Does an Empanada a Day Keep the Doctor Away? [Recipe]

Not likely, but here’s my recipe for Criollas, Argentine empanadas. Happy Empanada Day!

I could eat empanadas every single day.  Whether sweet or spicy, they are always my first go-to meal.

Empanadas are also big in Latin America.  Here are seven variations by country:

Classic Mexican: These empanadas are a combination of corn dough and a fish filling in tropical Tabasco or they are also baked with plantain dough and stuffed with a beef and pork picadillo seasoned with olives and raisins.

Bolivian: What sets apart the Bolivian empanada is the soupy filling. The combination of crispy exterior and stew-like interior is achieved by adding gelatin to congeal the filling before stuffing the dough. The filling melts slowly while the empanadas are baking to prevent the crust from becoming soggy. 

Colombian: This version of empanadas is mostly made from cornmeal.  They are very salty and they vary according to the different regions of the country.

Venezuelan: These empanadas are crispy, with fresh fillings. They are made just like the arepa, from corn flour dough precooked with water, salt and a little sugar. One of the most famous Venezuelan empanadas is the shredded meat version. Its preparation is very simple, and it is stuffed with cheese and ham.

Ecuadorean: Ecuador’s famous empanada is called Empanada de Viento because the dough inflates during its cooking.

Chilean: Chilean empanadas are made with wheat flour and then baked. One of the most popular is Empanada de Pino, which consists of a filling of minced meat, chili, black olive, cumin, hard-boiled egg and raisins. The empanadas with seafood on the coast of Chile are also very famous, mainly the shrimp and cheese ones.

Argentine: The delicious Argentine empanadas are made with wheat flour. It is customary to serve them when starting the typical Argentine Asado and red wine. One of the best known is the Empanada Criolla, which is prepared with ground beef, but there are a wide variety of fillings like corn, ham and cheese, sweet potato, spinach, chicken, tuna or veggies.


Empanadas Criollas

Serves 12 (2 empanadas per person)


  • 1 tbsp of butter or beef fat
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef (the one with some fat)
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • Chopped green olives
  • Store bought puff pastry dough, cut in discs

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water


  1. Add the butter, the onions and red bell pepper to a pan over medium heat.

2. Add the meat and season it with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Halfway through the cooking process, add the wine, the dissolved bouillon cube and the ketchup. Stir occasionally while cooking for about 15 minutes at medium high heat. Once the meat is cooked, turn off the heat and add the chopped parsley.

3. Set the filling aside until it cools. Then, add the chopped eggs and green olives and mix.

4. Fill the dough disc (masa de hojaldre) and fold the pastry over, pinching the edges with your fingers to seal. Whisk together the egg and water, place the empanada on a baking sheet and paint them with the egg wash.

5. Bake empanadas for over 15 minutes or until golden in a pre-heated 415ᵒF degree oven. Enjoy hot, cold or save them in the freezer.


Other notable Hispanic recipes:

Another Great Summer Dish, Gazpacho with Lobster [Recipe]

Try This Family Favorite Cilantro Salmon Recipe

Taste of Puerto Rico at Christmas Time

Pavo’chon Boricua Recipe

Claudia Gioia
Claudia Gioia
Claudia Gioia is a growth-focused business professional with a solid record of success in turning around operations. As an entrepreneur, she sold her company to a leading multinational and joined the corporate world for 20+ years. In 2019 she founded Wenbrands Consulting to help business owners grow their bottom line by leveraging best practices. She has held positions as Latin America CEO, EVP, SVP Americas, Country Manager, Innovation and Technology Practice Chair, Global and Regional Client Leader leading multi-market teams and client work for companies such as Ford, Intel, HP, Nestle, Unilever, Danone, Sony, Accenture, Goodyear, HBO and FedEx among others. In 2018, she won the iconic Gold Stevie Awards for Woman Executive/Entrepreneur of the Year.

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