These Argentine Empanadas are iconic empanadas filled with well-seasoned ground beef, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and raisins. All these and more are wrapped up in a delicious easy empanada dough and baked to golden perfection. Flaky, buttery, and loaded meat pies that can be served as breakfast, snacks, appetizers, and even dinner!
Every bite of these Argentinian empanadas will transport you to Buenos Aires without flying in a plane.
Although I’m claiming this to be an Argentinian beef empanada recipe, actually there are tons of empanada variations in Argentina.
Our version for today is close to what they call Empanada Mendocinas which are baked and popular in the Mendoza region in Argentina (which by the way is also known for great wines.)
Another thing that you’d notice, too, are those curvy seals, repulgue. They’re kind of tricky to do at first, I admit, but with practice, you’ll be able to perfect them.
Are you ready to satiate your stomach? Let’s go make these South American popular meat pies.
WHAT ARE ARGENTINE EMPANADAS?
Believed to have originated in Spain, South Americans have actually done a pretty good job in marketing their respective empanada in their countries and around the world.
These hand pies are commonly filled with ground beef, chicken, shredded pork, seafood, or vegetables.
If you basically want to treat your palate for something sweet, you can always stuff your empanadas with sweet fillings like Dulce de Leche, custard, fruit jams, or Nutella.
One popular version of this well-beloved comfort food is the Argentinian empanadas Mendocinas or Mendoza-style empanadas.
It’s typically filled with seasoned ground beef, hard-boiled eggs, a slice of olive, and raisins.
Okay, that raisin part is still debatable. But I do looove them. They add a nice texture and a hint of sweetness in our beef empanada filling.
If you happen to visit Argentina, you can usually buy empanadas at street food stands, bakeries, cafes, and of course, commonly in most Argentinian homes.
RECIPE FOR EMPANADAS ARGENTINA
This version of beef empanada recipe is not at all far- flung from what you would usually have. It may have different variations, but most of them are made with kitchen staple ingredients.
Most empanada dough is usually made with flour, butter, salt, water, and egg. But in today’s recipe for Empanadas Argentina, you’ll be surprised that it’s made with wheat flour and milk. Yes, milk!
Adding milk to the dough somehow adds that softness and creaminess mouthfeel when you bite into the crust. And not to mention that nice note of milk flavor.
Here’s what you need for the dough…
Wheat flour – it is a healthier option compared to all-purpose or white flour since it has higher protein content, as well as fiber, nutrients, and flavor. It also has that distinct nutty and tasty flavor to it.
Butter or lard – adds a buttery flavor to our dough. Take note that we’re using melted butter/lard. Since we’re using whole wheat flour that produces a coarser texture baked goods, it’s best to pair it with melted butter to add moisture right off the bat. Melted butter is usually used in recipes that require gentle mixing.
Egg – binds our ingredients all together and helps create a structure for our empanada dough.
Milk – makes our dough softer and creamier in every bite. It’s a smart addition (instead of water) since we’re using whole wheat flour for this recipe.
Sugar and salt – add flavor to our beef empanada dough.
BEEF EMPANADA FILLING
To better incorporate flavors in our empanada meat filling, I opted to blend the veggies and seasonings before adding to the pan with the sauteed meat. Surprise, surprise!
But, of course, you can go the traditional way of adding them straight away into the pan, but I feel like blending them all together into a liquid mixture allows the meat to properly absorb them.
Ground Beef – beef has the tastiest flavor among meat, but feel free to swap it with ground chicken, turkey, pork or sausage. Another version of beef empanada mendocinas uses chopped beef which is a lot chunkier than the finer ground one.
Red Bell Pepper – adds a nice juicy crunch and mildly sweet flavor.
Onion – aside from its sweet and sharp flavor, onions also have an incredible aroma which makes any dish mouthwatering.
Basil – adds a mint-like and herby notes of flavor in our meat filling
Dried Oregano – has subtle sweet and spicy flavors, and is bold and earthy at the same time.
Cumin – adds a rich, warm, earthy tone of flavors.
Vegetable Oil – this is to loosen up a bit of our blended mixture and make it pourable.
Vinegar – adds a nice sharp and sour flavor
Boiled Eggs – coz meat isn’t just enough, this Argentine empanadas showcases a slice of boiled egg to make it even heartier.
Black Olives – have a mild and slight flavor that compliments our meat filling, and egg.
