Packed with mouth-watering spices

If you love a Cornish Pasty, then you’re going to love Argentinian beef empanadas.

PREP TIME: 20 mins
30 mins
not too tricky
crowd-pleaser, family, snacks, quick lunch

Argentinian beef empanadas

These tasty savoury morsels are the perfect snack or quick lunch.

As they’re easy to make and can go in the freezer for another day.

If Argentinian’s, and there’s 45 million of them, like these savoury snacks.

Then it’s worth checking them out.

What is an Argentinian empanada?

Similar to a Cornish pasty, these hand-sized pies are found all over South America.

Their name comes from the verb “empanar”.

Which means “to wrap or coat in bread or dough.”

And like most countries that have a food speciality.

Every province has its own take on it.

But they all follow the same basic guideline.

And that is… a soft pocket of dough, stuffed with incredible, mouth-watering fillings.

Which are baked or fried and shaped like triangles or half-moons… or like Cornish pasties 😉

With the most popular fillings including ground or minced beef, chicken, or even a ham-and-cheese combo.

Argentinian empanadas
Argentinian empanadas

The origin of empanada

Like most food history, this one is a little blurry too.

But apparently, the first mention of an empanada goes all the way back to medieval times.

Where an empanada recipe was discovered in a Catalan cookbook.

By a Spanish Chef, Ruperto de Nola who published it in 1520.

So, it’s thought that the early Spanish immigrants carried the recipe to Argentina during the 16th century.

And just like the Cornish pasty, the empanada was once a ‘working man’s meal’.

Because it contained a full meal that was easy to carry to work.

And it’s still a staple in Argentina food culture today.

The empanada

Is no longer just a working man’s lunch.

But now very much engrained in for culture.

And with all the provincial takes on the perfect empanada, you’re spoilt for choice.

In Buenos Aires, empanadas are usually filled with ground or minced beef, ham and cheese, chicken, or swiss chard.

And often prepared with salsa blanca (a bit like a Béchamel sauce)

But you can discover all sorts of flavours.

And even different folds which (if you know your empanadas) will indicate what filling is inside.

Leave Buenos Aires and the empanada world expands even more.

With every province firmly believing that their filling is the most superior.

And their dough is the richest and flakiest.

Provincial empanada’s

Tucumán province has a traditional filling called mondongo i.e. tripe or cow stomach.

And Tucumán, is where the annual National Empanada Festival is held.

The province of Entre Rios to the north of Buenos Aires has an empanada that’s stuffed with rice which has been soaked in milk.

Up in Argentina’s far north, in Jujuy, you can find empanadas filled with goat or llama meat.

In the central province of Cordoba, they make them sweet-and-savory.

Often containing sugar, beef, raisins, potatoes, and olives.

The northern province of Misiones has empanadas made of mandioca flour (yucca root).

The world is your empanada

So, it just goes to show.

Much like the beloved Cornish pasty.

The empanada has many versions of itself with fillings.

I went for a slightly smoky, spicy ‘traditional’ version.

And it’s delicious!

Give them a go!

What’s your favourite empanada filling? Leave a comment.

Argentinian beef empanadas

Course Snack
Keyword empanadas, pasty
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 empanadas
Cost £


  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp finely diced garlic
  • 2 x 500g beef mince
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup roughly diced parsley
  • 1/2 cup roughly diced pitted olives (any)
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs and roughly diced
  • 10 sheets of puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 oilve oil


  • Preheat 200C/180C fan
  • In a large frying-pan over a high heat, add oil, then the onion and cook until softened (2 mins).
    Next add the garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and cinnamon and cook for 2 mins.
    Add the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until a golden brown.
    Add tomato paste and raisins and simmer for 5 – 10 mins, then stir in the parsley, olives, boiled eggs.
    Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool a little.
  • Sprinkle some flour onto a flat work surface and roll out your puff pastry into discs approx 10 cm.
    Place a heaped tablespoon of filling to one side of the circle (leaving a 1 cm gap around the side and then fold over to make a half-moon shape.
    Pinch the pastry together on the edges.
    Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat.
  • Brush the empanadas with a little egg wash and bake for 25 – 30 mins or until golde.
    Serve (with a salsa verde or chimchurri sauce)