Beef Empanadas
The classic Argentine empanada is shaped like a half-moon, but the pattern of its seal differs to indicate the unique flavors inside. This recipe, with a braided crimp and a spicy beef filling, is baked rather than fried in Argentine style. Landon Nordeman

Empanadas—mini versions of the traditional Spanish meat pie—are generally baked in Buenos Aires, not fried as they are in the rest of Latin America. This recipe, filled with a spicy beef filling, first appeared in our October 2013 issue with the article Lunch at Your Leisure. See our step-by-step guide to shaping empanadas »

Yield: makes 1 Dozen


For the Dough

  • 1 cup water
  • 34 cup lard
  • 2 34 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

For the Filling

  • 13 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless beef shoulder, trimmed and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 12 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 12 tsp. Spanish hot paprika
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 12 tsp. ground white pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and finely chopped


  1. Make the dough: Heat water and lard in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat until lard has melted, about 3 minutes; let cool slightly. Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center of flour mixture. Slowly stir in lard mixture until a wet dough forms. Using your hands, knead until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; chill for 2 hours.
  2. Make the filling: Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt; cook until browned, 8–10 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl; set aside. Add bell pepper and onion to pan; cook until golden, 12–14 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, chile flakes, and white pepper; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper mixture to bowl with beef; let cool. Stir in eggs, salt, and white pepper.
  3. Heat oven to 375°. Divide dough into twelve 2″ balls. On a lightly floured surface, and using a rolling pin, roll out dough balls into 5″ circles. Place about 3 tbsp. filling in the center of each dough circle. Fold dough in half over the filling, forming a half circle, then use your fingers to gently press and seal the edges. To make a “rope” around the edge, dog-ear one corner of the half circle. Move along the curved edge and pinch 1⁄2″ of dough next to the dog-ear, stretching it toward you, before folding it back so it overlaps the dog-eared edge. Continue to pinch and fold the dough in 1⁄2″ sections, slightly overlapping each previous fold, until you reach the opposite corner. Place empanadas on a baking sheet; bake until golden brown, 30–35 minutes.