. Maria was known for her incredible cooking skills, and I always loved learning new recipes from her.

As soon as I walked into her house, I was greeted by the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked Empanadas. Maria had a twinkle in her eye as she pulled out a tray of golden brown pastries from the oven. She handed me one and said, "Try this, it's my grandmother's secret recipe for Empanadas."

I took a bite and was immediately transported to a culinary paradise. The flaky crust, filled with a savory mixture of beef, onions, and spices, was a symphony of flavors. I couldn't believe how delicious it was.

I begged Maria to teach me how to make them, and she happily obliged. As we worked side by side in her kitchen, she shared the story of how she had learned the recipe from her own grandmother, who had passed it down through generations.

According to Maria, the secret to making the perfect Empanadas lies in the dough. She explained that the dough should be made with just the right amount of flour, water, and butter to achieve the perfect texture. She also revealed that the filling should be cooked slowly to allow the flavors to meld together.

As we rolled out the dough and filled it with the savory beef mixture, Maria shared more tips and tricks for making the perfect Empanadas. She showed me how to crimp the edges just right to seal in the filling and prevent any leaks during baking.

After we had assembled a tray full of Empanadas, we popped them into the oven and waited anxiously for them to bake. The kitchen filled with the tantalizing aroma of baking pastry, and my mouth watered in anticipation.

When the timer finally dinged, we pulled the tray out of the oven and marveled at the golden brown beauties before us. Maria insisted that we wait a few minutes for them to cool slightly before digging in, but it was torture to resist.

Finally, we each grabbed an Empanada and took a bite. The crust was perfectly flaky, and the filling was bursting with flavor. I couldn't believe that I had made something so delicious with my own two hands.

From that day on, Empanadas became a staple in my cooking repertoire. I made them for family gatherings, potlucks, and special occasions. Each time I baked a batch, I thought of Maria and her grandmother, and I felt a deep connection to the generations of women who had passed down this recipe.

I soon began experimenting with different fillings for the Empanadas, adding my own twist to the traditional recipe. I tried chicken, pork, and even vegetarian versions, each one more delicious than the last.

As the years went by, I continued to refine my Empanada recipe, always striving to create the perfect balance of flavors and textures. And though I have learned many recipes from various places and people over the years, the recipe for Empanadas will always hold a special place in my heart.

So, the next time you bite into a golden brown Empanada, remember that behind every delicious dish is a story waiting to be shared. And who knows, maybe one day you'll stumble upon a recipe that will become a treasured part of your own culinary journey.


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