Raisins – adds a nice texture in our empanada filling and that lovely hint of sweetness. Since not all are raving fans of raisins, feel free to leave it out.
OTHER FILLING IDEAS
Aside from those mentioned above, you may also throw in the ones below to make our empanada filling even more exciting.
- Fried egg and bacon bits
- Diced potatoes
- Carrots and peas
- Ham and cheese
- Ground chicken or turkey
DIPPING SAUCES FOR EMPANADAS
Empanadas can be enjoyed on their own or with a dipping sauce. But a chimichurri sauce is usually served along with it.
Here are other dips or sauces that you can use in case you don’t want to go the trouble of making the chimichurri sauce.
MAKING AHEAD AND FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS
One of the best things about making empanadas is that they are absolutely freezer-friendly. You can always make a big batch and freeze half of it.
Here’s how you can prepare these Argentine empanadas ahead of time.
Beef Empanada Filling. You can make the empanada filling ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container and into the fridge for 3 days.
Empanada Dough. The dough can also be made a day in advance. Wrap the dough ball with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.
Unbaked Empanadas. To freeze unbaked empanadas, place them in a baking sheet pan and freeze them for an hour. Once they’re already hard to touch, transfer them in a freezer-safe container or a zip lock and freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready to bake, simply thaw them in the fridge overnight and follow the baking instructions in this recipe for empanadas Argentina.
HOW TO REHEAT EMPANADAS
Leftover empanadas can be stored in the fridge overnight or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Once you’re ready to eat them, bake the frozen empanadas at 350 F/170C for about 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
MORE BEEF RECIPES TO TRY
FOR THE ARGENTINIAN EMPANADA DOUGH:
- 3 ¼ cups Wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1/3 cup Butter melted
- 1 Egg
- ½ cup Milk warm
FOR THE BEEF EMPANADA FILLING:
- 2 pounds Ground beef
- 1 Onion diced
- 1 teaspoon Red bell pepper chopped
- 3 Basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon Dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon Ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
- 3 Boiled eggs diced
- 10 Black olives cut in halves
- ¼ cup Raisins
- Oil for frying
- 1 Beaten egg as an egg wash
FOR THE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
- 1 Medium white onion cut into squares.
- 1 bunch Scallions chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic grated
- 1 bunch Parsley freshly chopped
- 1 teaspoon Chili powder
- ½ cup Wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- ½ cup Olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
HOW TO MAKE EMPANADA DOUGH
- Mix well the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
- Then, make a well in the center, and pour the butter (previously melted), the egg and the warm milk a little at a time.
- Mix everything with your hands and transfer onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth. Let it rest for about 30 minutes covered with a clean cloth in a warm place.
- After 30 minutes, knead the dough again and cut it into several pieces with a knife to form a total of twenty (20) dough balls of the same size (put some oil on your hands to make sure the balls don’t stick). Then, place them on a tray, cover them with a clean cloth and set aside.
PREPARING THE EMPANADA FILLING
- Take a large non-stick skillet, and heat the oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
- Then add the meat, let it fry for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir constantly and let it cook for a few more minutes.
- Take a blender or food processor. Add the onion, bell pepper, basil, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, vinegar and two tablespoons of oil. Blend until you get a thick mixture. Add it to the meat and continue cooking for about 30 minutes over low heat.
- Adjust the seasoning if necessary and remove from heat. Set aside.
HOW TO MAKE THE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE
- In a bowl, put the onion, scallions, garlic, parsley, chili powder, vinegar, lemon juice, oil, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Stir all the ingredients with a spoon and put the sauce in the fridge for about 20 minutes to intensify the flavors.
ASSEMBLING THE ARGENTINIAN BEEF EMPANADA
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough balls one by one to stretch them with a rolling pin and make a thin round dough circle.
- In the middle of the dough circle, put the empanada filling: a spoonful of meat, a piece of egg, half of the olive and two raisins.
- Then, fold the dough disc with fillings in half. Crimp the edges with a fork or use your fingers to twist and curl the edges. If you can’t close them well, you can use water or egg white to brush the inside edges.
- Prickle with a fork in three different parts of the dough.
- You can refrigerate them for 20 minutes. This will help to get the most beautiful empanadas.
- When ready to bake, heat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.
- After that, brush each empanadas with the beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- Serve hot with chimichurri sauce.
- Feel free to omit the raisins if you don’t want to.
- You may also swap the ground beef with ground chicken or turkey, pork, or a combination of ground beef and pork.