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How to Make Filipino Beef Empanadas

Empanadas that came to the Philippines via Spain have become a national favorite in the country and remain a big favorite for snacking or as party appetizers. This is the classic way of making delicious Filipino beef empanadas with a buttery flaky crust and tasty beef filling with potatoes, carrots, and raisins for that perfect sweet and savory flavor combination. May be baked or fried.

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Asian Cuisine, Filipino, South East Asian, Spanish
Keyword easy filipino empanada recipe, how to make filipino beef empanada
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 28 small pieces or 12 large
Author Manila Spoon


Empanada Beef (Meat) Filling

  • 2 tbsp oil optional if the meat you're using has a good amount of fat content
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • Ground black pepper to taste (optional)
  • 2 red potatoes diced
  • 1/2 a piece of a large red bell pepper diced (optional)
  • 1 small carrot diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup peas

Empanada Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  • ¾ cup water, divided


Empanada Beef (Meat Filling)

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Sauté the garlic and onion for about a minute. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until the onions and tomatoes have softened about 5 minutes.
Stir in the ground beef and pork. Crumble with a fork to prevent clumping. Season with soy sauce and black pepper and cook until the meat has turned brown.
Add the potatoes or red bell pepper and carrots and then simmer covered for about 5-8 minutes or until the veggies have softened.
  2. Uncover then stir in the raisins, raise the heat and cook for a further 3-5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the peas and cook for another couple of minutes.

Empanada Dough

  1. In a bowl of the stand mixer using the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and butter until it resembles cornmeal. 2. Add 1/2 ice water to the dough while the mixer is running. Add 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is clumpy but soft (don’t let it get sticky!)3. Divide dough into two, form a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. 4. Roll into 1/8 of an inch thick and use a large circle cookie cutter to cut the circles out. 

  2. In a boil of a stand mixer with paddle attachment mix together the flour, sugar, salt and butter until it looks crumbly. Pour about 1/2 cup of the ice water into the dough while the mixer is running. Pour in the remaining 1/2 cup ice water and continue to mix until the dough looks clumpy but soft (it should not be sticky).

  3. Divide the dough into two and form into small disk then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour. Roll into about 1/8 of an inch thick and use a round cookie or scone cutter to cut it up. You may make small rounds up to 28 pieces or large ones (up to 12 pieces).

  4. Don't wish to make the crust? Simply buy and use store-bought puff-pastry then follow instructions on making the rounds.

Preparing the Empanada for Baking or Frying

  1. To fill the cut-up dough, place a small amount of filling (about a rounded tablespoon if making small empanadas) in the middle. Do not overfill.

  2. Fold the empanada so that you form a half-moon shape. Either crimp the edges to seal with your fingers or simply use a fork to seal it. Brush the empanada with a little egg wash (use one beaten egg) for color.

  3. Fry the empanadas in a deep fryer until golden brown all over. For a healthier alternative, bake the empanadas in a preheated 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 20-25 minutes or just until nicely browned all over. Serve warm or at room temperature.