Beef Empanadas

Empanadas are a delicous fried dough filled with meat or fruit.  In Panama we eat these as a snack or a side addition to breakfast, or any meal for that matter.  The pastry can either be corn based or flour based.  Goya makes empanada discs which are precut flour discs ready to be filled.  They have them for frying or baking, I personally prefer the frying discs but try both and see which becomes your favorite.  Tranditionally our empanadas are ground beef based and that’s what this recipe will show.



  • 1lbs ground beef, (I prefer lean)
  • 1 Tbsp sofrito (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 habanero, optional (cut the top off)
  • 3-5 sprigs cilantro
  • Sazon Goya
  • Raisins, optional
  • Garlic powder
  • Capers
  • Cheese, optional
  • Olive oil (1 tbsp for ground beef and more for frying)
  • Goya empanada discs


Add about 1 Tbsp olive oil to a pan, add onions and sautee about 2-3 minutes.  Add chopped garlic and sofrito.  Add your ground beef and sprinkle with garlic powder, sason goya, salt and pepper to taste.  Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes over medium heat.  Then add raisins, capers, cilantro and the whole habanero.  The raisins are a great sweet addition to the saltiness and  heat of the meat.  I left a lot of measurements out intentionally; as the meat cooks you’ll add more or less depending on what flavor you’re wanting to acheive.  If you want more heat chop the habanero and add it to the meat, if you love cilantro (like me) add more sprigs, etc…


Once the meat is ready set aside to cool.  Each pack of Goya discs contains 10, when I make the empanadas I usually have enough for the week.  I like to precut foil paper or wax paper and have my sandwich bags ready so I can store the empanadas once assembled.


Once the meat has come to room temperature, grab one of the discs and fill half of the disc with ground beef and a bit of cheese (if using cheese).  Gently fold the other half over and with a fork pierce close.  Repeat this step until all discs are filled.

P1090871  P1090872

I add two empanadas per precut foil, but feel free to wrap each individually.  Once all are wrapped place in plastic bag and label.  Enjoy these as a snack or for breakfast!  Buen Provecho!



Tasty Additions:  You can also add chopped potatoes or eggs to the ground beef.  You can make chicken or shrimp empanadas as well, feel free to explore.


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