Football Food - Beef Empanadas - Hand-Held Meat Pies

Empanadas are the perfect super bowl food. These little hand-held Latin American pies are filled with seasoned meat, spices and vegetables and are very similar to the Italian calzone.

Empanadas are the perfect football party food. This particular hand held portable on-the-go pie is based on the Latin America version. There are other countries that have their own version of pastry and meat filling. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, France, Greece and Italy to name a few, make their own regional meat pie.

They are so easy to make and much easier to eat. The dough can be made fresh but I've had good success with Goya brand discos (small tortillas) found in the freezer section of the supermarket. Very helpful when there is not enough time to make your own dough. There are 18 in a package and this recipe makes 36 so you will need 2 packages.

Empanadas can be assembled ahead, frozen on a tray and placed in plastic bags until you are ready to bake or fry them. There is a little heat in this filling but you can leave it out if you prefer less heat. The kids can easily pull one out of the freezer bag and heat in a toaster oven for lunch or a snack.

There great any time of year and I have served them at backyard parties with great success. Sometimes I add olives or peas to the mix. Other ground meats can be substituted for the beef. 


2 pounds ground pork or beef

2 medium onions, finely diced

2 jalapeno chiles, minced (ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired)

1 green bell pepper, chopped

½ teaspoon chili powder

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon or more prepared sofrito

1 envelope of goya sazón 

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

36 Discos (frozen 4” flour tortillas)


Make the filling: In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, cook meat until no longer pink, breaking it up into small pieces, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add onion, green pepper, and jalapenos; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder, sazon, sofrito and tomatoes. Cook over medium until mixture has thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in cilantro. Let cool.

Form empanadas by placing a tablespoon of filling in the middle of a disco. Fold dough over to make a half circle. With your finger, moisten edge of dough and seal the two ends together so filling is snug inside.

To bake empanadas, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush tops with egg wash, avoiding crimped edges. Bake until golden brown, rotating sheets halfway through, 30 to 40 minutes.

They also can be deep fried. If frying do not brush with egg yolk; fry until golden and drain on paper towels. Serve with a dipping sauce such as “Five-Minute Italian Marinara Sauce.”

Every South American and Spanish region makes these differently Some add green pitted olive slices, hard cooked egg, or chopped chorizo. If desired, freeze on a baking sheet until firm, 2 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic; freeze in plastic bags. Makes 36 Empanadas

Recipe is From Amelia's Kitchen Cookbook 

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