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Cuban Picadillo Empanadas

Cooking Method
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 60 min Cook Time: 20 min Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Servings 25
Best Season Suitable throughout the year

Cuban picadillo empanadas have a light and crispy outside filled with flavorful picadillo (ground beef) on the inside. 

Picadillo Empanadas
    Picadillo Filling
  • 1.3 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Aji Cachucha Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion (grated)
  • 1/4 cup Garlic Cloves
  • 1/4 cup White Wine (Vino Seco)
  • 8 ounces Goya Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Red Aji Cachucha Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Green Olive Juice
  • Empanada Dough
  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cups Sparkling Water
  • 1/2 cup Butter (frozen and grated)
  • 4 tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Egg Wash
  • 1 Egg (whisked)
  • 1 teaspoon Water
    Picadillo Filling
  1. Washing ground beef safely

    Wash the ground beef in a colander using cold water. I do this for two reasons. When the ground beef cooks it cooks really fine so there are no big chunks and second it removes excess fat. Make sure to clean up sink area after washing to avoid creating any bacteria.

  2. Heat a sauté pan on medium high heat. When hot add ground beef and cook about 10 to 15 minutes. When all the ground beef is cooked through and is no longer pink drain in a clean colander. Heat sauté pan again with a tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat and return ground beef to pan. Season beef with salt, garlic powder, red aji cachucha powder and black pepper.

  3. Grated onions and smashed garlic on a cutting board.

    Finely dice or grate the onion and smash the garlic cloves.

    Note* the 1/4 cup of garlic is measured before smashing or grating.
  4. Adding grated onions and smashed garlic to Picadillo.

    Add the grated onions with the smashed or grated garlic to the ground beef and continue to cook for five minutes until onions are soft. 

    Note* the 1/4 cup of garlic is measured before smashing or grating.
  5. Adding vino seco to Picadillo.

    Deglaze the pan with white wine (vino seco).

  6. Adding Goya tomato sauce to Picadillo.

    Add tomato sauce and turn down the heat to medium low. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon red aji cachucha powder and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Add 2 teaspoons of green olive juice, I just want the flavor of the green olives, not to actually bite into any olives. Stir to combine and cover. Let simmer for 10 minutes then remove from heat and let cool while preparing empanada dough.

  7. Empanada Dough
  8. Flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl for making empanada dough.

    In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder.

  9. Mix in frozen butter to dry ingredients.

    Add the cold grated frozen butter on top of the flour. Using your hands gently mix the butter into the flour. Do not break the butter down, just start to incorporate the butter into the flour.

  10. Adding sparkling water to empanada dough.

    Add the sparkling water and combine with hands. The flour will start to look “shaggy” and crumbly.

  11. Adding orange juice to empanada dough.

    Add the orange juice and continue to combine with hands.

  12. After dough ingredients are mixed and kneaded wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

    Remove dough onto a floured surface and knead into a ball until it looks smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

    You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours if you are not ready to use within the 30 minutes. Take it out of the refrigerator and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes if using after 24 hours.
  13. Roll out dough to 1/8” or thinner for a crispy fried result.

    Prepare Egg Wash. Whisk one egg with water.

    Roll dough out onto a floured surface. Get the dough as thin as you can get it, about 1/8" or thinner. 

  14. Empanada dough rolled out and cut into discs.

    Now, make empanada discs using an empanada mold, a small bowl, or a glass. Since I am making an appetizer platter of two bite appetizers I used a glass that was about 3 1/2”  in diameter that gave me smaller empanadas. You can make larger empanadas using something with a larger diameter. 

  15. Using a hand pie mold to make larger empanadas.

    If you want to make larger empanadas use a hand pie mold. This will make about 8-10 empanadas instead of 25. 

  16. Empanada dough discs with Picadillo filling.

    Start heating some oil in a frying pan or a fryer to 350 degrees. 

    Fill discs with a heaping teaspoon of picadillo filling. Brush edges with egg wash and fold over to seal. Seal empanadas using a fork's tongs or the pinch and fold method. Put empanadas in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. 

    If making larger empanadas fill with 1-2 tablespoons of picadillo.
  17. Frying empanadas in oil at 350 degrees.

    Fry empanadas for about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove empanadas from oil and drain on paper towels or a wire rack.

    Serve empanadas with Rosa dipping sauce.

Keywords: Picadillo,ground beef,empanadas,appetizer,