This authentic Argentinian empanadas recipe is for an iconic Argentina food of pure deliciousness wrapped up in a pocket of dough. Filled with a mixture of ground beef, green olives, hard boiled eggs and spices, simply bake until golden brown.

What is an Empanada? 

The name empanada is derived from Latin, in panis or in bread. In Spanish, empanar means to “put in bread.” Therefore, empanadas are little pockets, easy to hold in the hands, stuffed with an array of fillings.

Argentinian empanadas have an international reputation and Argentines have made it one of the crown jewels of their cuisine.

History and Origins of Empanadas

The precise origins of empanadas are not entirely clear. Some trace the origin of hand-held pies to Persia. Much later, when the Moors moved to the Iberian Peninsula, they are said to have brought the empanada with them. The Spanish took a special fondness to it and adapted the recipe making it their own.
In the 16th Century, when the Spanish conquistadors conquered South America, they brought empanadas with them.

Even though they go by different names, they are mostly the same – a stuffed delicious little pastry.

Argentinian empanadas is one of the country’s culinary specialties. Traditionally, Argentina empanadas were known as a “working man’s meal” because they were filling and easy to carry.
Recipes vary and each region and province take the preparation of empanadas very seriously. Empanadas Argentina have a special fold or seal which usually indicates the type of flavor.

This technique is called repulgue and comes in handy for distinguishing the various types.

The most common is “carne” or beef empanadas mixed with onions, vegetables, and in some cases eggs or potatoes. The types of empanadas you’d find in Buenos Aires are not exactly the same as the ones in the rest of the country.

Baked versus fried Argentina empanadas – Argentine empanadas are either baked or fried. We preferred the baked empanadas which are absolutely delicious. And, this Argentininian empanadas recipe is for baked empanadas.

Empanadas Mendocinas or Mendoza-style Empanadas – Empanadas Mendocinas are baked rather than fried. And, the typical filling is seasoned ground beef with a slice of green olive and a slice of hard-boiled egg.

Empanadas Arabes are very distinctive with their triangular shape.

These empanadas have a unique triangular shape.  The ground beef filling is cooked with lemon, onions, red peppers, tomatoes, olives with salt and pepper. These are absolutely delightful with Middleastern flavors.

Empanadas from Salta or Empanadas Salteñas – These empanadas are small in size and incredibly flavorful. The empanada filling consists of beef with green onions, potatoes, boiled eggs and red pepper. A spicy picante red sauce accompanies these empanadas.

Empanadas from Tucuman – The famed empanadas from Tucuman do not have potatoes. The beef is diced by hand and cooked in a broth with green onions, cumin, paprika, garlic and red and white pepper. Raisins are often added to the empanadas.

Sweet Empanadas – While the vast majority of Argentinian empanadas are savory, there are some sweet or sugary ones. While in Salta, we had the opportunity to try a local sweet empanada filled with dulce de cayote or sweet squash. The empanadas had a glazed sugar coating and the coyote filling was very sweet. We much preferred the savory ones.

  1. First you don’t use a knife and fork. It is a “sacrilege”. An empanada is to be eaten with your hands to appreciate it to its best.
  2. Second, when you bite your empanada, you don’t want to let anything fall on your plate. You want to show that you really enjoy the empanada which means nothing is to be omitted. However, that presents a dilemma. The baked empanadas from the clay oven are served hot and you are likely to burn yourself.
  3. Third, you want to get your empanada cooked in the horno de barro or clay oven. These are said to be the best. To be sure the empanadas were cooked in a horno de barro, you’ll notice that the dough on the empanada “bubbles” up at the surface. This is the signature of a “real” empanada.

You don’t really need a sauce with Argentine empanadas as they are moist and flavorful on their own.

However, some people, including Argentines, do like a dipping sauce with their empanadas, most use the quintessential Chimichurri sauce.

Wines For Empanadas Argentina

Empanadas mendocinas pair very well with the signature Malbec wines from the Mendoza wine region in Argentina.

How to Seal Empanadas – “Repulge”

In Argentina empanadas have a special fold or seal which usually indicates the type of flavor. This technique is called repulgue and comes in handy for distinguishing the various types.

The presentation of empanadas is key and is part of the experience. You want to seal the empanadas using a little egg white or water. And, then roll the edges to give a spiral pattern.

Any leftover empanadas can be refrigerated overnight. If you would like to keep them for a longer time, empanadas can be frozen for 2 weeks. Once you’re ready to eat your empanadas, bake the frozen empanadas in the oven at 350°F or  175°C  for about 20-25 minutes.

Argentinian Empanadas Recipe

makes: 12 prep time: 30 MINUTES cook time: 30 MINUTES additional time: 30 MINUTES


For the dough

  • 2 ⅜ cups or 320g of flour
  • ¼ cup or 50 grams of lard or butter
  • 1 cup or 230ml of water
  • Pinch of salt

For the Filling

  • ½ pound or 230g beef (lean ground beef or finely chopped sirloin)
  • ½ pound or 230g of onions about 1 to 1-1/2 medium white onion sliced
  • ¼ cup or 50 grams of lard or butter
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp chili peppers
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 Hard boiled egg
  • 6 green olives chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Assembling

1 egg: separate the white from the yolk; use the white for sealing and the yolk for glazing or water also works well to seal but no matter what you will need the yolk to later glaze over finished empanadas before placed in oven.


Instructions For Empanadas Dough

  1. To make the dough Argentine style, add the salt to the water and bring it to a boil in a small saucepan
  2. When the water boils, add the lard or butter and stir until it melts
  3. Pour into a large bowl
  4. Cool to room temperature
  5. Once cooled, add the flour gradually while mixing with your hands continuously until the dough forms a ball
  6. Knead the dough by hand onto a clean surface with flour until the dough is non sticky and smooth. Add more flour as needed
  7. Set aside to rest while preparing the filling for at least 30 mins to 24 hours

Instructions For Making the Filling

  1. Combine the beef, paprika, chili pepper, cumin, salt and pepper in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together with your hands. Set aside until ready to use
  2. Melt the lard in a large frying pan or sauté pan, add the onions and salt, cook until the onions are soft
  3. Add the meat mixture to the onions and cook on medium heat until the meat is done, stir frequently
  4. Let the meat mixture cool down, and then mix in chopped oregano
Instructions For Assembling the Empanadas
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F or 200C
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper
  3. Cut the dough in half
  4. Roll the dough using a rolling pin or a pasta machine onto a floured surface to get a rectangle shape of about 7 inch by 14 inches, ⅛ inch thick; 18cmx 36cm and 3mm thick
  5. Cut empanada discs about 3 inches or 7.5cm using a cookie cutter or a small bowl
  6. Make about 6 circles, save the scraps and use them for the remaining dough
  7. Repeat with the second half of the dough
  8. Assemble the empanadas by adding a tablespoon of the meat mixture on the center of the empanada disc, add a slice of egg and olive.
  9. Brush the edges of the empanada discs with the egg white to seal it
  10. Make the empanada fold, called repulgue. Seal the edges gently with your fingers, twist and fold the edges of the empanadas with your fingers until you make a full spiral pattern on the edge.
  11. Brush the top of the empanadas with the egg yolk
  12. Bake for about 20 minutes until brown on top. Turn the empanadas around and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  13. Serve hot