Beef Empanadas are classic fare in Argentina, and are becoming more popular in the United States. But the question on everyone’s mind is: How do you make the crust?
Usually, I recommend that people buy empanada crust (this is a link to my favorite brand) at the grocery store, as occasionally they are available in the frozen Latin American foods section. Unfortunately, empanada crusts are not reliably available. Sometimes you can find them, and sometimes you can’t. (I think people stock up, so the super market often runs out) Of course, you can get empanada crusts shipped to you, but the quantities are massive, so this might not be an option.
How do they Make Empanadas in Argentina?
Friends of mine in Argentina have indicated that most home bakers buy their empanada crusts at the supermarket, so they really didn’t have any recipes for empanada crust that they could share with me. So, I decided to develop my own empanada crust recipe, and here it is!
I’ve been working on this recipe for awhile, and I think it is a good one. But there are a few tricks to understanding what this recipe can do.
- This empanada crust recipe is good for baked empanadas, not fried.
- You can use other savory fillings, but it is particularly good as a crust for beef empanadas. This recipe does work with sweet fillings like pumpkin and sweet potato, but it is too firm to be considered “pastry.”
- Do not roll this dough too thin, as it will be difficult to handle
- Chilling the dough after it is rolled helps to keep it firm for filling
- Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough, and not a tortilla press.
Isn’t there just one Empanada Crust Recipe?
I have not come across an empanada crust recipe that is multi-purpose for use in both fried and baked empanadas, but I will keep researching. This recipe makes beef empanadas that you will find immediately familiar and authentic. You can look at my recipe for Empanadas de Camote (Sweet Potato Empanadas) for a sweet, pastry dessert crust if that is the texture you desire.
Experimenting with different doughs is one of my favorite past-times. I’m looking forward to sharing more empanada crust recipes with you soon!Print
Classic Argentinian Beef Empanadas
- Prep Time: 70 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Yield: 12–14 empanadas 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Argentina/Latin America
4 cups all-purpose flour (500 g)
1 tsp. baking powder (4g)
½ tsp. salt (2g)
3 tbsp. sugar (38g)
6 tbsp. butter, chilled (90g)
1 cup water (240ml)
2 tbsp. olive oil (30ml)
1 small onion, chopped
½ lb. ground beef (250g)
1 clove garlic
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
½ cup frozen peas (55g)
¼ cup chopped olives (90g – optional)
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour (8g)
½ cup water (120ml)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water (15ml)
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour along with the baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pulse once or twice to combine well. Cut the butter into slices, add to the bowl, pulsing until the mixture makes a course meal. Add the eggs one at a time, pulsing to combine well.
Turn the food processor on and add the water through the feed hole. Once the dough gathers into a ball, turn off the food processor. Remove the dough and knead by hand on a floured surface until it is no longer sticky. Divide the dough into 12-14 equal size balls.
Knead each piece of dough lightly to coat with flour. Shape each equally sized piece into a flat patty. Roll each of the dough patties into circles on a floured surface. Roll the circles to approximately 8” (20cm) in diameter, but do not roll too thin. Separate each piece with waxed paper, and place the pieces in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the chopped onions, and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, and brown completely, about 10 minutes. Break up the lumps of meat with the back of the spoon while it cooks. Add the garlic, carrots, peas and olives, cover, and continue to brown for another 5 minutes.
Mix the flour and water together in a small bowl. Pour into the beef mixture and stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Once the flour mixture has been completely absorbed, remove the filling from the heat.
To make the empanadas, remove the crusts from the refrigerator and separate. Add a large spoonful of the filling to the center of the circle. Fold the dough over the top to make a half-moon shape and seal the edges with a fork. Crimp the edges decoratively, if desired.
Heat your oven to 375°F (190°C) while you continue to shape all of the empanadas. Place the formed empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each of the empanadas with the egg wash.
Bake the empanadas for 25-30 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.