Authentic Empanadas Paisas Recipe from Colombia | Ingredients & Directions

Empanadas Paisas

Authentic Empanadas Paisas Recipe from Colombia | Ingredients & Directions
Region / culture: Colombia | Preparation time: 1 day | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 12


Empanadas Paisas
Empanadas Paisas

Empanadas Paisas are a traditional Colombian dish that consists of a savory filling encased in a crispy, golden brown corn dough. These delicious turnovers are a popular street food in Colombia and are enjoyed as a snack or meal any time of day.


Empanadas Paisas have been a staple in Colombian cuisine for centuries. The recipe is believed to have originated in the Paisa region of Colombia, which is known for its rich culinary traditions. Empanadas Paisas are a favorite among locals and tourists alike, and can be found in restaurants, food stalls, and homes throughout the country.


How to prepare

  1. Marinate the meat with onions, scallions, salt, pepper, and ground cumin seed the night before.
  2. The next day, brown the meat in vegetable oil.
  3. Then, return the marinade and add water.
  4. Cook until the meat is tender for approximately 40 minutes.
  5. Remove and grind the meat.
  6. Sauté the onions and scallions in 4 tsp of oil.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for an additional 3 or 4 minutes.
  8. Mix in the ground meat and meat stock, and cook for about 10 minutes.
  9. Peel and mash the cooled, boiled potatoes, and add them to the meat and vegetable mixture.
  10. Mix the salt, pepper, and ground cumin seed into the meat and potato mixture.
  11. In a separate pot, boil the dry yellow corn in sufficient water to cover the corn for about half an hour.
  12. Put the cooked corn through a grinder.
  13. Knead the dough until it is thoroughly mixed and forms a firm ball.
  14. Pick off small pieces and form them into small balls.
  15. Flatten each piece thinly.
  16. Put about 1 tsp of the meat mixture in the center of the flattened ball.
  17. Fold over and pinch the edges together to close and form a pretty edge.
  18. Place in deep, hot vegetable oil and fry for about 3 or 4 minutes until golden brown.
  19. Remove and place on paper towels in a colander.


  • Try using different fillings such as chicken, pork, or vegetables for a variety of flavors.
  • Add cheese or olives to the filling for a unique twist on the classic recipe.
  • Experiment with different spices and seasonings to customize the taste to your liking.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Marinate the meat overnight for maximum flavor.

- Be sure to brown the meat before adding the marinade and water to enhance the depth of flavor.

- Use a deep fryer or a deep pot with plenty of oil to ensure that the empanadas cook evenly and become crispy.

- Serve the empanadas hot and fresh for the best taste and texture.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Empanadas Paisas with a side of salsa, guacamole, or aji sauce for dipping. They can also be enjoyed with a fresh salad or rice and beans for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

Be sure to cook the meat until it is tender before grinding it for the filling.

- Use a meat grinder or food processor to finely chop the meat and vegetables for a smooth filling.

- Fry the empanadas in hot oil to achieve a crispy, golden brown crust.

Ingredient Substitutions

You can use ground beef, chicken, or pork in place of the beef for the filling.

- Substitute sweet potatoes or yuca for the regular potatoes for a different flavor profile.

- Use masa harina or pre-made empanada dough if you prefer not to make the corn dough from scratch.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the filling and dough ahead of time and assemble the empanadas just before frying.

- Store any leftover empanadas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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 tray for a visually appealing presentation. - Serve the empanadas with a side of colorful salsa or pickled vegetables for added flavor and texture.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Empanadas Paisas with a cold beer or a glass of red wine for a delicious combination.

- Serve the empanadas with a side of fresh fruit or a light salad to balance out the richness of the dish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover empanadas 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 Paisas contains approximately 250 calories.


Each serving of Empanadas Paisas contains approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Empanadas Paisas contains approximately 15 grams of fats.


Each serving of Empanadas Paisas contains approximately 10 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Empanadas Paisas are a good source of vitamin C, iron, and potassium.


Empanadas Paisas contain gluten from the corn dough and may contain traces of dairy and eggs in the filling.


Empanadas Paisas are a delicious and satisfying dish that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.


Empanadas Paisas are a classic Colombian dish that is loved for its crispy exterior and flavorful filling. Whether enjoyed as a snack or meal, these delicious turnovers are sure to satisfy your cravings for a taste of Colombia.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the excitement that washed over me when I first saw this recipe for Empanadas Paisas. It was a sunny afternoon in Medellin, Colombia, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria. Maria was a talented cook and had invited me over for a cooking lesson. As soon as I walked into her warm and cozy kitchen, I could smell the delicious aromas of onions, garlic, and fresh herbs.

Maria greeted me with a warm hug and a big smile. She handed me a glass of freshly squeezed guava juice and told me that today we would be making one of her favorite dishes - Empanadas Paisas. I had never heard of this dish before, but I was eager to learn and excited to taste the final result.

Maria began by showing me how to make the dough for the empanadas. She mixed together flour, cornmeal, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. She then added in some warm water and kneaded the dough until it was smooth and elastic. Maria explained that the secret to a good empanada dough was to let it rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.

While the dough was resting, Maria started on the filling for the empanadas. She chopped up some onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes, and sautéed them in a skillet with a generous amount of olive oil. She then added in some ground beef, cumin, and paprika, and let it simmer until the flavors had melded together beautifully.

Once the filling was ready, Maria rolled out the dough and showed me how to assemble the empanadas. She placed a spoonful of the beef mixture in the center of each circle of dough, folded it in half, and crimped the edges with a fork. Maria smiled as she watched me struggle with the crimping, but she gently guided me until I got the hang of it.

As we fried the empanadas in hot oil, the kitchen filled with the most incredible smells. The golden-brown pastries sizzled in the pan, and I couldn't wait to try one. Maria served the empanadas piping hot, and we enjoyed them with a side of fresh salsa and avocado slices.

The first bite of the Empanada Paisa was pure bliss. The crispy crust gave way to a savory, flavorful filling that was perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection. I couldn't believe that I had never tried this dish before, and I made a mental note to add it to my cooking repertoire.

As we sat at the kitchen table, savoring our delicious meal, Maria told me the story behind the Empanadas Paisas. She explained that they were a traditional dish from the Paisa region of Colombia and were often served at family gatherings and celebrations. Each family had their own special recipe for the filling, and it was a source of pride and joy to share it with loved ones.

I was grateful to Maria for sharing her recipe with me and teaching me the art of making Empanadas Paisas. I knew that I would cherish this memory forever and that I would continue to make this dish for my own family and friends.

Years have passed since that sunny afternoon in Maria's kitchen, but the scent of Empanadas Paisas still brings me back to that special moment. I have made this dish countless times, tweaking the recipe here and there to suit my own tastes. And every time I take a bite of a freshly fried empanada, I am reminded of the love and friendship that went into learning this recipe.

So here's to Maria, to the Empanadas Paisas that bring us together, and to the joy of sharing a delicious meal with those we hold dear. May this recipe continue to be passed down through the generations, bringing warmth and comfort to all who taste it.


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