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: 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
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 212
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 220mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 7mg 34%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 273mg 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.


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 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.

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

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

  3. Add sliced beef to pot.

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

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

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

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

  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.

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

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

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

Make the Empanadas

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

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

  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.

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

  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.

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

  7. Drain on paper towels.

  8. Serve empanadas warm with aji sauce.


  • 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.