If you think about, this is another food you can find almost in every country around the world with its own version of a pastry or dough stuffed with sweet or savory fillings: Cornish pasties, pirogi, samosas, dumplings, turnovers, pastels, etc. They can be served alone or as a side dish. Empanadas are a very versatile, once you know the basic method, you can try different fillings. It is a great way to use seasonal veg and fruits. This version is always a hit in our household and amongst our friends.



For the pastry

450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

85g butter, chilled and diced

2 eggs, beaten, plus extra for glaze

4-6 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato purée

1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes/powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 can tuna, drained

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

salt & pepper


1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs.

2. Add the beaten eggs and the water, a little at a time, mixing them with the knife, then your fingertips, until a ball of dough is formed. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in a fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes, or until soft.

4. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, chilli, cumin, paprika, tuna and  parsley, mix well, season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set the mixture aside to cool.

5. Preheat the oven to 190C. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to 3mm thick. Use a 9cm (or close to) pastry cutter to cut out circles.

6. Put a heaped teaspoon of the filling inside each circle, then brush the edges with water. Fold the pastry over to form a half-moon shape, then firmly crimp the edges to seal.

7. Place the empanadas on a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. We had them on a side with Gaspacho.


P.S Unfortunately, I can not remember which book the recipe came from. I had a black & white copy of it without any references on it for ages. I treasure it very much and now would like to share it with you, as this recipe is excellent and works every time.


3 thoughts on “Empanadas

  1. In the Sephardic kitchen these are called Burekas. The are traditionally filled with cheese and potato mixture. Your tuna and tomato filling sounds great. I’ll give it a try next time I’ll be making Burekas. 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing, Ronit. I haven’t heard about the Burekas yet, but I’m glad to find out now. I love potato mixture too 🙂

      • My pleasure Yana. I love all these type of pastries, so I try not to make them too often, as they vanish very quickly… But your post made me miss them so I’ll make some soon! 🙂

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