This Argentinian empanada recipe comes from the region of Jachal. Both the dough and spiced beef filling can be made the day ahead.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (19 votes)


  • 1.3 kg (8⅓ cups) plain flour
  • 200 g (1⅓ cups) spelt flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten, plus 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine
  • 200 g pork lard, melted

Beef filling

  • 50 g pork lard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 kg onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground chilli or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 120 g (1 cup) green olives, pitted
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 3 hours or overnight
Drink match McLaren Vale Ale ($3.50)

  1. To make the dough, place flours in a mound on a work surface, then make a well in the centre. Add eggs to well and gradually draw in part of the flour with a wooden spoon. Add sugar, lemon juice and wine, then, using your hands, draw in the flour until liquid is incorporated. Make another well in the centre, add 1 tbsp salt and lard, and stir in the mixture, gradually adding 375 ml (1½ cups) water, until mixture forms a dough. Knead dough for 15 minutes or until smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  2. To make the beef filling, heat lard and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions, in 2 batches, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until soft. Season with salt and pepper, add paprika, chilli and cumin, and stir to combine. Remove from pan. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until browned. Return onions to pan, stir in oregano and remove from heat. Transfer mixture to a tray. Cool, then refrigerate until cold, preferably overnight.
  3. Bring dough to room temperature and preheat oven to 220°C.
  4. Divide dough into 4 and cover with a damp tea towel. Roll out one piece on a lightly floured work surface until 1-2 mm thick (María Elena’s family does this with a pasta machine). Line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Using a 15cm round plate or bowl, cut out rounds. Place one heaped tablespoon of beef filling in the centre of each round and top each with an olive and 1 level tablespoon chopped eggs. Brush edges of dough with water, fold over to enclose the filling and press edges together to seal. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the edges of dough together and fold the pinched section over to create a twisted edge. Continue all the way along the seam.  Place empanadas on the lined trays and brush with beaten egg yolks.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, swapping trays halfway, or until pastry is golden and filling is heated through. Repeat with the remaining dough, filling, olives, chopped eggs and beaten yolks.
  6. Serve empanadas immediately.


Photography by Anson Smart.

As seen in Feast magazine, Sept 2011, Issue 1.