Colombian Empanadas: Fried Empanadas With Beef and Potato Filling

Colombian Empanadas: Fried Empanadas With Beef and Potato Filling

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 2 hrs
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 40 empanadas
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
212 Calories
12g Fat
19g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 212
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 288mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 7mg 34%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 271mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Like many Latin countries, Colombia has its own version of the empanada. These unique and tasty hand pies have an outer crust made with masarepa, the precooked cornmeal that is used to make arepas. The filling is stewed beef (or pork) and potatoes seasoned with hogao, a cooked tomato salsa.

Frying these empanadas gives them a crispy exterior while keeping the cornmeal pastry deliciously creamy and soft on the inside. It's traditional to serve these empanadas with spicy aji sauce, but they're also good with chile ranch sauce.

Learn what foods you need to stock your pantry with to cook Colombian recipes. 

2:27

Click Play to See This Easy Colombian Empanadas Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

For the Hogao:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tomato, finely chopped

  • 6 green onions, finely chopped

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 package (about 2 teaspoons) Sazón Goya con azafran (saffron)

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Filling:

  • 3 beef bouillon cubes

  • 1 pound top round or skirt steak, or similar cut of pork), sliced into strips

  • Water, to cover beef in pot

  • 1/2 pound yellow or white potatoes, peeled and quartered

For the Dough:

  • 3 cups yellow masarepa, or precooked cornmeal, or harina de maiz

  • 2 1/4 cups hot water

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

Make the Hogao

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    hogao ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add garlic, tomato, onions, cumin, Goya seasoning, and cilantro and sauté over medium heat, stirring, until onion is very soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    filling in a pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Remove hogao from pot and set aside in a separate bowl.

    Remove hogao from pot and set aside in a separate bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    filling ingredients

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  2. Using your hands, crush beef bouillon cubes as you add them to the pot.

    crush beef bouillon cubes as you add them to the pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Add sliced beef to pot.

    meat cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Cover meat with water and bring to a boil.

    water added to the pot with beef

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  5. Simmer beef until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.

    beef cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Add potatoes to beef, adding more water if necessary to cover. Simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.

    potatoes added to the beef mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Remove the pot from heat and let meat and potatoes cool in the broth.

    beef and potatoes cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  8. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat and potatoes into a separate bowl and set aside. Strain broth into a large measuring cup and reserve.

    beef and potatoes in a bowl, cooking liquid in a measuring cup

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  9. Place masarepa in a large bowl. Stir 1 cup of the reserved broth into masarepa, along with hot water and sugar.

    masarepa in a large bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  10. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside for 10 minutes.

    masarepa in a large bowl

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  11. Roll masarepa dough into about 40 golfball-size balls.

    Roll masarepa dough into golfball-size balls on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Make the Empanadas

  1. Finely chop meat and potatoes and place in a large bowl.

    beef and potatoes in a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Stir hogao into meat and potatoes and mix thoroughly, adding a little of the broth to moisten. Slightly mash potatoes.

    Stir hogao into meat and potatoes and mix thoroughly in a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, flatten each ball into a 4-inch circle; placing dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and using a rolling pin will make this easier.

    rolled out dough on plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Remove plastic and place a teaspoon or so of filling in the middle of the dough circle.

    dough with filling on top

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  5. Fold circle in half to make a half-moon shape, enclosing filling. Seal edges with fingers. Repeat with remaining balls of dough, placing empanadas in one layer on a plate or cutting board.

    dough sealed around the filling

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Heat vegetable oil to 350 F. Fry empanadas in batches until they are golden brown about 5 minutes. Do not crowd the pot.

    empanadas cooking in a cast iron skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Drain on paper towels.

    empanadas on a paper towel lined platter

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  8. Serve empanadas warm with aji sauce.

    Colombian Empanadas: Fried Empanadas With Beef and Potato Filling on a platter

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Tip

  • You can shape the empanadas a day ahead and chill them until you are ready to fry. Place them in one layer on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap before placing them in the refrigerator.
  • Once the empanadas are cooked, keep the batches warm in a 200 F oven until ready to serve.
  • Any empanadas leftover? Store them in the fridge for up to 7 days and reheat. When reheating, warm them in an oven at 300 F for about 10 minutes. You can also reheat in the microwave, they just won't be as crispy on the outside.