These Baked Empanadas are Argentine-style empanadas. They are stuffed with a picadillo beef mixture, brushed with egg washed and baked.
Let’s talk about these Baked Empanadas! In the world of empanada land, I would say that these are more similar to Argentina-style empanadas. The dough is flakey and baked, not fried. I love this dough because while it’s flakey, it’s not exactly like pie dough. It’s more toothsome than that. And the filling is SO good that I often times will just make the filling and pair it with cauliflower rice or something. This is if I’m trying to be healthy. If not, I eat it this way…
What are Empanadas?
They derive from the Spanish word “empanar” which means to envelope or wrap something. Makes sense because empanadas are wrapped over some sort of filling mixture. Empanadas are either baked or fried. The one you see is obviously the baked version that is more popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico and other parts of the Caribbean and South America. Colombians famously deep fry them.
How to Make Empanada Dough
Empanada dough is very similar to pie dough except this has more a toothsome and crumbly texture versus flakey and buttery. Here’s how I make mine:
- Mix the dry ingredients together. There is all-purpose flour and salt.
- Grate in the cold butter. Just like my usual pie dough, I like to grate in the butter and mix it throughout the dry ingredients.
- Whisk the water and egg together. Egg makes this dough a bit more toothsome and soft. I like it versus just butter and water.
- Pour the water/egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until it’s mostly combined.
- Dump it out onto your work surface.
- Knead the dough together until it forms a ball.
- Wrap it in plastic wrap. And let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
The fillings for empanadas can vary SO much. This will depend on the country, the village, the family; truly the options are endless. I even went to a Super Bowl party last year and there were empanadas there that were In-n-Out inspired. So get creative. I like to keep it simple so here’s what I did.
Picadillo. In Spanish this literally means “picado” which means all chopped up. The picadillo in this instance has the following:
- Ground beef
- Red Bell Pepper
- Tomato paste
How to Assemble the Baked Empanadas
- Roll out the dough.
- Using a 6-inch cookie cutter OR using a bowl as a guide and a knife, cut out circles.
- Add a few teaspoons of filling to each circle of dough.
- Fold it over and crimp the sides.
- Transfer them to a baking sheet.
- Place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.
- Then bake!
I like to serve them with salsa. And love to eat them piping hot!
Baked Empanadas Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 5 green olives, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 large egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon water
To Make the Dough:
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter atop the flour mixture. Working quickly, and using your hands, break the butter bits into the flour until they're evenly distributed and resemble the size of small peas.
- In a measuring cup, measure out the water and whisk in the egg. Pour the liquid into the flour; the mixture will be shaggy at this point. From here, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together (I usually need to about 1 more tablespoons). Flour your counter and dump the dough onto it. Knead a few times more until it comes together. Form into a disc. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour, ideally overnight.
To Make the Filling:
- In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the ground beef. Break up the ground beef using a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook the meat until mostly browned. Add the diced onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the green olives, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, crushed red pepper and a few pinches of salt. Give it a good mix and cook about 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. If the mixture seems a bit dry (this will depend on how much fat your ground beef has), add a splash of water.
To Assemble the Empanadas:
- Roll out the disc of dough into a 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 6-inch round cutter (or you could use a bowl and trace out circles with a sharp paring knife), cut out as many circles as you can. Re-roll the scraps and cut out a few more.
- Transfer the rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly brush each dough round with egg wash. Add a tablespoon of the meat filling to one side of the circle of dough; fold the dough over, creating a half-moon shape. Using the tines of a fork, seal the empanada's seam together by pressing them together. Repeat until you've worked through all of the empanadas.
- Transfer the baking sheet of empanadas to the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the empanadas with egg wash and using a knife, pierce the top to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Eat immediately or room temperature. Serve with salsa or chimichurri.
If you make this, let me know on Instagram!