Empanadas: A Fun Family Dinner Night


I am always on the look-out for easy & delicious meals to serve my family, so when Martha Stewart launched her (then) new magazine Everyday Food back in 2004, it became a fast favorite. We have enjoyed every single dish I’ve ever made from those pages and to me, that is a pretty good testament to the caliber of recipes that are shared. The best part? The recipes are simple! So, when I came across the issue showing Homemade Empanadas, I couldn’t resist!

Empanadas are little meat pies that are full of deep, rich flavors of beef and pork, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices surrounded by an egg-washed soft crust. This recipe is also very versatile. With just one recipe, you will be able to make 4-5 sizeable Empanadas for dinner and have enough left over to make and freeze smaller, appetizer-sized pies to enjoy later!

Of course as with most recipes I make, there is always a bit of tweaking involved to suit the tastes of my family. We are not big ground beef or pork eaters, so I used ground turkey and to ease the heat from peppers, I omit them all together, and offer them on the side instead. The original recipe does not call for garlic, but being Italian, I must add it to everything, so you will find garlic & garlic powder in my version. The final change was made to the portions used in the original recipe; I found the measurements to be a lot of food for our size family, but would be perfect for a large family or if you wanted to use this recipe for a party.  

Ready for some delicious? Great! Let’s make some flavorful Empanadas!


Homemade Emapanadas

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

For dough:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 stick butter, cold & cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with tablespoon water (for brushing top of dough)

To Make Filling:

1. In large skillet, add oil and ground turkey. Cook 5-6 minutes then add onion and garlic. Cook thoroughly until no pink remains.



2. Add chili powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Stir well. Add tomatoes, stir and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cilantro, stir and turn off heat. Let mixture cool.

While filling mixture is cooling, prepare dough:

1. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients.


2. Add butter cubes and cut in with pastry cutter to resemble small crumbs.

3. Using your fingers, begin to squeeze together flour mixture as you slowly add 1 cup of cold water. Dough will be sticky.

4. Remove dough ball from bowl and place on surface dusted with flour. Knead dough 2-3 times.

5. Divide dough in half. Knead each half 4-5 times until smooth dough ball forms.

6. Cut dough ball into 4 equal sections. Repeat with other dough ball.


7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.

To make Large empanada:

1. Take 1 dough section and cut in half.

2. Roll out on floured surface into 6-inch circle.

3. Fill half of dough circle with meat mixture. Wet bottom half of circle with water and fold dough in half.

4. Seal with fingers by pressing down the edges. Complete seal by pressing firmly with tines of fork.


To make Smaller empanada:

1. Take 1 dough section and roll out to 12 inch circle.

2. With large biscuit cutter, cut circles out of dough.

3. Repeat fill and seal process above.

4. At this point you may freeze empanadas.

5. Place on baking sheet and place in freezer until firm (about 2-3 hours). Wrap in plastic wrap and store in freezer bags for later use.


To bake fresh or frozen empanadas:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with egg wash mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Rotate tray and bake additional 15 minutes or until tops are deep golden brown.


Serve with jalapenos, salsa and sour cream.

This recipe is easy yet time consuming, but the end results are well worth it!

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s, Everyday Food, April 2004, EmpanadasHomem

What do you think?

Empanadas: A Fun Family Dinner Night

Kelly Pugliano is a wife, mom to a soon-to-be-college student and one-not- far- behind, freelance writer, photographer and a lifelong foodie who shares her love of cooking and baking through photographs good enough to eat. Seeming to be a permanent fixture in her Upstate NY kitchen, you will often find her creating tried & true recipes from family archives or testing out new delights found by reading countless cooking magazines, watching Food Network or scouring Pinterest. If not behind the ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. This really is a great recipe! So easy and so good!!
    I hope you were able to enjoy making them!

  2. Marina says:

    Great recipe. Can’t wait to make Empanadas this week


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