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Spicy empanadas

  • Makes 36
Spicy empanadas

Empanadas are savoury Mexican pies full of robust flavours and spices. They may be prepared in advance and frozen and, for party ease, can even be cooked straight from the freezer. Simply add 3-4 minutes extra cooking time. If you don't want to make the pastry below, buy a pre-bought savoury one - you'll need 2x 400 gram packets.



  • 3 cups flour
  • 125 grams butter, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • about ½-¾ cup cold water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water


  • 1 onion, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 250 grams pork mince
  • 300 grams cooked, peeled prawns, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup green olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh tomato, roughly chopped


  1. Process flour, butter and salt in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg and process until just combined. Witj the motor running add just enough water to bring the dough together. Turn out and knead lightly on a floured board.
  2. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 2mm thick. Using a 10cm pastry cutter, cut out rounds from the pastry. Place a heaped teaspoonful of filling on one side of the pastry round, then moisten the pastry edges lightly with the water. Fold over the pastry to form a semicircle, then press with fingertips or the back of a fork to seal.
  4. Place on a baking paper-lined tray. Brush with beaten egg to glaze, if wished.
  5. Bake at 190ºC for 20 minutes or until golden and crisp. Serve warm.


  1. Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and red chilli. Cook until fragrant. Add the tomato paste, chilli powder, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste begins to darken.
  2. Add the pork mince and cook in the thick sauce mixture for 4-5 minutes before adding the prawns, olives and tomato. Cook a further 5-6 minutes until the juices have reduced. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool before using.

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