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The name empanada comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning “wrapped in bread.” These savory stuffed dough dumplings date to 14th-century Galicia in northwestern Spain. In contemporary Galicia and Portugal, empanadas are made similar to large pies and are served cut in pieces. They also often contain tuna or sardines. Spanish and Galician immigrants to Latin America and the Philippines brought empanadas across the Atlantic, and they are popular in areas of the contemporary United States with large Hispanic populations, including urban areas of New York and New Jersey, as well as in the states of Florida, Texas, and California. Empanadas in the United States are usually bite-size fried dumplings with spiced meat filling.

Recipe Servings: 6

Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 5 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


Aioli Dip:


    For Dough:
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut in the lard or shortening using a pastry cutter or fork until the texture of the mixture is similar to that of coarse cornmeal.
  3. Beat the eggs in a bowl and then add the stock, whisking to combine.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the flour and lard mixture, kneading until the dough forms.
  5. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes while the filling is being prepared.
  6. For Filling (prepare while dough chills):
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  8. Fry the ground beef until cooked completely, seasoning with the garlic salt. Drain and set aside.
  9. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet.
  10. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, seasoned salt, garlic, bell peppers, and onions, and cook for about 8–10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  11. Add the beef and cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes, until the consistency of the mixture is moist but not overly wet.
  12. Flour a work surface and roll out the chilled dough to ¼ inch thick.
  13. Cut out 4–6-inch rounds.
  14. Add a spoonful of meat filling to each round, fold in half to enclose, and use a fork to press and seal the edges.
  15. In a deep fryer, heat oil to 350̈°F.
  16. Fry the empanadas for 6–7 minutes each, until golden-brown.
  17. For Aioli Dipping Sauce:
  18. Stir together the mayonnaise, adobo sauce, and lime juice in a medium bowl.

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