Mother’s Recipe: Venezuelan Beef Empanadas (Beef Turnovers)

…a typical breakfast or lunch dish


Beef Empanadas Recipes

This is one of my favorite food that my mom makes for me. It used to be my ‘once-a-month-on-a-Sunday’ treat. She usually takes 3 hours or so to make this dish, because it is impossible to make it just for us. Nops, a plate needs to be sent to my aunt, another plate to the neighbor, 2 plastic containers to my granddad and sometimes even to my friends.

With my mom spending her holidays at my place she shared her recipe with me and thaught me how to make it step by step. There is a variety of stuffing they traditionally use, but to make it easier and because it’s my favorite, we did ground beef. I know the list of ingredients is long, but it’s the spices that give it the traditional taste. You can also choose to stuff cheese in it, tuna fish, shredded chicken or basically whatever you want. Pair the empanadas with guacamole or my personal favorite, homemade garlic sauce.


Venezuelan Beef Empanadas (Beef Turnovers) Recipe
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Latin-American
Ground Beef Filling
  • 500 gr ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 2 branches of scallions sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 60 gr raisins
  • 1 stalk parsley chopped
  • 1 stalk coriander chopped
  • 1/2 cube vegetable stock
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp chilli pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 750 ml sunflower oil
  • 118 ml water
  • 500 gr pre-cooked yellow corn flour (P.A.N. brand)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • water
  1. Add the ground beef, 2 tbsp sunflower oil and all the rest of the ingredients, except the water, in a pan. Cook them on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add then the water, put a lid on the pan and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime start with the dough. Mix the flour, salt and sugar in together in a bowl. Gradually add water into the flour mixture while kneading. Stop adding water when all the flour is incorporated. Make sure your hand is moist at all time when kneading. Keep kneading for about 5 minutes and until you can roll the dough into a ball.
  3. Wet your countertop/surface and place the dough on it. Keep kneading the dough for about 10 minutes more or until it's firm and does not stick to your hands anymore. If the dough is too wet add more flour. If it crumbles too much add more water.
  4. Cut a piece of cling film and place it on a wet surface. Add some oil on the top of clingfilm so the dough doesn't stick.
  5. Take a piece of dough and make a ball of 120 gr. Roll the dough out with a roller or your hands on the cling film in a 2 cm thick disk. Place around 1 tbsp of stuffing in the middle of the dough. Fold one side of the dough to the other side. Use a bowl to form the empanadas as a half moon. Lightly press the edges with wet fingers to make sure they're closed (see pictures above). 

  6. In a deep pan heat the sunflower oil. The amount of oil depends on the size of the pan. Add plenty of oil so the empanadas are submerged in oil. Add the empanadas when the oil is really hot and fry the empanadas until golden brown.
  7. Serve the empanadas warm with guacamole and/or garlic sauce

Special and yummy! Now go enjoy it…


Empanada Recipe


Venezuelan Beef Empanadas Recipe

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