Empanada Recipe – Chipotle Beef

Empanadas are little turnovers that can be filled with meats, veggies or sweet fillings. This particular empanada recipe is filled with beef in a chipotle sauce.

The filling in this empanada recipe is spicy but you can make them without the chipotle and they will still be wonderful. I like to make mine small so that I can serve them as an appetizer. However, you can make these a lot bigger and have them as a main course.

Here is what you are going to need for this fantastic empanada recipe:

Makes about 50 small empanadas

1 egg
2 TBS milk
1/8 tsp. salt
2 ¼ cups sifted flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ cup cold butter – sliced
1 TBS cider or white vinegar
1/3 cup ice cold water

Place the egg, milk and 1/8th tsp. salt in a bowl and whisk it with a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the sifted flour and the 1 ½ tsp. salt. Mix well. Add the butter and incorporate it into the flour, using your clean hands, 2 knives or a food processor. Mix until the flour resembles bread crumbs.

Add the egg mixture, the vinegar and the water to the flour. Use your fork to incorporate all the ingredients.

Dump the dough on a clean, floured counter top. Carefully bring it all together – do not knead it – until you have a ball. This should take 2 to 3 pressing with the heel of your hands. Do not over-work the dough. Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

After an hour, divide the dough in half and place it on a clean, floured counter top. Roll it out until you have about 1/8th inch thickness. Use a glass or round cookie cutter – any size you prefer – and cut the dough. Reuse the left over dough until you have no more left over.

3 TBS oil
1 medium onion – finely chopped
2 garlic cloves – minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo – chopped
1 pound ground beef
¼ cup peas
½ large carrot – finely cubed
½ large potato – finely cubed
3 Roma tomatoes – peeled and finely chopped (you can use canned)
10 black olives – chopped
½ TBS crushed oregano
Salt & Pepper
½ cup water
1 egg with a slash of cold water
Chipotle powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.

Heat 2 TBS of oil in a skillet. Add the onions and cook for about 8 minutes, until they soften and become translucent. Add the garlic and the chipotles. Mix well and cook for about 2 minutes – until you can smell the garlic and chilies.

Add the beef and mix well. Cook for a few minutes and add the carrots, peas and potatoes. Mix well again and form a well in the middle of the pan. Add the remaining 1 TBS of oil and the cumin. Cook the cumin, mixing constantly for a couple of minutes. Incorporate the cooked cumin into the meat and vegetables.

Add the tomatoes, olives and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the water. Mix everything well, cover, and allow simmering for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool down completely before assembling your empanada.

Roll out your dough as explained above. Place your filling in the middle of your circle and fold. Make sure to press the edges so they stick together. You can leave them like this, press them with a fork, or form a ‘rope’ by overlapping it. Place the empanadas onto the baking sheet.

Sprinkle some chipotle powder into the egg and water. Beat with a fork and brush the empanadas. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake them for 25 minutes – or until the bottom browns lightly and you can visibly see that the dough is cooked. Serve and enjoy!

Print the Beef Empanadas Recipe Here


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  • As a professional chef of 20+ years, I can honestly say this recipe rocked! My 11 year old and I watched your well-produced and informative video too. It was very helpful in keeping us from overworking the dough. We felt confident that it would come together nicely and it did. I didn’t try the filling (I already had a plan for that) but I can tell you that the dough is SPOT ON! We made the dough exactly to recipe. It was tender and flavorful. I’ve now used the same recipe 3 times and each was a pleasure. Twice as a savory pastry and once with a bit of sugar added for a sweet filling. The dough is a bit short so it is vital to braid or flute the edges very well as it shrinks back a bit as it cooks. Thank you for the wonderful recipe, Beth E-S, San Diego, CA

  • Hi Beth!
    Thank you so much for this message. I really appreciate it. I am so happy that this dough worked for you. I love it as well. Take care!
    Mary Ann

  • Just made this recipe tonight and both husband and myself loved it. Bought the shells (they were large) and fried them. Only put in one chipolte pepper in adobo as I don’t like too much heat. Husband said he would have added the second one! Will be making these again. Thank you so much for this recipe. Love your site!!

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