Though these awesome empanadas were the first dish served at our Cuban Fiesta last week, they will be the last recipe I’ll share.

Because I saved the best for last.

I adore a good empanada, and these Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas are absolutely fabulous.  Stuffed with spicy ground beef, salty olives and sweet raisins, these empanadas disappeared from the platters as fast as we could put them out.


Margarita whipped up the picadillo I stuffed into the empanadas the night of the party.  (Picadillo loosely translates to “Cuban hash” by the way.  In case you’re wondering.)  When I asked for the recipe, it involved a number of Goya spices and spice mixes.  I wanted to re-create a recipe that used things already in my pantry, so I sought inspiration from a pair of Cuban cookbooks in my collection to enhance the tips she shared.  I think it’s close to Margarita’s effort, and after the third batch I’ve made this week – I can assure you, they’re absolutely delicious.  Just be sure to remember the olive juice.


One of my awesome Bourbon and Brown Sugar readers requested the entire menu from the feast (thanks Julie!).  This was a true team effort… I think Margarita and I composed a menu that rocked, so here goes:

Blackberry Mojitos

Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas

Cuban Salad with Pineapple and Avocado and an Orange Sherry Vinaigrette

Cuban-Style Roast Pork – like this one: Cuban-Style Roast Pork

Moros y Cristianos loosely based on this: (Moros y Cristianos)

Orange Flans with Cointreau loosely based on this

Guava and Cream Cheese Mini Pop-Tarts

Margarita created the totally authentic roast pork and moros y cristianos from her memories of a lifetime of Cuban food… no recipes were in sight as she worked her magic, so I shared recipes found on the wilds of the internet that seemed close to what she concocted.

That was fun.  I think we’ll have to host another Cuban Fiesta to benefit the school again next year… don’t you agree Margarita?


A few things I’m crushing on at the moment:

Thanks BuzzFeed, love that the Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Brownies were featured on your 23 Brownies that Are Almost Too Powerful  I’m particularly crushing on these Munchies Brownies.

Love these photographs… food and so much more.

Cinco de Mayo is coming – Wow, love these Cinco de Mayo recipes from What’s Gaby Cooking and it’s Margarita Week at Hola Jalapeno.  Time to plot my menu.  What are you serving?

If you love these empanadas, you might also enjoy my Empanadas with Pancetta, White Beans, and Queso Fresco, or the Bacon Cheeseburger Empanadas or perhaps the Corn and Three-Cheese Empanadas.  I’m obsessed with Empanadas.  If at all possible, find these Empanada wrappers from La Saltena.  They’re the Argentine style – light and flaky.

Thanks for stopping by, all!

Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas
Serves: 20 empanadas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion,
  • 1 medium-sized green pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dark raisins
  • ½ cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 package La Saltena Empanada Wrappers for the oven
  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Place the onion, green pepper and garlic in a food processor, and chop until very fine (but don't chop it so long it turns to mush.)
  3. Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of a skillet, and sautee the finely chopped veggies until the onions are translucent.
  4. Scatter the oregano, cumin and cayenne pepper to the vegetables, and cook for another minute or so.
  5. Add the sherry to the veggies and cook for another minute.
  6. Add the ground beef to the vegetables, stir frequently to break up the meat, and cook until the meat is cooked through and crumbly.
  7. Add the tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, raisins, olives, and ¼ cup of the olive juice from the jar.
  8. Let the meat cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  9. Place a tablespoon of meat onto the center of each empanada disk. Fold the dough over to make a half-moon, and seal with a decorative pattern.
  10. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.
  11. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Thought I’d share this awesome recipe with the crew at Fiesta Friday this week!


27 Responses to "Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas"
  1. Shannon says:

    This happened: I’ve been served these empanadas twice, burned my mouth both times because I couldn’t wait to eat them.

    • I’m the same way. Can’t ever eat empanadas quick enough, so tasty, so addicting. Really nice mix of flavors and seasonings in these Cuban Empanadas.

  2. Lisa Dowdell says:

    MB – Do you think this would work with chicken for my non-red-meat-eaters?

  3. Arielle says:

    These look divine! And since the weather’s been miserable all week I just want to spend some time in the kitchen!

    • mb says:

      I know… gosh, I can’t remember a rainier spring! I want to hang in the kitchen too!

  4. Colleen says:

    I love empanadas, and these look amazing! Happy Fiesta Friday!

  5. Susan says:

    These look absolutely fabulous! I want them for Mother’s Day! haha

  6. Those look amazing! Our favorite empanadas place closed and we were just saying how much we miss them!

    • mb says:

      If you can find pre-made wrappers in your corner of the world, making empanadas is SO easy – I hope you try them Kari!

  7. These look SO tasty! Pinning these for sure!

  8. Jess says:

    I just love your entire Fiesta menu, and I think these empanadas are my favorite part. They look delicious 🙂

    • mb says:

      I have to admit, the mini guava pop-tarts were my favorite part, Jess, but the empanadas were a close second!

  9. No wonder they’re your favorite, they look amazing! Even the crust is done cutely. 🙂 Happy FF, and I hope you have a swell weekend! 😀

  10. What expertly crafted empanadas you have there! How did you get them all so perfect? They sound like something my boys would most definitely eat and that whole menu!!! sounds like a fantastic feast! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday. Have a great weekend.

    • mb says:

      Lots of practice on the empanadas!! In my experience, boys love empanadas… my guys always inhale them 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Laurena!

  11. Jhuls says:

    I love empanadas. These sound perfect. Happy FF. 🙂

  12. Oh wow. These look stunning, love how perfect the cripmpling is! The raisins sounds like such an amazing addition 🙂

    • mb says:

      Hi Petra – I totally agree… I would never, ever skip the raisins… I just love that pop of sweetness.

  13. Angie says:

    Do these look good or what?! Perfectly formed! Almost like they’re made by someone …uhm… whose brother operates an empanada eatery, lol! Really, great recipe MB. I’ll be bookmarking and pinning this!

  14. Kate says:

    These are seriously perfect! Just look at that crust! The olive juice addition is cream on top. I’ll have to add that next time I make piccadillo. Thanks so much for giving Margarita week a shout out!

    • mb says:

      Let me admit to you the crust is all about finding the La Saltena brand empanada wrappers – the ones for the oven (holdrado). If you can figure out a local source for those, awesome empanadas are a breeze 🙂

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