ARG_Empanadas Saltenas_Free_shutterstock_167996753

The empanada, a pasty-like snack that can have a variety of fillings, is a firm favourite with visitors to Argentina and locals alike. We've got hold of the classic recipe for the beef version from Salta, considered the home of the very best empanadas, while for a simpler take on the recipe (and a vegetarian alternative), you could also try our Cheese Empanadas

  • Prep: 30 minutes
  • Cook: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 55 minutes
  • Recipe serves: 36


For the dough:

    For every 1kg of flour:

    • 200g butter
    • 450ml lukewarm water
    • 1 tbsp salt

    For the filling:

    • 1kg minced or finely chopped beef
    • 1kg onion, chopped
    • 2 cups beef stock
    • 1 cup spring onion, finely chopped
    • 100g butter or margarine
    • 3 tbsps sugar
    • 3 tbsps cumin
    • 3 tbsps red chilli, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp paprika
    • Oil as required
    • Salt to taste


    To make the dough:

    1. Heat the water and add salt. Let the butter melt into the mixture.
    2. Put the flour in a large bowl and make a hollow in the centre of the flour. Add the water and butter mixture, and knead until you have a soft dough (this will take around 5 to 10 minutes).
    3. Lightly flour the dough, and if you have a pasta machine, pass the mixture through it (setting 5 or 6). If not, form the dough into small bowls and flatten them to approximately 10cm in diameter, or roll out the dough and use a cutter if preferred.

    To make the filling:

    1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and mix the paprika into the oil, taking care not to let it burn. Quickly add the meat and sear it without letting it become too well done. Set aside.
    2. In another pan, add the butter and chopped onion. Once the butter has melted into the onion add the stock, sugar, cumin and chilli. Allow the mixture to cook until the onion loses its crunch but remains juicy.
    3. Add the meat and mix well. Add salt and correct the seasoning if necessary.

    Cooking the empanadas

    1. Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
    2. Add about 1/4 cup of filling to the centre of each of your circles of dough, leaving a border of about 2cm. Wet the edges with a finger dipped in water, fold over into a half moon and seal the edges by hand or with the prongs of a fork to form a scalloped edge. Lay out on a baking sheet.
    3. Brush the tops of your empanadas with beaten egg if desired. Bake for 20-30 minutes until browned on top. Serve warm.

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