Empanadas are pastry turnovers filled with a savoury mixture of beef and vegetables. They are prevalent in Mexican and Spanish cuisine.

Yield: Makes about 36.


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lb (0.5 kg) lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup beef broth
  • 1/3 cup diced cooked peeled potato
  • 1/3 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 tbsp sliced green onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optional
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped, optional
  • Oil for frying
  • Salsa verde*


  1. Sift flour and 1 tsp salt into a bowl. Cut in half of butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Cut in remaining butter until pieces are pea-size. Combine ice water, vinegar and egg. Pour ice water mixture over flour mixture; mix lightly with a fork just until dough starts to hold together.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 3 - 5 minutes. Gather dough into a ball; flatten dough into a disc shape. Wrap disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling out.
  3. To prepare filling, heat 2 tsp oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add beef and cook, stirring to break up beef, until browned, about 7 - 10 minutes. Drain off excess fat.
  4. Stir broth into beef mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until liquid is evaporated, about 9 minutes. Stir in next 6 ingredients (potato through egg). Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a floured 4 inch cookie cutter, cut dough into rounds. Working with one round at a time, roll out each round until it is about double in size. On each round, place about 1 1/2 tbsp of filling on bottom third of round, leaving a small border of dough uncovered on edge. Brush border with water and fold top half of dough over filling. Pinch edges to seal; crimp edges with a fork.
  6. Heat 1 inch oil to 350°F in a large deep frypan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, carefully place empanadas in oil. Fry until golden brown and crisp, about 3 – 4 minutes per side. Remove empanadas with a slotted spoon; drain empanadas on paper towels. Serve with salsa verde.
Nutritional analysis per empanada:

96 calories, 5.4 g fat, 4.9 g protein, 6.6 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g fibre, 167 mg sodium

*Ingredient not included in nutritional analysis.


As an alternative to frying, empanadas may be baked. To bake empanadas, preheat oven to 350ºF. Place empanadas on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until empanadas are golden brown.

*Salsa verde is a green condiment used in Mexican cuisine. It is often made from tomatillos, jalapenos, onion and cilantro. Look for it in the aisle where salsa is sold.