Empanada: How to Make a Spanish Empanada

An empanada is a baked or fried stuffed bread or pastry in many Latin American and Southern European countries. The name comes from the empanar verb, which means wrapping or coating in bread. Empanada is produced by folding around the stuffing a dough or bread patty. The stuffing may be a range of meats, vegetables, or even fruits.

Empanadas originate from Galicia (Spain) and Portugal. They first emerged during the Moorish invasions in Medieval Iberia. A cookbook released in Catalan, Spain in 1520 mentions among its Catalan, Italian, French, and Arabic food recipes that some empanadas are packed with seafood.

Empanadas and the very comparable calzones are thought to be both derived from the pies and samosas filled with Arabic meat.


  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Snacks / Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Spanish

An empanada is prepared in Spain and is similar to a big pie cut into parts, making it a portable and hearty meal for working individuals. The whole preparation and cooking time is around 1 hour and 20 minutes. This recipe serves six to eight people.

Here is our recipe for the Spanish empanada.

Some historians claim that evidence of the empanada dates all the way back before the 14th century. Photo credits to: https://vamospanish.com/the-story-of-argentine-empanada/.

Empanada Ingredients

For Empanada Dough,

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of lard or shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup of chicken stock

For Empanada Filling,

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 pound of tuna
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Oil or shortening, for frying

Empanada Instructions

Step 1: In a big pan, combine the meal, cooking powder, sugar, and salt for the empanada dough. Cut a pastry blender or 2 knives into the lard until the blend looks like coarse cornmeal.

Step 2: Beat the egg in a separate bowl and whisk in the stock. Add the egg blend to the mixture of flour and knead until it forms a dough. Cover and cool for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Meanwhile, for the empanada filling: heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add salt and boil the ground beef, tuna, and garlic until the beef and tuna are fully cooked. Drain the fat and set aside the beef and tuna.

Step 4: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, garlic, tomatoes, and onions. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until soft. Add beef and tuna, and let them enjoy each other for about 5 minutes over low heat with fire. The mixture is supposed to be wet but not dripping. You are now prepared to complete the empanadas.

Step 5: Flour a working surface lightly and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut rounds of 4-, 5-, or 6-inch, depending on how big you like. Add a few fillings of meat to each empanada and fold the dough in half to include the filling. Use a fork to press and seal the edges closed. You can refrigerate the uncooked empanadas for up to 3 hours.

Step 6: Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep fryer. Fry the empanadas for 6 to 7 minutes, until golden brown.

Empanada Recipe Additional Information

  • Per 100 grams of serving has 335 calories, 18 g of fat, and 5 g of saturated fat.
  • Spanish colonists carried the empanada recipe to Latin America and the Philippines, where they are still very popular to this day.
  • In Argentina, empanadas are often served as a starting or main course during parties and festivals. Shops with many flavors and fillings are specialized in newly produced empanadas.
  • Serves 6-8 people and takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to cook/prepare.

About Empanada Recipe

A Galician and Portuguese empanada is generally filled with tuna, sardines, or chorizo, but it may contain fish or pork loin. The meat or fish is frequently found inside the bread or pastry case in a tomato, garlic, and onion sauce. The empanada gallega has also become famous in this region due to the large number of Galician immigrants in Latin America.

They say that empanadas unite all of Latin America today. The dish reached Asia and the United States of America. In Argentina, the fillings differ from province to province; the dough is produced with wheat flour and beef drippings. Some places use chicken, while others use beef, spiced with cumin and paprika. Some other fillings are onion, boiled egg, olives, or raisins. Empanadas can be baked or fried.

In Bangladesh, empanadas are known as kushli pitha. The most common stuffing is coconut and jaggery spiced with cinnamon. They are generally eaten as snacks during tea time. And in the United States, empanadas are based primarily on South American recipes, where they are commonly accessible from food carts, food trucks, and restaurants in New York City, New Jersey, and Miami.


Not a lot of food can unite nations. The empanada recipe, however, has reached many regions and countries today. Empanadas have been on a long historical journey that has ultimately resulted in several modifications to the recipe. However, it remains a well-regarded and nutritious snack all over the world.

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Featured Image: @boozyburbs / Instagram, @adventuresinsydney / Instagram