Homemade Empanadas

I realize that I should be posting a healthy recipe.  I realize that I should stop day-dreaming about cookies, cakes, and things that are made with pie crusts.  I realize that I should stop tempting you with things like yummy homemade empanadas.  Forgive me, I just can’t help myself.

Okay, okay, these aren’t TOTALLY bad.  And by totally, I still mean they are still mostly bad, but not as bad as they could be because they are BAKED, not fried.  There, a little redemption.

These are PERFECTION for Superbowl Sunday.  Bite sized, warm, with a yummy filling and flaky crust. The perfect finger food to satisfy more than just a chip-and-dip appetite.


For the Filling:

1.25lb package of ground beef (or ground turkey, if you prefer to make it a little lighter)

1 can of tomato sauce

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 of red or green bell pepper, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 Tsp. Cumin

1 Tsp. Oregano

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Salt to taste and season the beef

For the Pastry Dough:

1 Package of Frozen Pie Crust (I used Pillsbury with 2 crusts in a package)

A few tablespoons of flour

1 Egg


Start by making your filling.  In a large saucepan, over medium heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and heat until fragrant.  Add in your seasoned ground beef, breaking it up finely.  It’s always important to first season your ground beef with a little salt before the cooking process.  Once it is brown (after about 5 mins), place the ground beef into a colander to release any excess oil and fat.  Set aside.

In the same pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. of olive oil, onions, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook until the onions are soft and translucent (about another 5 mins).  Now add the ground beef back into the pan, adding tomato sauce, cumin and oregano.  Combine and let cook for another few minutes on low heat for the flavors to melt together.  This is a good time to taste and check your seasoning.  Add salt if needed.

Set the mixture aside to completely cool to room temperature.  You can prepare the filling a day or two in advance to save time too!

For the dough, thaw according to packaged instructions.  On a flat surface, roll out your dough, making sure to sprinkle your surface and your rolling-pin with flour to prevent it from sticking.  You’ll want to roll this out slightly more than how it comes in the package, approximately 1/8 in. thickness.

With a round biscuit cutter (I’m not even that fancy. I just used a glass that was approximately 3″ across), cut out the circles being careful to not waste any dough by rolling and repeating the process.  I only work with one dough package at a time.  Otherwise, the dough gets too soft and sticky.

When your circles have been cut out, you can go ahead and spoon your cooled filling into the center.  You want to leave enough room around the edges in order to crimp them, so just place the filling in the center.  Next, beat one egg into a small bowl (this is your egg wash to secure the two dough circles together).

When you’re ready, go ahead and top the filling side with another dough disc.  Brush your egg wash around the filling and secure the two together by crimping them with either the edge of a fork or your finger.  Repeat until all of your dough is used up.

Note: You might have some left over filling.  It is awesome over a bowl of rice or over some tortilla chips sprinkled with cheese and popped in the microwave for a few seconds (think nachos).

As you can see, I added a little bit of shredded cheese to this batch as a test.  I honestly can say that I didn’t notice a huge difference with the cheese.  The filling is so flavorful, it doesn’t need it.  But the choice is yours!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven is heating, brush the egg wash over the top of each empanada to create a nice golden, shiny crust.

Place the empanadas on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet and bake for 16-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remember, the filling is cooked, so you just need to cook the pastry dough.  Once its golden in color, its done!

Okay, seriously.  How good does this look?

This is me after just taking a bite.  Yumm……

These are worth the effort (and yes, the guilt too)!!!




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