Giant Peruvian Empanadas (Empanadazo)

July  6, 2020
10 Ratings
Photo by Carlos Oleachea
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Peruvian empanadas feature a crumbly, buttery crust that melts in your mouth. I’ve found that American frozen pie crust makes a great substitute. This is a recipe for a single giant empanada, which you can slice and serve as a meal. It’s much less tedious than cutting out circles of dough to make individual empanadas. You can make the filling up to 1 day in advance. —Carlos C. Olaechea

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (80% lean)
  • 1/2 pound onions, diced (any type of onion will do)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 beef bouillon cube (optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 frozen pie crust
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Set a large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and bay leaf. Fry the bay leaf until it browns slightly.
  3. Add the ground beef and brown, breaking apart any large clumps with a spoon or spatula. When browned, add the onions and a generous pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Fry until the onions begin to soften.
  4. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and bouillon cube, if using. Stir to combine well, and continue cooking until the onions soften completely and look melted. By this point most of the liquid should have evaporated. If not, continue frying until the mixture is moist but not soupy. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer beef filling to a bowl to cool. (Filling will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)
  5. When ready to assemble, unroll the pie crust and place it over the parchment-lined baking sheet. When the filling has cooled to room temperature, mound it on one side of the pie crust, leaving about 1 inch of crust around the edges.
  6. Now carefully bring the other side of the pie crust over the beef filling so that it covers it completely. The edges of the crust should meet. If not, you can gently press the filling through the dough to disperse it more evenly, or unfold the dough and rearrange the filling with a spoon.
  7. Now crimp the edges securely with the tines of a fork or pinch with your fingers. Make sure there are no gaps or cracks in the crust. Brush with the beaten egg and bake until the crust is cooked through and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  8. Let cool slightly, about 10-15 minutes. Dust the giant empanada with powdered sugar, slice, and serve with lime wedges.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Faith Kaltenbach
    Faith Kaltenbach
  • Olearnek
  • Kit Boden
    Kit Boden
  • Carlos C. Olaechea
    Carlos C. Olaechea
  • DianeZ
I was born in Peru to a Limeño father and a Texan mother. We moved to Miami when I was five, and I grew up in the "Kendall-suyo" neighborhood—often called the 5th province of the Inca Empire because of its large Peruvian population. I've been writing about food since I was 11 years old, and in 2016 I received a master's degree in Gastronomy from Boston University. A travel columnist at Food52, I'm currently based in Hollywood, Florida—another vibrant Peruvian community—where I am a writer, culinary tour guide, and consultant.

17 Reviews

Geeta F. July 20, 2020
This was so good! I added heavy cream and veggie stock to the beef while it was browning, and it was amazing.
Faith K. July 19, 2020
I agree with the others. This whole feature is a rip-off in many ways. No dough recipe, no sauce recipe, the beef in the article is not the beef in the recipe. I am not a fan of people who so-called "share" but keep some ingredients secret. Either write a recipe or write a promo piece for you new business.
Diane M. July 19, 2020
I was excited and committed to making these empanadas after reading the article talking about the beef eye round and butter & lard crust. I got to the recipe that calls for ground beef and a frozen pie crust. The article does not match the recipe. What is up with that? Did not make them.
Olearnek July 19, 2020
I feel totally ripped off by this article. I have time to read very few things all the way through. This captures my imagination and I was completely prepared to make them today until I got to “Frozen pie crust”. Really? That is just insulting.
compcafe July 19, 2020
Hi Carlos
Loved your essay - congrats!
Im sure this is a good recipe but after your wonderful tantalizing empanada references (With boliche, butter, lard, ají amarillo chilies) its anticlimactic to read the recipe you've given.
Its like telling us your readers that you found the fointain of youth, and then giving us a bottle if dasani!
You might have been better off just sharing your story and not including a recipe if you didnt want to share it.
Good luck with the biz!
Luke M. July 19, 2020
I agree with the others, PLEASE provide a crust recipe. I would love to make these. I make the usual picadillo stuffed ones. The crust you describe in the article sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing the filling recipe.
Kit B. July 19, 2020
You had me tight up until you dusted it with sugar. Nah
Patricia F. July 19, 2020
Not a fan of commercial frozen pie crust, but I'm assuming my regular butter crust recipe will work? Or is there a special, different crust recipe from Peru?

This sounds fun, delicious, and easy! Can't wait to try it. Thank you!
Lorelee July 19, 2020
I want the recipe for the dough please.
Eileen July 19, 2020
I’m going to try it! Peru is on my bucket list- since we can’t travel right now, I think I will start cooking food from all the countries I have on my “list”! Thanks for sharing and I love that you are following your dream!!
angie July 17, 2020
I made two and it was so easy and turned out so delicious and looked amazing. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I plan to make it again.
Carlos C. July 17, 2020
Thank you so much. So glad you liked it
DianeZ July 19, 2020
I am going to make this. Why the powdered sugar on top? Is that usual for Peruvian dishes? Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck with your new direction.
DianeZ July 19, 2020
And what is that sauce your picture shows you are serving it with?
Patricia L. July 19, 2020
Please share recipe for the sauce pictured in the photo.
Thanks so much; look forward to making the filling!
danarebarchick July 19, 2020
Where did you find the actual recipe?
danarebarchick July 19, 2020
Where do we find the actual dough recipe you describe? I live in Maryland so unless you’re shipping.. i can’t come try yours☹️