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Meat Empanadas


Definitely a crowd pleaser, these little Latin American-style turnovers will be your new go-to appetizer recipe. These pillows of heavenly goodness are so decadent, everyone will be begging for more.


Growing up in Panama, these were a staple at every simcha, family get together, and Shabbat table. You could always find them next to kibbe, Moroccan cigars, and meat bourekas. They were the go-to beautiful appetizer to enhance any table. When I moved to the US a few years ago, I couldn’t believe people here were missing out on this delicacy! I cannot wait for you to make these for your Purim Seudah. Trust me, they are out of control! Move over eggrolls, empanadas are here to stay! Yields 60 empanadas.


Think Purim day!

Everyone always needs something they can grab and eat, in between all the candy and alcohol. These can be made in advance and fried fresh in the morning; this way everyone will have something delicious to grab if they are hungry, and let’s be real, everyone is hungry on Purim. 


Think Purim Seudah!

Serve these as an appetizer if you want to wow your family and guests. 


Think Mishloach Manot!

A few years ago, I made these as my Mishloach Manot.  I sent a tray of nine meat empanadas with a small container of homemade hummus on the side. People loved them so much, my neighbors and kids still talk about it several years later. That is how you know something is a hit! 




Sauté the onions, garlic, and green pepper for 10 minutes in the oil over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add the ground beef and half a cup of water, mixing constantly until the meat is separated and no longer pink. Cook until the water is evaporated.


Add the kosher salt, tomato paste, and tomato sauce and cook for a few more minutes, until the mixture is nice and thick. Turn off the flame and set aside.



With your hands, incorporate the shortening into the flour. Add salt and the water, a little bit at a time, until a dough forms. Knead and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.


Form small balls, all the same size (see photo- click on ‘Image on’ at beginning of recipe for the visual), and place them in a floured bowl. Let them rest for 15 minutes or store in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Make the Empanadas

For the visual, scroll up to Start Cooking to toggle Images On)


Roll out a ball of dough with a rolling pin, add half a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of the circle and fold one half of the circle over the other, covering the filling. 


Press the edge with the tip of your finger and with a fork, press around the edge, leaving the fork marks. Pressing carefully ensures that the empanadas will not open while frying them.


Empanadas can be frozen at this point. Layer in between Gefen Parchment Paper and fry frozen.



In a deep fryer or a hot pan filled with two to three inches of oil, fry the empanadas over medium-high heat for one to two minutes, or until golden, turning to cook evenly. Transfer to a paper- towel-lined plate.


These are amazing eaten fresh as is, but they go very well served alongside hummus or techina. Another delicious option for dipping would be chimichurri sauce.


These can also be baked, on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.