Beefy Empanada Recipe

Empanadas come in all shapes and sizes. On one end of the spectrum, you have empanadas such as the delicate, crispy, orange-tinged ones from Ilocos. On the other end, you have the hefty, Galician-style empanadas with Latin-American flavors (it’s also said to be the original empanada!).

These moon-shaped meat pies can be filled with anything you can imagine. You can deep-fry them to a crisp or bake them until they’re golden brown and tender in the middle. It’s so versatile and easy to customize, which is undoubtedly the best part of making empanadas. With the endless varieties, I wouldn’t blame you if you had this for breakfast, lunch, merienda, and dinner.

This recipe calls for an ultra savory, beefy, and jam-packed filling that’s bursting with flavor. You can even save the empanada dough recipe below for next time when you decide to experiment with different fillings.



How to Make Beefy Empanadas


Empanada Dough

  • 450 grams of low protein or pastry flour (8% works well)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 grams of cold duck fat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of white vinegar
  • 125ml of cold soda water.


  • 500g beef shank
  • 2 tbsp of kosher salt
  • 2 bulbs of garlic cut in half
  • 2 onions cut in half
  • Enough water to cover


  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, minced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup Beef broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • Fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste



Day 1

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Add in cold duck fat, pinching the fat into the flour with your fingertips. Work it into the flour quickly to prevent it from melting. Keep incorporating until it looks like coarse sand.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine egg, white vinegar, and cold soda water. Slowly add the mixture with the flour and mix until it turns into a shaggy mass. Transfer to a flat surface and knead until it forms into a smooth ball. Adjust as necessary: if it’s too dry, add more duck fat. If it’s too wet, add more flour.
  3. Shape into a ball and cover in a plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to overnight.
  4. Season beef shank with salt on both sides. In a hot pan, sear until both sides brown. Place it in a pot of boiling water along with salt, onions, and garlic. Allow to simmer for 3 hours.
  5. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Strain the broth and place the meat and broth in a tupperware to leave in the fridge overnight.

Day 2

  1. The next day, remove the meat from the fridge and skim off the fat if preferred. Tear the meat into fine shreds.
  2. In a pan, sweat onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add red bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes. Pour in crushed tomatoes, water, and gelatinized broth. Mix until well incorporated.
  3. Add in soy sauce, raisins, fish sauce, and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Add in the beef (you can also add in the bone if you still have it) and simmer for another 30 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, until it is firmer to handle.
  6. Take your dough out 30 minutes before using. Roll into a log and cut into 2-3 inch sections. Roll into balls. Cover the rest of the dough while you roll out the dough into thin discs.
  7. Roll the dough out into thin discs (around 3mm). Fill the empanadas by placing a disc on your palm, and spoon in a palmful of the filling (as much as you can while still being able to seal the empanada). Crimp the edges or press down with a fork. Make sure they are properly sealed so that the oil doesn’t seep through while frying.
  8. Cover and rest the empanadas for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  9. Heat some frying oil to around 175C. Deep fry in batches of 2 or 3, until they’re golden and slightly puffed up. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
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