Jan 9 2013

How to make empanadas from Colombia (recipe)

empanadas from Colombia

Celina’s empanadas from Colombia … mmm!

Celina is a mother to two sponsored children in Colombia, and for her, empanadas are her livelihood. She took out a loan through her mothers group to start a business selling empanadas and coffee. (Unbound serves more than 22,000 sponsored children and elderly in Colombia.)

Celina used the income from her business to purchase her first home.

Celina shares her recipe with us, and we invite you to try her delicious empanadas. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: Makes approximately 10 six-inch empanadas.


      • 3 cups corn flour (plus a little more for kneading)
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup cold water
      • 5 eggs (scrambled)
      • 5 potatoes (cooked and smashed)
      • 2 onions (chopped)
      • 3 tomatoes (chopped)
      • 8 oz. meat (cooked beef or chicken)
      • 8 oz. rice (cooked)
      • 4 oz. peas* (cooked) *optional
      • 4 oz. shortening
      • 16 oz. (roughly) Canola oil


  1. In a bowl, mix the eggs, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, meat, rice and peas. Set mixture aside.

empanadas from Colombia

  1. In a separate bowl, mix the water, flour and salt.

  2. Cut the shortening into the flour mix with a mixer or two butter knives. Mix until dough is formed.

  3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead it just until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth.

  4. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Tip: Dough can be frozen and used later.

  1. After dough has set for 1 hour in refrigerator, place dough on lightly floured surface and flatten with a rolling pin until dough is less than 1 inch thick.

  2. Cut the dough into medium-size pieces, and place a spoonful of the liquid ingredients in the middle of the dough. Fold the dough in half and pinch the ends together using a fork.

empanadas from Colombia

  1. Heat oil in a deep skillet.

empanadas from Colombia

  1. Once oil has been heated, cook empanada for about eight minutes, or until surface is crispy.
empanadas from Colombia

Empanadas from Colombia … mmm!

  1. Place cooked empanadas on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

  2. Cool, serve and enjoy!

Related links

‘Moving on up’: Colombian mother buys first home

‘Moving on up,’ part 2: Colombian mother sends update about first home

6 thoughts on “How to make empanadas from Colombia (recipe)”

  1. Are you sure the dough recipe is right? Mine ended up a crumbly mess. The cold water seems like its meant to be in the dough part of the recipe and not the filling? Did you have anyone test run the recipe before printing it? Also, WAYYYYY more than 15 minutes of prep time (unless you have someone prep everything for you before hand). I loved having a recipe from our sponsored child’s country, but this was a lot of time for me and didn’t turn out very well. Maybe have some people test the recipes before printing them next time to work out any problems (measurements, etc.) prior to printing.

    1. Iris, thanks for your input. We’re sorry to hear the recipe didn’t turn out as planned. I know from making other kinds of doughs and crusts that it might help it stick together if you add a couple of tablespoons of cold water. You do that until it reaches the consistency you desire. Thanks again! – Jordan Kimbrell, Unbound writer/editor

  2. On this recipe it says eggs (scrambled) does that mean cooked scrambled eggs or does that mean eggs beaten then added raw?

  3. Thank you so much for your recipe for empanadas! I am so happy to be a part of CFCA and my sponsored child is in Columbia also. His Mom is wonderful also and is learning to do alot too. I love to read stories about all of the good things that CFCA does, how blessed me and my 2 sons are to be a part of CFCA.

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