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homemade empanadas

Posted on February 13th, 2012  |  8 Comments

Happy Monday!

Super quick and easy homemade empanadas over here!

haha, jk.

Sorry, I can’t lie to you, these bad boys are not quick and easy.

They aren’t necessarily hard to make, but they take some time and effort.

I’d like to think they were worth it.

Yes, they were definitely worth it.

Besides being able to load up anything I want into these pastry delights, they recipe yields about 30, so they should last a day or two few days.

The filling is the easy part, it’s the dough… that’s where the challenege is.

Truth be told, I used to be intimidated by doughs, always worrying I wasn’t actually kneading them, or I kneaded too much.

and they never turned out like the pictures (see above.)

And then I got over it.

I practiced.

A few times is all it took.

Turned out pretty nice this time.

So I swear, this isn’t as hard as it looks.

Whole wheat pastry flour amps up the health factor.

Carrots, celery, and spinach help out too.

All wrapped up in a hand held edible purse.

Just a little pinching action is all you need. Pinch lip over, repeat.


Don’t worry if they don’t come out perfect looking, that’s the perk of being homemade.

The rustic look.

Keeping it moderate on the filling will help minimize the holes.

Brush with a little egg wash and bake away!

Golden brown goodness coming right up!

The flaky crust..

and incredibly tasting filling are a match made in heaven.

Make whole wheat homemade empanadas and impress your friends, family, and self!


Feel free to make any substitutions to the filling, more veggies, less veggies, other sauces, etc. Although I will say I’d keep the cinnamon. Something about the depth of flavor it brings to a dish. I think it really makes the empanada.

homemade empanadas

by lafig

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: grass fed beef whole wheat pastry flour cinnamon spinach

Ingredients (30-35 empandas)

  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. red bell pepper, diced (about 1/4 pepper)
  • 1/2 c. carrots, diced (about 1 carrot)
  • 1/2 c. celery, diced (about 1 stalk)
  • 1 med. onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped, seeds optional
  • 6 dates, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 T worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T mango ginger chutney (Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 – 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 c. loosely packed baby spinach leaves
  • 3/4-1 c. loosely packed cilantro


For the crust, you can buy premade empanada dough or follow this recipe like I did. The only slight changes I made to Laylita’s recipe were substituting half the flour for whole wheat pastry flour, and adding 1 tsp each of garlic powder and cumin and using 7-8 Tbsp of water. Looks like a lot of effort, and sorta is, but when you’re done, it feels good.

If making the dough by hand, while it’s refrigerating, you can get the filling ready.

Start by heating half the oil in a large pan over medium high heat, add the carrots, celery, bell pepper, jalapeño, onion and garlic, sauté for 5-7 minutes. While sautéing, add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/4 tsp sea salt. Remove veggies from pan to a medium bowl.

In the same pan heat the rest of the oil over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. While cooking add the nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, garlic powder, worcestershire sauce and mango chutney. Use a wooden spoon to break up the beef into small pieces.

Once the beef is mostly cooked add the tomato and spinach and add back in the veggies, simmer for a few more minutes until the beef is thoroughly cooked. Add the cilantro and turn off of heat.

To assemble, have the empanda dough ready, rolled out (using 1/4-1/2 c. more flour as needed) cut into circles with a 4-5 inch diameter. Add about 2 Tbsp of the filling into each circle. Fold over, leaving a little extra dough on the bottom layer to pinch up and fold over the top layer. Repeat until all sides are sealed with a pinch. Or you could just use a fork to pinch the edges together. Place the empanadas in a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes before baking to let everything set together and get the crust nice and cold.

Brush the top of each empanada with an egg wash of egg and water to get that nice golden brown color.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 375 degree oven or until golden brown.

Serve with Trader Joe’s mango chutney or hot sauce (or mix together!)


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8 Responses

  1. These look incredible! And totally worth the time. I need to make empanadas soon. Gorgeous photos as well – love your blog!

  2. K&B N. says:

    We grew up eating empanadas they’re so delicious


  3. These look delicious! Our whole family loves empanadas, but I’ve never been brave enough to try to make them myself. I’d have to say, I probably would opt to try first with store-bought dough! If I’m gearing up for a weekend project though, this would be it!

  4. Meredith says:

    I’d like to make these, but I doubt mine will look as pretty!

  5. natassa says:

    these look yummy and i have a question: is it possible to roll the dough and fill them a day early (so I would bake them a day later?)

    • lafig says:

      Natassa, to make ahead, I would place the filled empanadas on a baking sheet and place in the freezer to freeze, once frozen place in a freezer safe bag.The next day remove at least 30 minutes prior to baking. If in the fridge, I’d be afraid the juices would leak through the dough. Let me know how it turns out!

  6. Carolyn Haenfler says:

    I get so frustrated with these type recipes. I must be doing something wrong but when I go to print it has 9 pages of comments with. Is there any way I can avoid wasting so much paper and ink?

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