Colombian Empanadas: Fried Empanadas With Beef and Potato Filling

Colombian Empanadas
Juanmonino / Getty Images
Prep: 2 hrs
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 40 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
106 Calories
6g Fat
10g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 40
Amount per serving
Calories 106
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 110mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 138mg 3%
*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.


Click Play to See This Easy Colombian Empanadas Recipe Come Together


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

  • 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 (enough to cover beef in pot)

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

For the Dough:

  • 3 cups yellow masarepa (precooked cornmeal or harina de maiz)

  • 2 1/4 cups hot water

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • Salt, to taste

  • Black pepper, to taste

  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

Make the Hogao

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

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

Make the Filling

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

  2. Add the sliced beef to the pot.

  3. Cover the meat with water and bring to a boil.

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

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

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

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

    Make the Dough

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

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

  10. Roll the masarepa dough into about 40 golfball-size balls.

Make the Empanadas

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

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

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

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

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

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

  7. Drain on paper towels.

  8. Serve the empanadas warm with aji sauce and enjoy.


  • 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.